Reviews Smart Home

Review: Ring Video Doorbell 2 and Chime Pro – a smart doorbell with camera

Review: The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is a smart second generation doorbell with a front door built-in camera features 1080p resolution.
4.6/5 - (47 votes)

Ring Video Doorbell 2

We have recently tested various products with which you can secure your home in a smart way, including an alarm system and a smart lock. However, a smart doorbell was still missing from the list until today. Lately we have extensively tested the Ring Video Doorbell 2.

What is Ring Video Doorbell 2?

The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is a smart doorbell with a built-in camera. The second generation front door camera features 1080p resolution this time, while its predecessor has a 720p version. The camera also has an angle of 160 degrees and there is a motion sensor that can give notifications. In addition, an improved evening mode is available and consumers are able to change the faceplate (black or silver gray). The inside contains a battery that can be charged and even replaced using micro-usb.

You can also connect the doorbell camera to your power network, as you would with any other doorbell. Furthermore, the security level has not changed since the previous version. Via an app on iOS and Android you can see who is at the door and even communicate with them, since the Ring Video Doorbell 2 also features a microphone and speaker. When someone is at the door without ringing the bell, you will receive a notification on your smartphone or tablet. The smart doorbell has been given a price of 199 euros.

What is the Ring Chime Pro?

The Ring Chime Pro is a 59 euro accessory for the Ring Video Doorbell 2. You place the Chime Pro in a socket near the doorbell. The device functions as a speaker for the doorbell (with different tones) and at the same time as a WiFi amplifier for your network (and therefore the doorbell). Through the Ring app you can choose a melody for the doorbell and also enable the Do Not Disturb mode so that the bell does not ring.

Ring Video Doorbell 2

Ring Video Doorbell 2: Design

The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is a sleek and compact doorbell with a size of 12.83cm x 6.35cm x 2.74cm. The doorbell is neatly finished and has a black housing. However, the bottom part (the part of the button) can be switched. In the package you will find a silver-gray cap and a black cap. In addition, the housing is resistant to weather influences such as rain, heat or cold. There is little to criticize or criticize about the design. The doorbell looks like a premium, advanced doorbell with built-in camera.

Ring Video Doorbell 2

The Chime Pro is somewhat less chic and sleek, but in most cases it will also be less visible. The WiFi amplifier and audio amplifier comes in a white finish and has two antennas that amplify the WiFi signal in the house.

Ring Video Doorbell 2: Installation

When we open the box of the Ring Video Doorbell 2, we are shocked by the large amount of accessories, screws, attachments and documents. However, once ordered it appears that the company has thought very carefully about the installation and that it is made as simple as possible for the consumer. Everything is clearly explained and videos are available for all parts of the installation. Everything is actually included, even the screwdriver, the drill and the spirit level. No, you will really have to arrange the drill yourself. You don’t have to use everything that is included. Depending on how and where you mount the doorbell and how you connect it, there are different accessories.

First of all, you charge the battery of the Ring using the included microUSB cable. Once charged, you can assemble the doorbell and add it to the downloadable Ring app in this way. After creating an account and following a number of simple steps, the Ring doorbell is activated and added to the app. Adding the Chime Pro is the same easy way. By the way, make sure that you have sufficient WiFi range where the doorbell will be placed. With poor range it can happen that a signal is not or badly transmitted. So try out the intended location before you start mounting.

Ring Video Doorbell 2

We have chosen to mount the doorbell next to the front door, in place of the old (analog) doorbell. This doorbell was already connected to a battery-operated bell in the house with a power wire, so by means of a connection with a socket and a transformer we could have connected the Ring doorbell directly to the power. Now that is still possible, but for now we have opted for operation purely on the removable and rechargeable battery of the Ring, about which more later.

Ring Video Doorbell 2

The assembly is extensive but if you read carefully and the instructions follow a piece of cake; Place the Ring Video Doorbell 2 mounting cover where it should be, mark the screw holes, leaving four holes in the wall. If available, connect the pre-existing wires for the doorbell to the rear, place the mounting cap against the wall, screw in the screws and place the black or silver gray cap over the doorbell. The hood is secured with a special security screw. By the way, do not tighten this too hard because we have already screwed a screw. Ring delivers two, so no man overboard. Incidentally, for the mounting cover you can still use an intermediate piece with which you can aim the doorbell at a small angle downwards or to the side, depending on the view in front of the door. We have opted for a slight angle to the left so that everyone standing in front of the door is clearly visible. If you use the motion sensor for notifications, make sure the camera is aimed at the correct area.

