The front door is an important area to security and safety concerns at home (the back door is pretty high up on the agenda too).
The front door and back door are the preferred ways burglars gain entry into a home and before they try to gain access they ring the doorbell to see if anyone is at home. The normal time this happens during the day when they think the house is empty as they plan on people being at work and if it is during the summer that you might be away on vacation.
When it’s late at night and the doorbell rings it can be concerning especially if you are on your own and you’re not expecting anyone to be calling. Without going to the door you can’t see who is there.
Being able to see who is at your door and talk to them without being there or if at home having to get up to go to the door to open it can help immensely in keeping you, your loved ones and property safe.
The Ring Video Doorbell is a video camera that has a wide angle lens that notifies you when it detects movement or someone presses the doorbell and you can then see who is at the door and talk to them from anywhere in the world you have internet access./span> It works with Android and iOS mobile devices. It is a DIY install and works with your WiFi.
As well as covering you for security it can help when you can’t get to the door because you’re just getting out of the shower or you can talk to the delivery guy if you are out when a package arrives to organize where he can leave it. And with the motion detector coverage now switched on you can also see what is happening further afield such as someone coming onto your driveway and trying your car doors. You can have recorded video of the incident too to help police with their investigation.
In this review look at how well this video doorbell can work to secure your door to protect your family, you and your valuables before the criminal enters your home. As well as making your life easier by dealing with sales calls and not missing important deliveries etc.
- 1 Installation
- 2 Contract And Subscriptions
- 3 Support
- 4 Cameras
- 5 Video Storage
- 6 Chimes
- 7 Notification
- 8 Remote Monitoring
- 9 Battery
- 10 Sensors/Detection
- 11 Doorbell Components
- 12 Protection against it being atolen
- 13 Coverage
- 14 Wireless or Wired
- 15 Dimensions
- 16 Features
- 17 Accessories
- 18 Pros
- 19 Cons
- 20 Consumer Ratings
- 21 Price
- 22 Summary
Installation and set up is quick and easy and can be done in less than 20 minutes. The instructions are clear and well laid out. You can wire it up to your existing doorbell but it doesn’t need to be and can be installed on its’ own. If you have any problems with the set up you can contact support and they will help in sorting out any issues.
You can check if your doorbell is compatible by checking here: https://support.ring.com/hc/en-us/articles/204968480-Compatible-and-incompatible-door-chimes
To set up you need to have your own WiFi 802.11 b/g/n on the 2.4 GHZ setting with an upload speed of at least 1 mbps per doorbell, Android 4.0 or iOS 7 mobile device. To complete the set up you download the Ring app to your device and follow the instructions. Installation is straightforward following 9 steps to complete. There are helpful videos online that walk you through the process.
If you do have an existing wired mechanical doorbell you can connect Ring to the existing doorbell wires not the transformer (it won’t work if you attach direct to the transformer). It is compatible with transformers with a voltage of 8 VAC to 24 VAC. This way you can keep the chime and get notifications to your smart phone. If your existing doorbell has an electronic chime then you may need a diode to successfully install.
If you don’t have an existing doorbell you can install using the rechargeable battery that is included. It does mean you won’t have a bell you can hear in the home and will need to rely on being notified on your smartphone. This may be a problem if you aren’t home but you have someone at home like a babysitter as they won’t hear the doorbell when it is pushed.
It needs a flat surface to install properly (it won’t install directly on a curved surface). It can be installed on wood, brick, stucco, aluminum and concrete. The mounting hardware for all these materials is included. The company provides everything needed in the installation kit to install apart from a drill.
Contract And Subscriptions
There is no contract required to use. Included currently is cloud storage of video.
However, from May 1 to access and store video on the company’s cloud servers there is 30 days free then it is a $3 per month or $30 per year charge for 6 months video storage per doorbell. Without this you’ll only be able to see a live stream when you accept a notification.
The subscription cost is per doorbell and at present there is no discount for mutliple doorbells.
