Five years ago, I optimistically spent $170 on a connected doorbell from a hardware startup with dubious credibility and no success stories. That product, DoorBot, eventually shipped, but I never could get it to work. I wrote it off as the cost of doing early adopter business and forgot about it. (It's still in a drawer somewhere.)

Two years later, I heard that the company behind DoorBot, Edison Junior, was rebranding to Ring and it was going to release an updated version of that poorly-received initial project, the Ring Doorbell. I was skeptical.

Then the reviews started rolling in, and they were so positive I threw caution into the wind a second time and bought one. When I moved into my new house in early 2016, I ripped off the old analog bell, installed a Ring, and sort of forgot about it. It worked as a doorbell that would ping my phone whenever someone was there. Cool. Thing is, I was home — I could hear the bell myself and wasn't about to sit on my butt checking the camera in my doorbell when I could walk to the front door and look through the peephole.

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A few days later, I was out of the house at a meeting and right before I walked through the door to the building, my phone pinged in my pocket. It was the Ring app telling me someone was at my door. I opened the app and in a couple seconds, I was staring at the FedEx guy, asking whether he could leave the package with a neighbor. It was a short conversation — maybe 10 seconds — but it was life-changing. The Ring hardware, the app, the LTE connection — it all just worked. It just worked. I was hooked.

To say the Ring Doorbell has changed my life would be an understatement. To say it is the most reliable piece of smart home tech I own would not be an exaggeration. I love this product. I regularly answer the door from other countries (I did so today, from New York City) and it feels like magic.

I recently got a Ring Doorbell Pro as an upgrade to my older model. Slimmer and more stylish, it also films at 1080p, and thanks to improvements in power transfer, is much faster to connect. I'll be sharing my thoughts about it in the coming weeks, but suffice it to say, I would spend $200 on this thing.

Thankfully, you can get one for half that amount. Until Friday, November 18, as part of Thrifter's ongoing Black Friday doorbuster deals, you can get a Ring Doorbell Pro for $99.95. Because quantities are limited, you need to apply for the chance to buy it at that price, but it'll just takes a few minutes, and it'll be worth — promise.

Thrifter Black Friday Doorbuster: Ring Doorbell Pro for $100