Monday, May 1, 2017

Ring Video Doorbell Pro Review

Note: this is not a sponsored post - we purchased the Ring Pro Video Doorbell ourselves and were not compensated in any way :)





Over the past several months, I'd started noticing that more and more of our neighbors had upgraded their doorbells to Ring video doorbells.  Posts about stolen packages and suspicious solicitors on our neighborhood Next Door app had also started including video footage, rather than just descriptions.  Although we have an alarm system, we didn't have any security cameras and decided that since we both work during the day, it might be nice to have additional video security.  

My parents gifted us a Ring doorbell for Christmas this year, but unfortunately, our front door features window sidelights and there is only a narrow strip of wood where our existing doorbell was installed.  The Ring was too wide for the wood, and although the Ring can run on battery power (rather than being hard-wired where the existing doorbell is located), we didn't want to commit to recharging or replacing doorbell batteries regularly and decided to return it.  

Luckily, a couple of months later, Ring released the Ring Pro doorbell, which (among other upgrades) is narrower than the original Ring doorbell at less than 2 inches wide!  It also features higher resolution video footage (1080p vs 720p on the original Ring), interchangeable face plates to match your wall color/preferences, and customized alert zones.  Since we live a few houses down from the elementary school, the sidewalk in front of our house gets heavy foot traffic in the mornings and afternoons with parents walking their kids to and from school; the customized alert zone feature is handy because we can exclude being notified about motion on the sidewalk, instead limiting our alerts to motion on our actual property (yard + front walkway).  These features, and the narrower profile, were well worth the additional $50(ish) price tag of the Ring Pro over the original Ring model.

The Ring Pro can only be hardwired to the existing doorbell wiring (unlike the original Ring, which has the option to run off battery power), but we prefer the hardwired setup so we don't have to worry about recharging the battery.  It was super quick to install - maybe 10-15 minutes to connect the wires and screw it into the wall.  It has a 160-degree range of view, so we are able to capture activity on our entire front porch and a large part of our front yard.  It uses our home's wifi to alert us and record a video anytime there is motion detected or someone rings the doorbell.

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Anytime there is motion detected in the defined alert zone, the Ring Pro notifies us on our iPhones and begins recording a video (it also works on Androids and Windows smartphones).  We can access the video straight from the notification or go back and view (or rewatch) it later (e.g., middle of the night motion alerts or alerts that pop up when it's not convenient to access our phones).  

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The videos are good quality, include sound, and are generally about 30 seconds long (from the beginning of the detected motion until the motion ends, which is usually about 30 seconds for someone crossing our yard or approaching our front door).  We now know exactly when our mail or packages are delivered each day!  The videos are stored via Ring's cloud technology, which is free for the first 30 days and then $30 per year (so only $2.50 per month).  There is also a "live view" option, which allows you to see a live view from the Ring at any time (whether or not motion has been detected).  

The Ring Pro also has doorbell functionality and rings our existing doorbell in the house, as well as alerting us on our iPhones that someone has rung the doorbell.  From our iPhones, we have the capability to "answer" the doorbell by seeing a live view of the person on our porch and speaking through the Ring directly to them.  This allows us to answer the doorbell whether we are in our house (and just don't want to open the front door / get out off the couch) or away from home.  So few people ring our doorbell (other than the UPS delivery guy!) that this hasn't been a major feature for us yet.  I'm sure it varies depending on the speed of your wifi internet connection, but our doorbell and video appears to be on less than a one-second delay from real-time.  

We've only had it installed for a couple of weeks, but so far we are loving the additional security of knowing who is entering our yard or approaching our house and when packages are delivered.  I hope we never have a theft or other incident that requires using the Ring's videos for anything further, but it is nice knowing that option is available should we need to use it.  After my non-stop demonstration of the motion notifications at work, several of my co-workers are ordering one too!  The original Ring runs just under $200, while the Ring Pro is around $250 (often slightly less expensive on Amazon than purchasing from Ring directly).  

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