back to article Ding-dong, the cloud calling: The Ring Video Doorbell

If you have ever missed a FedEx delivery and had to drive over to the depot, if you have had someone break into your house, or if you are often a long way from your front door when someone knocks, then you should really consider the Ring doorbell. For $200, it packs a lot in: an HD camera, a high-quality intercom, a motion …

Question

Can you pair it with more than one phone? I assume it broadcasts the video to all connected devices - if so, can you have 3 way conversations between (say) your spouse and the person at the door (does it relay sound between paired phones)?

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Re: Question

The wired.com review mentions additional users can be registered to receive notifications. Doubt the sound would be relayed back though, or even than more than one person can answer it simultaneously...

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Re: Question

Ah - thanks for the answer.

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Re: Question

So in response to your questions, I just tested this out.

Yes, you can answer the doorbell at the same time with two different phones (I didn't try with three but I assume the same applies).

Both phones get an alert, both phones can see the same picture at the same time, and both phones can interact with whoever is at the door. But obviously it doesn't become a little overwhelming with multiple voices. Like a bad Skype call.

Hope this helps.

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low attention span reader (LASAR)

I like having the review summary at the beginning rather than the end.

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Re: low attention span reader (LASAR)

I got confused and assumed I was reading a draft where all the C&P hadn't been taken out yet

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Re: low attention span reader (LASAR)

Yeah, to me it needed the touch of a sub-ed too

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Re: low attention span reader (LASAR)

So the idea is to give a very quick upfront review; then a slightly longer one if you are interested, and then an in-depth one if you are seriously contemplating getting one.

The plan is to be helpful and save readers from having to make their view through a long review before getting vital details.

I think this is a useful approach - and one that, personally, I'd like to see others doing more. But 'm open to suggestions for how to make it work better. There are a raft of other smart-tech reviews coming so would like to make it work best for everyone.

Just respond with ideas and I'll see what I can do.

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HD video?

Why do you need HD video to see and identify who's at your door? Surely a medium resolution still picture (maybe updated every second) is all you need.

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Re: HD video?

Why do you need more than 640k of RAM?

If the common components support HD transcoding of video in the hardware, then offering a lower rate image isn't going to make a huge difference to power consumption for the expected use (we're talking seconds of usage at a time, not hours) and modern wifi can generally handle it.

So why not?

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Re: HD video?

No problems recording an HD stream for its security purposes, but as a doorbell I would much prefer a 1 second notification in poor WiFi range if it just meant a lower quality broadcast to my phone.

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Re: HD video?

I agree - why not?

It does make the product feel better. You get real excellent video on your phone and that's something we are now all used to. I think it would probably feel outdated if the picture was grainy or stuttery. I liked the HD and it didn't seem to cause too many compromises with battery power etc. But of course, it did slow appearance when there was a weak WiFi signal at the door.

Kieren

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If it is just screwed to the outside of the door it is going to get stolen. Camera etc needs to be outside and the rest inside and wired to the mains.

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That's what I thought but at least you will be able to watch the thieves on HD video while they do it.

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There are two "security" screws underneath the unit that you need to remove to get it off.

The screws are not completely proprietary - for example, I was able to undo them with a screwbit I had in my existing kit of tools - but it is rare. You're not going to get them out with ordinary screwdrivers.

As for pulling it off the door itself - that would require a lot of effort and would most likely damage the doorbell in the process.

So it's not completely secure but it is good enough. It's not coming off easily.

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Ring has lifetime replacement if stolen.

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If the whole thing is wired to the mains then perhaps a relay could be added to electrocute unwelcome callers?

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The postpan always knocks twice?

if it picks up motion anywhere from five feet to 30 feet away.

So every time postie comes along to post letters through the letterbox, the doorbell rings? That doesn't sound very useful.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: The postpan always knocks twice?

I can't see the point at all. It's not enough for security on its own and if you've got a security system you won't need ti for that.

If I'm there and can get to the door I will and I can look through the window to see who it is.

If I'm not there I don't want to talk to the person. Delivery companies usually allow me to say what to do if I'm not there so why would I want to speak as well.

There are cheaper ways to get my attention if I'm down the garden and in general I wouldn't have my phone with me anyway.

I don't think it will fool people into thinking you're there as people will recognise the device and then use other clues to tell if you're around.

In the end it seems lie just another gadget which'll be in the bin inside a year......

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Re: The postpan always knocks twice?

Im disabled and use it daily. See and talk to who is there, use zwave deadbolt and open door if needed, never leave my desk. Lock, unlock door with Kwikset zwave number pad deadbolt. slick, also use Liftmaster wifi control to open , close garage doors. Honeywell 8000 series wifi thermostat on ipad to control all hvac system etc.

