ARTICLE Gareth Poley
Answer your doorbell using your smartphone from anywhere in the world
We live in a world where everyday appliances and devices are getting smarter - our homes are becoming more connected and automated, so why should the humble doorbell be any different?
I am trying to think of the best way to sum up what Ring has done to the doorbell as we know it and all I keep thinking about is the show, “Pimp my ride” - Ring has seriously “Pimped my doorbell”.
No longer does my doorbell just ring the chime in the hallway when someone presses it - it now has HD video, motion sensors and many more bells and whistles that until recently I never even realised I needed.
I have been using the Ring Video Doorbell for a little over a month now and here are some of my favourite features.
Answer your doorbell anywhere
Now no matter where we are in the world (provided we have an internet connection), when anyone pushes the door bell it alerts everyone in the house on our iPhones and Apple watches.
There have been two particularly interesting times when this has been useful...I was once out walking our dog, Sailor, when our food delivery arrived twenty minutes early. When they rang the doorbell, it alerted me on my phone and I was able to chat with him and let him know to please wait and I will be home really soon. When I arrived from behind him walking up the driveway, you could tell he was confused. No my friend, teleportation has not been invented, but video streaming doorbells have!
A friend of mine was in Sydney too when a courier arrived - he was able to answer the doorbell and chat to the courier man standing at the front door through the doorbell from Sydney – Isn’t that neat?
It couldn’t have taken me longer than twenty minutes from unboxing to using the Ring Video Doorbell. I got some serious man points around the house for my DIY skills, but if I am honest, it’s the team at Ring who deserve the kudos for making it so easy.
When you open the box, you will find not only the Video Doorbell, but a very handy little toolkit including a mounting bracket, spirit level, screwdriver, drill bit, micro USB charging cable and of course the screws and anchors.
Ring impressed me right from the start; I have never received a product with such an impressive tool kit to help with installation.
Ring comes with a complimentary tool kit
The team at Ring have really given a lot of thought into simplifying the process for getting started which creates a really good first impression. Simply download the iOS app (also available for Android) and connect the Ring Video Doorbell to the Wi-Fi network using the app. Once set up on your iPhone, it instantly downloads the app to your Apple Watch and configures itself there too...smart!
If you have an existing doorbell hard wired to your home, pop that off and connect the existing wires to the Ring Video Doorbell, and affix the video doorbell to the wall or door frame. You’re now set up and ready to go!
When someone pushes the doorbell, it will still chime using your existing doorbell chime in your home, but it will now also alert you on your smart phones and smart watch too if you have one.
If you do not have existing doorbell wiring in place, no need to worry, you don’t have to pay an electrician to add wiring to your home as the doorbell can be used on battery mode.
From what I can tell, the only feature that you do not have access to if you don’t hardwire the video doorbell, is Liveview. So if being able to open up the camera at any time without waiting for someone to press the doorbell is important to you, you may want to fork out to get the wiring done.
Liveview was released shortly after I started using the video doorbell, and to be honest, when we set it up, it was a feature that was lacking at first.
Every single one of us in the house commented that this product is awesome...BUT it would be so much better if it could be turned on at any time without having to wait for someone to ring the doorbell or set off the motion sensor, so we were all very pleased when they made the announcement about the new feature.
Now we can be anywhere in the world and use our doorbells built in camera to check on our property - essentially using the camera on the doorbell as an IP security surveillance camera.
Not everyone presses the doorbell so it’s good that Ring have added the motion sensor to alert us when there is activity outside the home even if the person does not press the button.
When I have used other IP cameras in the past, I have been inundated with alerts no matter how many times I tweaked the sensitivity settings to a point where I would turn the alerts off.
But Ring is different - Ring has got it right, we only get the motion alerts when there actually is motion and not only that, we can set up zones that we would like the camera to monitor and alert us to only when there is motion in that zone.
This is useful for example if the street is in view of the camera, you wouldn’t want to get an alert every time a car drives past your house. You’re able to exclude that section of view from the sensor and instead have it only alert you if someone is actually on your door step or in your front garden #KeepOffTheGrass.
Imagine being home alone at night and answering the door in complete safety and comfort. With Ring’s built-in night vision and HD camera you will have a clear view of who is at the door any time day or night.
Once you have set up your new video doorbell, Ring offers you the option to invite more people to use the app by simply entering their email address.
I sent the invitation to everybody who lives at the house and did not need to assist them with setting it up on their phones – the links and information provided in the welcome email are clear enough for them to work it out on their own in a matter of minutes.
Look back on recent activity to share any incidents with police, neighbourhood watch or friends and family.
Cloud storage backups
I quite like this feature, it allows us the ability to look back on video clips of people who were at the front door with peace of mind knowing that the clips are securely stored in the cloud should we need them to share with the police or neighbourhood watch...or in our case with friends when they’re funny - and it’s surprising just how many funny occurrences you would have missed being away from home and not having one of these installed.
Although the cloud storage feature is a paid option, currently it will only set you back $3 per month; so for what it offers, I’d say it is a worthwhile investment.
Ring Video Doorbells are available in a range of faceplate finishes to match your homes style
Lifetime purchase protection
For some, there may be a bit of apprehension to install a doorbell that costs close to $400 on the front of the property in clear site for burglars to see.
Never fear though as the Ring Video Doorbell attaches to its mounting plate using proprietary screws for security - someone would need to have a special screwdriver to fit these screws to be able to remove it undamaged from your house.
Furthermore, if your video doorbell gets stolen, don’t worry - Ring will replace it. For free.
HD Camera - 720P
Have you ever seen news reporting, “Have you seen this person” while showing a picture of nothing more than pixels and thought to yourself: “My phone takes clearer pictures than bank’s surveillance camera!” Great news, the Ring Video Doorbell is equipped with a 720p HD Video Camera to record clear footage of people on your property.
If you take a look at the Ring website, you can view videos from actual Ring customers where the video captured has been useful to share with local law enforcement.
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