In the latest of our Technology Product Reviews, Joe Lonergan in the NCBI Labs team provides us with an insight into the Ring Video Doorbell, a smart doorbell from Amazon that contains a high-definition camera, a motion sensor, and a microphone and speaker for two-way audio communication.
Item Name: Ring Video Doorbell
Reviewed by: Joe Lonergan
The Ring video doorbell is a Smart WiFi-enabled video doorbell from Ring a company owned by Amazon. So, this means it will also work well with your Alexa-powered smart speaker.
Unboxing / What are my first impressions of the item?
Once this device was set up, I really liked using it. I needed some help from a handy man to set up as I wanted it mounted on the side of my door and wired up to the same place as my old doorbell. It also has a rechargeable battery option if you prefer. I downloaded the Ring app and went through set up, again a bit similar to setting up a smart speaker. The doorbell speaks you through the process and prompts you when you need to go to the next step in the ring app on your smart phone and then it will prompt you to put in your WiFi code and it will also let you know when the Ring doorbell has been successfully paired. I bought a Chime to plug inside the house so I could hear the doorbell ring aloud. I also linked the doorbell to my Alexa smart speakers so I could talk hands free to the front door directly from the speaker which I found really handy.
I have been using this for a few days, how do I feel about it?
After a few days I got used to using the Ring video doorbell and found it gave me great peace of mind to know I could answer the door remotely. It was great to be able to answer the doorbell when I was away from the house and let my kids’ friends know we were not there, or we will be back in a few minutes. Sometimes I could give instructions to a delivery man to leave something next door or leave the package at the side gate. It was also good for screening unwanted cold callers. I found after a while I did not really need the extra chime as I linked the doorbell to my Alexa devices and enabled it to ring aloud on those devices. So, I would say to people there is no need to pay extra money for the Chime if you plan on linking them to your Alexa devices. You can choose from many different doorbell sounds on your Alexa, anything from traditional doorbell sounds to a choo choo sound.
After a few days I also decided to turn off Motion Detection as I was getting too many notifications.
Is it accessible?
Yes, it is fully accessible.
What did I like?
I liked how easy it is to use. I love the way I can talk to the front door through my smart speaker using a command like “Alexa talk to the front door.” The sound quality was very good. It is also handy that it rings aloud on your smart speaker. It also works with the Google Nest smart speaker.
I found the Ring app quite good, and I liked being able to talk to visitors remotely. Sometimes the Ring app was a little slow but maybe this was a data problem.
It gave me a greater sense of security, especially when you subscribe to the Ring Connect service which records activity at your front door. You can review events in the Ring app at a later time and share and review with your sighted friends if needs be. As video doorbells go, I found it an affordable option.
What didn’t I like?
I did not like that you have to purchase a separate Chime to hear the doorbell ring aloud inside the home. You can get around this by linking to your smart speakers, but this may not be convenient for some people.
Sometimes VoiceOver was difficult to hear when using the Ring app due to audio ducking. But it is difficult to find a solution to this problem.
Connection to the Ring app was sometimes a little choppy depending on mobile data connection. It currently does not work with Apple Home Kit.
Did it meet my expectations?
It met my expectations. It does what it says on the box.
What improvements, if any, would I like to see in this product?
I think they could improve the Ring app a little bit and make it more responsive. A Ring doorbell Chime should be included instead of being sold separately. It will hopefully work with Apple Home Kit in the future.
Is there other/competing technology you have tried, similar to this item?
There are several other types of smart video doorbell but I haven’t yet tried them.