Review of the Ring Doorbell
Let me start off by saying that packages being stolen in my neighborhood are at an all time high. This being said myself and my fiancé decided to setup a ring doorbell. I will go through my whole experience from setup to testing for a few weeks to give my opinions of the system.
1. Setup and installation
Setting up the ring doorbell was actually very easy to do. The physical installation was just a matter of attaching two wires and then mounting to the side of our door. They made configuring the video settings very easy to do as well. The initial setup kept things simple. (Although I recommend once comfortable with the app to go in and tweak the settings a bit more for optimal results).
Honestly the hardest part of the installation was figuring out how to get the wiring to work with the transformer and the chime in our house. Most people who already have an existing doorbell setup will not have to even bother with these steps. We opted to setup a Chime alongside the notifications that we get on our Smartphone which is not 100% necessary but recommended in my opinion. Most houses that have doorbells will already have the hard part installed.
If you do not have existing doorbell wiring in your house the ring doorbell will still work. Instead of hearing the chime ring in your house you will only get notifications on your Smartphone. Obviously for the functionality of any notifications to work on your Smartphone you will need to have a WiFi connection setup that has a decent signal located at the door where you mount your Ring doorbell.
The Ring doorbell has a battery in it that can charge one of two ways. If you connect your Ring doorbell to and existing doorbell system, it will pull electric off of your existing wiring. If you do not have a Chime and transformer hooked up, then you will need to recharge your doorbell using a standard Micro USB charger every so often.
2.Operation and Use.
In my opinion that Ring doorbell works very well out of the box with a few exceptions. The algorithms used are very good for preventing against false alerts and the quality of the video is very good. It rarely misses any motion in full that is relevant except with a spotty Wi-Fi connection.
Sometimes the motion sensor causes the recording to delay a little bit so it may not catch someone walking up to your door but rather starts recording after they walk away. Fine tuning the sensitivity of the motion sensor seemed to help with this but caused a few more false alerts then the out of the box settings. In my opinion, I rather have a few false alerts rather than miss the first few seconds of motion.
Also when you receive an alert on your phone and open it up, it takes you to “Live View”. Now it tends to take a few seconds to go through the inter webs. Even if you see the notification right away, whatever has caused that motion, typically isn’t there anymore. Here is what Live view looks like.
What I am going to tell you next is probably the most frustrating part of the Ring doorbell. If you go back to look at the recording of the motion you will not see it for at least 30 seconds. For some reason it takes Rings servers quite a bit of time to process the recorded video. This to me is very frustrating because if I have an alert, I want to be able to see the recorded video immediately to make sure nothing alarming is occurring.
Another thing that blindsided us was the fact that you have to pay for a subscription to have any recording done. Most cloud based camera systems will at least give you a few days of recording and allow you to download any videos of relevance. Ring will start by allowing you to do this out of the box because they automatically give you a 30 day trial to this. Then without any alerts or notifications it stops. I was disappointed to wake up to a notifications of motion on my phone one morning, to find out that I could not see the recorded video anymore. The plans are very low cost starting at $30 a year but they are not very upfront about this when purchasing the doorbell.
3. Good Features
The quality of the camera is very good. It records in a high definition. The one thing that I wish you could do with the recording of the video is zoom in on it. Most of the time I am watching the HD video on my phone and it is hard to see the details on a 5 inch screen. Since the recording of the video is good it would be nice to be able to zoom in on the details.
Some cameras just record the video. The Ring doorbell also will record audio.
Talk back Ability
When in Live View you actually have the ability to talk to whomever is at your door. This reminds me of very wealthy neighborhoods that have an intercom system installed at their front door. Although this might not sound like a required feature, it actually has come in handy a few times.
Motion Sensor Alerts
It is really nice to be able to have alerts get sent right to your phone as soon as motion is detected. In the past with other types of surveillance systems you had to constantly monitor them or they recorded 24/7 and you had to know that there was something to look for in the haystack of recordings. With the notification being sent to your phone, you can access anything that might be of interest in close to real time.
These are helpful to know if someone has rung your doorbell. Especially convenient to see who is at your door without having to open it. You don’t even have to be at home to see who has rung your doorbell. For day to day use I find it most useful to see if a package has been delivered.
The Ring doorbell has a really nice interface to be able to view videos along a timeline. The camera can also be setup to take still pictures for as often as once every 5 minutes. Here is what timeline looks like.
Has there been crime in your neighborhood? You wouldn’t even know if there was. With the Ring doorbell app, neighbors share with each other crime that is happening. It is nice to see the community working together to help find criminals in the area. The feature that the Ring app has implemented in it allows neighbors to share different crimes or suspicious activity that has happened nearby. It even creates a small social network where neighbors can anonymously communicate with each other about the captured videos. The videos can also be easily shared using a url with anyone including law enforcement.
I hope you found this information useful. I have to wrap this up. I just had a package delivered at my door.
Say Hi to our Postal Lady!