Ring Offers Doorbells, Floodlights, and MoreBy - 03/27/2017
I’ve been a Ring owner since late 2015, and I’m still a fan. Since then, the game has changed with new additions like Ring Pro, Stick Up Cam, and now Floodlight Cam and Ring Elite.
(Ring was gifted to me for testing in 2015. My hands-on experience at CES with the other Ring devices was self-funded. This did not impact my opinion, but I thought you should know.)
Ring’s Family of Cameras
All of Ring’s cameras are made to work together, but they all serve a unique purpose. The idea isn’t to pick one over the other, but to use them together to protect your home from the outside in.
|Ring Video Doorbell||Ring Video Doorbell Pro||Ring Video Doorbell Elite||Stick Up Cam||Floodlight Cam|
|Placement||Can Replace existing doorbell (Hardwired) or not (Battery-Powered)||Replaces existing doorbell (Hardwired)||Fits in Standard Junction Boxes, Flush Mount Installation (Hardwired), PoE||Wall Mounted (Standard or Security Bracket), Wire-Free Security Camera||Replaces Existing Wired Flood Lights, Connects to Standard Junction Boxes|
|Live Streaming||Hardwired Doorbell Only|
|Field of View||180°||160°||160°||80°||140°|
|Motion Detection||Predefined Zones||Custom Zones||Custom Zones||Predefined Zones||Custom Zones|
|Other Features||Notifies you when someone rings your doorbell.||Notifies you when someone rings your doorbell.||Notifies you when someone rings your doorbell.||Up to 1 Year Battery Life or Use Solar Charger||Built-in Siren, Smart Floodlight, Facial and Object Recognition|
|App/Web Portal Access|
|Compatible Ring Products||Ring Chime, Chime Pro, Stickup Cam, Floodlight Cam, Solar Security Sign||Ring Chime, Chime Pro, Stickup Cam, Floodlight Cam, Solar Security Sign||Ring Chime, Chime Pro, Stickup Cam, Floodlight Cam, Solar Security Sign||Solar Panel, Ring Doorbells, Floodlight Cam, Solar Security Sign||Ring Doorbells, Stickup Cam, Solar Security Sign|
|Compatible Third-Party Products||IFTTT, Wink, ADT, Control4, Stringify, LockState, Kisi, Lockitron, WeMo, Kevo, SmartThings||IFTTT, Wink, ADT, Control4, Stringify, LockState, Kisi, Lockitron, WeMo, Kevo, SmartThings||IFTTT, Wink, ADT, Control4, Stringify, LockState, Kisi, Lockitron, WeMo, Kevo||IFTTT, Stringify, Wink, (Others Unknown)||IFTTT, Wink, SmartThings, ADT, Kevo (Others Unknown)|
|Lifetime Purchase Protection||Free replacement if stolen.||Free replacement if stolen.||Free replacement if stolen.||Free replacement if stolen.||Free replacement if stolen.|
|Ring Video Doorbell||Ring Video Doorbell Pro||Ring Video Doorbell Elite||Stick Up Cam||Floodlight Cam|
|Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now||Buy Now|
Ring Floodlight Cam
I met Floodlight Cam during this year’s CES, and I’m pretty excited. The camera is reminiscent or Sengled or even Kuna as it combines the power of a security camera with the power of smart lighting, two effective home security forces.
Ring has thought beyond the typical to outfit the device with several new security features. First of all, Floodlight Cam includes person and object detection. Not to be confused with facial recognition, person detection can’t identify who a person is, just that they are indeed a person. However, it’s a feature that makes motion alerts more intelligent and helps cut down on time spent watching footage of trees swaying in the wind. Second, it is the only Ring device which includes a 110-decibel siren. Finally, the 3K lumen LED lights are motion activated and app-controlled.
The lights inside Floodlight Cam are smart lights. You can schedule them to turn on and off at certain times. You can even schedule them to turn on at dusk and off at dawn directly from the Ring mobile app. Finally, you can turn them on or off on-demand from anywhere.
Like Ring Pro and the original Ring doorbell, the Floodlight Cam works with Wink, SmartThings, and IFTTT. This allows you not only to integrate the camera but also the floodlight, into scenes and rules.
The downside to Ring Floodlight Cam is that it’s a floodlight. Though Ring will ship everything you need for a successful install, it still requires that you replace an existing wired floodlight. The camera will connect to any standard junction box to help simplify installation, but it still might be a challenge for some, like me.
Ring Stick Up Cam
Ring Stick Up Cam has been around for a while. And if you’re interested, you can compare it to other outdoor home security cameras here. What sets it apart from the other Ring options is that it’s wire-free. You can mount it anywhere you have an internet connection. Ring Stick Up Cam only monitors for motion and does so using a smaller field of view. It provides two-way audio and is the only option that can technically be used inside, though it is fully weatherproof and made for outdoor use.
