A $200 doorbell is a little exorbitant. Let's just get that out of the way now. But as I've said time and time again, the Ring Doorbell has quickly become one of those crazy pieces of tech that just works, and that has become damned near indispensable for me and my family.
If you have a door, you'll want a doorbell that can see what's going on. And for me that's been the Ring — OK, Ring Pro, actually. Here's why:
1. It'll be your most-used security camera.
I have quite a few cameras on the inside and outside of my house, a side-effect of testing this sort of stuff for a living. For the most part, I could do away with the lot of them.
But not the Ring. While this is going to be different for everyone depending on your layout and circumstances, for my money the front door is where I want to see from. I can see who's coming to the house before they get there, and I can see who they were should something untoward happen while I'm not paying attention.
The package-on-the-porch scenario is the obvious one. Did the delivery driver even attempt to drop it off? Did someone make off with your Amazon loot while you were at work? Now you'll know.
But I also use the Ring while I'm home, should I be expecting someone to show up. Because nobody likes surprises.
It's also great to for knowing when the kids get back from school.
2. It's not that expensive.
As I said at the outset, upwards of $200 is a lot to spend on a doorbell. But that's how strongly I feel about this, and Ring in general.
It's easy to set up, whether you go with the Ring Doorbell 2 (that's the one with the internal battery that charges via your existing doorbell wiring, or by USB) or a Ring Pro (which requires the low-voltage wiring to work at all). If you have do basic home improvement stuff — as in, hold a screwdriver and maybe twist some wires — you're good here.
If you do need help (I had to deal with some voltage issues) their customer service is aces.
I went ahead and ponied up the $30 for 24/7 recording, but the Ring also works just fine, for free, should you decide to go without that. The live feed doesn't cost a dime.
3. It just works. Everywhere.
One of my favorite pastimes is hearing Windows fans grumble about not having proper Windows apps. My second favorite pastime is grumbling about not having proper Mac apps.
Ring works everywhere. Yeah, it's got a web portal, and that's just fine. But it also has native apps on Windows, Mac OS, Android and iOS, and they can all notify you when the Ring detects motion, or when someone actually hits the bell.
4. It gives you an excuse to buy an Echo Show.
Even cooler? It works with the new Amazon Echo Show.
While it's more of a passive sort of camera in that sense — you have to tell Alexa to show you the front door; it doesn't automatically pop up on the screen just yet — it's a great alternative to finding your phone when the Ring sees someone coming.
5. It's got decent IFTTT support
Having a good native app is just start of things. Ring also works with IFTTT, as well as with other smart home manufacturers, so you can do things like have your connected lights blink when someone rings the bell. Or log all the times someone hits the button.
There's a world of clever stuff that can be done here.
6. It's actually for more than just doorbells
OK, OK. Ring isn't just a doorbell. (Or a trio of doorbells, actually.)
It's worth taking a look at the other options they've got. I have a Stickup Cam in my backyard, and it's powered by a solar panel, so I didn't have to deal with any wiring. That's cool.
And I'm getting close to picking up a Floodlight Cam. Because it's floodlights, and a camera. (There's also a Spotlight Cam on the way.)
And once you have four (or more) Ring devices it's worth going in on the $100-a-year "Protect" plan, which lets you connect as many devices as you want, adds a lifetime warranty, and gets you 10 percent discounts on future orders. Not bad.
Why wouldn't you want a Ring Doorbell?
Fine, twist my arm. I came up with a few reasons.
- You don't have a door. You poor, poor soul.
- You're renting and can't install stuff. This is actually a legit problem. Some landlords don't let you have nice things. I recommend moving.
- You don't like security. Don't be that guy.
Really, though. If you have a home, you should consider one of the Ring Doorbells, or one of the accessory cameras. It's one of those surprising connected home products that I've only been happy with, and that has proven itself time and time again.
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