The $28 Million Video Doorbell Ring Tested

By: Brian Rhodes, Published on Sep 08, 2015

In 2015, video doorbells are big business. Ring landed $28 million in funding from Richard Branson and others who are betting that this is the next big thing.

However, when Ring's first generation Doorbot hit the market, it was a total failure that left people furious. So we bought a new Ring, installed it (below) and decided to see how well it works.

 

We evaluated:

  • Video quality
  • Sound quality
  • Motion detection
  • Battery life
  • Low-light performance
  • App performance
  • Lock control / integration
  • Install ease / issues
  • Wireless performance
  • ** ****, ***** ********* are *** ********.**** ****** $** ********* ******* **** ******* Branson *** ****** *** are ******* **** **** is *** **** *** thing.

    *******, **** ****'****** ********** ********** *** ******, ** was * ***** ******* that **** ****** *******. So ** ****** * new ****, ********* ** (below) *** ******* ** see *** **** ** works.

     

    ** *********:

    • ***** *******
    • ***** *******
    • ****** *********
    • ******* ****
    • ***-***** ***********
    • *** ***********
    • **** ******* / ***********
    • ******* **** / ******
    • ******** ***********

    [***************]

    Key ********

    **** *** *** *** findings:

    • ***** *******: *** ***** **** occasional ********** *** **********, but ****** *** '***** intercom' ********.
    • ***** *******: ******* **** ****, with ****** *** ******** audio ** *** **** side, *** **** ***** cancelling ** **** ****.
    • ****** *********: **** ***** ****. Ring ****** ***** ** fine-tune ****** ********* ** minimize *****-******.
    • ******* ****: *** ****, *** far ***** ** *** '1-year' ******* ** **** by ** ******. ** our **** **** ****** use, * **** ****** would **** ** - 45 ****.  *******, ********** eliminates **** *****.
    • ***-***** ***********: ********* *** ********.  In **** *****, ***** may *** ** **** to ******** ******* ******* unit ********** **. ** dark *****, ***** **** likely **** ** ***** external ***** ****** ** to *** *** ****** for ***.
    • *** ***********: *** *** ****** well ** **** *** and ******* *********, *** the **** ** *** accessible **** *** ******* or ********.

    ******** ***** *******: ** ***** ** video, **** ******** * 720P ******* (*** ****** FoV) ***/***** ****** ******* up ** *****, *** the **** ******** ** LEDs. *******, ******* *** unit ** *** **** WDR *** ** ********* using ****, **** ***** quality ** ********* **** worse **** *** **** offers.  ***** ***** ******** quality ** ********* *** as ********* ** ************, Ring *** ******* **** grainy **********, ****** ********, video **********, *** ******* frames ** *** *****:

    ** **** ****:**** **** *** *** the **** ** ****** the ****** ** ******. Unlike * *** ****** that ** '****** **', if ** *** *** pushed *** **** ****** or ** *** ****** is *** ********* ******, unit ***** ******* *** inaccessible ** *** ****.

    ****, **** ********: **** **** *** audio ***** *****, **** a ****, ********* ******* and ********** ***** **. Even **** ********** ***** was ****, ****'* ******* 'active ***** ************' ****** well *** **** ********** wind ** ******* ***** did *** ********* ***-*** communication. ****** ***** *********, at ** **** *** the **** ********** ***** audio ******* ** **** or ****.

    *** *********:*** **** *** * user *** ****** ** Ring's ******** ** *** smartphone ***. ** ***** batteries *** **** ** the **** *******/ ********* is **** **** ***** phone, ***** ** ** other *** *** *** owner ** ***** **** activity.

    ** **** *******:**** ** * doorbell *** ****** **** commercial ******** ******** **** not ******* ***** ******* to ******* * ****** or ****** * ********. 'Buzzing' ******* ******* *** door ** *** ********.

    ****** **********: ***** **** ***** triggered ** * ******, the ******* ****** **** can ** ********** ** record ** ****** ** the ***.  **** *********** gives **** ***** ** a ************ ****** **** can ****** ***** ** prowlers ** ***** ****** close ** *** **** opening.

