Doorbells have come a long way in recent years, and few domestic access brands have pushed home security tech forward as quickly as Ring. With its Video Doorbell products, this Amazon-owned company has brought a new dimension to the smart home, but which one of its products is the right fit for your needs, if any?
This buyers guide will provide all of the information about the Ring Video Doorbell that UK customers need. We'll look at its core features, why you might want to use it, review feedback from the experts, and ways to buy the Video Doorbell. And we'll offer plenty of ideas about how to save money when making a security purchase. But first, we need to know a bit more about where Ring came from, and how radical its technology really is.
A Quick History of Ring's Video Doorbell Technology
Video doorbells have a long history. As long ago as the 1960s, businesses in the USA were employing cameras to screen visitors, and rudimentary video access systems have been available for homes worldwide since the late 1980s. However, the footage provided by these devices was rarely clear, and users had very few options regarding customisation. So take-up wasn't very high.
However, that all changed when Ring, Inc. arrived on the scene. The company doesn't have a long history but has achieved a lot in its short lifetime. Founded by Jamie Siminoff in 2013, and crowdfunded to provide initial seed capital, the company attracted national attention in the USA when it featured on the Shark Tank TV show, and secured funding from celebrity basketball star Shaquille O'Neal.
Why has Ring found it so easy to appeal to wealthy investors? It's simple. From the start, the company has had a world-class product that isn't really available anywhere else. Mixing, HD footage, motion sensors, and smartphone connectivity, the Ring Video Doorbell quickly achieved star status amongst savvy investors, and their faith has been repaid. By 2018, sales had progressed so rapidly, that Amazon stepped in to buy the business, paving the way for powerful integrations with Alexa and other Amazon services.
Since being released in 2015, the Ring Video Doorbell has been joined by a successor (the imaginatively named Ring Video Doorbell 2). But the original continues to sell well, steadily building an audience among security-conscious buyers. But why is this the case? Only an in-depth look at the product's features can provide an answer.
Key Features of the Ring Video Doorbell
At heart, the Ring Video Doorbell mixes two functions: a traditional doorbell, to alert occupants of flats or houses that visitors have arrived, and a security alarm, which provides a heads-up about potential risks and dangers. With that in mind, core Ring Video Doorbell features include:
Video recording – The original Ring Video Doorbell is able to capture video footage in 720p HD – more than detailed enough to detect facial features and any other smaller details that grainy, imprecise older video access systems failed to deliver.
Night vision – Along with daytime video capture, the Ring Video Doorbell comes with infrared cameras, ensuring that key parts of the house can be monitored and locked down, even in the dead of night.
Custom alerts – When motion sensors are tripped anywhere you place them, the Ring Video Doorbell can provide real-time smartphone alerts, or email updates. So whatever you are doing, and wherever you are, you can connect with the cameras to establish what is going on.
See and hear visitors – The doorbell comes with a reliable two-way microphone system. This allows users to chat to anyone outside their door and hear their responses. You can also listen in to those outside, which could help to understand their motives, and whether to provide access. This can be linked to mobile devices as well – a handy tool for allowing builders or cleaners into properties should you be absent.
Ring Protect – If customers pay extra for a Ring Protect plan, they can store up to 30 days of footage on the company's Cloud servers. This comes with a 30-day free trial, so why not give it a try? You might find that the ability to track repeated incidents or patterns of visits is a real security benefit.
Flexible power options – If you need to place doorbells discreetly, or in hard to reach positions, that's no problem. The Ring Video Doorbell allows users to operate them via batteries or power cables, allowing users to create their own setup.
Resilience – There's rarely any need to worry about extreme temperatures or conditions damaging the abilities of a Ring Video Doorbell. Each unit is assessed to function between -20 and 50 degrees centigrade without any adverse effects.
Video: How Ring Video Doorbell Works | Smart Doorbell with Camera [Ring]
What are the Advantages of Using a Video Doorbell?
If you haven't thought about installing a video doorbell, the advantages might not be immediately obvious, but there are some good reasons to think about making the change.
