Ring Offers Doorbells, Floodlights, and MoreBy - 02/13/2019
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, Ring Smart Lighting, Floodlight Cam, Ring Elite, Ring Video Doorbell 2, Spotlight Cam, Door View Cam, and Ring Alarm. And Ring is now owned by Amazon.
(Ring Doorbell was gifted to me for testing in 2015. My hands-on experience at CES with the other Ring devices was self-funded. I also purchased Spotlight Cam, Ring Alarm, and the solar panel. 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. As another layer of protection, Ring Alarm uses sensors to detect intrusion.
|Ring Video Doorbell||Ring Video Doorbell 2||Ring Video Doorbell Pro||Ring Video Doorbell Elite||Ring Door View Cam||Stick Up Cam||Floodlight Cam||Spotlight Cam|
|Price||$99.99||$199.00||$249.00||$499.00||$199.00||$179.99||$249.00||Starts at $199|
|Placement||Can Replace existing doorbell (Hardwired) or not (Battery-Powered)||Can Replace existing doorbell (Hardwired) or not (Battery-Powered)||Replaces existing doorbell (Hardwired)||Fits in Standard Junction Boxes, Flush Mount Installation (Hardwired), PoE||Fits over your existing peephole.||Indoor or Outdoor, Wall Mounted (Standard or Security Bracket), Wired or Wire-Free Security Camera||Replaces Existing Wired Flood Lights, Connects to Standard Junction Boxes||Wall Mounted, Comes in a Wired, Mount, Battery-Powered, and Solar Version|
|Live Streaming||Hardwired Doorbell Only||Hardwired Doorbell Only|
|Infrared Night Vision|
|Color Night Vision||Yes, when hardwired. Battery-powered coming soon.||Yes, when hardwired. Battery-powered coming soon.||Coming Soon||Yes, when hardwired. Battery-powered coming soon.||Yes, when hardwired. Battery-powered coming soon.|
|Field of View||180°||160°||160°||160°||115° (Battery), 150° (Wired)||140°||140°|
|Motion Detection||Predefined Zones||Predefined Zones||Custom Zones||Custom Zones||Adjustable Zones||Custom Zones (Wired Only)||Custom Zones||Custom Zones (Wired and Mount Only)|
|Other Features||Notifies you when someone rings your doorbell.||Notifies you when someone rings your doorbell.||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||Built-in Siren, Smart Floodlight, Facial and Object Recognition||Built-in Siren, Smart Spotlight|
|App/Web Portal Access|
|Compatible Accessories||Ring Chime, Chime Pro, Solar Security Sign||Ring Chime, Chime Pro, Solar Security Sign, Solar Charger 2, Quick-Release Battery Pack||Ring Chime, Chime Pro, Solar Security Sign||Ring Chime, Chime Pro, Solar Security Sign||Ring Chime, Chime Pro, Stick Up Solar Panel, Solar Security Sign, Silicone Sleeve||Ring Chime, Chime Pro, Solar Security Sign||Ring Chime, Chime Pro, Solar Security Sign, Spotlight Solar Panel (Battery Version), Quick Release Battery (Battery Version)|
|Compatible Third-Party Products||Echo Show, Echo Spot, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Wink, Control4, Stringify, LockState, Kisi, Lockitron, WeMo, Kevo, SmartThings||Echo Show, Echo Spot, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Wink, Control4, Stringify, LockState, Kisi, Lockitron, WeMo, Kevo, SmartThings||Echo Show, Echo Spot, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Wink, Control4, Stringify, LockState, Kisi, Lockitron, WeMo, Kevo, SmartThings||Echo Show, Echo Spot, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Stringify, Wink||Echo Show, Echo Spot, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Stringify||Echo Show, Echo Spot, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Stringify|
|Lifetime Purchase Protection||Free replacement if stolen.||Free replacement if stolen.||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||Ring Video Doorbell Pro||Ring Video Doorbell Elite||Ring Door View Cam||Stick Up Cam||Floodlight Cam||Spotlight Cam|
|Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site||Coming Soon||Visit Site||Visit Site||Visit Site|
Ring Floodlight Cam
I met Floodlight Cam during CES 2017, and I was pretty excited. The camera is reminiscent of 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.
