If you are thinking about buying a video doorbell, you have most likely heard about Ring. As an Amazon company, they not only have incredible marketing power, but they also happen to make some of the best video doorbells on the market, so the word is bound to spread. At $199, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is
What Is a Video Doorbell?
Video doorbells are WIFI-connected devices that help you enhance the security of your home or business. They’ll attach to your building in the same spot you’d put a regular, old doorbell, but they have a built-in camera that watches your entrance and sends the video footage to your smartphone. The smartphone app lets you see what the camera sees, but with the built-in microphone and speaker, you can also talk to your visitors as if the two of you were on the phone.
The intent has always been to give homeowners a great sense of security and to improve safety in various communities. With their motion-activated cameras, video doorbells can capture criminal activity, but they also enable you to see and communicate with package delivery drivers, your children, friends, and anybody else that visits.
Why Do You Need a Video Doorbell?
You might be wondering whether or not you need a video doorbell, and there are certainly many reasons to buy one. Do you want to be able to see who’s visiting your property when you are not around? Do you want to catch that guy who has been stealing your packages? Do you want to be able to deliver messages to people when you aren’t around? Do you want to be able to do all of these things remotely from your smartphone? Then, yes, you need a video doorbell.
These doorbells give you a variety of capabilities that you wouldn’t have otherwise, and since they connect to your smartphone, they are extremely convenient as well. If you want a smart home, adding a video doorbell to your network of devices is essential, and they connect to both Amazon Alexa devices and Google Assistant products, and as long as you buy from a reputable brand, the devices should connect with each other without issue.
Ring Brand Overview
- Ring Video Doorbell
- Ring Video Doorbell 2
- Ring Video Doorbell Pro
- Ring Video Doorbell Elite
As you go down the list, their products get more expensive and more sophisticated, and the Ring Elite is a professional-grade device. They also carry a “door view” camera that goes on your door and functions as a peephole, as well as a porch camera.
Ring Video Doorbell 2 Review
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is a WiFi-enabled video doorbell that allows you to view and communicate with visitors through your smartphone. This is an upgraded version of Ring’s original doorbell, and it features enhanced video quality, better motion detection, and a slightly improved physical design that makes it easier to access the battery.
You can also customize your motion detection settings and pair your device with an Alexa, a Google Home, or the IFTTT service. However, while the Video Doorbell 2 might be an upgrade from the previous version, it’s a slight step down from the Ring Pro, lacking the advanced motion detection and pre-buffered recording capabilities.
- 5.05 x 2.50 x 1.08 in
- 1080p HD video
- 160-degree horizontal field of view
- Two-way audio with noise cancellation
- WiFi at 2.4GHz
- Minimum of 1 Mbps upload speed
- Battery or hardwired
There are plenty of great things about
- Installation Process: The Video Doorbell 2 is battery powered, so the installation process is extremely simple. If you don’t have existing doorbells wires, you simply pick your location and secure the mounting bracket to the wall, and Ring supplies nearly everything you’ll need to do that. Once the mounting bracket is secure, you’ll insert the battery into the actual device and click it on.
The rest of the setup takes place on your smartphone. The box will come with an installation guide and a user manual, but the app itself will walk you through the process as well. If you experience any issues, there is an abundance of forums, videos, and online resources that will help you resolve them to get the device mounted.
- Ring’s Smartphone App: User experience with Ring’s smartphone application varies, but overall, the app is attractive, intuitive, and functional. As long as your phone is connected to the Internet, you’ll get instant alerts when somebody is at your door, and you’ll be able to see and speak to them straight from the app. You’ll be able to do this remotely, and from the app, you can also customize your motion detection settings, watch a live feed of your front door, and manage video recordings. The app is free to download, but you may need a subscription to access some of these features.
- The Neighbors App by Ring: One of the things that Ring is known for is their community sharing features, and if you have a Ring device, you’ll be able to download their “Neighbors” app that functions as a neighborhood watch network. You’ll not only be able to share clips with other people in the community, but you’ll also be able to watch their clips.
If you or somebody in town catch suspicious activity on their Ring device, they can spread awareness. This app also makes it easier to connect with law enforcement when there is a legitimate safety concern, and all of this takes the security benefits of a video doorbell to a whole other level.
- Dual Power Options: The Video Doorbell 2, while battery-powered, also gives you the option to hardwire. The device is ready to be wired into your existing doorbell system if you have one, and if you do that, you’ll never have to worry about charging the battery because you’ll have constant power.
Other doorbell cameras that are hardwired only would require you to run new wires if you don’t have them already, which is definitely not ideal. With Ring, you could still do that if you wanted the constant power, but you can also just rely on the batteries and avoid the extra work. Also, if you choose to wire in your doorbell, you could still have that indoor chime in addition to the smartphone alerts.
