In our previous review, we have discussed the Skybell HD review in great detail, and what I like and didn’t like about the product. In case you haven’t read the article, you can read it here. (link to the previous article)
In this article, we will discuss one of the biggest competitors of Skybell HD, the Ring Wi-Fi Video Doorbell.
Ring as a company was one of the pioneers of the smart doorbell industry, and they currently have two products in their video doorbell line, the Ring Video Doorbell and Ring Video Doorbell Pro.
As the name suggest, the Pro series obviously will have a more advanced overall feature.With the price difference of roughly $50, the comparison between the two will be unavoidable.
Thus, we will first focus our discussion for the Ring Video Doorbell, and we will tackle the Pro on our next one.
How Does It Work?
If you have read our previous review of Skybell HD (link Skybell HD review here), the process between the two is quite similar:
- Your visitor presses the Ring Video doorbell
- The signal goes to your Wi-Fi network
- Your Wi-Fi router extends the signal to the mobile networks tower, which will, in turn, send the signal to your smartphone
- The downloadable Ring application in your smartphone will notify you
- You can view the video of your visitor, and do two-way talking for your visitor just like an intercom in your Ring App
The video quality provided is 720p (the PRO model comes with 1080p), which is good enough, especially since you’ll mostly only be viewing from your smartphone.
After we’ve understood the principle, let us do a bit walkthrough of the installation process.
Ring Video Doorbell Installation
This is might be one of the biggest plus point for Ring video doorbell (and video doorbell PRO), the installation manual is extremely helpful, and they provide you with almost everything you’ll need for the installation.
Let’s see what’s included in the package:
- The Ring Doorbell itself
- Mounting bracket
- Screwdriver and screwdriver bit
- Drill bit
- Screws and anchors
- Users manual
Unlike the Skybell HD which will need a wired power setup, the Ring products came with a built-in battery, which is definitely another plus point, especially if you didn’t already have a wiring installation for existing doorbell.
Here is how the installation process is done:
- Remove existing doorbell button (optional)
- Install the mounting bracket, using the provided screwdriver or drill bit. Use the provided mounting level to line up the mounting bracket perfectly.
- Remove the mounting level
- If you have any existing doorbell wiring, you can connect it to the terminal screws on the mounting bracket (optional)
- Place the Ring doorbell on the bracket, and tighten the screws
For those who will prefer a video guide, here is the official installation guide from Ring. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jHj3aeNV18M)
Or, if you have any existing doorbell, you can see this video guide to replace it with the Ring doorbell seamlessly. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xxSJ5nO4b48)
After you are done with the physical installation, you can then download the Ring app (both iOS and Android), connect your device to your Wi-Fi network, and voila, your Ring video doorbell is good to go.
Here are some of the notable features of the Ring doorbell:
- 720 p HD camera running at 30 fps (the Pro version comes with 1080p for extra $50)
- Infrared night vision mode
- Can either use the built-in battery or a wired setup as its power source
- Two-way audio streaming, I found the noise cancellation quite nice
- Cloud recording service (sadly isn’t free)
- Motion detection feature (it will give you notification when someone is wandering around near it)
As usual, there won’t be a review without a pros and cons section. So let us first discuss what I like about the product.
Pros of the Ring Doorbell
- Extremely convenient physical installation
- The built-in battery is a nice feature, you can either use it completely wireless or with your existing wiring setup
- Excellent performance during any weather can withstand the heaviest of rain
- The noise cancellation feature is one of the best compared to its competitor
- A Windows 10 support, which is rare among its competitors including the Skybell HD
- Lifetime theft protection and 1-year warranty
- Allow multiple users, so others in your household can also access the app
- One of the most affordable smart doorbell system on the market. The price is definitely a plus point
- Ring has one of the best support team in the business
Cons of the Ring Doorbell
And some things I didn’t like about the product are:
- Only 720p video quality and 30fps. Yes, I know that the PRO version comes with 1080p, but the Skybell HD came in the similar price range with 1080 quality
- No third-party integration.Can’t use your Amazon’s Alexa, for example
- The cloud storage service is not free, you will need to pay for a monthly subscription
- The motion sensor can sometimes be unreliable, but it is a similar problem found in other competitor products. I consider the motion sensor a bonus.
- The night vision feature is infrared-based and is not a true night vision. However, the quality is acceptable.
- A bit iOS centered, so the Android app tends to be updated a little later
- Doesn’t have live streaming on-demand (the PRO version have)
- Only support 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi (PRO version comes with 5 GHz Wi-Fi support)
Overall, I feel the Ring Video Doorbell served its purpose well, especially for its price range.Besides, most of the negative issues I have are tackled by the PRO version.
To understand better, let’s list down the differences between this ‘vanilla’ and the PRO version.
Ring VS Ring Pro
These are some of the notable differences you will find between the two versions:
- 720p video vs 1080p video
- Night-vision is slightly better on the PRO version, although it’s still the same infrared-based
- Motion detection in the PRO version can be customized, so you can draw the designated field of vision. Strangely enough, the total field of vision range is more limited in the PRO version, 160 degrees VS 180 degrees.
- Design wise, the PRO version is a little bit thinner, but a little heavier
- 5GHz Wi-Fi support in the PRO version
Would the differences justify the $50 upgrade? I’ll let you be the judge to that.
To stay unbiased, let’s take a look at how other users and respectable sites rate the product.
User & Other Reviews
On Amazon, the product is reviewed with a favorable average of 4 out of 5 stars. Users that gave it high rating noted similar pros and features with what I’ve discussed above. For those who gave negative ratings, they mostly complained about the complicated installation process if you didn’t already have an existing wiring for a previous doorbell. Some also received faulty products and needed to get it replaced.
CNET gave it a 6.9 out of 10 rating, complimenting the ease of installation process and the overall audio-video quality. However, they also noted that the product is sometimes unresponsive and can have lag issues.
WIRED reviewed it with a 7 out of 10 rating, also complimenting the overall audio-video quality. They also have the same complain about the lagginess, and how sometimes the alert and notification can be a bit late to arrive (up to 30 seconds.)
The Ring Wi-Fi Video Doorbell it’s not the best video doorbell, but it is one of the most affordable options in the smart doorbell market, and for its price, it served its purpose well. The 720p video quality is acceptable, and the sound quality is one of the best in the business. The biggest downside for me is the subscription fee for the cloud storage, increasing the costs overtime.
Although most issues in it are tackled by the PRO version, I find the lack of third-party integration a bit dissatisfying (not found even in the PRO version), especially for today’s standard. However, it’s fair price point, and it’s seamless installation process are definitely a big plus, and I’d recommend this product especially for those without an existing wired doorbell setup.
In our next article, we will delve deeper into the ring doorbell pro review, so stay tuned!