The Floodlight Cam doesn’t have as many compatibilities as Ring’s Video Doorbells, but it has some, including Stringify and IFTTT. Both allow you to integrate the camera into scenes and rules. Within Stringify, for example, you can choose from two triggers: motion is detected and motion is detected with video, and you can choose from two actions: turn on Ring Floodlight and turn off Ring Floodlight.
The Floodlight Cam also works with Amazon Echo. You can stream footage to Amazon Echo Show, Echo Spot, Fire TV, or any Alexa-enabled device with a screen. You can also view the last recorded event by saying, “Alexa, show the event that just happened at the front door.”
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 Spotlight Cam
If you’d rather avoid the trouble of installing Floodlight Cam, then perhaps you’re better off with the Ring Spotlight Cam.
Spotlight Cam is Ring’s latest outdoor camera that comes in wired, mount, battery-powered, and solar-powered versions. All four versions are designed for outdoor use as they are all weatherproof and can survive sub-zero temps.
Unlike Floodlight Cam, Spotlight Cam is easier to install (with the exception of the Mount version). Simply mount it to a wall, and plug it in, assuming you are using the wired version ($199). Ring also sells a solar powered version ($229) as well as a battery-powered version ($199). Solar and battery are the same cameras. The only difference is that bundling your purchase of the camera with the solar panel saves a little bit of money.
Besides their power source, there are a couple of other differences between the cameras. The wired and mount versions support Motion Zones. You can identify areas within the camera’s field of view that you want to monitor while ignoring other areas. They also support light schedules. If you own the battery-powered version, your lights can turn on automatically when motion is detected. You can even turn the lights on manually from within the mobile app.
No matter which version you choose, Spotlight offers FHD 1080p video, a 140° wide-angle lens, night vision, and two-way audio. The cameras also come equipped with a siren; however, the siren will not sound automatically. Instead, you are responsible for triggering the siren when needed.
And if you’re interested, you can compare it to other outdoor home security cameras here.
Ring Stick Up Cam
Stick Up Cam V2 is made to be used inside or out, making it the only inside camera in the Ring lineup. The new camera comes in two versions: Wired and Battery. The difference between the two versions is how they are powered. Stick Up Cam Battery is a battery-powered camera that can use a solar charge. Stick Up Cam Wired uses a standard wall outlet for power or PoE (Power over Ethernet). Both versions offer two-way audio, 1080p FHD video, and motion detection. The Wired version also offers a wider field of view and zone detection.
Ring Video Doorbells
|Door View Cam|
|Size||Normal||Normal||Ultra Slim||Flush Mount||Ultra Slim|
|Dimensions||4.98 in. x 2.43 in. x .87 in.||5.05 in x 2.50 in. x 1.08 in||4.50 in. x 1.85 in. x .80 in.||4.70 in x 2.75 in x 2.17 in.||TBD|
|Power||Dual Power (Wireless or Wired)||Dual Power (Wireless or Wired)||Hardwire Only||Power over ethernet||Battery Only|
|Wi-fi||2.4GHz||2.4GHz||2.4 + 5GHz||2.4 + 5GHz||2.4 + 5GHz|
|Motion Detection||Included, Customizable with Zones, Schedules||Included, Customizable with Zones, Schedules||Advanced Included, Create Your Own Zone Shape, Schedules||Advanced Included, Create Your Own Zone Shape, Schedules||Adjustable Motion Zones, Schedules|
|Color||Antique Brass, Polished Brass, Satin Nickel, Venetian Bronze||Interchangeable Faceplate (Includes 2)||Interchangeable Faceplate (Includes 4)||Interchangeable Faceplate (Includes 4)||Black and Silver|
|Check Latest Price||Amazon||Amazon||Amazon||Amazon||Coming Soon|
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 significant difference between the five is how they are installed. Video Doorbell, Doorbell 2, and Doorbell Pro are all hardwired into your existing doorbell wires and will use your existing doorbell chime. However, Ring Video Doorbell and Ring Video Doorbell 2 can also run on battery power.
Door View Cam is battery only. It also isn’t a traditional doorbell. Instead, it is installed over your peephole using two parts. The front of the doorbell looks like a traditional doorbell with a camera and a button to press. The backside (pictured above) has a peephole and also houses the camera’s battery.
Finally, Ring Elite is a flush-mount doorbell. At CES, I was told that Elite is best for new home builders or contractors because you have to cut a hole to flush-mount the doorbell. 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 and V2 are 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. Ring also recommends that you have Ring Elite professionally installed. Door View Cam is made to fit over a peephole and is battery-powered.
