Ring Video Doorbell (Second Generation) is an updated version of Ring’s entry level product that integrates features from some of the company’s more expensive doorbells while keeping the same price of $ 100 (significantly less when on sale, as it was then) of this review).
Compared to the original Ring Video Doorbell, which was first offered for sale in late 2014, the second-generation model offers video in 1080p resolution compared to the original 720p. Higher resolution is better with all types of cameras, and in the doorbell it will mean a sharper image with a greater chance of detecting fine details, if you need it.
Second-generation product also has improved night vision and new motion zone settings, but if you want a battery that you can remove to charge it ̵
The latter doorbells can also connect to less crowded 5 GHz Wi-Fi networks where this cheaper model only has a 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi adapter on board. The second band can be useful in an area with a large number of interfering Wi-Fi devices.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best video doorbells, where you will find reviews of competing products, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.
In addition to the cost of the device, you will probably end up with a Ring Protect subscription to get the most out of your doorbell. Without a subscription, it works well, and you get motion-activated alerts and real-time video with two-way talk, but nothing the camera captures will be saved.
The Ring Protect subscription costs $ 3 per month or $ 30 per year and adds 60 days of cloud video storage, the ability to download and share video and the Ring snapshot feature. The more expensive Protect Plus subscription of $ 10 per month or $ 100 per year covers an unlimited number of Ring products and professional monitoring of the Ring Alarm product.
Install Call Video Doorbell (2nd Generation)
The camera clicks on a plastic bracket mounted on the side of your house. The second generation installation is a bit more polished than the first, where the camera was split in the bracket. The new model squeezes in at the top and then clicks in at the bottom, aided by a magnet.
There are two safety screws on the bottom of the doorbell to prevent it from being hidden. During the review period, we received an email from Ring advising customers to make sure they used correct screw to secure the doorbell. Apparently some users had mistakenly used the longer wood screw, which then pierced the internal lithium-ion battery.
If you are replacing a wired doorbell, Call 2nd Generation can use the low-voltage power cord (provided it is (8 to 24 volts AC), and cause it to fall back on the built-in battery in the event of a power failure. Relying on battery power alone gives almost complete freedom to where the camera is located, but it Flexibility has one drawback: the battery in the camera can not be removed, so when you need to charge it, you have to take the whole doorbell into your house.
Ring also sells an optional solar panel that can keep the battery charged. This is especially useful in situations where it is difficult to use power and it is problematic to change the battery. The charger costs $ 49, but was not tested as part of this review.
The built-in battery is one of the most important sacrifices Ring has made with this product. The more expensive Video Doorbell 3 models include a removable battery.
Using Ring Video Doorbell 2nd generation
Second generation Ring Video Doorbell worked well in TechHive’s tests. The image was sharp, it was well balanced in bright and cloudy weather and at night, and the doorbell responded quickly when movement was detected.
One of the biggest annoyances with video doorbells is false alarms when motion that is not relevant to you is detected, for example from animals or vehicles. The call app has an optional “people only mode” that only alerts when people are detected. I thought this worked very well and reduced many alerts I received, but it was not even alerting a person.
Ring’s snapshot feature (only available with a paid subscription) takes a photo once every hour and presents it to a timeline in the app. Since the Ring system does not stream continuously to the cloud (like competitor Nest), the timeline will otherwise be empty during periods between motion-activated recordings. These hourly pictures fill this space for a more comprehensive overview of what happened in front of the camera.
The doorbell also includes Ring’s updated motion zone function. It now has four motion detection zones: a left, center and right zone, along with a near field zone. Each can be turned on or off, and there is a sensitivity control that is common in all zones.
Also new are privacy zones. These will help you be a more ethical owner of the doorbell or perhaps comply with the privacy rules if you have a shared space in front of the door, such as once in the apartment or someone else’s front door when a lot is crowded.
The app allows you to draw any number of rectangular privacy zones in the video image your doorbell looks at. Then the doorbell does not detect movement in these zones. It will still respond to movement in the zone, but when watching recorded video or a live view, these areas will be completely black.
The app includes an optional mode setting: offline, home and away. Setting the different modes will determine how cameras and sensors react when motion is detected and whether indoor cameras record video.
Ring is owned by Amazon, so it’s no surprise that Video Doorbell integrates well with Amazon Alexa. For example, you can program Alexa devices to alert you when someone knocks on the door, and Alexa can display live or recorded video on an Echo Show or Echo Spot smart display.
The downside of this is that it has poor integration with Google Assistant. You can use voice commands to change modes or alerts, but there are no video options and you can not talk to people at your door through a Google Home device. If you have a smart home based on Google Home, it’s better to look at Nest devices or competitors with better compatibility.
Second Generation Ring Video Doorbell works well and is a top artist, especially for its price. It should be a strong competitor for anyone who wants to buy a video doorbell, and the monthly costs – no matter how annoying – are also low.