Forget the suped-up floodlights and slick hardware of cameras past. For this review, we’re unboxing Ring Indoor, the neat little camera from Amazon-owned1 security powerhouse Ring that promises both top-notch security coverage and simple, no-fuss functionality.
We got our hands on this little treasure recently, and – we won’t lie – we’re smitten. It’s so compact, yet so well-equipped with all the powerful features we know and love about Ring’s cameras – infrared night vision, two-way talk, 1080p HD video, and motion-activated alerts.
This camera can fit almost anywhere in your home, and it can be controlled from pretty much anywhere in the world using your smartphone, tablet, or PC.
Indeed, Ring Indoor is small – less than 3 inches tall, not including the stand – but what it lacks in stature, we think it more than makes up for in performance.
That said, we did find a few bugs in this cute little gadget of ours. No deal-breakers, but we always share the good and the bad in our reviews. So read on for our full experience!
Open box, lift camera out, plug in. There’s not much more to it than that when you’re dealing with Ring Indoor. We’re folks who like simplicity, so this is a welcome sight right off the bat: Easy, breezy installation.
Pro Tip: Ring Indoor is a plug-in camera and does not have a battery. It connects via a 6.5-foot power cord, so when you’re choosing where to place your camera, make sure it’s close enough to reach a wall outlet.
We powered it on, scanned the camera’s QR code in the app, and followed the prompts, which included waiting a few minutes for the firmware to update, then syncing the camera to our smartphones. The whole thing took all of 10 minutes, most of which was spent deciding where we would place the camera.
Now, it was time to see how this thing would perform in real-life situations.
Since we planned to start off with the camera on a surface and not mounted to a wall, we didn’t need the mounting plate and hardware included in the box. But we did store it in case we ever do!
From there, we tilted the camera a bit forward from its attached stand, and set it down on an upper level of our bookshelf.
FYI: If you want to attach the camera to your wall, simply unscrew it from the stand and use the included screws, anchors, and instructions to mount it. This is super helpful for folks with limited counter or shelf space.
When our camera finished updating and syncing with our app, we started exploring all the notification and privacy settings to see how to best customize the camera to our needs. We think you’ll really appreciate all of the possibilities here.
In the Ring app, we had some serious control at our fingertips. Under motion settings, we could adjust the type of motion we wanted to be alerted to, as well as what time of day to receive the alerts. And, if we wanted the camera’s motion sensor to avoid certain areas, we could enable that, too, by adjusting “Motion Zones.”
As we continued testing our indoor camera, we noticed it was picking up motion from our front door and consequently sending us a flurry of unnecessary notifications. You see, we already have Ring’s flagship doorbell camera right outside that door, so we knew we definitely didn’t need more eyes on that area. So we pulled up the Ring app and changed the camera’s default motion zone to our own customized zone. That, thankfully, stopped the unnecessary notifications.
Going further, we set up Motion Snooze to ensure we wouldn’t be awakened in the middle of the night by notifications.
Note: When Motion Snooze is on, you can still go back and view video from activity the camera picked up overnight. You just have to go into the app and look at the camera’s video history to see it.
Then, we honed in on a few “areas of interest” in our home that we wanted more eyes on. One of them, inevitably, is the path our puppy takes when he gets up in the middle of the night. Was he eating? Was he trying to escape? Was he having late-night heavy metal parties with his no-good puppy friends?
In our initial tests, we placed the camera in our living room so it would record areas we know our little bruiser would visit during those hours.
Then, we let our Indoor Cam handle the rest.
In the morning – after giving our puppy a firm talking-to about not climbing on the furniture – we moved the camera. This time, we zeroed in on a part of the house where our children regularly congregate – the office, in this case, to make sure our middle schoolers were getting their homework done.
A Note About Cameras and Kids: We used our camera to keep tabs on our preteen children while we adults left to run errands. Since they’re old enough to stay home by themselves for short periods, we felt comfortable using the camera for that purpose. But please, do not use this or any security camera as a substitute for a human babysitter.
As we ran our Ring camera through our series of tests and experiments, the freedom of movement this camera provides really won us over. It made the whole setup experience easy and fast, and we liked knowing we could use it to keep tabs on multiple areas in our home – or add on cameras for more 24/7 coverage if we chose.
That said, this camera is far from perfect. In typical Ring fashion, the communication between the camera and its cloud service was not always airtight. We encountered occasional (but thankfully short) delays in the two-way audio that made communicating difficult.
It’s not the first time we’ve seen this glitch in a security camera; indeed, almost all of the cameras we’ve reviewed have given us that dreaded audio lag.2 We’ve attributed it to our home Wi-Fi speed in the past, and this could very well be the culprit now. Either way, the delay was negligible.
Word of Caution: Ring Indoor has “indoor” in its name for a reason. It has no weather sealing and has not been approved for outdoor use. Using it outside might damage the camera, not to mention void the warranty. We strongly advise against it.
We also really wish the cord was longer. Maybe it’s because we’re not the best planners; we keep having to climb up and climb down from tall places to find the next home for our camera, and we came a little too close to injury a few times. (Yes, we know we can use an extension cord. We did that when we chose the camera’s permanent location, don’t worry!)
