Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Reviewing a cool new product - The new Ring HD WiFi doorbell

You are probably wondering why, since this blog is usually all about photography, I would want to review a Wi-Fi doorbell. Well...guess what? This product is really useful for all of us photographers who order products to be shipped to our house.

For the last couple of weeks I have been watching the news about all the packages that are being stolen from the front doors of people's houses. At the same time, I was expecting some new photo equipment to be shipped to my house and not very happy about the thought of expensive photo gear being left in front of my house for hours. 

I was talking to a friend of mine who had just ordered a new WiFi doorbell. As he described it to me, I thought it would be the perfect thing to have at my house. Not only would it give me some control from any remote location (to be described in a little bit), but from what I am hearing, the police recommend this product as an excellent deterrent to potential criminals. 

I researched the different models that are available and decided that the Ring Video Doorbell looked to have the best features and functionality. The product sells for $199 and can be found online. As I was writing this blog, I just checked and to my amazement, B&H Photo sells this product. You can find it here. If I had known, I would have bought it from them. Five days later and I got my Ring to install.

So...what is a WiFi doorbell and why would you want it?

The Ring Video Doorbell connects to your home WiFi and notifies you (via your iPhone or Android device) any time someone rings your doorbell. You can even set it up to notify you any time someone walks up to your front door. The Ring has a speaker and microphone built in so that you can communicate through it. This means that you can talk to the person at your front door whether you are home or half way around the world. 

For most people, this solves a big problem. Now you have the ability to know when someone delivers something to your house. You can either direct the delivery person to put the package somewhere else, or drive home to put it in a safe place. 

In my case, I also have the ability to open my garage door remotely, using my WiFi garage door opener. Using both products, I can ask the delivery people to ring my doorbell. Seconds later I get a notification on my phone and see a video of them at the front door. I can ask them to wait a couple of seconds, open my garage door, have them place the package in the garage, and then close the garage door. All from anywhere in the world. Pretty fancy!

Now the big question - would it work as advertised?

The first thing I had to do was replace my ancient doorbell with this new one. I opened the box and was immediately impressed with the packaging and instructions. It reminded me a lot of Apple packaging, straight forward and clean. The doorbell was a little larger than I thought it would be. I was hoping that it would be 25% smaller than it actually was. But nonetheless, it looked nice enough.

Installation was almost too easy. I just removed the two wires from my old doorbell and attached it to the mounting plate of the Ring Doorbell. I then used the tiny level (which Ring conveniently includes in the box) to level the plate and drill holes for the screws. Once this back plate was installed, I then paired the doorbell to my iPhone and mounted it to the plate. I ordered the Satin Nickel color, but there were numerous other colors to choose from.

There are two proprietary screws which hold the doorbell to the mounting plate, and they make it harder for someone to steal the product from your house. I put those in and I was done. That easy!

After the physical installation was done, I then went to the Ring application on my iPhone to customize some things.

I named the doorbell as my Front Door bell and left on the Call Alerts and Motion Alerts. 

After watching the video instructions (which were clear and easy to understand), I customized the area and sensitivity of the motion sensor. I purposely turned off the zones to the far right and tightened the distance of the zone, since the camera and sensor are VERY wide angle and I did not want cars and people walking on the street to trigger an alert on my phone. All of this is done by selecting the area with your finger on the display. 

After 20 minutes of setup, everything was complete and it was time to test out the Ring Video Doorbell. And it is working perfectly.

Here is a screen shot of the video of my wife and my daughter testing it out. The notification time between the press of the doorbell and the notification on the phone is a matter of seconds, and the HD video quality is quite good.

They have the ability to store all the alerts and videos in the cloud, so that you can go back and review them from months past. The price is reasonable at $3 a month, so I will probably opt for that after the 30 day trial is up.

I am really happy with this new product and would recommend it highly to anyone concerned with deliveries being left in front of their house and home security in general.

Again, here is the link to this really cool product.


If you are interested in purchasing any camera equipment, please click here to go to B&H Photo, as I get a referral from them if you enter this way. It does not change the cost to you in any way, but it helps me keep this blog up and running.

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Ryan said...

This looks awesome.

Is it powered from the doorbell wiring when hardwired, or do you still have to keep fresh batteries in it?

Jeff Cable Photography Blog said...

Ryan - I was surprised that it could be powered from the two wires, but sure enough - it is! You can also run it on battery for up to a year.

Unknown said...

I also Installed Ring in my own home and am gifting to my senior parents. This is the ideal gift for a senior who wants to screen those who ring the bell. Additionally, for those who are unable to hear the doorbell, Ring sells add on "ringers" that also operate off of WiFi. The ring volume is adjustable and in the case of my parents will be turned to the loudest setting. This is a terrific product!

Earle Mason said...

Excellent!! Thank you for posting this Jeff.

Rubel said...

To make proffer house most important think is plan. Your talks give every one some idea how to make good plan for native home.