    Other ********

    ******** *******: ******* **** ** **** bigger **** *********** **** switches, ** *** *** fit ** *** ********* nor **** *** ******* locations ** *** ***** spot ** ***** * camera *** ******** *** to ******* ********, ***, or ****. ** **** doorbell ** ******* ** direct ********, ***** ****-****, or ** *** ******** is ******* ** ******* winds ** ******** *************, Ring **** ****** **** video ******* ******.

    **** ******** ***:*** '******** ******' ***** performance ** *** ** large **** ** *********** of *** ********* **** network. ** *** ****, the **** *** **** ~20 **** **** **** the ****** ******* * brick ******** **** *** we ********** *** ******* frames *** ****.  ****'* FAQ **** *** ***** an ********** ***** *** WiFi, *** **** ***************** ********** ** ******** near *** ****** * ******* ********. For **** *****, **** is ************* *** ********** an ********** *******.

    **** ************ ******** ****: **** **** *** automatically *** ** *** app **** *** ******** button ** ****** ** motion ** ********; ** sends ** ***** ******* to ****** ***** ** the *****. **** ***** the **** **** ******* unlock *** ***** *** swipe *** ******* ****** video **** **. ***** undoubtedly ******** ** * privacy *********, *** ******* takes ****, *** *** person ******* *** **** may **** **** ** the ********. **** **** not ******* *** ******** to ****** **** ** the *** (**: ***** App ** ****** ****) so *** *** ****** is *********** ** **** cases.

    Product ********

    *** ***** ***** ****** a ***** ******** ** the ****'* ************, ******, and **** ******** ** a *********** ********:


    *** **** ******** ***** 3"X5"X1" ***** ** ************ bigger **** ****** **** switches. *******, *** **** uses *** **** *** wire ********** *** * - ** *** ***** typically ******* *** *** doorbells ** **** *****. The **** ****** ****** to * ******** ******* secured ** ***** ** masonry ***** ** **** screws.  ******** *** ******* and ****** ** **** wires ** *** ********* and ****** ****** ** even ****** ******.**** ********** *** ******* ******* and ***** ******** **** connections.

    ***** *** ******** ***** keeps *** **** *******, but **** **** *** existing ***** *** **** the ****, ** **** the ****** ** ******* the **** ** *****. However, *** **** **** can ** ******* ** work ** * ********** unit ******* ********** ** existing *****. *** ********** ***** become ******:

    • ******** ****: **** ***** **** connected***-** ***** *** ~$****** ***** **** * wall ****** *** ****** users ** **** **** the ******** ** ****.  Without **** ****, ****** a **** *** ********** to ***** ************* **** may *** ******* ******* is ******* *** ********.
    • ******* ****: ******* ********* *****, Ring ****** ** **'* internal ******* ********* ****** ** **** for ** ** * year******* ******* ** ****** use.  *** ******* ***** 'normal ***' ***** ***** about **% *** ****, so ******* ******* *** more *********. ******** ** done *** * ****-*** port *** ******** *****, and ******** ************ **** for * - ** hours ***** ******* **, leaving *** ******** ******* a ******** ****** **** time.

    ***** ********** *********** **** been ********* ** **** engineers *** *** *********** above. *******, ** ***** want ** ******* **** completely, ********** **** ** the **** *** ** eliminate *** ******.

    Operation ****

    ** **** *****, ** embedded * ******** **** from *** **** ** use:


    ****** *** ***** ****** after *** **** *** rung, *** ****** *** app ******** *** ***** an ******** *******. ****** about **** ******** *** normal *** **** *********, and ********* ******* *** leave ****** *** **** connects *** *** ** answered, **** ** *** normal **** ** ***** to **** * ***** out ** * ******.

    Nighttime ***********

    **** ******** * ********** IR *** ****** *** has * ****** ** covert (*** **********) ** LEDs ****** ** *** front *******.  ******* ********* performance ** *** ****, **** ****** 10 **** ** *** unit, *** ************ ***** quickly ***** ***.  *********** the ****** ** *** image ***** ** ********* or *** ******** ** IR **** *****.

    *** **** ******** *********, turning ** * ***** 'porch *****' ***** ******* much ****** ***** *******.

    Optional ***** *******

    ** *** ***** ** recording *****, **** ***** * ***** service ******* $* *** ***** or $** *** **** that ******* ****** **** the ******** ** ****/ ~100 ****** - ********* ***** *****.  While **** ****** ***** to ******** ** **** time **** *** ****** whenever ** ** ********* by **** ****** ** motion *** ****, ********* video ***** ***** *** is *********.

