It would have been convenient to have a device like a key fob for the Ring Alarm, as running to find the keypad or navigating the app to turn off the alarm takes a few seconds too long, but one does not currently exist. However, arming and disarming the system is relatively straightforward. I just had to dig through the paper manual to figure out how to correctly enter my PIN to change modes.
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System is very responsive and mobile alerts are sent in real time. If the alarm goes off, you will get a mobile alert from the app with information about the actual sensor tripped; this app alert will be followed a few seconds later by a phone call from a representative checking on your well being. They will ask you for your “safe word” and if you cannot give the correct one they will dispatch a police officer. I also noticed if you cancel quickly enough with the app then they will not call you; I once cancelled after a few seconds through the app and the phone call came in, but before it could be answered it was already disconnected - which was great, no need to explain myself.
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.
Just like with Wi-Fi, the Ring platform is at the mercy of smartphone conventions it can’t control. I can’t tell you whether the video screen delays are due to poor coding in Ring’s app, performance problems with my LG G4 smartphone, or hiccups in my phone’s Wi-Fi or 4G connectivity. But the bottomline is that simply getting to the video chat screen can be a long, frustrating experience. In a perfect world, I’d be able to launch the video chat display directly from the notification shade—and do so quickly. But Ring doesn’t have actionable notifications access.
Below the Live View button is a series of feature buttons. Event History takes you to the same events list that you'll see in the My Devices screen; Device Health lets you check voltage, Wi-Fi signal strength, and system status; Linked Chimes is where you go to pair the doorbell with an external plug-in Ring Chime ($29) or Chime Pro ($49); and Motion Settings lets you adjust motion sensitivity, set up motion zones, and create a motion schedule that determines when motion alerts are active.
The Ring Alarm starter kit is one of the most affordable security systems available. For $200, you get a wireless base station, a keypad for arming and disarming the system, one entry sensor, one motion sensor and a Z-wave range extender. I would have liked the kit to include at least two entry sensors since there's typically more than one point of entry to every dwelling, but you can purchase additional entry sensors for $20 a piece.
Each piece of Ring's kit is designed to protect a different part of your house. The contact sensors detect when windows and doors are opened or closed; the motion detectors use infrared beams to sense movement and heat in a room; the keypad lets you arm and disarm the system; the base station keeps the system online, and has a 110-decibel siren that sounds when motion is detected; and the range extender keeps the sensors connected to the base station. Both the base station and range extender have a 24-hour battery backup that will keep the system online in case of a power outage.
When you arm or disarm the system, the keypad and the base station play a female voice that informs you of the system’s status (the keypad’s speaker is unfortunately subdued). LEDs on both devices provide visual feedback as well, although only the base station gives you a constant visual cue as to the system’s status: Blue for unarmed, red for armed.
2) Install. I was a bit intimidated with the install as I’ve never wired anything up before and our house is new construction. But the YouTube video and pamphlets made it pretty clear to follow. They also emphasize that you can call them at any point for assistance. I had also been told by the security system guy that install was super easy and I could do it myself (he’s also the one who gave me the tip about the fiberglass shims). He also gave me an extra tidbit for those of us with stone or brick exteriors: drill into the grout lines – they drill easy; stone does not.