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Ring Video Doorbell 3: should you buy it?

Ring Video Doorbell 3
(Image credit: Ring)

Smart home company Ring has come a long way since its appearance on Shark Tank in 2013. The company was acquired by Amazon in 2018 for more than $1 billion and has since grown to become the most popular, and perhaps most controversial smart home company on the market.

It has also vastly expanded its product range since it debuted the original Ring Video Doorbell in 2014.

As well as three subsequent iterations of this product, the company now offers a huge ecosystem of internet-connected gadgets, from stick-up cameras and home security systems to, most recently, the Ring Always Home Cam - an autonomous indoor drone that flies around your home and gives you a live feed if it spots an intruder.

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In this article, however, we’ll be returning to Ring’s humble beginnings and focusing on the latest version of its video doorbell: the Ring Video Doorbell 3. Is it the best video doorbell on the market, and, ultimately, should you buy it?

The bottom line

The Ring Video Doorbell 3 adds some neat features, including adjustable motion zones and support for 5GHz networks. However, with mounting privacy concerns surrounding Ring’s devices, and other video doorbells available that offer more features for less money, it could be worth shopping around.

Pros

The Ring Doorbell 3 is one of the most feature-packed and easy-to-install video doorbells on the market, just like its predecessors.

It also delivers a number of improvements over the second-generation model, including new features that should reduce false motion-detection alerts, improved connectivity, better battery life, and help to identify people captured by the camera. It’s also a great choice for those already wrapped up in Amazon’s Ring ecosystem.

Ring Video Doorbell 3

(Image credit: Ring)

Cons

The Ring Video Doorbell 3 is limited to 1080p and still has a 160-degree field of view, while others on the market - such as the Arlo Video Doorbell - offer a higher resolution and a 180-degree field of view.

The smart doorbell also fails to offer support for Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit, nor does it offer much in the way of innovative design or specifications.

Ring Video Doorbell 3

(Image credit: Ring)

Ring Doorbell 3: everything you need to know

The Ring Video Doorbell 3 is the third iteration of Amazon’s popular video doorbell. It looks much the same as the Ring Video Doorbell 2 and features largely the same specifications - it’s still limited to 1080p and a 160-degree field of view, offers battery power, and lets you store recorded video to the cloud - provided you have a Ring Protect account.

Handily for those who have previously owned a Ring Video Doorbell, functionality remains the same too. Just like the original and second-generation Video Doorbells, the gadget connects to your home Wi-Fi network, hooks up to the Ring app (available on iOS and Android) and sends real-time notifications to your smartphone or tablet when someone is at your door.

While the Ring Video Doorbell 3 remains largely unchanged from its predecessors, Amazon has added a number of new features that it claims should vastly improve your smart home experience.

One of these new features is a 'near motion zone', that comes into effect between 5 and 15 feet from your front door in order to prevent the Ring Video Doorbell 3 from sending you notifications every time a car drives past. It also boasts dual-band Wi-Fi, offering 5GHz for better wireless connectivity. For comparison, the Ring Video Doorbell 2 could only handle 2.4GHz Wi-Fi.

Another new feature, which is unique to the more premium Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus, is the ability to record pre-roll footage. This means that you'll be able to see up to four seconds of video before a 'motion event'.

Ring Video Doorbell 3

(Image credit: Ring)

Previously, the camera would only be triggered in the seconds after it detected motion, which meant it was possible to miss footage of a person when they first appeared in the vicinity of your Ring Doorbell.

Whether this will drain the doorbell’s battery remains to be seen, as the camera will need to be constantly rolling. Amazon says that the new module actually helps to save battery, and it is possible to hard-wire both new cameras if you'd prefer not to rely on their internal batteries.

This new pre-roll feature will also heighten privacy concerns. Amazon and Ring have a rocky history when it comes to privacy and security - despite offering devices that claim to make you safer inside your home. For example, Ring has partnered with police departments across the US, which caused many to worry that the company are creating a 'surveillance state', whereby consumers can receive discounted Ring devices if they offer up footage captured by their doorbell.

What’s more, a recent data breach exposed personal data of more than 3,000 users, which caused many to question how seriously the company is taking the security of its customers.

While Amazon has since rolled out improved security features, including a dashboard of privacy controls that will let users better manage the settings on their devices and better keep hackers out, there are many other companies now offering video doorbells that haven’t fallen foul of such controversy.

Ring Doorbell 3: pricing and deals

The Ring Video Doorbell 3 is the most expensive iteration yet, with a price tag of $199.99 / £179 / AU$329, while the Ring Doorbell 3 Plus is even pricier at $229.99 / £199 / AU$369.

However, as an Amazon-owned product, be sure to check the retailer for Amazon Prime Day deals. You can also keep an eye on our roundup of the best Ring Video Doorbell deals.

TechRadar is rounding up all the top deals over the Prime Day sales period, and we’ve put all the best Prime Day deals in an easy-to-navigate article to help you find the bargains you’re looking for.