Could This Smart Device Be the Extra Layer of Home Security You’ve Been Looking For?
Basically a doorbell, peephole, security camera, and walkie-talkie all rolled into one handy device, the Ring Doorbell gives you eyes on anyone who comes knocking at your door, no matter where you are.
If you’ve ever wanted to avoid unwanted visitors, the Ring Doorbell is a great way to do so.
And perhaps best of all, It enables you to talk to whoever rolls up at your door, which can be a fantastic way to deter thieves when you’re out of the home. But with the smart doorbell market widening every year, is the original Ring offering still worth our hard-earned cash?
- Looks great
- Easy installation
- Intuitive app
- Decent video quality
- Great talk-back function
- Adjustable motion sensor
- Fair price
- Fairly easy to steal
- No choice of chime
- Only one month free Cloud storage
Ring – A Very Brief History
Created by entrepreneur Jamie Siminoff in 2013, the Ring Video Doorbell was one of the very first smart doorbells to hit the home security scene.
What’s In The Box
Ring understands that first impressions are everything, and as such, they don’t disappoint when you flip open the box of their smart doorbell.
Not only are you treated to the essentials like the correct drill bit for installation, but nifty extras too, such as a little spirit level, RawlPlugs, and a double-ended screwdriver — thanks Ring!
For a multi-tech device, it’s also incredibly easy to install, even without electronics experience. Assuming your current doorbell uses the typical 8-24VAC transformer, all you need to do is replace the bell button with the Ring Doorbell, and voilà; you’re done!
Don’t worry if you don’t already have a bell system fitted, because you can simply run the Ring Doorbell on its battery, which should last for a month, give or take.
As for setting it up on your Wi-Fi, using the Ring app…it’s a total breeze. Simply use the built-in wireless receiver to hook it up to your network, download the Ring app, make an account, and that’s that.
The sandblasted metal base and glossy plastic top section of the Ring Doorbell make it a very attractive device, and although it’s a little larger than your garden variety doorbell, it’s by no means cumbersome or unsightly.
However, it’s not just beauty, but brawn too. The Ring Doorbell can survive freezing temperatures, snow, heat, sleet…whatever the heavens have in store.
It’s not completely waterproof, so don’t go dunking it in any puddles to test its mettle or anything, but it should shirk off a light rainstorm without breaking a sweat, especially if you’ve got some sort of overhang above your door.
Extreme heat or humidity can be something of an issue, but it won’t break the doorbell; you may just be dealing with a couple of false alerts here and there.
Featuring a micro-USB port, you can charge it as you would a smartphone, but first, you’ve got to get it off your wall, which involves using the included screwdriver to loosen the security screws and pry it from the baseplate. It’s a fiddly but short job that you get the hang of after your first attempt.
Just above the camera lens, you’ll notice a little array of IR LEDs. These are to offer a basic form of night vision, so you can see who’s at your door before you open it.
A blue ring light around the button acts as the communicative aspect of the device, sort of like a smart speaker. It flashes during setup, reset, while charging, and when the ringer is pushed.
You can find the orange reset button on the back of the bell, and pushing it for 20 seconds triggers the reset.
Overall, it’s a pretty solid design, but I do have my worries. First, everyone and their dog knows what smart doorbells are now, thieves included. All it takes is a screwdriver and a face covering for someone to steal it.
Sure, if you file a police report, Ring will replace it for free, but what’s to stop it from happening again. You’ll also need to make sure it’s updated with the latest firmware, otherwise, a stolen doorbell could be hacked, granting access to your Wi-Fi network.
One last caveat is that some reports state an overlap in Ring databases gave users access to the footage captured by random other Ring bells. It’s a very rare occurrence, but a privacy issue worth mentioning nonetheless.
Camera And Motion Detection
The ultrawide camera lens offers up a 180° horizontal view and 140° vertical view, amounting to fish eye-style footage shot at 15 frames per second in 720p resolution.
It’s not the highest quality video ever, especially compared to newer Ring Doorbells, but it offers clarity enough to see who’s loitering on your porch.
An integrated motion detector allows you to set up blind zones, so the camera doesn’t record every little thing that passes your door. It doesn’t always work that well, but it’s not my biggest concern.
My problem is that you’re only given 1-month free cloud service for storing footage, after which you’ll have to pay a monthly fee, and you can’t re-route the recordings to a peripheral device either.
The Verdict – Is The Ring Video Doorbell Right For You?
The Ring Video Doorbell works exceedingly well considering how many technologies it’s stacking on top of one another. It’s practical, the app is wonderfully designed and easy to use, and it’s a mild burglary deterrent.
Granted, the later versions of the Ring smart bell are more advanced, but mostly in unnecessary ways, such as 1080p cameras with higher frame rates, so choosing the OG bell is a great way to save money for roughly the same functionality.
It’s not a perfect device, but as long as you update the firmware, it offers a commendable performance, adding an extra reassuring level of security to your home.