Ring Video Doorbell 2

Ring Video Doorbell 2: Subscription

Before we discuss the use of the Ring Video Doorbell 2, it is good to know that you need a subscription to get the most out of the doorbell. When you purchase, you get 30 days of free access to the basic subscription of $ 30 per month. Without a subscription you can use the doorbell as a normal doorbell with camera. This means that you can watch what is going on in front of the camera via the app. You will also receive notifications when someone rings the doorbell, you can speak to that person and you can also see that person. What is not possible is to review recordings when someone has rung the bell or when motion is detected.

Protect Basic is the basic subscription and offers 60 days of event storage for $ 30 per year (and per camera / doorbell). You can also share recorded videos with others. Protect Plus offers unlimited cameras / doorbells, gives you an extra guarantee on purchased products and a 10 percent discount on the purchase of the next product. This subscription costs $ 100 per year.

Now, of course, you have an expensive doorbell hanging next to the door and you may be wondering what happens if it is stolen. According to Ring, that chance is small, but if the doorbell is stolen and you have a police report made, Ring will ensure that your copy is replaced free of charge.

Use

When we look at the usage, we first look at the Ring app, a free application for Android and iOS. Once downloaded and an account created, adding a product is easy. Follow the steps and within minutes you will have the complete system up and running. The app itself has a sleek design and has been given a clear layout. Everything is placed in a logical place, such as the settings per product, and large icons give you access to important functions.

If you are using the Ring Video Doorbell 2 and the Chime Pro, when you open the app you will end up on the home screen of My Devices. Here you will find the most recent notifications per product and direct access to the screen per product. In this overview you can see missed ‘calls’ (someone at the door while you are not answering), accepted calls (you answer when someone rings the doorbell), motion events (when enabled) and the Live View activities (when you go live via the doorbell). watched).

By clicking on the image of the Ring Video Doorbell 2 or the Chime Pro at the top of the screen, you will enter the screen of each product. With the Ring Video Doorbell 2 you can directly enable the Live View display (watch live through the doorbell), view the history of events, view and adjust the linked Chimes, adjust the settings for motion detection, share the doorbell with other users and view the ‘health’ of the device. The latter function shows you the battery status and the quality of the WiFi connection, among other things.

The Chime Pro has less setting options. With this device, however, you can choose from numerous (on) ring tones and determine the volume. We have the Chime Pro in the hall cupboard so that the ringtone can be heard both upstairs and downstairs. Not all ringtones are loud and clear, so test a few so you can use the loudest. You can also see the health of the Chime Pro, and the WiFi connection is particularly interesting there. You can also snooze the Chime Pro for 1 to 12 hours.

In addition to the fact that the doorbell sends a notification and makes the Chime Pro ring as soon as someone is at the door, there is also a motion sensor that can send notifications and make videos as soon as a movement is detected. You can create zones for this in the ‘Motion’ settings. You can determine exactly the maximum distance from the doorbell within which a movement may be detected, and you can even determine the angle quite accurately. It is also possible to exclude certain angles. This works very accurately, as our test shows. We live almost directly on a street where many cars pass by, so we only wanted to detect movements that are on the sidewalk, directly in front of the door. We set the motion zones to 1,

Now this is also an important point. In our situation, the separate motion detector is of little use. Many people pass the door and we do not have our own access path. This results in reports that are not interesting in 99 percent of the cases. This also results in many reports, which means that the battery lasts for much less time. In short, the motion detector is really only interesting if you also have your own access path that nobody normally walks on. Incidentally, you can indicate in the app how often you want to receive notifications about movements and you can also switch off the motion detector between certain times.