Support is available 7 days a week – 9.00 am to 5.00 pm PDT. It’s good to see they are available on weekends as this gives an opportunity to contact them outside working hours when you can be at home to ask questions and have the doorbell with you.
It appears the support for the Ring is much better than for the previous version with many people complimenting the service they’ve received in their reviews in fixing issues they have quickly and courteously. When I contacted them by email with some questions they were a little slow but did provide proper answers to my questions.
There is a 30 day refund policy with the customer responsible for the cost of return shipping. There is a limited manufacturer’s warranty of 1 year.
The camera view is like you see through a peephole. It gives a 180 degree fisheye view which does impact on the overall quality of video at the edges but it is still a good quality image where you can see the person clearly. The video quality is 720p HD. It is most effective up to 20 ft.
Being 180 degrees view means it is difficult, if not impossible, for someone to stand in a blind spot to avoid being seen when at the door.
The audio is clear both ways. There is a delay between speaking and hearing, just like the video due to the speed of WiFi and internet but it is not enough to affect the effectiveness of communication and seeing what is happening in a live situation.
The quality of the video is impacted by the WiFi signal strength and where it is weak you are likely to get a choppy picture. A good strong WiFi signal and internet connections is essential for providing a clear video without delay in live view.
It is weatherproof and will resist weather but won’t survive being immersed in water. For many people the doorbell is likely to be installed in a porch area so will be out of the worst of the weather. It is rated to work in temperatures between minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit and 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Video is stored on the company’s cloud servers for 6 months when you take up the payment option (1 May 2015 prior to this it comes as standard ), otherwise there is no way to record and store video. You can only watch the activated feed, so if you miss it is gone for good.
You get a notification and link to the recorded events and theyare listed in a time log. It can take between 5 to 65 minutes after receiving notification for you to be able to review the recording of the event.
With the iOS and android App you can download the video to your device to store locally or to email to other people.
Access to the video is limited to you and other people you have given access to by entering their password. It is encrypted to bank standard but you still need to use a strong password to prevent unauthorized users from accessing your video.
You can pause, rewind, fast forward and jump around in the video from your App making it easy to get to the parts you want to view without having to sit there watching hours of video (especially if you have the motion setting set too sensitive).
If you have received a push notification you can accept the call and interact directly with the person or you can click on the link to watch the recording.
If you don’t accept the call the video clip stored is typically 40 seconds long but if you accept it will record as long as the call is active
When going into the App when you haven’t received a notification you click on the blue bell icon. The App lists all your devices at the top of the screen and you can scroll through them to select the one you want to interact with or add a new one. The recent activity for all the devices is listed below and you can scroll up and down on that.
From the activity you can click on it to take you to the cloud recording whether it is a call or motion event.
By clicking on one of the devices it takes you to a screen that shows you the location of the device and gives you 4 options –
Recent activity – a list of events that you can access recordings of from cloud storage
Device settings – this is where you can name the device, battery charge %, firmware version, location, turn notifications on and off
Motion settings – set the zones and sensitivity
Share Users – this is where you add users to the device
If you use the existing doorbell’s wiring you will still hear the doorbell ring when someone pushes the button.
If you are using the battery it makes a ding dong sound outside but you are not likely to hear it inside. This does mean you need to have your mobile devices with you to be notified that someone is at the door even though you may be at home.
You can buy a WiFi chime separately now – see accessories below
When motion is detected or the doorbell is pressed the Ring Video Doorbell sends out a notification to everyone added to the account.
Anyone can accept the notification and view the video and interact with whomever is at your door.
As long as you are not signed out of the App you will receive the notifications and it will chime when it is received. If you miss it or signed out you will see this as a missed event when you go back into the App and if you have the storage you’ll be able to view the 40 second video of the event. If not you will just see the notification.
You can choose how often you are notified for motion. There are 3 levels of notification you can choose:
Light – it sends you alerts on an increasing scale if you miss the alerts from 2, 10 to 30 minutes
Standard – you get a notification on a scale going from 1, 5 and 15 minutes if you miss the alert.
