Ring Video Doorbell: Answer the Door Even When You're Not Home

I had the best Halloween ever, and I didn't even leave the house. Instead, I used the holiday as the perfect opportunity to try the Ring Video Doorbell ($199). Not only did I have a great time with it, the visitors were very intrigued by the bright blue ring around the doorbell and they loved hearing the musical chime when they pressed it. The Ring Video Doorbell lists for $199, but is available at retailers like Brookstone, who frequently offer discounts of 20 to 25 percent. For $150, the Ring Video Doorbell is a steal, and could help prevent folks from stealing your packages, thanks to the motion sensor alerts and recording.

Ring screen

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I was able to integrate the Ring Video Doorbell with my Wink smart home, so the Wink app on my Apple Watch alerted me to trick or treaters. All greetings were recorded, and I was even able to access the videos on Ring's cloud. When I saw a friend's son, I was able to share the video with her! You get one free month of cloud storage of your recordings.

Ring

I liked the quality of the wide-angle camera. The camera offered a view of my entire front yard and even the street. In fact, the built-in motion sensor was so sensitive, street traffic would sometimes trigger it. Fortunately, the well-designed companion app lets you adjust the distance sensitivity. The doorbell has to be installed, so if you're not handy, you might want some help. It took me about 30 minutes, but I'm an electrical engineer. I could see these being installed as part of smart homes, by smart contractors, while the homes are being built. It can be used in either wired or wireless configurations, but the wired approach will work with your existing doorbell chime and that way you don't have to worry about recharging the battery on the device. The battery is supposed to last a year, but I wouldn't want to have to worry about it. You can also add external chimes that only need to be plugged into a power outlet and they connect to your Wi-Fi network. I appreciated that the Ring Video Doorbell is available in assorted metal finishes like satin nickel, antique or polished brass, or even Venetian bronze, so it should fit in with just about any home.

Pros

  • Great wide-angle camera
  • Wired or wireless options
  • Available in assorted metal finishes
  • Motion and doorbell tracking, home and away
  • Supports extra chimes and doorbells

Cons

  • Setup can be tricky
  • Cloud storage only free for 30 days

Final Verdict

The Ring Video Doorbell is a fun and functional way to keep track of your packages and visitors. 

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Todd Bernhard's picture

Todd Bernhard is a bestselling (6+ million downloads) award-winning (AARP, About.com, BestAppEver.com, Digital Hollywood, and Verizon) developer and founder of NoTie.NET, an app developer specializing in Talking Ringtone apps including AutoRingtone. And his profile photo is of the last known sighting of Mr. Bernhard wearing a tie, circa 2007!

An iPhone is almost always attached to his hip or in his pocket, but over the years, Mr. Bernhard has owned an Apple Newton, a Motorola Marco, an HP 95LX, a Compaq iPaq, a Palm Treo, and a Nokia e62. In addition to writing for iPhone Life, Mr. Bernhard has written for its sister publications, PocketPC Magazine and The HP Palmtop Paper.