Ring Video Doorbell bills itself as "caller ID for your front door." This smart doorbell uses an HD camera with motion detection technology to show you who's at the door before you answer. In fact, with the Ring app, you don't even have to get up to answer the door. You can talk to whoever's at the door through your phone. These features make it a good Christmas gift idea for someone interested in technology and home automation.
Installation of the Ring Video Doorbell is simple. It can be installed using your current doorbell's electrical hookups. If you don't have a doorbell or the electrical hookup for one, you can simply mount Ring and let it operate from its own battery. It can take four to five hours to charge using a 2.1-amp charger. You'll receive email notifications when the battery is running low.
Ring includes everything you need for installation in its packaging. If you're worried about someone stealing your doorbell, it uses a proprietary mounting screw and is difficult to remove. In the case of a dedicated thief, you can notify Ring and receive a replacement.
Ring operates on your home's Wi-Fi, so if your connection is spotty, that may affect performance. Once you've installed the Ring app, you can answer the door when someone rings. The nice thing about the app is that you receive notifications no matter where you are and can accept or deny them with the touch of a button. The two-way microphone on the doorbell allows you to speak with whoever's at the door. If you choose to deny someone's ring, there's no notification.
One of Ring's biggest selling points is its use of motion-detection technology. You can adjust the range from 5 feet out to 30 feet. When motion triggers the doorbell, you receive a notification through your phone and can view video of whatever triggered the cameras.
The motion detection requires some calibration, however. Through the app, you can adjust its range and which directions it is triggered from. You can also adjust how often you receive notifications. If you're operating Ring on battery power, we recommend setting up low notifications, as the motion detection can drain the battery power quickly.
We found the motion detection to be inconsistent. When installed on a house located on a busy street, passing cars set off the motion detection but people walking to the front door didn't. If you plan on using Ring for what you see as a security feature, how busy your neighborhood is can be a factor in how well it works.
Ring works with several different electrical locks, including LockState, Kisi and Lockitron. When you receive a notification through Ring, you can unlock the door if you have one of those products.
The Ring Chime is an additional product that connects to the doorbell and app. This is a small plug-in device that sounds whenever you receive a notification on the app. It is easy to integrate with the app and can be adjusted through the app so you won't receive notifications when you're trying to sleep.
The Ring smart doorbell makes an ideal gift for tech-savvy friends and family, particularly those interested in home automation. If you're buying it with security in mind, be aware that its motion detection is inconsistent.