Frequent – if you miss the alert it will scan continuously for motion and every time it detect motion you are sent a notification
This does help you manage the amount of notifications you receive when using motion detection to prevent a deluge but does mean you may miss something important but it isn’t a security camera as such and is for securely monitoring your door.
It is not possible at the moment to start a live stream remotely the camera is only activated when it detects motion or someone pushes the doorbell. It is expected that this functionality will be available in the future.
This does seem to be oversight and hopefully it will be rectified soon, currently the skybell video doorbell offers this functionality but does not have a way to record and store video. Alternatively you could set up a camera such as the simplicam to look through the window to monitor your front door (there are some issues with doing this) although it won’t send notifications when the doorbell is pushed it does detect motion and sends alerts to your mobile device.
You can add many doorbells to the one account so you can monitor more than one location – such as a vacation home or vacant property as well as your front and back doors. They can all be named during set up so you know exactly which one is generating activity.
To share access of your doorbell account with your friends and family takes a few minutes. You can add as many people as you want. The person you want to add first needs to open a ring account by downloading the app and filling in their details. You then select the ring doorbell and invite them. In this way you can have more than one person monitoring your door, so if you can’t deal with it because you are in a meeting someone else can interact with the person or notify the police if necessary.
The App is intuitive and is where you are going to control the settings of the doorbell, watch video live or recorded and who can access.
The system comes with a rechargeable battery that should provide 12 months usage before needing to be recharged. Recharging is done using the included micro USB cable. However, you don’t have to rely on the battery if you have an existing doorbell as you can wire in the Ring Video Doorbell.
If you are using the battery to power the doorbell the system will let you know when it needs recharging. It is recharged using a micro USB power cable (provided). It takes 4 – 5 hours to recharge if using a USB power wall adapter or 10 hours to recharge fully if using a laptop.
You do need to remove the doorbell to recharge it as the USB port is in the back of it. You remove it by loosening the security screws at the bottom.
The motion detection works using infra red and this works by seeing changes in heat. It can see up 30 ft and 180 degree angle giving the ability to get a good coverage of your lawn or yard.
If you have the doorbell pointing out across the lawn you may find you get a lot of notifications and video due to passing cars if you don’t adjust the sensitivity.
The motion sensor view is divided into 6 quadrants across its view. You can turn off those quadrants you don’t want to receive notifications from such as the one that is covering the street. You can also reduce the sensitivity from 30 ft down to 5 ft before you are notified.
You can also decide how often you want to be notified from light, standard and frequent to help you manage the amount of notifications.
The top half of the front side of the doorbell houses the 180 degree HD camera, motion sensor, microphone and IR lights. Below that is a LED circle that has the push button inside it and at the bottom are the speakers.
The LED ring has various lighting sequences to indicate status – including call being initiated, call connected, battery recharging, being set up, factory reset and software update.
When the button is pushed it chimes but this external only, it only chimes inside if it is wired to an existing doorbell.
At the bottom are the speakers for speaking to anyone at the door through your phone.
On the back of the doorbell is a reset button (used to put device in set up mode), micro USB port for recharging the battery and the MAC address for identifying and registering the device.
Protection against it being atolen
The doorbell is attached to the mounting bracket using a special security screw that is difficult to remove without the correct screwdriver bit. In the unlikely event the doorbell is stolen the company guarantees to replace it at no cost.
The distance that the doorbell can work effectively from your router is dependent on the strength of your WiFi signal so you will need to check the signal if you are concerned at where you are going to install the doorbell is too far from your router. You can increase the range and strength of the signal with use of a WiFi repeater or extender.
Wireless or Wired
The doorbell communicates wirelessly with your WiFi router but can be powered either by the rechargeable battery or it can be connected to your existing doorbell. It is compatible with with 802.11 b/g/n networks on the 2.4 GHZ frequency but does not work with 5.0 GHZ WiFi networks.
The dimensions of the doorbell are 4.98 by 2.43 by 0.87 inches.
