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Ring Video Doorbell 3 vs. Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus: Which should you buy?

Ring Video Doorbell 3 Hero
Ring Video Doorbell 3 Hero (Image credit: Ring)

Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus

Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus Reco

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The Ring is bringing you some new features with its Video Doorbell 3 Plus. The addition of Pre-Roll video gives you four seconds of video before the detect event. This helps get a better idea of what happened leading up to the notification from your doorbell.

Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus

The complete picture

Pre-Roll video
2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz Wi-Fi
1080p HD video
Advanced Motion Detection
No Google Assistant integration
A bit pricey

Ring Video Doorbell 3

Ring Video Doorbell 3 Reco

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The Ring Video Doorbell 3 carries all of the same upgrades as the Plus version, aside from the higher price tag and the Pre-Roll. The Ring Video Doorbell 3 is a quality upgrade over Ring Video Doorbell 2 due to the addition of the 5.0 GHz Wi-Fi and Advanced Motion Detection.

Ring Video Doorbell 3

A solid upgrade

2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz Wi-Fi
1080p HD video
Advanced Motion Detection
Less expensive
No Pre-Roll video
No Google Assistant integration

The Ring Video Doorbell 3 vs. Plus has a nice set of upgrades over the device's previous two generations. The two new versions feature the same upgrades and visual stylings, with the only differentiator being the Video Doorbell 3 Pus gets Pre-Roll video. However, is that worth the additional $20? Let's get into it.

Time for an upgrade

Ring Video Doorbell 3 Hero

Source: Ring (Image credit: Source: Ring)

Video doorbells allow you to see who's at the door without the need to go to the door or window. A good video doorbell also offers features like motion detection, two-way communication, and notifications. Ring has long been one of the most popular options for video doorbells, and with the release of the Ring Video Doorbell 4, but the Ring Video Doorbell 3 and Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus are still great options and pack some useful features.

These two doorbells aren't so different from each other — but if you look closely, you'll see that the 3 Plus has one big advantage.

One of these upgrades is the inclusion of a 5.0 GHz Wi-Fi band. This will be a welcome addition since it allows faster data transfer rates at the expense of a higher rate of interference from obstacles like walls or doors. In most cases, though, you shouldn't have any issues maintaining a connection between your front door and router. If it does, there is still a 2.4 GHz band available to fall back on.

Ring has also included a feature that was previously only available on the Pro and Elite models — advanced motion detection, which allows you to create a custom motion zone. Doing this can limit some false occurrences and unnecessary notifications coming to your phone. Should your home's front door face a busy sidewalk or street, for example, standard motion detection may pick up that activity. Setting up a more refined detection area will cut down on those annoying phone buzzes of joggers passing by.

While these two new video doorbells from Ring have some helpful differentiators from the previous offerings, they are not so different from each other — but if you look closely, you'll see that the 3 Plus has one big advantage over the 3.

Ring Video Doorbell 3Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus
Price$179.99$199.99
Video Quality1080p HD1080p HD
Motion DetectionAdvanced motion detection with adjustable motion zonesAdvanced motion detection with adjustable motion zones
Connectivity802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi connection at 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi connection at 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz
Smart Assistant IntegrationAmazon EchoAmazon Echo
Power SourceWired or quick-release rechargeable battery packWired or quick-release rechargeable battery pack
Pre-RollNoYes, Black and White

The one big difference

Ring Video Doorbell 3 Hero

Source: Ring (Image credit: Source: Ring)

Ring is now including a feature that hasn't been seen on any of its other video doorbells: Pre-Roll. Typically when motion is triggered on a Ring Video Doorbell, you'll get a notification. This allows you to view what happened after the motion sensor was triggered. Pre-Roll gives you an additional four seconds of video from before the activity. This feature is an excellent addition, especially when using it as part of an expanded security setup.

Seeing what led up to the moment that enough motion occurred to activate the sensor can help give you a more complete picture. As with most motion-activated devices, its range can be limited, and the required movement can be high/specific. So, by the time the sensor is tripped, you may only see the tail end of what happened —causing you to miss out on valuable information to solve an incident or, hopefully, additional funny footage.

Pre-Roll does have its limitations. Its video quality is less than 1080p, night vision is not available, and audio won't be included. Regardless, Pre-Roll can still be a valuable asset to many situations — as the saying goes, "Something is better than nothing."

Small things matter

Ring has two products that are both full of great features for those looking for convenience and added security making these two or the best video doorbells available. With the fantastic integrations into the Amazon Echo ecosystem, the addition of 5.0 GHz Wi-Fi band, and advanced motion detection, it would be hard to go wrong with either the standard or plus model. However, the Pre-Roll feature is the tipping point to give the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus the win. While it isn't always going to earn that nearly $30 difference, even if it helps you once, you'll be glad you had it.

Chris Wedel
Chris Wedel
Chris Wedel is a fan of all things tech and gadgets. Living in rural Kansas with his wife and two young boys makes finding ways to get and stay online tricky. By utilizing his years of experience with the tech and mobile communications industries — success is assured. When not conquering connectivity challenges and testing new gadgets, he enjoys cruising a gravel road in his UTV with some good tunes.