The picture isn’t quite as rosy if you’re also looking for a full-fledged smart home system. Ring Alarm is positively capable of being a great smart home controller. But it’s not that today. And to be fair, Ring isn’t promising that it ever will be—at least not officially. But they wouldn’t have built in Z-Wave, ZigBee, and whatever that third mystery radio is if they didn’t intend to go down that path.
In fact, some of my neighbors might testify to this. After Ring sent me the review unit, they also seeded some 20 of my neighbors with Rings of their own. The goal was to turn my neighborhood into something of a test bed for measuring how the doorbell can be deployed to reduce crime (or at least give homeowners more confidence in their own home security). Using the NextDoor social network, I asked neighbors for reviews.
With 1080HD video, custom motion zones and an ultra-slim design, Ring Video Doorbell Pro is our most advanced Doorbell yet. Ring Video Doorbell Pro sends you instant mobile alerts when anyone presses your Doorbell or triggers the built-in motion sensors. When you answer the alert, you can see, hear and speak to visitors from your smartphone, tablet or PC. With customizable motion zones, Ring Pro lets you focus on the most important areas of your home. It also includes four interchangeable faceplates, so you can pick a color that matches your style and your home. And with our complementary tool kit, you can get your Doorbell set up in just minutes.
The rest of the kit remains relatively standard. The Ring Alarm entry sensors are about a quarter-of-an-inch bigger than SimpliSafe's sensors and don't perform double duty like Nest's large sensors, which also sense motion. They're easy to install with the included mounting hardware and 3M-branded sticky tape, but they seem unnecessarily large and were hard to place so that the magnets would meet each other on both my front door and the back sliding door.
The company’s latest product, the $199 Ring Video Doorbell 2, was released earlier this summer, and it improves upon the original product in a number of ways. It provides higher-resolution video output — 1080p verses the 720p of the original — and makes it easier to recharge the unit’s internal battery if you don’t have it hardwired into your home’s electrical system.
Like the hardware, Ring’s Protect Plus service is significantly less expensive than other options. It costs $10 per month and has no long term contract commitments. Nest offers a similar service, but it starts at $19.99 per month with a three-year contract and jumps to $29.99 per month if you opt for no commitment. ADT, one of the largest traditional home security services, has plans that start at $28.99 per month and requires a three-year commitment.
There's also a Motion Snooze button that lets you temporarily disable motion alerts for 15 or 30 minutes or for 1 or 2 hours. The App Alert Tones button lets you select one of 20 sounds to play when the doorbell is pressed, or one of 16 sounds to play when motion is detected, and the Shared Users button lets you add users who can view video and receive alerts. Use the Ring+ button to link the Ring app to one of Ring's partners such as Wink, Kevo, LockState, and Wemo. Once linked, you can access a partner app from within the Ring app.
The caller from the monitoring service will identify themselves as being from Ring, since that’s who your business relationship is with, but they actually work for a third-party company that Ring contracts with: Rapid Response Monitoring Services. This is a common arrangement for home security systems. Nest, for example, contracts with MONI Smart Security (which is now doing business as Brinks Home Security). Alarm.com is another major third-party monitoring service.
Ring can be hardwired to your existing doorbell’s electrical leads, but lacking any doorbell at all, I opted to use the device’s internal battery, which is charged with a USB cable (just like any typical mobile device), and is rated to last one year between charges. Pulling off the doorbell for recharging is a simple matter of removing two screws with a special tool that Ring provides, and then sliding the doorbell off a backing plate. It’s no big deal.
By removing the battery, Ring has been able to make the Ring Video Doorbell Pro a bit slimmer and smaller than its first- and second-generation models. The Pro measures 4.5 inches x 1.85 inches x 0.8 inches (11.4 centimeters x 4.7 centimeters x 2.0 centimeters). That’s 6.7 cubic inches (108 cubic centimeters) versus 13.6 cubic inches (223 cubic centimeters) for the Ring Video Doorbell 2—an impressive reduction in volume of more than half.
2 - This kind of goes along with #2. You cannot access the doorbell with security software like Blue Iris,et.al. Now, I get that they want to sell you their Cloud service and I'm ok with $30 / year to have an off-site backup. But if you could link the doorbell into your security system you would have an actual video of everything in your possession and you could access it from any computer in the world. That would be REALLY handy for police investigations and any legal hassles that may come your way.