Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro 73/100

MSRP: $139.99 Manufacturer: Browning Trail Cameras

Review

Published:
Updated:

Intro

The Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro Cellular Trail Camera is equipped with notable features for remote game scouting and wildlife monitoring.

It boasts a 22-megapixel image resolution and offers cellular connectivity with pre-installed SIM cards for Verizon and AT&T. Its night vision capability covers a 100-foot range with adjustable IR flash settings. The trigger speed is adjustable from 0.135 to 0.7 seconds.

The trail camera also includes a GPS theft protection system. The camera records Full HD videos with sound and has an adjustable detection range of up to 80 feet, with a quick 0.5-second image recovery time.

Additionally, the camera features Illuma-Smart Technology for optimized night photos, various SD card management options, and support for external power sources. It can accommodate up to 512GB SDXC memory cards and has a tripod mount with a metal tree mount bracket.

On the cellular side, it operates on a nationwide 4G LTE network, supporting AT&T and Verizon networks. It can upload standard and HD images and video clips (limited to 10 seconds) and send notifications via app, email, or text.

Browning Trail Cameras offers month-to-month data plans, on-demand activation, and an easy-to-use mobile app. The camera provides flexibility with provider options and supports scheduled or immediate image uploads.

Overall, it is a versatile tool for remote game monitoring with advanced features and connectivity options.

Camera picture: Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro - Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro
Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro
Camera picture: Camera Side View - Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro
Camera Side View
Camera picture: Mounting Bracket View - Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro
Mounting Bracket View
Camera picture: Latch View - Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro
Latch View
Camera picture: Back View - Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro
Back View
Camera picture: Antenna View - Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro
Antenna View
Camera picture: Front View - Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro
Front View
Camera picture: SD Card Slot - Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro
SD Card Slot
Camera picture: Open View - Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro
Open View
Camera picture: Battery Tray - Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro
Battery Tray
Camera picture: Powered On - Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro
Powered On
Camera picture: Smart IR Option - Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro
Smart IR Option
Camera picture: New in Box - Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro
New in Box
Camera picture: Box - Side #1 - Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro
Box - Side #1
Camera picture: Box - Back Side - Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro
Box - Back Side
Camera picture: Side #2 - Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro
Side #2
Camera picture: Deployed Camera - Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro
Deployed Camera
Camera picture: Secured with Python Cable Lock - Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro
Secured with Python Cable Lock

Pros

  • Fast Trigger
  • Detection Range
  • Easy Setup
  • On/Off Cellular
  • Up to 512GB SD Cards
  • Good Battery Life
  • Built-in Compact Antenna

Cons

  • One Video Size
  • Pricey Subscriptions
  • Hard to Conceal
  • Only 12-Months Warranty

Camera Setup

Configuring the Ridgeline Pro trail camera is a straightforward endeavor, particularly for those well-acquainted with Browning trail cameras. From a technical standpoint, this camera aligns with conventional trail cameras but incorporates cellular functionalities as an enhancement. Notably, it offers the flexibility of toggling cellular features on or off, permitting operation without a subscription or even in locations devoid of mobile network coverage. Activation of the cellular capabilities necessitates downloading and utilizing Browning's mobile app. The camera's bright screen and well-illuminated buttons contribute to ease of use. Furthermore, it accommodates SD cards with a substantial capacity of up to 512GB.


Camera Ratings


Detection Range: 16/20

The detection range of the Defender Ridgeline Pro is undeniably impressive, and we've observed triggers occurring at distances exceeding 100 feet. However, a touch more consistency in this regard would be appreciated. Nevertheless, it remains competent, particularly for individuals requiring extensive detection capabilities in expansive, open environments.

Detection Range
Detection Range Sample
Snow in Mid June!

Speed: 9/10

The trigger speed of the Ridgeline Pro trail camera stands out as exceptional, promptly capturing even fast-moving wildlife, even when the camera is set to record video. The capture delay setting includes a 1-second option, enabling nearly instantaneous consecutive photo or video capture. The only potential enhancement we can envision relates to scenarios where an animal approaches the camera vertically and walks directly toward the camera. It's worth noting that this particular situation poses a challenge for the majority of trail cameras in the market.

Fast Video Trigger

Accuracy: 8/10

Throughout our testing, we conducted trials in two distinct locations, characterized by vast, open spaces exposed to strong high-mountain winds. Given the recent challenges we've encountered with false triggers on other Browning models, it is with a sense of pleasant surprise that we report the impressive resilience of the Ridgeline Pro in handling such conditions.

Admittedly, we did experience sporadic false triggers on windy days; however, we were able to mitigate this issue by configuring the camera's Motion Detection settings to a 60-feet range during the summer season. Remarkably, even when employing this 60-feet option instead of the higher 80-feet setting, the camera consistently captured wildlife activity occurring well beyond the 80-foot mark.


Battery Life: 8/10

It's essential to understand that no cellular game camera can match the longevity of a traditional game camera when it's not actively transmitting data over a cellular network. Sending daily test photos and transferring files through cyberspace places a significant demand on battery life. In the case of the Ridgeline Pro cellular camera, its set of eight AA batteries impressively sustained operations for approximately four months, a noteworthy achievement in the realm of cellular trail cameras. However, it's important to clarify that our usage pattern involves solely downloading photos via the cellular connection, while videos are retrieved directly from the camera's memory card.


