The Ring doorbell is a reborn version of the Doorbot doorbell that preceded it. You can check out my review of the Doorbot over here. Some of the Ring’s main changes include an updated and more modern appearance, a sleeker design, and a host of new technology and security features.
In comparison to the Doorbot, the Ring has straighter edges and a more contemporary design that complements a variety of homes. With a relatively affordable price tag and a variety of features, it could be the right choice if you’re in the market for a WiFi doorbell.
Overview if the Ring Smart Doorbell
The Ring WiFi doorbell is equipped with a crisp and clear wide-angle HD video screen that promptly lets you know who is at your door. You’ll get alerts as soon as someone triggers the motion detection sensor and/or rings the doorbell.
As a result, you can easily keep track of visitors at any time, whether you are home or not. There are plenty of handy features as well, including cloud recording, a fast and easy setup, and the ability to power the device in two distinct ways.
The doorbell, which provides live streaming audio and video when you need it, is accompanied by a free app that’s compatible with iOS and Android devices.
Key Features of the Ring
The Ring WiFi doorbell has a handful of key features. If you’re considering purchasing the Ring or a similar doorbell, you’ll want to pay close attention to these features, especially when it comes to performance and security. Let’s explore some of the product’s primary features.
- HD Camera – A 720p camera ensures sharp and crisp video with good color. The result is that you can easily see who’s at your home from just about anywhere. The doorbell can also “see” in the night thanks to a handy night vision HD camera, which gives you a clear view of who’s at your front door, whether it’s daytime or the middle of the night.
- Motion Detection – A smart motion detection feature ensures that the motion sensors will activate the camera once movement is detected around the front door. Once the sensors are activated, you will receive instant mobile alerts to let you know that you have a visitor. Alerts are sent via the free Ring app and will provide you with information about deliveries, arriving guests, and much more. The motion detectors will activate if motion is detected within 30 feet.
- Mobile access – You will get instant alerts once someone rings your doorbell or as soon as motion is detected. Mobile access is available through the accompanying app, and lets you see and speak with visitors at any time and from just about any location. While you can see and/or speak to visitors using your smartphone, you can also keep a close watch on recorded footage at any point with Cloud Recording.
- Cloud Recording – Cloud Recording, an optional feature, is a hit among most customers. Once you purchase a Ring doorbell, you’ll get 30 free days of Cloud Video Recording. Many customers choose to continue using this feature after the subscription has expired. For starters, it lets you see and download up to six months’ worth of previous events. In addition, you can easily share clips of your home and property with friends, neighbors, and law enforcement if necessary. You can choose to delete events that aren’t important, or “favorite” ones that you wish to keep.
Pros of the Ring
The Ring offers a number of benefits, most of which come standard with the unit. From technology to setup, here’s a closer look at some of the features that stand out the most.
- Installation and setup – If you’d rather not suffer through a tedious installation process, you’ll appreciate this doorbell’s simple installation and setup. To begin, you will need to download the app and create an account. Then you will need to follow instructions on the app to complete the setup. To connect the device to your home WiFi network, you will need to go into your phone’s WiFi settings and connect it to the doorbell’s SSID. The next step is to reconnect the device to your home WiFi system and enter your password to complete the connection. While it’s recommended that you use existing wiring from your traditional doorbell setup, you can also choose to manually mount the doorbell to your front door using the included screws.
- Chime – Some current owners wish that they could hear the doorbell chime at any time, even when their phone is on silent. Chime, a new accessory available starting July 2015, resolves this issue by producing audible chimes at any time, even if your phone is on silent or is in a different room. All you need to do is plug the Chime in to your current WiFi network. You can opt to disable it if you want quiet. You may also choose to set a custom volume in the ring app, which ensures that the Chime’s sound is just right.
- Power – Two available power options keeps you in control of the device’s power levels. If your home is previously equipped with wiring for a doorbell, you can choose to either connect it to the household wiring or run it off of battery power.
Cons of the Ring
As with most video doorbells, there are some negative aspects to consider. It is important to know about the good and bad before investing in a doorbell.
- Power – We’ve already learned that the doorbell can be run off of two separate power sources. Unfortunately, the rechargeable batteries it requires may not be able to sufficiently power the device for months on end. According to an article on pcmag.com, the rechargeable batteries may drain particularly fast during exposure to extreme weather conditions, such as very cold or very hot temperatures. While the company projects a 12-month lifespan for its doorbell, some consumers may find the doorbell’s batteries wearing out in a significantly shorter time frame. Personally, I haven’t experienced this, but I also haven’t had the opportunity to subject it to extreme weather conditions.
- Poor video/audio quality – With so much emphasis on this doorbell’s HD video capabilities, it’s not surprising that audio quality is lacking. Many customers report that they can’t clearly hear the visitor, especially if there’s wind or background noise. Another common complaint is poor video and/or audio quality, especially in homes with a slower or weaker WiFi signal. While some people can resolve this issue by boosting their WiFi signal, others may need to install a signal extender.
- Videos only accessible by phone – One drawback of this doorbell is that it’s only accessible by phone. You can easily view video on your iPhone or Android device, but you can’t access video on a computer. In addition, there’s no way to view past video feed or store footage on a computer.
Features of the Ring At a Glance
An industry standard price tag seems reasonable given the device’s overall quality and features.
|Runs on rechargeable batteries or household wiring
|Provides high-quality video of visitors to your home
|Video and audio communication with visitors
|Motion detection sensors activate when movement in sensed within a 30 foot range
|Low battery warning/alert
|Compatible with the latest iOS and Android devices
|HD camera with night vision
|Optional Cloud Recording offers convenient storage space for previous footage
|Easy installation and setup
|Syncs with your existing WiFi network
|Comes with free app that works with iOS and Android devices
|Optional Chime lets you hear the doorbell ring, even if you’re in another room
Should I Buy It Now or Wait?
The Ring doorbell is a solid choice if you’re in the market for a WiFi doorbell. And with a price tag (see here for latest), its cost lines up with the features and performance it offers. Customers particularly like the crisp wide-angle HD display screen, which clearly shows visitors at your door.
Whether you are at home or away, you can instantly decide whether to let the visitor into your home. The doorbell also makes it easy for you to accept or deny visitor calls.
Smart motion detectors let you know that there is activity on your doorstep, even if the visitor has not pressed the doorbell.
Unlike some other competitors, the Ring doesn’t provide you with on-demand video. However, it does automatically record and store events and video – as long as you’re willing to pay a bit extra for the Cloud Recording feature.
This device is powered by two distinct sources: rechargeable batteries and existing doorbell wiring. The battery life on this doorbell isn’t great, but you won’t have to worry about replacing the batteries if you already have the appropriate wiring in place.