Ring Video Doorbell Pro: What you need to know
Most of Ring’s smart doorbells are battery-powered, which is great for convenience but leads to two main problems outside of needing to be recharged: they have to rely on PIR motion sensing, which can generate a lot of alerts, and they’re often quite chunky. As the Ring Video Doorbell Pro is powered permanently, it’s far smaller than its siblings.
Permanent power has additional benefits, too, including the ability to set Motion Zones to cut down on the number of motion notifications that you get. In this way, the Video Doorbell Pro is very much a proper security camera.
If you have an existing wired doorbell, the Doorbell Pro can even sound your internal chime, so that you can use it as a normal doorbell. You may need to have professional installation to make the most of it, though.
Ring Video Doorbell Pro: Features
- Uses the camera’s sensor to detect motion
- If you want to record video, you have to buy a Ring Protect plan
- Linked Devices lets you trigger recording on other Ring cameras
Ring Video Doorbell Pro: Key specs
Camera lens: 160-degrees
Night vision: Yes (color)
Recording options: Cloud via subscription
Two-way talk: Yes
WiFi: 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11n
As the Ring Video Doorbell has permanent power, it uses the camera’s sensor to detect motion rather than using a PIR motion sensor. This means that you can use the app to draw Motion Zones, focussing on the areas that you want to monitor; any motion that takes place outside of these zones is simply ignored. That puts the Video Doorbell Pro on a level playing field with Ring’s standalone security cameras, such as the Ring Stick Up Cam.
Although the doorbell can be used without a cloud subscription plan, you’ll only get basic notifications and the ability to view the live stream and answer your door. If you want to record video, you have to buy a Ring Protect plan. The standard plan costs $3 a month ($30 a year) and gives you 60-days of video history. There’s also the Ring Protect Plus plan for $10 a month ($100 a year), which gives you the same 60-day history but for unlimited cameras and adds in professional monitoring for the Ring Alarm.
Once you’ve got cloud recording, you can view any clips. Video is created when someone presses the doorbell (a ring), when motion is detected or you enter the live view.
From the main app, the Video Doorbell Pro displays a still still thumbnail image captured at the point you opened the app. Tap this and you go into the live view screen where you can see what’s going on.
There’s a scrollable timeline that lets you step back one event at a time to see what was recorded. For viewing the last couple of events it’s quite a handy feature, but trying to go back through a day’s worth of recordings can take a while. You can make the job slightly easier by filtering by date and event type (rings, motion and live view recordings).
There’s also a Recent Activity option in the main menu, which gives you a simple list of all recordings. This can be filtered by event type but not by date, and there are no thumbnails to make finding a clip easier. Once you’ve found a clip, you can download it to your phone or, if you’re using the web interface, your computer.
We’d like to see Ring overhaul its cloud service, using image recognition so that you can only get alerts when a person is seen, rather than any motion inside a zone.
While the camera isn’t too bothersome, if you’ve got people walking in and out of your house a lot, say when you’re unloading a car, you can pause motion alerts for 15-minutes, 30-minutes, one-hour or two-hours. You can also manually turn off ring and motion alerts individually, or schedule when the Doorbell Pro can and can’t send notifications. However, the doorbell records motion all of the time. This makes sense, as you don’t really want an easy way to disable a security feature at the main entry point to your home.
Neatly, the new Linked Devices option lets you trigger recording on your other Ring cameras when the Video Doorbell Pro detects motion. If you’ve configured your camera carefully, so that it doesn’t record too many clips, this feature can help you get the wider picture of what’s going on, but be careful with it as you may end up generating loads of extra video clips.
If you have an existing bell in your house, a press of the doorbell will sound it. If you don’t, then you may want to buy a Chime or Chime Pro so that you can hear the doorbell inside your house. The main difference between the two is that the Chime Pro is a WiFi extender, too.