Daylight Images: 7/10

Like most Browning cameras, the Defender Ridgeline Pro trail camera offers High and Ultra video quality options. However, what sets this model (and other cellular versions) apart from traditional Browning cameras is that, instead of recording at 30 FPS (frames per second) when set to High and 60 FPS when set to Ultra, the Ridgeline Pro records both options in 30 FPS quality. The distinction lies in the considerably higher video compression applied to the High setting. While this compression reduces file size, making them more suitable for cellular transfers, it does come at the cost of video quality.

Regrettably, we found that the High setting produced videos with noticeable grain and image noise, resulting in disappointing quality. On the other hand, the Ultra setting significantly enhances results, offering improved clarity and sharpness in video recordings.

Showshoe Hare Hopping Around
Young Bull Elk
Early Morning Elk
Ma Deer & Her Offspring
Mule Deer

Lowlight Images: 6/10

Low-light images present a mixed outcome with the Ridgeline Pro camera. Some of these images, particularly those captured in monochrome, exhibit excellence. However, full-color photos and videos recorded during the early and late hours tend to exhibit heightened ISO grain, a challenge commonly encountered in trail cameras.

It's important to acknowledge that this increase in ISO grain is a prevalent issue across the board for most trail cameras. Given that these cameras are considerably more budget-friendly compared to professional-grade traditional cameras, which can cost multiple times more, the image quality delivered by the Ridgeline Pro camera remains well within the realm of acceptability.


Night Images: 7/10

The Ridgeline Pro camera is equipped with four low-glow LED bulbs, providing merely enough illumination, but only when set to the highest brightness option. What stands out is the uniform distribution of this illumination across the image, effectively eliminating the typical flashburn issue often seen in entry-level cameras. Nighttime photos and videos are captured in black and white monochrome. While the camera does not have a dedicated nighttime lens, images are still sharp with minimal ISO grain.

However, there are some drawbacks to note. The images tend to be slightly darker, and the Ridgeline Pro could benefit from utilizing five LEDs, similar to what Browning employs in their low-glow Recon Force Elite HP5 non-cellular camera. Additionally, these LEDs are highly noticeable, making the camera more challenging to conceal. Lastly, it's important to mention that low-glow illumination is visible to humans and may potentially startle some animals.

Mountain Lion (Cougar, Puma)
Bull Elk at Night
Bull Elk at Night
Bull Elk at Night #3
Bull Elk during rut
Mule Deer Spooked by Flash
Spooked Coyotes
Deer spooked by low-glow flash

Design: 12/20

The Ridgeline Pro is a feature-rich tool that offers several noteworthy capabilities, including Smart IR continuous recording and an Anti-Theft system designed to notify users of unexpected motion detection. What sets it apart is the integration of cellular functionality into a traditional trail camera design, complete with the ability to toggle LTE functionality on and off through the settings. Moreover, it conveniently supports standard SD cards for easy image retrieval but offers no Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection. 

One point worth noting is that the mobile network antenna is built into the camera and protrudes slightly. Regrettably, as of now, Browning does not offer a security box compatible with this model, and we are unaware of any third-party providers offering one. Similarly to other Browning cameras, it's important to mention that the camera's door latch lacks a locking mechanism, allowing anyone to access the memory card and settings.

Additionally, the camera comes with a one-year limited warranty and includes a six-foot-long mounting strap for installation.


Verdict: 73/100

The Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro cellular trail camera stands as a reliable choice for individuals in pursuit of high-quality imagery and flexible cellular functionalities. It impresses with its swift and extensive trigger range and commendable battery life for a cellular camera. Although nighttime images could benefit from slightly enhanced illumination, the ULTRA video settings produce clear, sharp daytime photos and videos.

On the subject of videos, it's crucial to highlight that Browning's cellular subscription plans for mobile video transfers come at a relatively steep cost, commencing at a substantial $29.99 per month for 100 videos. Additionally, it's worth noting that when downloading videos via the mobile app or web app, the videos are limited to a mere 10 seconds. Consequently, there may be better choices than this camera if your requirements include transmitting longer videos.

For those primarily interested in image transfer, there is an option to subscribe to picture-only plans, starting at $9.99. However, these plans are restricted to a single camera.

In summary, the Ridgeline Pro earns appreciation for its robust construction, straightforward setup process, and adaptability, offering the flexibility to operate without mobile service when mobile transfers are unnecessary.


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Specs

Official specs from the manufacturer.
Name:
Browning Defender Ridgeline Pro
Manufacturer:
Browning Trail Cameras
Model:
BTC-4G-RLDCP
Model Year:
2022
Series:
Defender
Flash Type:
Low-Glow IR
Max Pixels:
22
Max Video:
1080p
No. of Sensors:
1
Detection Range:
80 ft
Flash Range:
100 ft
Field of View:
55 degrees
Trigger Speed:
0.10 second
Min Delay:
1 seconds
Max Delay:
60 minutes
Max Card Size:
512 GB
Cellular/Mobile:
Yes
WiFi:
No
Bluetooth:
No
Live View:
No
MSRP:
$139.99
Warranty:
12 months
Country of Origin:
Thailand

Questions & Answers


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