Ring Doorbell

Beef Up Home Security With Ring's Lineup

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Software Criteria8.7
Video Storage2.5
IP Rating / Weatherproofing6.3
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Although Ring is best known for their $199 Ring Video Doorbell, the device also has a supporting cast. At CES 2016, Ring unveiled a security camera, the Ring Stickup Cam. They've also added brand-new accessories including a solar panel and a security sign that illuminates at night. And they've followed up by presenting a live streaming feature and an upgrade to their original device, Ring Pro. At CES 2017 they wowed us with the Floodlight Cam and the Ring Video Doorbell ELITE.

Ring Video Doorbell (The Original)

Ring Video Doorbell is a Wi-Fi connected doorbell equipped with a camera and an intercom system backed by a smartphone app. Ring's basic job is to notify you when someone rings your doorbell. Yet aside from hearing the alert through your traditional chime and the optional $29.95 wireless Ring Chime or $49 Chime Pro, you'll also get a notification on your smartphone. From there you can choose to answer the call or deny it. If you decide to answer the call, the app pops up a live feed showing footage from your doorbell and lets you speak to whoever's at your front door. If you have multiple Ring doorbells, the Ring smartphone app has a new feature that supports multiple calls. This feature allows you to place an active call on hold so you can answer a new call from another Ring doorbell. You can also switch between two calls without hanging up on either of them. The Video Doorbell uses an HD (720p) camera and is backed by night vision.

The doorbell also has a motion detector that can capture video or send alerts even if the doorbell is not rung. Ring's motion detection is customizable. You can divide the camera's field of view into zones and activate motion detection only in zones that need to be monitored. You can also set a range, allowing it to detect someone as close as 5 feet and as far as 30 feet. Or, if you prefer, you can turn off motion detection or schedule when to turn the motion detector on or off.

If you decide to hardwire your Ring Video Doorbell, you can improve the overall experience. Hardwiring adds in the ability to see a live view of whatever your Ring device sees. You can watch the live view from the app.

From a security perspective, Ring can do a lot to keep bad guys away from your front porch and out of your house. For instance, there are burglars who ring the doorbell to see if anyone's at home before they break in. With the help of Ring Video Doorbell, you can make it seem like you are at home even when you're not. But aside from security, Ring also offers convenience. Ring works with some smart home devices, including smart door locks like Lockitron, LockState, and Kisi. If you connect to one of these locks, you can answer your doorbell from your phone and remotely unlock the door from one app interface.

Ring Applets

Beyond locks, Ring also has an IFTTT channel and works with Wink and SmartThings. Through IFTTT you can create Applets to connect your lock to other smart home devices. IFTTT's Applets consist of a trigger and an action. For example, if someone rings your doorbell you can have your music turn on or you can log the data in a spreadsheet. You can also set an Applet to send you an email alert when someone rings your doorbell.

If you’re an ADT Pulse user, you can make Ring part of your Pulse system as well. Doing so will allow you to control your Pulse system from within the Ring app. From the app, you can turn on lights, lock doors, arm your security system, or even trigger your siren all while watching who’s at your front door. New ADT Pulse customers can now purchase Ring directly from ADT. Those who already own Ring and ADT Pulse can integrate their systems on their own.

Finally, Ring directly integrates with Control4 thanks to the BlackWire Ring Events Driver. For now, users can integrate ring and motion events into their Control4 setup. For example, when the door rings, you can have a chime sound through your connected speakers.

Pros:

  • Can be hard-wired or installed wirelessly
  • Works with your existing chime
  • Can be installed in minutes
  • Covers a wide field of view and has an HD resolution
  • Allows you to see who's at the door
  • Scheduled motion detection
  • Works with other smart devices
  • Live stream on-demand (Hardwire Only)
  • Works with ADT Pulse

Cons:

  • Access to video history starts at $3 per month for cloud service
  • The device is larger and may not fit all door frames.

Bottom Line

A friend of mine owns a Ring Video Doorbell. She's a bit of a smart home enthusiast and the fact that she adores Ring gives me confidence in the device. It lacks a few features like free cloud or local storage, but it provides performance and security.

