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Ding-dong, the cloud calling: The Ring Video Doorbell
A $200 security system that links to your mobe
Review If you have ever missed a FedEx delivery and had to drive over to the depot, if you have had someone break into your house, or if you are often a long way from your front door when someone knocks, then you should really consider the Ring doorbell.
For $200, it packs a lot in: an HD camera, a high-quality intercom, a motion sensor, a doorbell and, tying it all together, the ability to connect to your Wi-Fi and your smartphone.
The Ring is an entire video security device in a chunky iPhone-sized package that simply screws into where your existing doorbell lives. Most importantly though, it works.
Here's how. You mount it on your door, like an ordinary doorbell but with longer screws. You can then set it up to ping your phone either when someone presses the button, or if it picks up motion anywhere from five feet to 30 feet away.
If someone approaches and/or presses the button, the Ring will ring, it will also ring your internal doorbell (if you have it attached), and your phone will also alert you.
If you open the Ring app on your phone, you instantly get HD video through the Ring and are able to either Accept or Deny. If you Accept, you can speak with the person standing in front of your door.
If this sounds useful to you, then go get the Ring. It's a reasonable price, it's the best thing of its kind on the market, and it is easy to setup and install. In short, it will be a useful addition to your home.
It is not perfect, however.
We found when we first installed it that there was a roughly 10-second delay between pressing the button, getting the phone alert, hitting Accept, and talking to the person at the door. The maximum acceptable delay for this sort of thing is four to five seconds. After that, it just feels like it's not working properly.
The reason for the delay was that the front door was a comparative deadzone when it comes to the Wi-Fi – and since you are pushing HD video through, that causes a problem. So if you want one of these, you need to make sure you have full-house quality WiFi coverage. We moved our router and changed the antennae and that delay went down to 1-2 seconds.
Another issue: if your existing doorbell is battery powered, your chimes probably won't work with Ring – so while it will ring outside, it won't ring inside. That can be a problem. If, however, you have a wired doorbell, you just connect it up and are good to go.
The motion settings can be a bit of a pain to get right. Until you do get them right, however, you can expect constant pings to your phone as cars or people pass your building. This will also result in the Ring's battery dying much faster.
The battery should last a year with normal use, but with the motion detector going off all the time, expect to have to recharge it overnight every three months. If you have and connect existing doorbell wires, this shouldn't be a problem and it will recharge from them.
And lastly, if there is one other thing that is likely to bug you, it is the size. It's not huge or imposing but it's not just a doorbell either. Take a good look at your door and consider whether you'd mind a fat iPhone stuck on it. Chances are it is worth the extra size.
In short: we like it. If you live in your own house i.e. not an apartment building, then do seriously consider it.