The Ring Video doorbell Pro is an amazing little piece of technology that can provide safety and peace of mind. Almost two years after my original purchase, I’m glad I took the time to invest in one. Now that Amazon.com has purchased Ring, the entire product line continues to evolve and improve. Below are my experiences installing and using it for the first time, along with my two-year update.
Original Review from 2017
Over the past few months I have been toying with the idea of upgrading my home security system. It isn’t that I live in a high crime area or anything like that. We tend to get the occasional prankster youth who thinks it’s funny to leave unwanted items on the front porch. Around the holidays things get a bit worse, with Amazon boxes being stolen in broad daylight. Most home security systems would do little to prevent those types of things.
Then two unrelated things happened. Ring came out with the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, which they advertised as more reliable and more feature-packed. Shortly thereafter my doorbell died; not the entire mechanism - just the button. So off I went to Amazon and ordered one. The reviews were overwhelmingly positive, though some of the early adopters had issues with firmware. Most people said that when they did run into problems, Ring’s customer service seemed ready and eager to solve the problem. I decided to give it a shot.
It took longer than I expected to receive. I ordered it on a Thursday and it didn’t ship until the following Tuesday. It was delivered the next day, with the carrier leaving the well-branded Amazon Prime box sitting on my front porch. Had it been stolen, at least I would have appreciated the irony. As it happened, I was home when it was delivered, so I brought in the box and installed it the next day, exactly one week after my order. It says something that a week feels too long, but I’ll leave that for another day.
Ready to install it, I opened the box and removed all of the contents. The Pro is smaller than the prior model, and offers live video monitoring on your smart device. The latter feature was the most important to me. It comes with five different color face plates, plus everything you need to install it (except for a drill).
The first installation step is to install the Ring app from the appropriate store. Ring supports iOS, Android, and Windows 10. I went to the App Store and installed the app onto my iPhone 7. So far so good.
The installation instructions are part of the app. There is a brief video that walks you through the entire process. The next thing to do is to cut power and install a voltage step-up converter to the existing doorbell. They make this dead simple by providing two very intuitive wire couplers. You unscrew two terminal screws, remove the wires, inserting them into the wire couplers. Then you insert the two well-labeled wires from the couplers into the doorbell. Using the provided double-sided spongy tape, you then stick the converter to the side of the doorbell and replace its cover.
Moving outside, the next step is to remove the existing doorbell. This involved a total of four wires: two connecting the doorbell to the house, and two wires. My house is made of a stucco-like surface, which meant marking two spots on the house and drilling two holes with the included drill bit. Into the holes went two plastic wall anchors (also included).
Once the holes were drilled, I connected the doorbell wires to the Ring doorbell. These two wires simply complete it a circuit, so it doesn’t even matter which wire goes to which screen. After that, two more included screws secure the doorbell to the house.
The installation video on my phone made every step clear. By this time, approximately 30 minutes had elapsed. I was going slowly, because I didn’t want to make any stupid mistakes. It was time to turn the power back on. As soon as I did that, I clicked Continue on the app, which then informed me to complete the setup by connecting my phone to the WiFi hotspot built into the doorbell itself. When the phone connected, the app then became a configuration UI for the doorbell, which talked me through the rest of the setup. Yes, it talked - literally.
The only thing left to do was to connect the doorbell to my home’s WiFi and optionally set up an account and motion detection zones. I went ahead and paid for the Ring Cloud video storage for $30/year. This way, any time motion is detected or someone rings the doorbell, the video of them is stored in the cloud with a date and time stamp.
Setting up the motion detection zone will take some trial and error. I set it so that only someone coming up to my front porch will set it off, but it seems more sensitive than that. I got a lot of alerts today, but it was only people walking by the house.
I need to reduce its sensitivity a bit more.
So far, the number of false positives has been very small. I’ve also discovered that not many people come to my house during the day, which is fine by me.
One great positive is that I was at lunch one day and got a doorbell alert. I quickly answered and found that the pest control rep standing at the door. He said he was spraying the lawn that day according to our service contract. I thanked him and told him to proceed.
I got another motion alert when I was about 2500 miles away. I was able to watch in real time, satisfied in knowing it was a neighbor walking the dog (yes, technically a false-positive).
The image quality is very good, and I have been able to recognize everyone captured on video. All of my recorded videos are automatically archived, and I can review them from my phone at any time.
It’s been almost two years since my original purchase, things have only gotten better. I added an doorbell chime upstairs. This is also a WiFi device, which plugs into any outlet. It simply chimes when someone pushes the button. It isn’t a critical piece of the system, but handy when you can’t hear the downstairs chime and your phone is on mute.
Over all, the system’s motion detection has gotten better, and false positives have been reduced.
This month Ring introduced a new feature, albeit a minor one. Whenever you run the Ring App, you get an immediate snapshot of the camera. This is handy if you just want a quick glimpse of what’s going on./
One feature I have yet to utilize fully is Ring Neighborhood. This allows you and your neighbors to share videos from everyone’s cameras, and instantly alert each other when suspicious things may be happening. You can choose whether to share anonymously or not. Yeah, it does have a Gladys Kravitz feel to it sometimes, but so far, our neighbors have been pretty good about what they share.
There was a single glitch, when I upgraded my WiFi system. I replaced my aging router with a fancy new one (which I’ll review soon). I made sure to use the same SSID and WPA password, assuming my devices would automatically reconnect. Nope. Every WiFi device in the house had to be manually reconfigured, which was a pain. My biggest complaint, however, was that the Ring devices didn’t warn me at all. You would expect that the Ring mobile app could inform you that the devices had gone offline. When I looked closely, it did. But I had to go looking. There was no other warning. I only noticed when the guy across the street knocked on the door and said no one answered the doorbell. Once I reconfigured the doorbell’s (and chime’s) WiFi, all is working again.
So apart from that minor glitch, I stand by my initial opinion. I am very happy with the purchase.