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Re: The postpan always knocks twice?

No, the doorbell does not ring from motion, a little beep from your phone or ipad is all. TO ring the bell requires push of door bell button

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Meh

Well at least...

... You'll be able to see when the Yodel driver decides he can't be bothered to wait around and just rocks up to your door without ringing the bell or knocking, sticks a "You were out" (I wasn't) card through the letter box and then dumps your parcel in the recycling wheelie bin before fucking off again as happened to me a few days ago.

It's a good job he didn't do that the day before, otherwise the parcel would have gone out with the recycling which was picked up that morning...

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Holmes

What v2 really needs

1) Pairing to more than one phone.

2) A smaller version with no battery for wired installations.

3) An internal $9 add-on bell, for wireless installations.

4) And possibly, a way to make it unusable if stolen from the front door.

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Re: What v2 really needs

So...

1) It already does - see my comment above

2) I agree. Smaller wired version would be good. I suspect it will come down the road.

3) Agree again. I also wonder how many variations of wireless doorbells there are. Can't imagine it would be that difficult to make it work with most models on the market. This would be a really useful feature I think.

4) I'm pretty sure they could do this with a relatively simple software upgrade. I would guess they haven't because there's not much call for them to do so. After all, if you're willing and able to pay $200 for a doorbell you're probably not living in the sort of place when people steal doorbells.

If you want a serious security system, I don't think this is the solution - and I don't think Ring would argue they are either. But it does *add* security for very little hassle and much lower cost.

Kieren

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Interesting...

I've got a pre-order in for 'Doorbird' which sounds like it offers identical functionality to this, but with a hardwired connection (it can even run off PoE). They were originally slated to start shipping in March and they claim they hit this date, but my order is now scheduled for delivery at the end of May so whether this actually ends up happening, I don't know. Also their price is slightly higher €299 with a €50 discount for pre-orders, so roughly £220 including shipping.

If you could add the Doorbird to your list for future reviews, I'd be very interested in a comparison.

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Re: Interesting...

Doorbird seems better, if a little less pretty, reading the 'ring' specs, looks like it can't even open doors!

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Re: Interesting...

Thanks for this - I've sent DoorBird an email asking for a review copy. If they send one, will review it and compare.

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Re: Interesting...

The Ring is both hardwired and or battery

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Whazzat?

"The motion detectors work off heat, not movement"

A motion detector that doesn't work off movement?

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Re: Whazzat?

Like all PIR, it uses infra red heat and the sudden appearance of to register "movement".

Obviously the heat source has to move in the area of detection but its the difference in heat the sensor is detecting.

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Pint

Re: Whazzat?

"The motion detectors work off heat, not movement"

Sign of someone that doesn't really understand how things work.

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Pint

Re: Whazzat?

PIR typically has a 'bee's eye' lens that provides a series of zones. As a warm target moves around, the heat signal goes up and down due to the lens design. The electronics are thus single channel and trivial, while the 'magic' clever bit is the plastic lens.

The primary alternative technology is a field disturbance sensor using microwave and Doppler.

One can buy 'dual tech' alarm sensors that use both to reduce false alarms.

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Re: Whazzat?

'Like all PIR, it uses infra red heat and the sudden appearance of to register "movement".'

Yup. It's probably PIR. So why didn't the review just say that instead of something which is self contradictory?

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Re: Whazzat?

You can adjust both the Width and the Depth of the motion ability. 5 ft. out to 30 ft. then various Zones left , right

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Longevity

The other day my doorbell gave a single ding which indicates the back door bell push had been pushed (back door ?"NSA calling"). There was nobody at either door. I then realised the bell mechanism was making a buzzing noise. A little investigation showed that the front door bell push had finally succumbed to a mixture of spider introduced grot, moisture & old age.

A little though showed that the bell, transformer and front door wiring had probably been fitted about 50 years ago. The bell push might not have been original - there's a cut-out in the door frame which suggests a larger one was intended - but must have been installed at least 30 years ago. A few minutes searching indicates that identically sized & styled bell pushes are still available.

I wonder if a Ring bought now still be in operation in 30 years time.

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Not sure

This assumes you carry your phone around with you when you are at home. Personally, I don't. I divert it to my house phone (automatically) and then put it on charge until I am ready to go out.

So, will it connect to a PC app? Or just a phone?

And yes, where I live, it would get nicked 10 seconds after I leave for work.

Alan

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Re: Not sure

If you don't have your phone, it will still work as a normal doorbell. You just have to go physically look to see who's there.