- Motion Detection Customization: Ring’s motion detection settings are definitely a strength as well. You can choose to include or exclude areas of your camera’s field of view from the motion alerts, so if you have a tree, for example, that is constantly triggering your motion detection system, you could remove that to reduce the number of false alerts.You could also deselect the street or the sidewalk to cut down on motion alerts from cars and non-visitors.
The app also lets you customize the sensitivity of the motion detection system and schedule your motion alerts to only sound at certain times. So, if you didn’t want to receive alerts while you are home, you could adjust the settings to only receive motion alerts during the times you are away from home.
- Video Quality: The video quality of the Video Doorbell 2 is a step up from its predecessor and is more in line with some of the other top doorbells on the market. However, video quality is heavily dependent on your Internet connection. If you have a strong Internet connection, there’s no reason you should get the full 1080p, which will be a lot clearer.
You also won’t lose quality when you zoom in, so you’ll be able to see faces clearly. Many people will say that the streaming quality is lower than that of the recorded videos, but this could also be fixed with a stronger Internet connection.
- Two-Way Communication: One of the biggest features of any video doorbell is the ability to talk to people who are at your doorstep. The Ring 2 has a built-in speaker and microphone, both of which are slightly upgraded. Whenever your motion sensor is triggered or whenever somebody rings your doorbell, you will receive a notification on your phone, giving you the option to address the visitor directly.
Once you open the app, you’ll be shown a live feed of your doorstep and will have the ability to speak to who’s there as if you were on the phone with them.
- Third-Party Compatibility: The Ring 2 is pretty friendly with third-party devices, although it doesn’t work so well with Apple smart home products. You’ll still be able to connect it to your Amazon Alexa or your Google Assistant device, and Ring also works with the IFTTT service that people love to use with these types of devices.
The Ring can also connect to smart lock, and if you did that, you’d be able to control your door remotely, unlocking it for specific people, and this way, you don’t have to give away your key or allow packages to sit outside. If you have an Amazon Echo or Fire TV, you could view the live feed for your doorbell on these devices as well.
- Included Accessories: There are a ton of things that come with your Ring device, other than the device itself. Your package includes a screwdriver handle, bits, screws, screw anchors, a miniature level, wire extensions, and wire nuts for installation. You’ll also get a corner wedge and a
mountwedge so that you can adjust the position of your device, and the Ring 2 comes with two interchangeable faceplates that you can swap out anytime you want. Or, you can simply pick the one that best matches your building’s exterior.
- Lifetime Theft Protection: While video doorbells are designed to deter or record criminal activity, the devices themselves can get stolen, and since many of them are shiny and noticeable, they might catch the eye of a potential thief. However, Ring devices come with a lifetime theft warranty, so if your device ever gets stolen, Ring will replace it for free.
While the Ring Video Doorbell 2 has its weaknesses, keep in mind that some people have worse experiences than others. When you are transmitting signals over WiFi and the Cloud, the device itself isn’t always responsible for the issues you are having, and the speed of your smartphone, the strength of your Internet connection, and the state of your device’s battery all play a role in performance. That being said, here some of the most common complaints and weaknesses of the Ring 2.
- Size and Shape: The Video Doorbell 2 is almost identical to its predecessor, but it’s slightly larger. Both models, however, have some issues with being too bulky. With its dimensions being 5.05” x 2.50” x 1.08”, the unit is a bit bulkier than a lot of other units, including the Ring Pro and the Ring Elite, and this is mostly because it houses a battery pack.
The Ring 2 is both tall and wide, whereas higher-end doorbells are tall and slim, usually. Most doors will have plenty of space on either side of them, so this is rarely an issue. You’ll just have to decide whether or not you like the way it looks.
- Subscription-Based: One of the biggest complaints that Ring gets is that you have to pay to unlock all of the features, including one of the most essential – video recording. Now, keep in mind that subscription services or “protection plans,” as they’re called, are pretty common with these doorbell cameras. The difference is that some companies will allow you to record and store
someclips. Zmodo, for example, stores alert clips for 12 hours and even has some extended Cloud options that are free. Some companies don’t charge at all. But, Ring forces you to buy the subscription service to record and store any clips from your device.
All companies do their subscription plans differently. Motion detection customizations, for example, are free with Ring, but if you had a Zmodo device, you’d have to pay for that feature. Ring’s subscription plans cover all of your Ring devices, and they give you the ability to share Ring videos and even get professional monitoring services.
- No Pre-Buffered Recording: The Ring Pro and the Ring Elite have a pre-buffering feature that ensures you don’t miss important moments or suffer through too much loading time. The Ring Video Doorbell 2 lacks this feature.