The major downside to Stick Up Cam, like other battery-operated cameras, is that the charge will only last so long. The good news is that if you don’t want to take it down to charge, you can purchase the solar charging panel ($49) to keep it fired up. The panel connects to Stick Up via a microUSB cable and uses sunlight to keep the camera’s battery charged.
Ring Video Doorbells
What makes the Ring Video Doorbells different from the other Ring cameras is pretty obvious, they’re doorbells. To help protect your home, they connect to your home’s WiFi and send notifications when they detect motion or when someone rings your doorbell.
The first major difference between the three is how they are installed. All three doorbell options can be hardwired into your existing doorbell wires and will use your existing doorbell chime. If you don’t have an existing doorbell, your only option is the original Ring, as it can also run on battery power. Also, Ring Elite is a flush-mount doorbell. At CES I was told that it is best for new home builders or contractors because you do have to cut a hole to flush-mount the doorbell. However, it’s certainly possible to self-install. The doorbell fits inside a standard sized junction box. The second feature that sets Elite apart from the other doorbells is that it uses PoE (Power over Ethernet). Using PoE is smart, very smart. It will improve Elite’s performance as it no longer relies on your wireless internet connection and will be less impervious to bandwidth issues and offline failures.
To break it down, Ring Original is battery-powered. Ring Pro is hardwired, has a slimmer design, higher resolution, a smaller field of view, but adds custom motion zones. Ring Elite is the same as Pro, but it’s a flush-mount style device and adds PoE.
If you don’t own an existing doorbell chime, Ring has a solution for you. Ring sells two wireless chimes including the Ring Chime and Chime Pro. Chime Pro acts as a WiFi extender in addition to a chime. Of course, you don’t need a chime at all as you will receive push notifications to your phone. If you’re an IFTTT user, you can setup other alerts. For example, you can get an alert on your TV, turn your Hue lights on, or even setup text alerts to let you know when someone’s at your door.
As mentioned earlier, I’ve owned the original Ring Doorbell for over a year, and I’ve recommended it to both friends and family members. The only problem I’ve had with it is that twice it’s lost internet connection. Unfortunately, when this happens, you have to remove the doorbell and reset it. The process takes about 15 minutes. Also, if you choose to run the device on battery power, you will need to take it down to recharge it. Though I’ve not tested the device using the battery, the battery should last 6-12 months. Once it dies, it takes several hours to recharge.
Other Home Security Features
As standalone devices, all of Ring’s cameras provide unique security benefits. They also provide many of the same benefits: You can talk to visitors using two-way audio, receive motion alerts, and check-in via live streaming. But there are other security benefits they all share, some free, some not.
No matter which camera you choose, they all require a cloud storage plan if you want to access your video history. Fortunately, the monthly fee is low compared to other cloud camera options. For $3/month/camera or $30/year, you will gain access to 6 months of video history. For the Ring Doorbells, the history includes both motion and ring events. If you have several Ring cameras, you can subscribe to Protect for $10/month or $100/year. This plan covers an unlimited amount of Ring cameras and adds a lifetime product warranty, vs. a 1-year warranty without the Protect plan.
In addition to the features mentioned above, you will also have full control over recorded events. You can delete them at any time, or you can share them directly from the mobile app (iOS, Android, Mac or Windows 10) or the web portal.
Though still in Beta, Ring Neighborhoods is a free feature aimed at connecting Ring owners. By opting in, you become part of a larger community. By setting a geofence radius around your home, you define a neighborhood. If someone within your “neighborhood” catches something suspicious, they can choose to share the footage with connected neighbors. As seen in the video above, the benefits of the program are tangible. After six months, the Los Angeles neighborhood of Wilshire Park saw a 50% reduction in burglaries.
Another free security feature is motion scheduling. Using the Ring app, you can disable events during specific days or times. For example, if you’re home every weekday between 5 pm and 6 pm and don’t want your activity recorded, you can schedule the same using the mobile app. You can even have multiple rules so that the camera behaves differently on different days and times.
If you need multiple doorbells, you can do that too. In fact, Ring recently launched a feature to make managing multiple doorbells easier. If you have multiple calls, you can now place live events on hold to answer new calls and switch between calls without hanging up.
Third-Party Integrations via Ring+
Finally, you can help protect your home by integrating your Ring devices with third-party companies. We’ve already talked about IFTTT integration, but there are others. The doorbell cameras work well with smart locks including those by Lockitron and Kevo. When someone Rings your doorbell, you will have the option of unlocking the door for them using the Ring Mobile App. Other direct integrations include ADT Pulse, WeMo, Lockstate, Wink, and Stringify.
From an outdoor home security perspective, I’m a big fan of what Ring is doing. The only thing that would improve their ability to protect would be the option for continuous cloud recording via Stickup Cam. However, even without continuous recording, they are capable of protecting most homes by making it seem like you’re home when you’re not thanks to smart lighting via the Floodlight Cam and the ability to use two-way audio in response to events. Ring is a family of products worth buying, and if you read my reviews, you know I don’t say that often.