Ring Video Doorbell versus Ring Video Doorbell Pro versus Ring Video Doorbell ELITE

Ring Doorbells Compared

 Ring VideoRing Video ProRing Doorbell Elite
PRICE$199$249$499
SIZENormalUltra SlimFlush Mount
DIMENSIONS4.98 in. x 2.43 in. x .87 in.4.50 in. x 1.85 in. x .80 in.4.70 in x 2.75 in x 2.17 in.
POWERDual Power (Wireless or Wired)Hardwire OnlyPower over ethernet
WI-FI2.4GHz2.4 + 5GHz2.4 + 5GHz
RESOLUTION720p1080p1080p
MOTION DETECTIONIncluded, Customizable with Zones, SchedulesAdvanced Included, Create Your Own Zone Shape, Schedules Advanced Included, Create Your Own Zone Shape, Schedules
COLORAntique Brass, Polished Brass, Satin Nickel, Venetian BronzeInterchangeable Faceplate (Includes 4)Interchangeable Faceplate (Includes 4)
Buy NowBuy NowComing Soon

Ring Video Doorbell Pro

Ring also sells the Ring Video Doorbell Pro - a slightly slimmed down version of the original doorbell. For many, the original doorbell is too wide, creating a hangover on certain door frame types. But, a size change isn't Pro's most intriguing feature, that distinction belongs to HomeKit integration. After Apple announced HomeKit support for cameras at this year’s WWDC, Ring revealed that all Video Doorbell Pros carry an MFi chip — a hardware requirement for HomeKit compatibility.

The Pro also upgrades certain features present on the original Ring device. The Pro allows you to draw your own motion sensor alert zones. Also, the video quality has been upgraded to 1080p, from 720p.

Pros:

  • FHD resolution
  • Customizable motion zone
  • Changeable faceplate

Cons:

  • Access to video history starts at $3 per month for cloud service
  • Hardwire only

Bottom Line

The Pro sells for $50 more than the original device. If you are planning to hardwire or to build out a HomeKit system, this is the way to go. Being able to customize your activity zone is essential for improving motion detection accuracy.

Ring Video Doorbell ELITE

The newest doorbell, launching soon, is the Ring Video Doorbell ELITE. It's as wide as the original doorbell but has a much thinner profile. It's made to be professionally installed and will sit flush with your wall. The other major change is that it includes the option for Power over Ethernet. Other than those two changes, it has the same technology as Pro.

Pros:

  • FHD resolution
  • Customizable motion zone
  • Power over Ethernet
  • Flush Mount

Cons:

  • Access to video history starts at $3 per month for cloud service
  • The most difficult of all doorbell options to install.

Bottom Line

The Elite will launch soon. Until then, details are limited.

Ring Stickup Cam

Ring Solar Security Sign

Ring Stickup Cam is the perfect addition to the Video Doorbell. It looks exactly like the original doorbell without the doorbell button. Like the Video Doorbell, Stickup Cam's camera is HD, it has night vision, it has motion detection with zones and schedules, a customizable range, and it has two-way audio. It uses the same app as the Video Doorbell and motion alerts are sent through the app. You can also choose to record to the cloud if you are subscribed to Ring's cloud service.

While it has a lot in common with the Video Doorbell, Stickup Cam is also different. It is designed to complement the doorbell by expanding coverage, is completely wireless, runs on batteries, and is IP52 weather-resistant. Because of that, you can set it anywhere on your front porch. According to Ring, the Stickup Cam can run for 5 to 6 months on a single charge. But if you want to make it completely 'set-it-and-forget-it', you can purchase Ring's solar panel. The solar panel was designed especially for the Stickup Cam and does what most solar panels do best - juice up your device courtesy of the sun.

The solar panel sells for $49.


The Stickup Cam sells for $199
.

Pros:

  • Completely wireless
  • 5-6 month battery life
  • Weather-resistant
  • Customizable motion detection zones and range
  • Two-way voice
  • HD with night vision
  • Optional solar charging accessory

Cons:

  • Cloud recording starts at $3 per month
  • Shorter battery life without the solar panel.

Bottom Line

The Stickup Cam works best in conjunction with the doorbell and the solar panel. While it is not ready for battle against indoor cameras like Nest, the total package (doorbell + camera) is definitely ready for battle with other outdoor cameras.

Ring Floodlight Cam

The Ring Floodlight Cam combines the power of a floodlight with Ring's camera technology. If the device senses a presence, the lights turn on, and the camera starts recording. It uses a wide-angle lens and records in 1080p FHD. If you see someone who shouldn't be there, you can speak to them using two-way audio or scare them with the 110dB siren.

One of the camera's unique features is facial and object detection, which is greatly needed as it has an ultra-wide-angle motion sensor (270°). When combined with customizable motion zones, the feature should help reduce false alarms.

Finally, the Floodlight Cam works with SmartThings, Wink, and a few other smart home brands via IFTTT.

Buy now for $249.

Pros:

  • Smart Lights
  • Weather-resistant
  • Customizable motion detection zones and range
  • Person and Object Detection
  • Integrated Siren

Cons:

  • Cloud recording starts at $3 per month
  • Requires Existing Floodlight Setup
  • May be more complex to install.

Bottom Line

The Floodlight Cam is a great addition to the Ring family, but installation may be a challenge. The camera replaces existing wired floodlights and connects to any standard junction box.