Pre-buffering refers to the ability of a device to start recording before an event takes place. In terms of the Ring Pro or the Ring Elite, your recorded video would show you what happened moments before your motion sensor was actually triggered, so if anything important happens before that moment, you’ll be able to see it. Pre-buffering also refers to a device’s ability to load certain data before it’s accessed, which reduces the lag on streams and recorded videos. This is actually a helpful feature, but the Ring Video Doorbell 2 doesn’t have it.
- No Advanced Motion Detection: The Video Doorbell 2 uses passive infrared sensors to detect heat signatures, which the device uses to identify movement. With the Ring Pro and the Ring Elite, the actual camera is doing
the motiondetection, which is a more sophisticated method. The advanced motion detection system gives you greater flexibility and more customization options while minimizing the number of false alerts you receive.
The Ring 2 uses the infrared sensors mostly to conserve battery, and while this system is still effective and flexible, the other one is more advanced.
- Video Lags: Your experience with video lags may vary, and it’s dependent not only on the device itself but on your Internet connection as well. The lack of a pre-buffering system may also affect lag time. Naturally, live streaming tends to come with more lag and pixelation, whereas recorded videos are more consistent with the 1080p. Battery life may also affect video quality and your ability to watch or record, so keep that in mind as well.
- Alert Delays: Other people report delays in between the triggering of the motion detector and the actual alert on the phone. Internet connection will be a factor here as well. Keep in mind that the majority of users don’t experience this problem, but there are plenty who do.
The delay is typically just one or two seconds, but depending on who is visiting your property and why, you might only catch them as they are walking away, which kind of defeats the purpose of a doorbell camera. Hopefully, you don’t experience this problem if you purchase this unit, but it is something to be aware of.
Without a doubt, Ring makes some of the best video doorbells you can get. Granted, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 isn’t the best video doorbell on the market today, nor is it even the best Ring device, but it’s definitely a solid product with a few flaws that are mostly tolerable. With sharp, 1080p resolution and clear audio, you should able to see and communicate with visitors without problems. The setup is simple, the app is intuitive, and the motion detection works great. You don’t have to have wires to use it, and if the battery lasts as long as they say it does, it’s hardly an inconvenience.
If you are one of the unlucky ones that experience significant lag or constant false alerts, you won’t have a very positive experience, but keep in mind that these people are in the minority. For the majority of users, The Ring 2 does what it’s supposed to do.
This doorbell camera is especially great for people who don’t have existing doorbell wires. If motion detection customizations and security features are important to you, this will be a great choice as well, and Ring’s Neighbors app makes it easy to share and interact with the community, which is a huge plus.
On the flip side, if you want something a little smaller or want to avoid paying for the monthly subscription, you’ll have to keep shopping around.
How Long Does the Ring Video Doorbell Battery Last?
Battery life is dependent on usage, but Ring claims that their battery lasts between 6 and 12 months with regular usage. They approximate this to about 1,000 notification events. However, if you are paying for a premium protection plan and recording as much as possible, your battery life will be significantly lower.
People do seem to have varying experiences with their batteries, and some people say that they are recharging theirs once a month. It’s also been reported that the device won’t perform certain tasks if the battery gets below a certain percentage. Regardless, you’ll get a notification on your phone that tells you when your battery is getting low, and with the Ring 2, the battery is completely rechargeable, and your device will come with a charger.
Can Ring Video Doorbell 2 Be Hardwired?
In addition to having a battery pack, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 can also be hardwired into your home. You can do this with your existing doorbell wires, but if there is no existing doorbell, you could also run new wires to the doorbell. Having your doorbell wired in means that you have constant power, so you never have to worry about recharging the battery. It also means that your video doorbell would function like your old doorbell and produce a chime sound around your house, but you might need some additional equipment to make that happen.
Do You Need the Ring Protection Plan?
You only need the Ring Protection Plan if you want to access all of the features. You have three options: the free version, the basic plan, and the protect plus plan. With the basic plan, you can access recorded videos of all of your Ring devices, and these recordings are stored for 30 or 60 days depending on your location. You can also share and save videos with this plan.
The Protect Plus Plan offers all of the following:
- Access to recorded and live view events for 30 or 60 days
- Ability to review, share, and save videos
- Access to Ring Alarm professional monitoring service
- 10% discounts on all Ring devices
- An extended warranty for parts
Without a protection plan, you can’t access or manage recorded videos, and you won’t get any of the benefits listed above. The Protect Basic Plan is just $3 a month, but the Protect Plus Plan will cost you $10 a month. If you have more than one device, you’ll have to get the Protect Plus Plan, because the Basic Plan only covers one device.