While the hardwired doorbells will connect to your existing door chimes, the battery-powered options will not. To solve for this, 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 set up other alerts. For example, you can get an alert on your TV, turn your Hue lights on, or even set up text alerts to let you know when someone’s at your door.
As mentioned earlier, I’ve owned the original Ring Doorbell for a while, 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’ll 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.
All that said, the problems above are great reasons to pay the extra $20 for V2. The second version of the Ring Video Doorbell features a removable battery, making the process of charging the battery a simpler one.
Finally, Ring sells two non-camera products including Ring Alarm. Ring Alarm is Ring’s security system. You can self-monitor the system or pay for professional monitoring.
The Base Station acts as the hub, communicating with Ring’s cloud, the central monitoring center, as well as all connected devices. The Base Station is integrated with a siren, battery backup, a cellular chip, as well as ZigBee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi. Ring also sells a keypad, contact sensors, motion sensors, and a range extender. To get started, you will need to purchase the Security Kit for $199.
What’s interesting about Ring Alarm is that adding cellular backup and professional monitoring is just $10 per month. That same fee adds 60 days of cloud storage for ALL of your Ring Cameras.
You can read my hands-on review of Ring Alarm and compare it to abode and Nest Secure here.
Ring Smart Lighting
Ring Smart Lighting (formally Ring Beams) isn’t one product, but rather a group of products. The lineup consists of several outdoor security lights including a Spotlight, Floodlights (battery and wired), a pathway light, Steplight, motion sensor, and a transformer. Unlike the current options, Ring Smart Lights are camera free.
The lights are currently pre-selling on Ring.com.
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 (Ring Protect), you will gain access to 60 days 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 (Ring Protect Plus). This plan covers an unlimited amount of Ring cameras and adds a lifetime product warranty versus a 1-year warranty without the Protect plan. As mentioned above, if you own a Ring Alarm, the $10/month plan will also add Ring Response (24/7 professional monitoring) and cellular backup.
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.
Ring is also planning on launching a 24/7 continuous cloud recording option by spring of next year (2019). This option will be available to Ring Protect subscribers who own non-battery-powered doorbells and cameras. There will most likely be additional charges for this service, but pricing is TBD.
In addition to continuous recording, all Ring cameras with a Ring Protect subscription will gain a new feature. This feature will enable Ring users to see frames from all throughout the day on their cameras’ Timeline.
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.
Also, you don’t have to own a Ring device to take advantage of Ring Neighborhoods. Anyone can download the Ring app to join.
Building on the Ring Neighborhood feature, Ring has launched the Neighbors App. It’s an app designed exclusively for connecting communities and building a digital neighborhood watch program. Like with the Ring Neighborhood feature, the Neighbors App lets anyone connect with their neighbors. The app features a messaging board where users can post crime-related updates and a video sharing platform where users can watch publicly shared Ring videos.
Aside from connecting neighborhoods, the Neighbors App also connects communities with local law enforcement agencies. Civilian users can use the app as a way to alert the authorities of possible crimes and law enforcers can use it to keep communities updated on local crime.
Motion Scheduling and Snoozing
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.
You can also snooze motion alerts. If you snooze motion alerts, you won’t get notifications, but motion events will still register to your account and event videos will still go to the cloud (if you’re paying for cloud storage).
Full-Color Night Vision
All Ring cameras are equipped with Infrared LEDs that help them see at night. However, IR night vision turns images black-and-white, making it hard to identify certain details like the color of a vehicle or person’s clothing. Colored night vision, however, is used to produce a colored image, even when it’s dark out. The feature is optional and coming to all Ring cameras soon with support for wired cameras preceding battery-powered cameras.
Multiple Doorbells, Multiple Users, Multiple Locations
If you want multiple doorbells, you can do that too. In fact, Ring has a feature that makes 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.
You can also set a distinct notification alert sound for each of your Ring cameras. You can even set the alert sound as an audible phrase (e.g. “someone at your door”). While you can’t customize the phrases, you can choose from multiple preset phrases.
One thing that surprised me after installing Ring Spotlight Cam was that while you can manage multiple cameras via the mobile app, they don’t work together. For example, if someone rings my Ring Doorbell, I can’t trigger Spotlight Cam to start recording. I can, however, add multiple users to help manage alerts.