Alternatively, if you have any Amazon Echo devices, the Ring still uses these smart speakers to broadcast when someone has pressed the bell. If you have an Amazon Echo Show, you can tell it to answer the door, which then starts streaming the live view from the doorbell, so you can see what’s going as well as speaking to the person on the other side.
It’s a neat trick, but the Nest Hello works slightly better with the Google Nest Hub: as soon as someone presses the bell the video is streamed to the smart display, so you can see who you’re about to speak to and make a decision if you want to answer the door or not
One of the main ways that you’ll answer the door is through the app. Once the bell is pressed, a notification is sent to your phone. You can now answer in landscape or portrait mode. In landscape mode the on-screen icons are clearer with a green telephone to answer and a red one to hang up; in portrait mode, you have to tap the microphone icon.
Ring Video Doorbell Pro: Design and build
- Slimmer body than its battery-powered siblings
- You get a choice of four different faceplates
- If you don’t have power already, you can buy an optional power adaptor
Easily the best-looking doorbell that the company makes, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro has a slimmer body than its battery-powered siblings, which makes this model far neater. It also gives you more installation options. We found that the Ring Video Doorbell 2 required the wedge adaptor to fit on the outside of our home, while the Doorbell Pro fitted without one.
Ring has thought more about style for the Pro, too, and in the box you get a choice of four different faceplates, so you can match the colour of the doorbell to your home.
As the doorbell has to be powered, you need to connect it to a 16-24V transformer. If you have an existing doorbell, you’ll probably have this already, so it’s a matter of turning the power off, hooking up the Pro PowerKit v2, which connects to your doorbell’s existing wires, then connecting the Ring Video Doorbell Pro.
If you don’t have power already, you can buy an optional power adaptor, plug it into a wall socket and then run the cable outside to your new doorbell, hooking the cables into the twin terminals on the back of the doorbell. The latter option makes the doorbell easy to install by most people with a bit of DIY knowledge; the former may be something that you want to pay a professional to install.
Ring Video Doorbell Pro: Performance
- Notifications take around 30 seconds to reach your phone
- Voice quality is excellent
- Video quality is also very good thanks to the doorbell’s 1080p sensor
When someone presses the doorbell, notifications take around 30 seconds to reach your phone depending on network strength at home and on your phone. This sort a period is enough to catch most people before they start moving away, although we have had some couriers ring and run. Voice quality is excellent from the Doorbell Pro and it’s easy to hear and see who you’re talking to.
Video quality is also very good thanks to the doorbell’s 1080p sensor. There’s no HDR option on this model, which reduces image quality a little in some circumstances. Our Doorbell Pro was fitted to a south-facing door, which meant that there was strong sunlight on it, blowing out the background and making faces look a little dark. That said, the detail’s still there and you can clearly see who you’re talking to.
As with many of Ring’s other products, the Doorbell Pro has a color night vision option, combining ambient light with IR LEDs. When it’s in force, the results improve on standard IR, delivering a partly-colored image that captures more detail. We found that we could easily identify individuals as a result, with more facial detail retained than with standard IR only.
Motion Zones mean that the Video Doorbell Pro is far less likely to bother you with notifications than its siblings, which just pick up any movement. However, as we pointed out before, Ring could up its game and introduce smart notifications, warning you only about people, for example.
Ring Video Doorbell Pro: Verdict
The Ring Video Doorbell Pro is the best doorbell that Ring makes. Its slim body and great looks make it sit more nicely with any home, particularly compared to the chunky battery-powered Ring Video Doorbell 2.
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With proper Motion Zones, this doorbell works a lot more like a powerful security camera than the other Ring doorbells, too, while still acting as a top communications tool for your front door.
The main competition comes from the Nest Hello, which can record continuously, has smart notifications (it can spot the difference between people and other movements), and has facial recognition.
Ultimately, the choice will most likely come down to which smart speakers you have. If you have Amazon Echo devices, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro is the best choice; if you have Google Assistant device, the Nest Hello makes more sense.