Not so much a review, but more of an update, on how we've been getting on with the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. In this update I want to let you know how those 'quirks' we spotted during installation have panned out, and our experiences so far now that it's been installed for a few weeks.
First, you'll be aware from our video 'Ring Video Doorbell Setup and First Impressions', that we encountered a few issues during installation.
First, we saw reports in the app that the doorbell wasn't getting enough power. This was odd because we'd used good cables, and the official power supply that shipped with the doorbell. The problem resolved itself over the course of a few hours, with the power levels slowly rising. I'm able to report that there has been no 'relapse' of this issue, the power level has now settled, and no longer seems to be an issue.
The other problem was that of poor wireless reception. We used a Ring Chime Pro to solve this, as it doubles as a WiFi signal repeater. However finding the best position for it proved to be challenging. In the end, we placed it as close inside the house as we could, to where the doorbell is installed outside. This has solved our problem, and allows the doorbell to operate 'normally'.
What does normal look like? Well, when someone pushes the button on the front of the doorbell, we get the notification fairly promptly, and the Ring Chime units inside the house make their noise.
'Answering' the notification on a smartphone opens the app, and the video connects pretty quickly. We've not experienced any 'lag' in receiving notifications, or connecting the video. I'm also pleased with the 'visibility' of the device. Around the doorbell button is a illuminated ring that is visible at night. It's not too bright, but sufficient to draw attention to the device so callers to your home see it, and push the button.
Once connected, you can see who's at the door. You're not speaking to them yet, not right away. You get to decide whether you want to do that, by pressing a green 'answer call' icon in the corner of the screen. You can then have a two way conversation with the person calling.
A point to note here is that I made mention during my first impressions that we'd not found the Ring Pro speaker to be too quiet, a criticism I'd seen others make. Now that we've had the doorbell in for a while, and we've had a few callers to our home, I still stand by that assessment, nobody calling seems to have struggled to hear me when speaking to them.
Video quality is good, and smooth. At night, three powerful infra-red LEDs illuminate callers to your home. You can see them clearly. Video quality at night is not quite as good as during the day, but this is perhaps to be expected. The field of view is excellent.
During a call, you can also mute either the caller, or your own microphone if needed.
We've signed up to the Ring recording plan. This is £2.50 / month or £25 / year for a single device (there's a £8 / month or £80 / year plan for unlimited devices). This automatically records video to the cloud and retains it for 60 days. You can download videos that you'd like to keep.
It's important to note that recording is not continuous. It's event based. So, motion alerts, rings of your doorbell, or live-views (where you initiate viewing manually), are all captured. If someone rings your doorbell, the recording starts immediately, not from when you answer the call. This is important to allow you to later review who called if you weren't able to answer at the time, or simply didn't have signal.
We've also attempted some integration with our other smart home kit using 'If This Then That' (IFTTT). This is a service that lets you get different technologies in your life working together. I'll explore it more in a future post. We setup an 'applet' in IFTTT that simply turns on the kitchen lights if someone rings the doorbell. This is designed to enhance somewhat the appearance that someone is home, to add security.
However, we hit a snag. The Applet only responds in 'up to an hour'. This is not responsive enough for the requirement we're trying to satisfy here. The fault is not with IFTTT, as other applets run almost instantly. This may be down to Ring, but I can't say for sure.
There are other areas I need to explore, but haven't gotten around to yet, such as motion detection. I'll come back in a future update with more here. However in the meantime we're fairly happy with the experience we've had so far!