The box includes:
Micro USB charging cable for charging battery
Masonry screws and anchors
Ring Video Doorbell includes 720 p HD camera, 2 way audio, motion sensors
Ring have recently released 2 products and increased its compatibility with other smart home devices that can work with the Doorbell and/or App
Ring Chime. This is a plug in chime that you can put in any room in your home. It chimes (with the same tones as the App) when the doorbell is pushed or when the doorbell detects motion so you don’t have to have the phone with you to hear when someone is at your door.
It works with your WiFi so it can be set anywhere that it can pick up your WiFi signal.
You can pair as many of these with your Doorbell as you want so you can hear the doorbell from where ever you are if you’ve a large house.
It plugs into a standard wall outlet. It does not include a battery back up.
The loudness of the chime can be adjusted using the App to maximum of 85 decibels – about the same loudness as a standard doorbell. It can be disabled when you don’t want to be woken up or your children when they are having a nap or you otherwise don’t want to be disturbed
If you have more than one doorbell on your WiFi network (backdoor/front door) you can choose to have it work with them all or just the one.
It’s dimensions are 2.75 by 1.88 by 1.3 inches. The status of the doorbell – off, working, updating is indicated by an LED light at the bottom of the chime.
Stick Up Camera. This is a camera you can “stick” anywhere outdoors within range of your WiFi. It is 720 HD camera with night vision and a 80 degree fixed view that can be set to detect motion in 6 zones up to 30 feet from the camera. It will work in all weather and is rated to work between minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit and 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your WiFi signal is likely to be the limiting factor as to where you can put these cameras outside although you can boost it with a WiFi repeater or extender that works with your WiFi.
You don’t need the video doorbell to use this but it can work with it to give you more coverage of outside your home to cover those areas where the doorbell camera can’t see.
You can access the camera and receive alerts anywhere in the world you can access the internet on your account. You can listen and talk with the 2 way talk ability giving you the chance to interact with visitors or others at home – or maybe talk to your dog if out in the yard
It will only record video to the cloud when you pay for the cloud recording service. This is payable by camera and there is no discount for multiple cameras/doorbells. It is charged at the same rate as the doorbell. There is no facility for another video storage.
It is a completely wireless camera as it is powered by a rechargeable battery that lasts normally between 6 – 12 months. The App lets you know when it needs recharging. It can be recharged by removing the battery (easy to do) and plug it in to any compatible USB charger using the micro USB cable included. It takes between 5 – 10 hours to completely recharge. It does mean you are without coverage during that time.
You can buy a solar panel separately in April 2016 to keep it charged – it comes with 10 foot cable for connecting it up to the Stick Up camera (it doesn’t work with the Doorbell). It only needs a few hours sun to keep the camera charged.
Like the Ring itself you can’t initiate a live stream without it detecting motion and sending you an alert. They do say they are looking at this. Seems a bit of a mistake and does reduce its usefulness if wanting to use with a home security system to check on your premises when you’ve received an alert or just to monitor to make sure all is okay.
The mounting bracket and hardware is included. Installation requires screwing in a couple of screws and twisting the camera to the view you want to monitor.
The Stick up camera dimensions are 4.98 by 2.43 by 0.87 ins.
If the camera is stolen Ring will replace it after you’ve filed a police report.
It has only just started to be shipping so there is little experience as to how this will work in real life but the Ring Doorbell itself now seems to be getting to where it needs to be.
Compatibility. The Ring App is now compatible with Kevo, LockState, Kisi, or Lockitron smart locks and Wink smart home controller.
When you receive a notification on your Ring App that someone is at your door and you verify who they are by checking the live feed when you are way (or you can’t come to the door) – such as a guest, a friend or worker you want to give access to your home – you can launch their App from the Ring App to let them in from anywhere.
When integrated with the Wink controller you can have lights turn on automatically when Ring detects motion or someone rings the doorbell which is nice for guests but can also give the impression that someone is home which may be enough to deter would be criminals at night.