    ** *** **** **** below, ** **** ** pushed *** ***** ** recorded ******* ** ******:

    ** *** *****, ****** video ** ************ ** .mp4 ****** *** *** or *** ****** *** is ****/**** *******.

    Fine ****** ****** *********

    ** *********** ******* ** Ring's ******* ** ******** motion ********* *********** ****** a ******* ***** ** turn ** *** ** a ******** **** **** the **** **** ****** the ***:

    **** ****** ****** * different ***** ** ** turned **/*** ** ****** motion, ** ******* ******** like *********** ****** ** the **** *** ******* by *** ****** ** ** will *** **** ******.

    ** ********, * ****** bar ******* ***** ** adjust *** ***** ** detection ** ***** ****** 5 **** ** *** unit, *** ** ** feet ** ****.  ** our ****, * ***** of ***** * - 9 **** *** ***** for ********* ****** ** or *********** *** **** but ******** ******* ** movement ** ******** ** the ******** ****.

    ** *** *****, ****** detection ****** ********, ********** detecting *** ********* '****' events *** ********* ***** 10% '***** *****' ********* due ** *********** ******* events **** **** ** shadows.

    Key *********

    *** **** **********, ****** a **** ******** ******** in *** *********** ***: it ***** *** ******** you *** **** **** if *** *** ***.

    ***** **** ***** **** to ******** *** ***** from *** ******, *** unit ***** *** *** ability ** ***** **** whomever *** ****** *** button - **** ** you *** ***** ****.  If ******* '**** *** bell' ***** ** ******* you *** *** ****, but **** **** ***** clearly *********** *** *** aware ** **** ***** onsite, **** *** ***** to **** ***** *******.

    ****** ****, ***** *** better *** **** ****** surveillance ******* ** *** market, *** *** * multi-purpose *** ********* **** Ring **** ******* **** enough *** **** *****.

    Biggest ********

    *******, **** ** *** without ********* ******.  *** inability ** **** *** camera **-****** ** * big *********** **** ****** its *** ** * surveillance ******. ***********, *** dependence ** * ***** app *** *** (** web ******) ***** ** a *********** *** ***** unwilling ** ****** ** carry * ********** **********.

    ***** ******* *** ******* could **** ** * big *******, ********* ** the ******* ** *** underlying **** *******. ** our ****, ** *** problems **** ****** ** ideal *****. *** ***** with ****-****-***** **** ********, Ring *********** ***** ** a *** *******.

Comments (23)

Brian's iPhone pw is 0000

Just for this test. Because OPSEC.

I bought this when it was on shark tank under the dorbot name, never again will I buy somthing from this network of companies. Completely useless out of the box. Took over 8 months for anyone to respond to me from dorbot, by that time i had lost the thing and wasted $250 bucks. The thing did abosloutly nothing just blinked.

I halfway expected the Ring to crash and burn in a similar way that Doorbot did.

However, the engineering group seems to have firmed things up. It's not without troubles (like we noted in the review) especially with choppy video, but for the residential market it is solid for the $199 price especially considering that commercal options like the hardwired Axis Video Intercom are a 5X increase.

Re: support - I emailed support once and they responded within a half hour. Not to say support isn't/will not be an issue for all, but it wasn't during our test.

Hi Brian/all,

What alternatives are there on the market, you mentioned the Axis Video Intercom and I'm familiar with Mobotix's T25 Doorstation (both too pricey for all but some applilcations)?

I have residential customer asking for a video doorbell type solution, but I think it needs to be in the $200-$300 range. I haven't had a chance to research much yet, but I thought I would ask. I agree that the lack of on-demand viewing is a big negative for the Ring. Any other recommendations?

Alternatives in the residental category are still fairly new as well, and I think most of the others have their fair share of complaints across the board.

The $199 SkyBell is often compared as 'the' alternative to Ring, and allows 'live viewing' on-demand, but also comes with pretty miserable ratings - 33% are two star or below. We didn't test it, but proceeding with caution with it might be prudent.

Before Doorbot became Ring and Lockitron became Bolt wasn't there supposed to be some integration between the two?