There's no desktop app, probably because there's not much demand for one. But I'm sure if there was, they'd do it - can't be hard to shift the existing tech to a PC.

Re: getting nicked. There are "security" screws holding it on. Does take about 10-15 secs if you have the right tool. Pulling it off the doorframe would probably damage it. And it's not going to be mountable if you don't have the mount underneath so not a great thing to steal and sell on.

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Re: Not sure

They have lifetime replacement if stolen.

As you said, wish it had a PC app or web aoo so could be on a tab on the browser, but NO, they dont yet. asked them already.

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Alert

just $200

Crazy expensive for a video door bell.

I bet it's rubbish security too, unlike a cheap one that plugs into your existing TV.

Obviously for people that ONLY use a smartphone and have too much money!

I think too the camera will be rapidly stolen.

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Anonymous Coward

All it takes is one jammer..

Wireless and security don't make good bed fellows, so I hope it does at least some decent local caching when the connection drops. I've seen enough video surveillance go dark through a simple Chinese Wifi jammer to prefer wires. That's a lot more hassle, but it requires someone to physically get to them before you lose the link.

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Re: All it takes is one jammer..

This isn't a security system - it's a doorbell that adds some security.

If you are dealing with someone who brings a jammer with them, you'll probably want to get something a bit more robust than this. But as, you know, a doorbell for a normal house, it works really well.

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Re: Why have a PIR?

It operates with push of the door bell button and rings your bell inside, and when motion it just beeps your phone or ipad to let you know something is out there, you can then turn it on to see whats going on , look around

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Overpriced

Overpriced.

WAY overpriced. For that money, it should work flawlessly. And it would still be overpriced.

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So it bolts to the door... my doorbell is pretty much the norm here in the States... about doorknob height, next to the door. Which means the wiring has to go to the house.. pinched wiring, here we come. Being at doorknob height means you'll basically get a shot of belly buttons.

Two screws? If I lived where the thing would be nicked quickly, I'd want more than two screws holding it on. Perhaps even mounting it up higher like over the door. But then, visitors couldn't reach the button... hmm.... maybe a separate button?

Functionality.... I'd rather see it give you options.. like video to a PC and voice to the phone. No smartphone for me and I don't carry it at home.

As for the security aspect... I've got a dog who loves to bark that those coming onto the porch. I won't go any further about "security arrangements".

I wish them well, but I don't think this is quite ready for prime time. Needs a bit more maturing.

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One question How secure it is?

(physical AND network security? That is what I would like to know..

This seems perfect to replace my expensive but pretty basic Daitem Gate Intercom....

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Answer: pretty secure.

If will be a hassle to get it off the door, would probably damage it. And you'd have the HD footage.

Re: electronic security. Well, if you have good WiFi security then as good as anything else.

Could you hack it? If determined. But it is a fairly dumb terminal in that sense. Not a lot going on in the doorbell itself.

If you got it off the door, could you pull the WiFi password off it and then get into your network? Hmmm. Maybe, yes.

Does it encrypt the data it sends? I believe it does. But I didn't dig into that a lot. I imagine it is a fairly low degree of encryption. After all, we are talking about motion in a publicly accessible area. Probably not worthwhile locking it down.

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Use with wireless doorbell?

Not normally an early adopter, but decided to go for this, as work from home at the end of the garden. It was £147 inc postage to blighty.

We have a wireless doorbell at present, ringing bells upstairs and in said end-of-the-garden office. Sounds good to me if the Ring thing works without pressing the bell as then we can have the best of both worlds.

Before the wireless arrangement we had wired to a battery (6V total, 4 x D cell) doorbell. Can it take power off that? What exactly do they mean by a wired doorbell in terms of voltage and battery consumption? From the ring.com website: Power Input: 8-24 VAC or 5 VDC @ 1 A so looks like I'll have to jig something up. The photo on their website is worrying - the "2 screws" to support it are for a backplate, then it looks like the rest of it just clips on - making stealing (and recharging) easy...

The review on wired.com suggests multiple users can get notifications - you have to add them as "approved users".

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Re: Use with wireless doorbell?

If you've got the normal two wires to your doorbell, it should charge off them, no problem.

So there are two types of "two screws". Two hold the backplate onto the door. And other two "security" screws hold the doorbell onto the backplate when it is slid on.

The security screws have an unusual - though not completely proprietary - head. So ordinary screwdrivers won't get them off. In short, it is not easy to get off. Someone determined could do it, but just someone walking past - unlikely.

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Re: Use with wireless doorbell?

It has couple of little screws on bottom, believe they are Torx #6 to remove it.

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