Smart doorbells are an interesting category that focus partly on convenience and partly on security. However, those two things can mean different things in different parts of the world.
Ring has been successful in the US with it's Ring Video Doorbell 2 but with its recent launch in the Middle East, we find out it fits well into the UAE culture.
Priced at AED 799 and the fact that it doesn't require a wired connection definitely give it a head start.
Design and setup
The first thing you’ll notice about the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is its design: it’s a good looking device. In the box we were treated to two face plates – a silver one and a black one, and we ended up going with the black.
Measuring 12.9 cms tall, 6.3 cms wide, and 2.75 cms thick, the doorbell is somewhat large, and could be a problem for those who want to install it in a small space or doorframe.
That said, it doesn’t look too out of place on a wall next to a door, and while large the trade-off is that the battery is bigger – which is always nice. Ring claims the battery will last between six months to a year. For obvious reasons we couldn’t fully test that, but we haven’t heard of any customers or reviewers claiming the battery did not last that time.
Setting up the smart doorbell is really quite easy and there are a few options for installing the device – you can choose to wire it to replace your existing doorbell, or simply use it separately from your existing doorbell.
If you do that, however, you may want to pair it with the Ring Chime or Ring Chime Pro, which will, as the name suggests, chime when someone presses the doorbell. The Chime Pro also extends your Wi-Fi range which will most likely be needed for villas and sells separately for AED 229.
Ring bundles in all kinds of tools to help you install the bell on all kinds of surfaces and corners. There's a drill-bit, a screw driver and rivets along with lots of different sized screws to make sure that Ring is secured on your walls whether they're concrete or wooden.
One the bell is installed you download the Ring app on your Android and iOS device and create an account, if you don’t already have one. Then, simply follow the in-app instructions to configure it.
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is a breeze to use. When someone approaches your door, you get a notification on your phone, and if they press the button, a video call appears on your phone.
That’s definitely helpful if you’re away from your home - as you can initiate a two-way call with whoever is at the door. However, lots of people in the region have hired help in their homes and there is no way for them to know if anyone is at the gate unless they also have a smartphone with the Ring app installed. If you fall into that bracket, we suggest buying the Ring Chime (AED 139 without Wi-Fi extender) to have the sound relayed inside your home.
The Ring video doorbell has motion tracking and initiates video recording if it detects motion. By default, it was a little too sensitive for our use - especially considering it was facing a road with cars driving by. Thankfully, that can be changed in the app simply by heading to the “My Devices” section and hitting the “Motion Settings” option.
You can also set a schedule as to when motion detection kicks in which is very helpful if you live on a street that is busy during particular times such as the mornings or evenings. Once configured to your liking, the motion tracking really works quite well.
the app keeps a track of all recent activity, and you can sort activity based on things like rings, motion, and “starred.” That last option is helpful if you see something that you want to return to later.
Other features we would expect are present too. You can check the battery status of your connected devices pretty easily, change the chime sound to a sound you like, and so on. You can also easily add another user - so if you live with someone else they can access the doorbell as well.
As is the case with most video recording security devices, you are prompted to subscribe to the video recording service - and if you don’t you won’t be able to use the Ring Video Doorbell 2 to its full potential.
You won’t, for example, be able to watch back video recorded over 24 hours back when motion tracking is activated, and your previously recorded video will be deleted from your account.
With Ring, you’ll have to pay $3 per month or $30 per year for one device, or $10 per month/$100 per year for multiple devices - which comes in handy if you have Ring security cameras. That amount is considerably less than what many dedicated security companies charge for monitoring and storing video.
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 is a solid device. Setup is easy, the app is a breeze to use, motion tracking works great, and the battery lasts long enough to not be a hassle. We also liked the layout and ease of use of the app.
But should you buy it? There are a couple of questions you need to ask yourself first. Does your Wi-Fi signal reach the area where you want to install Ring? Also, would you require the bell to ring inside your house besides just on your smartphone?
Adding a Chime would solve the second problem for you but with Wi-Fi coverage, that's something that varies from house to house and the Chime Pro with the Wi-Fi extender could possibly solve that. In either case, that's something extra that you need to buy so the costs for using Ring optimally add up.
That being said, we think the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is a fantastic product that brings a connected home closer to reality.