Thursday, January 22, 2015

Ring.com - A Wifi Enabled Doorbell With Video and Audio


 

A wifi enabled doorbell that allows for two way video and audio between itself and a smart phone. Now this could be cool.

 
This is an initial review of my experience with the Ring.com doorbell that has two-way video and audio capability between the doorbell and your smart phone (iOS or Android). This is a brand new product and not yet available. Ring has had a similar product on the market with varying degrees of success and this design is new and improved. Read the company's web site and watch the 2 minute video. www.ring.com. The device is listed at $249.00 but had an initial pre-order price of $199.00. The doorbell comes in a variety of finishes to satisfy many tastes.

First, I discovered Ring.com (www.ring.com) as I was researching exterior security cameras for my home. What intrigued me most was that I could answer my door using my smart phone. I could see and speak to the person(s) at the door to discover their intentions. In fact, I didn't have to be at home to do so!

Ordering
I preordered the Ring.com device in November of 2014 with a promise deliveries would take place by Christmas.

Shipment
I got an email around Christmas saying they were experiencing delays and the product would ship by Jan 12. The item shipped at that time and arrived Jan 21.

Arrival
On Jan 20 I got another email just before arrival and Ring announced two upcoming firmware updates. First, cloud recording capability of the videos from the doorbell will arrive Jan 30. Second, motion detection will come out in "beta" form the second week of February. Frankly, this disturbed me some as these were two of the primary reasons for purchasing the Ring.com doorbell and these capabilities are not available yet. On another note, updates to the Ring.com doorbell will come automatically over the home wifi directly to the doorbell. This is quite cool.

Opening the package
The packaging is quite good and there is quite a bit in the package.
Nice Packaging

Shows Mounting Bracket, Tool Kit and Instruction Booklet

Remove The Labels
Remove Level After Marking Holes
Kit Includes Drill Bit, Screw Driver with Special Bit, Screws and Charging Cable
Easy to Follow Instruction Booklet

Along with the doorbell and mounting bracket, there is a little tool kit with all required hardware and a very nicely written booklet of instructions. Nice job Ring.

Setup
The setup didn't go as smooth as I would have liked but it was finally successful. Getting the device to connect to my wifi took about 15 tries. I don't know what I did differently that allowed it to work but it finally did. I did a test ring and sure enough the Ring app rang on my phone too. I answered and video and voice worked as expected.

Installation
Installation at my front porch to replace my existing doorbell was straight forward. The doorbell can be mounted to wood, cement or stucco. I have stucco. A drill bit is included and I followed the instructions to mark the holes properly leveled. Unfortunately, drilling into rough stucco can be difficult to get the holds in the precise spot. I used a fine point felt pen to mark the spots and a nail to start the holes. I did miss one hole and did a quick patch with Stucco Patch and all was well. Be careful to not drill holes too deep.
Simply Pull Out Existing Doorbell

4 Screws Secure the Bracket to the Wall
Loosen the Security Screws to Allow the Device to Properly Fit onto the Mounting Bracket

Mounting screws must be "flush" to allow the device to properly mount to it and be secured (see photos).

Included is a rubbery substance in strips that can be stretched and put around the outside between the bracket and stucco to seal it from moister and provided a more polished look.

NOTE: The Ring doorbell is not required to be connected to the existing doorbell wires. The Ring device has an internal and re-chargeable battery that reportedly last 12 months between charges. A charging cable is included too.

 


A Rotating Blue Light Appears When the Button is Pressed

 

Operating the Doorbell
The Ring doorbell rings my house doorbell as well as sounding it's own bell. The Ring bell sound is the same the emits from my smart phone. There is about a 10 second delay before my smart phone rings. I don't know the exact reason for this but I think I can deal with it.
Ring App Screen Showing Calls from Doorbell
 
What's Next?
I will continue this review when the Cloud Storage and Motion Detection features become available. I am looking forward to the motion detection for sure and wonder at what distance the doorbell activates. I also want to know the cost of the cloud storage. If cloud storage is too expensive I will likely install a security camera with my own DVR (digital video recorder) for it.

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