RING VIDEO DOORBELL 2 REVIEW
Ring’s second-generation video doorbell adds a quick release rechargeable battery and boosts video resolution from 720p to 1080p. It remains one of the only video doorbells that can provide its own power instead of relying on your home’s existing wiring.
The Video Doorbell 2 is designed for security and convenience, and is the second iteration of Ring’s smart doorbell. Its camera can automatically record visitors to your house, and you can use its speaker and microphone to communicate with anyone who comes to your front door. This is handy for dealing with couriers and visitors whilst you’re out; but you can also use it for safety, to have a conversation when you’re at home without having to open your door.
Improved battery charging, Full HD video and interchangeable faceplates make the new product far more flexible than the original Video Doorbell.
Ring Video Doorbell 2 Design
The first thing you’ll notice about the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is its design: it’s a good looking device. In the box we were treated to two face plates — a silver one and a dark gray one, and we ended up going with the dark gray one.
The doorbell itself is somewhat large, and that may be a problem for those that want to install it in a small space or doorframe. It’s certainly too big for a doorframe, coming in at 5.05-inches tall, 2.50-inches wide, and 1.08-inches thick.
That said, it doesn’t look too out of place on a wall next to the door, and while large the trade-off is that the battery can be a little bigger — which is always nice. In fact, Ring claims the battery will last between six months and a year. For obvious reasons we couldn’t fully test that, but we haven’t heard of any customers or reviewers claiming the battery did not last that time.
Setting up the smart doorbell is really quite easy, but there were a few bumps along the way. You’ll need to download the app on your Android and iOS device, then create an account, if you don’t already have one. Then, simply follow the in-app instructions to install it.
There are a few options for installing the device — you can choose to wire it to replace your existing doorbell, or simply use it separately from your existing doorbell. If you do that, however, you may want to pair it with the Ring Chime or Ring Chime Pro, which will, as the name suggests, chime when someone presses the doorbell. We installed the Chime Pro, which also extends your Wi-Fi range.
And while we were pleased with the results, setting up the Chime Pro wasn’t a flawless experience. We had to go through the instructions more than a few times, as the device was unable to connect to the Wi-Fi network.
Ring Video Doorbell 2 — Features
Every smart doorbell I’ve tested has at least one unique feature. For the Video Doorbell 2, it’s the removable, rechargeable battery. For Ring’s Video Doorbell Pro, it’s the narrow doorframe-friendly design. The SkyBell HD offers free cloud storage — and August’s Doorbell Cam integrates seamlessly with other August products, like its HomeKit-enabled Smart Lock.
While I wish Ring offered some sort of entry-level free cloud video storage option, I really like that every Video Doorbell 2 purchase comes with easy-to-remove face plates in different color finishes: satin nickel and venetian.
Its smart home partnerships with Amazon Alexa via the Echo Show, IFTTT and Wink also add appeal.
Say, “Alexa, show me the front door” to pull up a live video feed on the Amazon Echo Show’s screen.
IFTTT is a free web- and app-based service that lets you connect your Ring Video Doorbell 2 to other smart home devices, like Philips Hue LEDs so that “If someone rings your doorbell, then your Philips Hue bulbs will flash.”
Wink helps to consolidate your connected home devices to one hub and one app. Pair the Video Doorbell 2 to Wink so you can view your live feed alongside other smart products.
Ring Video Doorbell 2 Battery Life
Ring says the battery should last anywhere from six to 12 months between charges, depending on how much activity your doorbell receives. Those claims might be a bit inflated, though. In my experience, the battery drained to under 40 percent in about six weeks of use, which means I’ll be recharging it every three months.
For my testing, I had all the features enabled, such as motion detection and quick live view access.
Ring says disabling these features will extend the battery life.
We Say:”THE VIDEO DOORBELL 2 WORKS BEST WHEN PAIRED WITH RING’S CHIME PRO”
You can use the Video Doorbell 2 on its own and it will chime when someone presses the button or it detects motion. It will also send a push notification to your phone: tap it, and you can view the live feed from the camera immediately. But it probably makes sense to use Ring’s $49 Chime Pro accessory with it.
The Chime Pro provides a speaker for the doorbell inside your house, which is much easier for everyone to hear, and it works as a network extender to make sure the Video Doorbell 2 is always connected to Wi-Fi. It’s particularly useful if your Wi-Fi router isn’t anywhere near your front door.
Ring Video Doorbell 2 — Doorbell Difference
The biggest physical difference between the Doorbell 2 and the original is the new, slide-out battery. With the first model, recharging the battery required removing the entire doorbell from the frame and plugging it in for five to six hours.
The new, removable battery (which looks like something you might find in a DSLR or camcorder) is much easier to charge: you just remove the front panel of the doorbell (a security screw underneath needs to be removed with the included screwdriver first), slide the battery out, and plug that into a Micro USB cable.
Charging still takes five or six hours — it’s a hefty, 6,100mAh battery and this doesn’t have any quick charging features you might find on a smartphone — but the modularity of this design means you can buy a second battery and put that in to keep your doorbell functional while the other charges. Ring provides one battery in the box, but you can buy spares from Ring’s website for a reasonable $20.
Ring Video Doorbell 2 — Plan Costs
When you purchase a Ring Doorbell you get a free 30-day trial of their cloud storage plan. After those 30-days expire, regardless of which doorbell camera you have, there are three options available to you. First, you could continue to use your camera as is.
Without a plan, you will still get instant alerts when someone rings the door and you will still be able to live stream audio and video. If you choose to sign up for a plan, however, the Basic option is $3 per month per camera (or $30 per year per camera).
In addition to live streaming and instant alerts, you also get cloud storage where Ring will store clips of your footage for up to 60 days. Essentially, Ring will store only the clips that you care about, with those being video triggered by motion, by someone ringing the doorbell, or by you peering into the live stream.
Further, in the Basic plan you get the ability to easily share videos and a 1-year warranty whereby if your Ring camera is damaged or stolen in the first year, they’ll replace it for free.
The Protect plan is $10 per month (or $100 per year) and gets you all of the aforementioned features, except this time you can have unlimited cameras on the plan at no extra cost. That means, if you have more than three Ring cameras then it makes sense to get the Protect plan.
This is mostly for people with multiple homes and business owners. This plan also brings you a lifetime warranty on the cameras, so if one is damaged or stolen, Ring will replace it.
Ring Video Doorbell 2 — Conclusion
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is a solid device. Setup is easy, the app is a breeze to use, motion tracking works great, and the battery lasts long enough to not be a hassle. We really liked the layout of the app, and the fact that the system can be integrated with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant only makes things even better for smart home enthusiasts.