Is that still planned or?

They do tout app integration with certain lock products:

DOES THE RING™ VIDEO DOORBELL WORK WITH ELECTRICAL LOCKS?

Our Ring App is compatible with smart lock systems from LockState, Kisi, or Lockitron. When you receive a "Ding" or call from your Ring, you will have the option to launch the smart lock app from the Ring App and remotely unlock the door for your guest.

The 'integration' is more like a macro that starts someone else's app. For background, we covered (the newer) Lockitron and LockState locks here.

I mentioned to a manager at Ring they should join IPVM. We shall see. I haven't received mine yet, but I have high hopes and low expectations :). As with any manufacturer a 28 million dollar cash infusion does help.

Are they worth sending an invite to?

We have used with success a product called SkyBell Wifi Doorbell. You should test head to head with RING.

It seems most door bell systems dont have WDR capabilities that we have tried, hardwired or wifi, puts the price point way too high

That's interesting Rob. Thanks. Do you have experience with SkyBell? It hit the market almost the same time as Doorbot 1.0.

We have installed two supplied by the client. They have worked, the clients have been happy, but I have been underwhelmed at the quality. We have also used Comlit which cost 3 times more and it stil had WDR problems, but the client was happy with the product too. it all about managing expectations!

Thanks for the feedback, Rob. How are you dealing with the lack of WDR? Is it a problem you're able to work around?

We tell the client that at certain times of day or year there will be a problem making out the person and we show them footage from one of our installs to set the expectations. This depends on where the camera is facing etc. People are willing to live with it instead of having nothing at all

As a general observation, I suspect the WDR issue will be solved in the next 2 to 3 years. True WDR imagers are becoming increasingly commonplace and they are moving down market (i.e., lower cost), so future versions of video doorbells will likely incorporate those imagers.

So mine showed up and it wasn't working reliably. I found the list of ports that had to be open and went the lazy way and placed that device in the DMZ. Now it's reliable and we shall see how it goes from here. Although distorted, I really like the wide FOV where it's installed.

I picked up two Ring units at ISC East last week. I have them setup but not installed yet. I plan to install tomorrow morning before the annual Thanksgiving guests arrive. Should make a nice test with the added door traffic tomorrow. I have doorbell power already installed so hopefully battery life won't be an issue.

Ill post back later.

Ring announced a companion security camera named "Stick Up Cam" for $199.

The camera uses the same web portal/app and cloud storage setup as the doorbell unit.

On the pro side, Ring is taking advantage of their existing video management interface and expanding it. Cloud service is only $30 per year about 30 days of events.

On the cons side, this cam is only 'weather resistant', not explicitly water proof, is battery powered, and looks pretty terrible.

Unlike the doorbell which can be hardwired, the cam only uses a battery which the company claims is good for 6-12 months, but will likely be much shorter in actual units if they match similar performance of the doorbell.

The camera itself looks like the doorbell unit with the doorbell button removed.

The camera itself looks like the doorbell unit with the doorbell button removed...

Can you just buy two doorbells then, so you can plug them both in?

Undisclosed 2 - the Ring unit does have a doorbell button built in it. I took my two and just changed them out where I had regular doorbell buttons before. They use the power that powered the standard doorbells. When I originally installed then I received a low natter notice which was odd but a firmware update fixed that. They aren't perfect but I would recommend them for what they do.

[UPDATE:] We ordered and received an 2nd-generation Ring Pro. Our full test, comparison, and results are coming soon.

I received notice of Live Video added to the first generation Ring today.

Like several mentioned, right now the feature is only supported on hardwired units. Here are a few screenshots from the app:

Main dashboard, note 'Live View' button:

Buffering is a bit slower than normal, bringing up Live View vs. Recordings:

Also Live View resolution appears lower than typical 720p. Framerate looks normal, but image is overall lower quality than normal:

Overall, for a lacking feature that was a big gap, Ring has successfully filled it with "Live View".

The image is not great, even a simple dedicated surveillance system will not have difficulty outperforming it, but in a combo intercom/doorbell and using an app that users already have downloaded and are using, this is a nice feature.

On a related note, we will contrast the 1st gen Ring with the 2nd gen Ring Pro in our upcoming test. Live view performance will be a part of that test.

