The good: Easy to install with existing wiring (most times). Wide field of view. Cloud recording is reasonably priced. Works with most smartphones, tablets and watches. Can work on battery if wiring is not available.
The bad: Much larger than a standard doorbell and may not fit in some areas. Motion sensing can be very sensitive. In rare occasions, may require a new transformer on the doorbell electrical feed.
Overall: Although the Ring Pro and Ring 2 now offer upgraded features and a smaller form, the original Ring video doorbell is still one of the best smart home security upgrades you can get for the money. The cloud service is reasonably priced compared to other cloud video storage. Although the resolution is 720p you will generally get a clear picture up to 30 feet away. The motion sensitivity can be difficult to work with, especially on busy streets. The $179 price tag is a reasonable price to pay to always know what is happening at your front door.
I have owned the Ring Video Doorbell for a little over a year with very few complaints. I often travel for work, and being able to answer my door or monitor deliveries while I’m not home has been invaluable. Even being able to answer the door while in the back yard has been an unexpected convenience.
Ring advertises that you can usually set up your video doorbell in minutes, and they’re not kidding. Most doorbells are installed with two small screws or nails, and have two low voltage wires connected to them. After removing an existing doorbell, it’s simply a matter of mounting the backplate, attaching the wires to the backplate, snapping the Ring in place and securing it with the special screws.
The app will walk you through the entire physical installation if you need it. It will then prompt you to create an account. Once you are logged in, you can start the device setup wizard. It will ask you to give your device a name and location, and then tell you to put it in setup mode so you can connect the wifi. Once connected, your Ring will probably download some updates. When the updates are finished, you are ready to use your Ring Video Doorbell!
The front page of the app shows a list of your Ring devices and a list of motion or ring activity. You can tap an event in the list to see the captured video from that event if you have the cloud recording service. If you click a device, you can toggle ring or motion alerts on or off, check the battery status or device health, view the live feed, link Ring Chime devices, share the device with other users or set up a connection with partner devices.
Currently you can use Ring+ to link to the partners below:
- ADT Pulse
Depending on the partner and the device, you may be able to add some functionality to your doorbell. For instance I paired my Wemo devices, so if someone rings my doorbell my back porch lights flash once, giving me a visual reminder that someone is at the door if I’m outside.
Ring also has a feature called Neighborhoods, which gives you the ability to set a radius around your home and see or share video events with anyone in that radius. If you or a neighbor records some suspicious activity, you can alert all other Ring users enrolled in Neighborhoods in your selected radius.
Overall, I have been extremely happy with my Ring Video Doorbell. I have a large front yard, and thanks to Ring’s wide field of view, I can see the entire yard from my phone. The night vision is excellent, and able to see much farther than expected. If I have one gripe with the Ring, it’s that although the road is about 30 feet from my front door, every passing delivery truck or school bus sets off the motion alarm, even with the motion radius at its lowest setting. I have recently been testing the relatively new “Smart Alerts” feature and hope that it will cut down on the motion events from large vehicles.
The Ring ecosystem continues to grow, and they now offer an entire suite of home security products. All Ring products work with most major security systems like ADT or Vivent. The Echo Show also works with all Ring cameras out of the box, giving you another screen from which to access your doorbell. Although there are competing offerings from Nest, Skybell and lots of cheap knockoffs that I wont mention, Ring is still the gold standard in video doorbells.