For small devices like this, flexibility is key. And a camera with a 6.5-foot cord doesn’t fully get us there. Perhaps an 8-foot cord would be a sensible upgrade in future generations. Or we can just keep using our handy dandy extension cord. We’re not picky.
Our final gripe, and it’s not a new one, is with night vision. This is where the limitations of 1080p come into view. The picture was grainy, and it was hard to distinguish lighter objects from darker ones. Could we still see the dog’s eyes glowing (creepy much?) from clear across the room via our indoor cam in the middle of the night? Yes, but from our experience, we think most security cameras could handle that task these days.
In all seriousness, we do wish the overall picture was a little crisper. That could be accomplished with HDR,3 and Ring doesn’t offer that option (yet). We’d love it (and would pay for it) if they did, though!
In cementing their reputation for hassle-free a la carte home security, Ring has kept prices low to make it easy for anyone to add security cameras to their homes. So low-cost options like Ring Indoor are great, but you also have options for more expensive models that offer more advanced features.
Here’s a detailed cost breakdown of Ring’s cameras:
|Ring Camera||Power source||Cost|
|Spotlight Cam Battery||Battery||$199.00|
|Spotlight Cam Wired||Wired||$199.00|
|Spotlight Cam Solar||Solar||$229.00|
|Spotlight Cam Mount||Wired||$249.00|
|Stick Up Cam Battery||Battery||$99.99|
|Stick Up Cam Wired||Wired||$99.99|
|Stick Up Cam Solar||Solar||$148.99|
So before you think that this $60 Ring indoor camera couldn’t possibly perform as well as its pricier brethren, the Ring Floodlight and Ring Spotlight cameras … think again. For high-quality 1080p video quality4 and excellent customization, the Indoor Cam just gets the job done.
Pro Tip: If you’re not a Ring loyalist and are just looking for a small, inexpensive indoor camera, we recommend one of Wyze’s indoor camera models. Their plug-in V2 indoor cam is small and lightweight like Ring Indoor, and it’s only $19.99, making it one of the least expensive indoor cameras on the market. The only downside is that with Wyze, you can’t tap into all the customization options Ring offers.
As security camera experts, we’ve seen subscription plans become more and more common in the industry over the years. More traditional security system brands like ADT and Vivint require them; Ring does not.
So, technically, you don’t need a subscription plan to use your Ring camera. But you can’t save video and record activity without it, so you are somewhat limited on what you can do.
With Ring’s Basic Protect plan, we were able to view our recorded clips, download them, and share them on social media directly from the app. We think these are all great features to have — and at only $3 per month, it’s a no-brainer.
|Ring Subscriptions||Included Free||Ring Protect Basic||Ring Protect Plus|
|Instant Mobile Alerts||✓||✓||✓|
|Live Video Streaming||✓||✓||✓|
|60 Day Video History||✖||✓||✓|
|24/7 Professional Monitoring||✖||✖||✓|
|Monthly Price||Free||$3 per month||$10 per month|
|Yearly Price||Free||$30 per year||$100 per year|
Since this was our fifth Ring camera – a healthy brood, we think – we decided it was time to spring for Protect Plus, for $10 per month. This way, we’d ensure that each camera would perform at the same level and that they’d communicate with one another seamlessly.
Ring,5 in releasing its indoor model, has made using home security cameras possible for almost anyone – penny-pinchers, tech-averse retirees, working parents (like us), and young people on the move. What we love about this camera, among other things, is that it can fit into so many small spaces and can be moved easily around our home if we choose.
And beyond that, we just love how easy it is to customize all of Ring’s features to our needs.
Pro Tip: Having all this control at our fingertips is a great feeling, but it’s not worth much if you don’t take a little time to learn how to use it. We highly recommend that you explore all the features in the Ring app and test them out, even if you don’t plan on using them right away. Take your time now, and feel more protected later!
And since we feel that it’s reasonably priced at $59.99, we could easily add one or two more around our home if we need to. With its simple plug-and-play setup, the Ring Indoor Camera perfectly rounds out our “Ring of Security”: more protection from criminals, and from misbehaving puppies.
In your app, use Modes to select a camera and choose Disarmed, Home or Away.
Yes, Ring offers a 1-year equipment warranty. This is decent, but we’d like to see this extended to 2-3 years.
Indoor Cam is an indoor-only camera that plugs into standard power outlets for nonstop power. Stick Up Cam goes anywhere indoors or out. It’s weather-resistant and comes in four different power options: battery, plug-in, solar and Power over Ethernet.
Ring sells its cameras directly on Ring.com, but you can also buy them on Amazon, as well as at Best Buy, Costco and other retailers.
Yes, all Ring cameras work with Alexa. If you have an Amazon Echo Show, you can use it for hands-free control of your Ring camera.
Kim, E. (2018, February 27). Amazon buys smart doorbell maker Ring for a reported $1 billion. CNBC.
Axis.com. Axis Communications. (2015). Latency in Live Network Video Surveillance.
Wikipedia. (2020). High-dynamic-range imaging.
How Stuff Works. (2020). What does 1080p mean?
Adams, S. (2018, February 27). The Exclusive Inside Story Of Ring: From ‘Shark Tank' Reject To Amazon's Latest Acquisition. Forbes.