Ring’s multi-user approach is smart and made smarter by a feature called Ring Locations. You can add your Ring devices to different locations. From there, you can give different access to different users. For example, at your primary home you can be a Homeowner with associated privileges. At your best friend’s home, you might be a Neighbor. Each user’s access can be customized including deciding what alerts you want to receive.
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 the IFTTT integration, but there are others. What’s confusing about the integrations is that they aren’t universal across all platforms. For example, IFTTT only supports actions for Ring but doesn’t offer any triggers. Stringify offers both triggers and actions. Second, not all Ring products share the same integrations. The doorbell cameras, for example, work well with smart locks including those by Lockitron and Kevo but the cameras don’t work with the locks at all. Other direct integrations include ADT Pulse (uncertain pending litigation), WeMo, Lockstate, Wink, Echo Show, Echo Spot, FireTV, Google Home, other Google Assistant devices, and Stringify.
As Amazon owns Ring, the partnership between Ring and Alexa is one of the most interesting. It even ties in with Ring’s professional monitoring service. If Alexa hears glass breaking, a CO alarm, or a smoke alarm, it will send a notification to the monitoring center. Of course, this only happens when Alexa is in ‘guard mode’ which you enable by saying, “Alexa, I’m leaving.” You can also do the usual like arm and disarm (PIN required) the system with your voice.
Second, your Echo device can act as an extended chime for your Ring Video Doorbell, even allowing you to create custom announcements or notifying you when motion is detected.
Finally, you can speak to guests via an Echo device as Ring doorbells support two-way talk via Alexa.
Beyond Alexa, Ring Alarm has its own set of integrations, limited to the First Alert Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm and several Z-Wave smart locks made by August (Smart Lock Pro), Yale, Kwikset, Schlage, and DanaLock.
Before we get to my final thoughts on Ring’s lineup, let’s discuss the issues that have been pestering the company for the last couple of years.
According to insider information gathered by The Information, Ring has made decisions that puts their customer’s privacy at risk. An example is sharing customer footage with their Ukranian team to help train the camera’s AI algorithm to detect objects and humans. According to The Information’s sources, the videos were sent to the Ukranian team unencrypted and anyone outside the company could’ve intercepted the information.
As of now, Ring claims that customer videos are encrypted “today” and that they only use publicly shared videos (via the Neighbors platform) and clips from a small percentage of customers who agreed to share their videos for machine-learning purposes. However, they neglected to clarify if that has always been the case.
From an outdoor home security perspective, I’m a big fan of what Ring is doing. Besides offering video monitoring features, Ring’s products are capable of protecting most homes by making it seem like you’re home when you’re not thanks to smart lighting and the ability to use two-way audio in response to events. And with the continuous recording option coming soon, Ring will soon become even more impressive.
However, as the allegations of Ring’s security mishaps unfold, I am no longer as enthusiastic about their cameras, especially their indoor camera.
Q: Can you place Ring Doorbell on the side of the door where it is not forward facing? Will it only capture profiles?
A: Side placement is not ideal, but it’s also not terrible. I tried to test this configuration by approaching my doorbell from a sideways angle. I was identifiable from the side (pics below), sometimes more, sometimes less, depending on how I approached the door, but in general, the farther back I stood from the camera, the more usable the footage. If you have a long approach to your door, the chances of the camera capturing usable footage will increase. I suggest buying the doorbell and testing it (using the battery) BEFORE you physically install it. If you think it will work, go for it. If not, send it back.
Q: What’s the difference between Spotlight Cam Mount and Floodlight? Looks like they both install the same.
A: The Spotlight Cam Mount can be installed on both a rectangular or circular junction box, whereas Floodlight Cam can only be mounted to a circular junction box. Also, Spotlight Cam Mount can control auxiliary lights and replace the motion sensor on an existing non-Ring Floodlight.
Last Updated 2/13/2019
Colored night vision launched.
Read Previous Updates
1/8/2019 Door View Cam launched at CES and also Ring Smart Lights are pre-selling. Privacy issues discovered.
12/18/2018 Updated info on the Alexa integration.
11/08/2018 Ring is launching a CVR plan.
09/21/2018 New Stick Up Cams
05/26/2018 Ring Neighbors app launched.
1/16/2018 Launch of the new Stick Up Cam and Ring Beams
11/17/2017 Fact checked, expanded Spotlight Cam
10/4/2017 Added Ring Protect
8/10/2017 Added Spotlight Cam
7/2/2017 Added Ring Doorbell V2