It now has IFTTT (if this then that)channel on IFTTT.com. You can now connect it with other smart devices through this. The most common is to use it to turn on a light when someone is at the door (if someone detected at door then turn on a light) or other device or turn off music. It does give you a lot more options to add more convenience and automation.
Set up and installation takes less than 30 minutes
Motion detection up to 30 feet away
You can see and speak to visitors without opening the door from anywhere you can connect to the internet on your mobile device
Get push notifications to your phone when someone rings the doorbell or motion is detected
Installation is quick and easy with full installation kit provided
Company will replace if doorbell if in the unlikely event stolen when installed with security screws
Video quality during the day and at night is clear and sharp
Motion detection gives you more options to see what is going on outside your door while you are away
180 degree view gives full coverage of porch area so people can’t avoid being seen
Video recorded on a company’s cloud server
Motion detection can be customized to avoid too many false alerts
Works with a limited range of other smart home devices – Wink and several smart locks
Works with Windows 10, iOS and Android devices
No remote access to initiate a live feed (to be released later)
Notifications can be delayed up to 30 seconds at times
Does not work with early Windows (before Windows 10) or Blackberry
Needs a strong WiFi and internet connection to work reliably
Need to pay $3 a month to store video to the cloud there is no functionality to store video locally direct from 1 May. There is no discount for having more than one doorbell
No internal house chime when using battery for power
To recharge the battery you need to take the Ring down to plug it in to the USB cable
If your WiFi or internet connection goes down you won’t receive notifications or be able to watch video
It does not work with Windows, Blackberry or your PC
Some of the reviews you come across are to do with previous version of the product – Doorbot and issues with the product not having all the features mentioned in the sales literature. There were some valid concerns over the Doorbot but these do seem to have been addressed with the new product with better connectivity, better audio and video.
The missing features were described in the description that they were to be added later. However, things have moved on and they have now been added in particular the motion detection.
Customers talk about how easy it is to install and to use with people liking the quality of the video and sound.
There are concerns over the delay that occurs at times between the doorbell being pushed and being received on their phone.
The reviews on the App itself are mixed but the negative ones are more about the previous product and also the delay in rollout of some features of the doorbell rather than using the App. People report the App is straightforward and easy to use.
There isn’t too many functions and people of all ages should be able to use it. There is nothing technical required in using it making suitable for young and old.
It is priced similarly to its’ main competitor Skybell (which has no option to record and store video) and also the Dropcam Pro (which is not rated for outdoors use and has a more expensive storage option but you can initiate a live feed). It is convenient, simple to use and you do not need any specialist knowledge to set up or install.
Currently there are no discounts available for buying. When buying through Amazon you also get to rely on their customer service as well as the supplier’s if you have an issue.
On Amazon when I checked it qualifies for Prime and free shipping. You can check if that is still available by clicking here: Ring Video Doorbell
There have been some big improvements in the performance since its’ release that have made it a good solution for knowing what is happening outside your door without having to open it to see. The front door is one of the main ways that burglars check if anyone is home and also gain entry. Anything where they know they can be seen will deter most of them and they will move on. Most crimes committed are crimes of opportunity and not planned so they are likely to move on.
There are some issues with the notification speed at times and this is improving, and it would be good if they offered some free storage but overall this can provide peace of mind and work as an early detection system and surveillance system to identify criminals that will deter them from carrying on with their intention of burglarizing. It also can help in the convenience of not having to collect parcels.
The 180 degree video and sound is clear making seeing and hearing easy as well as 2 way speakers, the notification on your phone means you can keep an eye on what is going on outside your front door from anywhere in the world you have access to the internet.
It’s not a full security camera and it isn’t supposed to be but it goes a long way in helping you secure your front door (or back door) and give you peace of mind about what happens when you’re not there. When they introduce live feed on demand it will give you control over keeping an eye on your porch and front yard especially when combined with the new Stick Up camera.
For security purposes it works well alongside a DIY home security system.
Filed under: Reviews
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