It’s slightly fiddly to install, but the combination of bright lights, a great app and smart cloud recording make the Ring Floodlight Cam a great dual-purpose security camera and light.
Ring Floodlight Cam Design and build quality – A tough camera but fiddly to install
Available in black or white, the Ring Floodlight Cam is a chunky bit of kit. It’s split into three main components, connected to a single mount: two adjustable floodlights, and the main camera/PIR motion sensor. As with previous Ring products I’ve tested, the Floodlight Cam is well made and feels solid and reliable.
Installation requires wiring the camera into the mains since this model doesn’t have a plug. If you already have an outside light, then you may be able to do a quick swap; otherwise, you may need to call out a professional.
Ring has designed the Floodlight Cam to be installed vertically on a wall, although how practical that is will depend on the design of your home and cabling. In my house (a Victorian terrace), there was cabling for an existing floodlight installed on the ceiling of the small porch. Installing the Floodlight Cam on the side wall inside the porch wasn’t a possibility, since the camera is too big and you’d most likely whack your head on it. Moving the camera outside of the porch also wasn’t ideal, as the lights wouldn’t light up the porchway and the front door.
In the end, I decided to go for a ceiling mount, even though it isn’t recommended. It does work, although there’s less flexibility with regards to the camera angles.
Installation is more fiddly than difficult. External cabling can be run through the back of the mount if power comes out through a wall. If you have exposed cabling then it can run through a rubber grommet into the mount and the camera. Once wired in, the mount doesn’t leave a lot of room for fixing the camera into place, and it took a bit of wiggling to attach the retaining screws securely.
Ring Floodlight Cam Features – Lots of configuration options to cut down on alerts
Once in place and turned on, the Ring app is used to install and configure the camera. It’s trivial to connect the Floodlight cam up to your Wi-Fi (it uses a 2.4GHz connection), and what’s most important is that you have a strong enough wireless signal to your front door.
Once the camera is connected, and you can view the live stream, it’s worth adjusting the camera to get the best view. There’s a 140-degree lens on the front, so you shouldn’t need a lot of adjustment to capture the area you want. It’s also worth turning on the lights and pointing them where you want.
The app is also used to configure both the lights and motion recording. Configuring the floodlight is far easier than you’d find with a traditional, manual model, as the motion sensor is activated automatically at night. There’s no messing around with a fiddly control to get the light setting correct.
The camera uses a PIR motion sensor to work out when to turn on the light. The plus side is that these sensors are super-reliable. The negative side is that it doesn’t let you do anything clever. The rival Netatmo Presence can be configured to only turn on when it spots a human, but the Ring Floodlight Cam will turn on for any motion.
The app does let you configure the motion zones and detection distance, which should help cut down the number of times the lights turn on from the likes of a neighbour walking up to their door. You can also set the time for which the light should remain on: 30 seconds, or one, three, five or 15 minutes.
If you prefer, you can set a schedule to turn your lights on or off automatically, using the floodlight cam as a more traditional light.
Motion detection for the security camera is operated via the camera, not the PIR sensor. That’s a good move, since it gives you greater control over the operation. There’s a slider to set sensitivity, with the lowest setting only warning you when a person is detected; higher settings will trigger the camera for more movement. To further cut down on false positives, you can set Motion Zones to only monitor part of the picture.
You can also set Motion Schedules, disabling when your camera will actively record motion. Given that you’ll have your Floodlight Cam outside, I recommend leaving it to record permanently unless there’s a good reason to disable recording.
You can permanently disable motion alerts to your phone, but you can’t turn off recording manually. If you find that the camera alerts are becoming annoying – for instances when you have workmen going in and out, for example – you can temporarily snooze them.
Annoyingly, if you tap an alert, the Ring app opens in landscape mode, rather than portrait. It’s the same problem with the Ring Video Doorbell 2. I understand that landscape mode provides more screen space for the video, but I’d rather hold my phone in portrait mode as normal.
Provided you have a Ring Protect plan (30 days of cloud storage for £2.50 a month, or £25 annually for one device; £8 a month or £80 a year for unlimited devices), motion triggers the Floodlight Cam to record to the cloud.
Using the Live View mode, you can use the controls to skip between recordings and filter to only show recordings triggered by Motion, activating Live View or those you’ve Starred. You can also skip to a particular day. Even so, if you have a lot of alerts in one day, moving between them can be a bit laborious.
There’s a secondary Event History page, available through the camera’s Settings page, which lists all events. You can filter by type (Motion, Live View or Starred), but you don’t get any thumbnails and you can’t jump to a specific date. A simple page with a thumbnail and date filtering would have been welcome.
All video clips can be downloaded to your phone or computer (if you use the web app), letting you save any evidence that your camera has collected.
Setting up the motion zones required and adjusting the motion sensitivity, the Floodlight Cam worked refreshingly well. It ignored the sun bursting through clouds as movement, only picking up people as they moved up the drive.
Ultimately, the Ring Floodlight Cam strikes the right balance between recording what’s important and not bothering you too much.
Ditto for the light sensor. While the Netatmo Presence is easier to control and provides more options, I managed to configure the Floodlight Cam to only turn on its lights for people walking up my drive only.
Since Ring is now owned by Amazon, the Alexa Ring Skill lets you view the Ring Floodlight Cam’s footage through a smart display, such as the Amazon Echo Show. Annoyingly, the same courtesy hasn’t been extended to the Google Assistant, so you can’t do the same with the Google Home Hub.
You can integrate the Floodlight Cam into SmartThings – I’m running the older hub and the SmartThings Classic app, and had to install the camera as a video doorbell. However, it showed up in the app, where I could view the live feed and use the Floodlight Cam’s motion sensor to trigger Automations. There’s also an IFTTT channel, which lets you trigger other devices when the Ring Floodlight Cam detects motion.
Ring Floodlight Cam Video quality – Full-colour night vision when the floodlight is triggered
Video quality is decent, with the camera exposing the image well, avoiding any blow-out areas of the picture. If anything, the final image looks as though it’s been sharpened, with distinct lines but some smoothing out of detail. Importantly, you can see people’s faces clearly, so there’s no worry about not being able to identify people.
At night, the camera turns on its IR lights to light up your outside. IR vision smooths out details in the shot and you lose some of the finer bits of detail in the image, particularly in moving parts of the picture. Even so, it’s possible to step through the video to find a cleaner part of the video with facial features clearly recognisable. And, if the motion light is triggered, the system can record in full colour, giving you more detail to the final picture.
Ring Floodlight Cam Conclusion
If you want a camera that can also double as a security light, then the main competition is the Netatmo Presence, since there’s nothing else like these two cameras on our Best security camera list. The Presence has intelligent object detection that lets you choose whether to turn the lights on for people, vehicles and animals. Netatmo’s camera also records to SD card, so requires no subscriptions.
That said, the Ring Floodlight Cam is brighter and has two high-power LEDs that enable you to light up specific areas of your garden. It uses a PIR sensor for turning the light on and off, but the configuration of this is very flexible.
Where Ring wins out over Netatmo is with its reasonably priced cloud storage and slightly easier-to-use app. If you already have other Ring products, such as Ring Video Doorbell or Ring Stick Up Cam, then the Ring Floodlight Cam will fit seamlessly into your home, too.