Ring makes sure that no matter your experience level, you're empowered with information. The minute you open the box, there are neatly packaged containers with nearly every component needed to install the kit. Before you do any of that, however, you'll have to add each device through the Ring mobile app, which is extremely straightforward — all you have to do to start setting up accessories is tap the button that says "Set up a new device."
Throughout testing, I liked how I could verify the comings and goings of our dog walker simply by listening for the sound of the chime. The motion alert feature is ultra-sensitive, so I had to decrease its range to reduce false positives. I also found that it doesn’t begin recording video until someone has been at the door for a few moments. For example, the doorbell recorded a video of a delivery person leaving my door step, but I didn’t get video of him approaching and leaving my package.
The base station is also wall-mountable and can be installed on a Wi-Fi network or connected directly to your internet router over Ethernet. It has a 24-hour battery backup plus the ability to connect to an LTE network in the event of a power outage. (The LTE connectivity is available when you subscribe to Ring’s Protect Plus monitoring service and uses AT&T’s network.) Both the keypad and the base station feature colored LED rings to signify if the system is armed or disarmed and have built-in speakers to sound the alarm in the event of an emergency or intrusion.
When you add the keypad, you’re asked to come up with a four-digit PIN that you’ll use to arm and disarm the system. If you opt in to professional monitoring, you’ll also need to come up with a verbal passcode that you’ll use to identify yourself as an authorized user when the monitoring service calls (so be sure to provide this information to your secondary contact, as they’ll need it as well).
The Ring Video Doorbell is battery-operated and Wi-Fi enabled. This HD video doorbell lets homeowners see and speak with visitors from anywhere by streaming live audio and video of a home's front doorstep directly to the free iOS or Android app. Built-in motion sensors detect movement up to 30 Ft. HD video records and stores to the cloud, which can be accessed via the Ring app. Quick and easy to set up, mounts and syncs in minutes and built-in battery, can also be powered through your existing doorbell wires.
After I installed the second Ring I noticed I was not able to connect as quickly and sometimes not at all to the doorbell. I watched a few YouTube videos for troubleshooting and BOOM! I found the issue (I can not fault Ring for this). My current doorbell transformer was only max 16V of power. I went and purchased a max 24V transformer and a plug-in WiFi extender (approximately $50 total for both). This solved the issue and we were able to connect to both doorbells with no problems. Since July of 2017, and the upgrades, we have had no issues. We had temperatures as low as -20 degrees Fahrenheit and they were still working.
The backing plate is designed to mount on wood, brick, concrete, stucco, and aluminum siding, and the kit includes installation parts, like screws and a drill bit, to provide everything you’ll need. Unfortunately, using my cordless DeWalt drill, I couldn’t penetrate my home’s concrete, so I opted for heavy-duty double-sided tape. It works marvelously, and there’s a failsafe even if someone steals the doorbell: Ring will replace stolen doorbells free of charge, as long as you provide a police report.
But let’s go over what it can do today, first. The very affordable ($199) starter kit includes a wireless base station, a keypad for arming and disarming the system, one door/window sensor, one passive infrared motion sensor, and a Z-Wave range extender. You can monitor the system yourself, but at the price Ring is charging for professional monitoring—just $10 per month ($100 per year if paid annually) with no long-term contract—it would be foolish not to sign up for it. That goes double for people who already have other Ring devices, because it includes video storage in the cloud for an unlimited number of Ring cameras.
The bottom half of the screen contains a historical list of all events (rings, motion triggers, and live view requests). Tap any event to view the associated video clip, share it, delete it, or save it. Tapping the Ring Pro button takes you to a screen where you can enable and disable ring alerts and motion alerts, view live video, and access the doorbell settings. When you tap the Live View button it launches a live stream presented in full-screen landscape mode and has buttons for two-way audio, speaker mute, and neighborhood sharing.
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.
Which smart speaker is right for you? We compare the Facebook portal vs echo show to compare the features between the smart speakers and smart displays. The facebook portal just launched in October of 2018 and is competing with the Amazon Echo Show, Amazon Echo Spot and the Google Home Hub. In this match up it’s fair to say that Echo Show gets the thumbs up and the Facebook Portal is about as awkward as getting “poke” from someone you don’t know on facebook.
By default, Ring Alarm offers three modes: Unarmed, Home and Armed, and Away and Armed. You can use the keypad to change modes, or use the mobile app, which also offers access to any Ring cameras you might have set up in your home. The app also provides status updates on any connected devices you have in the house, a separate history log for the alarm system and the cameras, a settings panel for configuring professional monitoring and what each mode does when activated.
If you do have smart lights and want to control them with a contact sensor or motion detector, you will need to install separate ones in addition to Ring’s, which can make your front door look like it’s grown barnacles with all of the sensors installed. Another simple integration would be to set a smart thermostat to its away mode when the Alarm is set to away, and then switch it back to its home mode when the Alarm is disarmed, but that’s currently not possible either.