Video doorbells may not be the best "security" device for your home, and some will argue that there's no real point to having one, but I strongly disagree. Ring has been the center of a lot of attention (both good and bad) in the recent months, but the company continues to push new products out, and the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus is one of them. It introduces a few features that people have been wanting for a while, and after using it for just a few days I started to really enjoy the experience.
I've had several Ring doorbells in the past, and have a house full of Ring cameras and even the Alarm. I swapped out a Ring Video Doorbell Pro to test out the Video Doorbell 3 Plus, and aside from a few annoyances, I am extremely happy with the switch.
Let's break this new video doorbell down in a little more detail, and see if it may be a good option for you as well.
At a glance
Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus
Pre-roll is the biggest new feature to arrive with the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus, and that alone almost warrants you purchasing the product.
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus brings the best Ring features that you are used to hearing about and adds Pre-roll, which gives you four extra seconds of what happened before the motion.
- Pre-roll offers four extra seconds of video
- High-quality video
- Consistent connection to live view
- Wide angle view to see a lot around your door
- Battery life isn't exceptionally great
- Pre-roll only works during the daytime reliably
- Colored faceplates are a bit expensive
Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus What I like
From the install to using the Video Doorbell 3 Plus, I quickly realized just how much there was to like about this new hardware. Getting it installed was incredibly easy; Ring no longer uses a separate backplate that needs to be mounted before the video doorbell. Instead, you mount the whole unit after connecting the wires. It's a small change, but it does make things go a little faster as you try to get it going.
Once installed, it was super easy to get set up and running in the Ring app. Immediately I fell in love with the new pre-roll feature, and can't wait to see that hit every single Ring camera out there. The first time I saw it in action I was a little confused, but after answering a few motions I quickly realized how it works and it became something I rely on heavily. Pre-roll captures the few seconds of video that happen before the motion event does, and it displays that in a black and white video in a little box on the top of the screen if you answer the motion. If you review the footage later, it shows you the pre-roll video in black and white, then switches to color for the motion clip.
The camera offers a 160-degree field of view, and while this is the same that you get on the other Ring cameras, it does feel like it offers a wider view than my Ring Video Doorbell Pro did. Video quality has been very consistent and clear with every motion that's been captured and every time I have started to use the Live View feature.
You can customize the look of the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus with various faceplate colors, so you can make it match your house a bit more than you could in the past. Ring is selling lots of color options like teal, blue, yellow, purple, and more instead of just the black, bronze, and silver that we've seen in the past.
Overall, there is a whole lot to like about the Video Doorbell 3 Plus, but that doesn't mean it is perfect.
Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus What I don't like
One of my biggest complaints is with the battery. I have most features enabled, and think that I have it set up the way that most people would probably use it. Pre-roll is enabled, motion alerts are notifying me when it detects something, and I have the motion capture on to help fill some of the gaps. With this, I am getting about 10 days of battery before needing to recharge, even though I have it wired. The website itself seems to suggest you can have the camera wired for always-on power, though the existing doorbell wires just provide a trickle charge so you will need to constantly charge / swap the battery. It states:
Runs on a Rechargeable, Quick-Release Battery Pack (included). Can be hardwired to an existing doorbell system or transformer for continuous charging (8-24 VAC, 40VA max, 50/60Hz). No halogen or garden-lighting transformers; no DC transformer/power supply
For some this won't be a big deal, and you can get longer battery life by disabling some of the features or changing the frequency. Changing the battery only takes a few minutes (if you have an extra one), but if you are only going to have one battery that does mean that you'll be without a doorbell camera for a few hours while it charges.
Unfortunately, the pre-roll feature only works during the day time. That means that during the night hours you just get the regular video instead of the extra four seconds of footage. Sometimes, Ring cameras struggle a bit extra in the evenings, meaning that the motions often miss the beginning context, which is something I hope that Ring can improve on over time here.
Should you buy a Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus?
Minor frustrations aside, I would say that if you are looking to get your first video doorbell, or finally replace your original Ring Video Doorbell, this is a smart purchase. The Pre-Roll feature alone makes it worth the upgrade from any other Ring Doorbell in my opinion, but I don't think many people who have a Video Doorbell 2 or Pro will be upgrading just yet.
The doorbell itself is larger than some of the others, but it has the advantage of being able to be battery-powered so you can install it just about anywhere. This makes it ideal for those living in an apartment or adding a video doorbell to a place where an original doorbell may not have been.
Some of the extra features Ring offers are limited in nature by it being battery-powered, but the trade-off is ultimately worth it for everything else you get. If Ring could package these features and quality into a Pro-style camera, that would be ideal for me, but they don't so I will be sticking with the Doorbell 3 Plus and recommending it to anyone who asks me about these in the coming months.
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