Ring Video Doorbell 2

But how does the doorbell actually perform its most important task? Let’s start with the WiFi connection as that can be a stumbling block for many. It is advisable to check before installation whether the WiFi range is also sufficient at the front door. For us it seemed just enough, but the Ring now and then let us know that it has a moderate range. And that while the router is at a distance of less than 3 meters (with two walls in between) and the Chime Pro (as a WiFi repeater) is located nearby. It is probably on the outside wall, and it will be the same for many people. Not once was there no range, but a moderate range can result in a poorer video quality or a delayed notification. We have not experienced this, but it is a point that you have to take into account. The Chime Pro does its job as a repeater perfectly for all devices in the house, but does not seem to reach the Ring better in our case. However, that does not mean that we can do without the Chime, because without Chime you do not have an audible ringing signal in the house. Then you will only receive a notification on your phone. If you want to get a clear ring signal everywhere in the house, you can purchase an extra Chime (Pro) and place it anywhere (with WiFi coverage).

The video quality of the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is very good, provided you have an average to good WiFi signal. The wide viewing angle ensures that you have a perfect view of what is happening in front of the door and the image is crystal clear, sharp and smooth. Speaking and listening via the doorbell also works perfectly. People in front of the door are clearly audible and you can be heard yourself. Thanks to Live View, you can also see what’s going on in front of the door without anyone having to ring the bell. This way you can keep an eye on your access path at any time. Finally, the battery life is important, especially when you only use the doorbell on the supplied battery (not connected to power). In our case we can say that without motion detection we can use the battery for about 4 months. When we switch on the motion detection and therefore receive extremely many reports, this drops to a few weeks. It is therefore a consideration (motion sensor on or off) and adjusting the motion notifications in the app. The battery can be charged via microUSB and is therefore full within an hour or 5.

Smarthome integration

One point that we attach great importance to is the smart home integration. Nowadays it is a must that smart products can also work together with other smart products so that we can really speak of a smart home. Fortunately, Ring is also paying attention to this in the form of the Ring + program. This program means that there are a select number of partners who make products that Ring can communicate with. In the app we see that these include Wemo, Wink, Smartlink and Lockitron. These are mainly companies that develop smart locks, which is also a perfect partner for a smart doorbell. In the Netherlands, these parties are not yet really present, so the direct smart home integration through Ring + is still a bit disappointing.

However, there is also support for IFTTT. This means that you can connect the doorbell with an IFTTT recipe to other products that support IFTTT. For example, we have linked the doorbell to the Philips Hue lighting using an IFTTT recipe. As soon as the bell rings, the lights start to flash. At least, that should be the intention. Unfortunately, the integration of IFTTT is poor and as far as we can see the problem is on Ring’s side. As soon as the doorbell rings, nothing happens. However, 10 to sometimes 30 minutes later the lights start to flash. Such a delay is of course not allowed. We have heard from several users who have experienced this problem, to a greater or lesser extent. And the Philips Hue lighting works perfectly with other equipment. In our view, there is still work to be done here for Ring.

Incidentally, there is also integration for Amazon Alexa, so that you could show the image of the doorbell on an Alexa-compatible screen by means of speech and an Alexa speaker. We have not yet been able to test this as Alexa has not yet been officially rolled out in the Netherlands and we do not have an Alexa-compatible screen, but we have already been able to link Alexa and Ring. In any case, that worked perfectly.

Conclusion

If we add everything together, we can say that the Ring Video Doorbell 2 does what it needs to do perfectly. The function as a smart doorbell with camera works flawlessly, provided you ensure a good WiFi range, which can be a challenge. Installation and assembly are simple (everything is explained and included for you), the notifications are accurate, the video and audio quality are very good, the motion detector works very accurately and can be tightly adjusted, and the application is user-friendly. However, the motion detector is not interesting for everyone, especially if you live right next to a busy street. The Chime Pro has its added value as a WiFi repeater and as an audible doorbell, but if you don’t need a WiFi repeater, the standard Chime is sufficient.

However, there are certainly areas for improvement for the Ring Video Doorbell 2, especially in the area of ​​smart home integration. The partners in the Ring + program are hardly found in the Netherlands, Alexa has not yet been officially launched in the Netherlands and the IFTTT integration works very poorly. For the time being, it is therefore mainly a stand-alone product.

Pros

  • Easy installation and assembly
  • Good picture and sound quality
  • User-friendly app 
Negatives

  • Motion sensor not interesting for everyone
  • IFTTT effect is moderate
  • Wifi range not always good

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