Login to read this IPVM report.
Why do I need to log in?
IPVM conducts unique testing and research funded by member's payments enabling us to offer the most independent, accurate and in-depth information.

Related Reports

Dahua Intercom Tested on Feb 07, 2019
Video intercoms are a growing market with video surveillance manufacturers expanding into this niche. IPVM is continuing its series of video...
Bezos-Funded Deep Sentinel Tested on Mar 28, 2019
Backed by Jeff Bezos, the Silicon Valley startup, Deep Sentinel, has declared: No One Does Home Security Like We Do Our Surveillance Team has...
Camera Disruptor Wyze Enters Sensor / Security Market on Mar 28, 2019
Wyze, the company that has disrupted consumer IP cameras, combining American marketing and Chinese manufacturer, has just announced its expansion...
Risk of Amazon Alexa Guard: No Battery Or Cell Backup on Jun 20, 2019
Amazon positions its Alexa Guard Service as a "smart home security system" and says it can help you "keep your home safe". However, the...
Commend ID5 Intercom Tested on Sep 12, 2019
Commend touts the new ID5 intercom as 'timelessly elegant' and the slim body, glass front touchscreen indeed looks better than common, but ugly,...
Aiphone Video Intercom Tested (IX Series 2) on Nov 05, 2019
Aiphone was one of integrator's favorite intercom manufacturers but how well do their products work? The company's newest offering, the IX Series 2...
Avigilon H4 Intercom Tested on Nov 20, 2019
Avigilon is well-known for video surveillance and access, but how well does the company's intercom work? We purchased and tested Avigilon's H4...
Hidden Camera Detectors Tested on Nov 18, 2019
Hidden cameras are a growing problem as cameras become smaller, cheaper and easier to access. However, some companies claim to be able to detect...
Hikvision DS 2nd Gen Intercom Tested on Dec 12, 2019
With its newest IP intercom, Hikvision proclaims users can 'get full control over an entrance' regardless of where it is installed, home or office...
Wyze Smart Door Lock Test on Jan 14, 2020
Wyze's inexpensive cameras have grabbed the attention of many in the consumer market, but can the company's new smart lock get similar...

Most Recent Industry Reports

"Hikvision Football Arena" Lithuania Causes Controversy on Jan 24, 2020
Controversy has arisen in Lithuania over Hikvision becoming a soccer team's top sponsor and gaining naming rights to their arena, with one local MP...
Axis and Genetec Drop IFSEC 2020 on Jan 23, 2020
Two of the best-known video surveillance manufacturers are dropping IFSEC International 2020, joining Milestone who dropped IFSEC in 2019. The...
Multipoint Door Lock Tutorial on Jan 23, 2020
Despite widespread use, locked doors are notoriously weak at stopping entry, and thousands can be misspent on locks that leave doors quite...
Avigilon Shifts Cloud Strategy - Merges Blue and ACC on Jan 23, 2020
Avigilon is shifting its cloud strategy, phasing out its Blue web-managed surveillance platform as a stand-alone brand and merging it with its ACC...
Verkada Paying $100 For Referrals Just To Demo on Jan 22, 2020
Some companies pay for referrals when the referral becomes a customer. Verkada is taking it to the next level - paying $100 referrals fees simply...
Camera Analytics Shootout 2020 - Avigilon, Axis, Bosch, Dahua, Hanwha, Hikvision, Uniview, Vivotek on Jan 22, 2020
Analytics are hot again, thanks to a slew of AI-powered cameras, but whose analytics really work? And how do these new smart cameras compare to top...
Intersec 2020 Final Show Report on Jan 21, 2020
IPVM spent all 3 days at the Intersec 2020 show interviewing various companies and finding key trends. We cover: Middle East Enterprise...
Vehicle & Long Range Access Reader Tutorial on Jan 21, 2020
One of the classic challenges for access control are parking lots and garages, where the user's credential is far from the reader. With modern...
Clearview AI Alarm - NY Times Report Says "Might End Privacy" on Jan 20, 2020
Over the weekend, the NY Times released a report titled "The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It" about a company named...
Favorite Camera Manufacturers 2020 on Jan 20, 2020
The past 2 years of US bans and sanctions have shaken the video surveillance industry but what impact would this have on integrators' favorite...