Above all, video doorbell systems provide homes with the ability to see not just who is at the door, but what they are holding, and what is behind or around them. So you can detect if someone is hiding an item or if additional individuals are hiding away from the doorway.
Secondly, the ability to speak with visitors helps when updating them about your location. So, if you are on your way home, you can let them know, or provide instructions about where to leave parcels. And if it's a stranger who seems suspicious, speaking to them suggests that you are at home, making forced entry much less likely.
Video access systems also come into their own when users are away from home, but important visitors arrive. How many social calls have you missed from people you know, just because you were at the shops or working? You'd never really know, unless you could refer to video evidence or mobile phone updates when people arrive.
The addition of night vision has its own benefits. When it's dark, a ring on the doorbell or knock on the door can be alarming, especially for those who live alone. If you can access video footage of who is at the door, you can easily tell if they are known to you, and allow access accordingly.
Finally, traditional doorbells don't come with any kind of motion-sensing technology. Devices like the Ring Video Doorbell do, and this makes them more than just a video camera attached to a doorbell. They can be set up to provide security alerts when you aren't around, doubling up as an effective intruder alarm.
Of course, not everyone is as switched on regarding security or safety, and some people may find the need to check video images a bit unwieldy. But if you're a smartphone user who wants to ensure total home safety, the Ring Video Doorbell will be really useful.
What Are The Ring Video Doorbell's Specifications?
It's often easier to get a handle on what electronic devices have to offer by glancing through a specifications sheet, and the Ring Video Doorbell is no exception. So, here's a rundown of what the standard version of Amazon's security star has to offer:
Dimensions – 12.65 x 6.17 x 2.21 cm
Video capture – 720p HD, with night vision capabilities
Recommended internet speed – 500kbps minimum, 1mbps recommended
Temperature range - -20 to 50 degrees centigrade
Colours – Venetian bronze and Satin nickel
What Options Are Available for Buying the Ring Video Doorbell?
When it comes to buying the standard version of the Ring Video Doorbell, there's only one buying option. The standard package comes with all of the specifications listed above and can be fitted in a few minutes. It also allows users to access the 30-day trial of Ring Protect, which we mentioned earlier. All that customers need to decide is whether to opt for the Satin Nickel or Venetian Bronze versions.
Additionally, the Pro and standard versions can be purchased in bundle deals with the Ring Chime. This accessory acts like a normal doorbell and produces a customisable “chime” noise. Chime units can be added anywhere in the home, helping to ensure that those working in garages or studying upstairs can still hear the door. Each unit connects wirelessly to the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, and they can be turned onto silent “do not disturb” mode with a simple smartphone instruction.
Then there's Ring Protect. If you sign up for Ring Protect, you'll probably pay around £2.50 per month (but check for discount codes at). As noted above, members receive a quota of Cloud-based storage space, which can come in very handy when assessing security risks and reporting incidents to the authorities.
If you feel that the specs of the Ring Video Doorbell aren't enough, there's a supercharged version available that might better suit your needs. The Ring Video Doorbell Pro has 1080p HD recording, LED night-vision and customizable alerts. Two extra colours are also available and you can buy various faceplates (which can be interchanged if you fancy a facelift).
Ring Video Doorbell Review Feedback: What Have the Experts Said?
Feedback from the UK's tech press has usually been pretty good regarding Ring products, although there have been some criticisms that are worth bearing in mind.
For example, Trusted Reviews took a look at the device in 2018 and awarded it 3.5 stars out of 5 – a very solid score. The reviewer loved how easy it was to link the device to existing doorbells, without the need for professional installation. They applauded the video quality, the well-made smartphone app, and the option to chat to visitors before allowing access. However, there were some potential negatives. Ironically, Trusted Reviewers suggested that the doorbell itself was alarmingly easy to steal. They weren't happy with the limited number of ring tones, or the limited amount of Cloud storage (without paying for a Protect plan).
American tech site Digital Trends also assessed the basic version of the Ring Video Doorbell and came to similar conclusions. Its reviewer found that the simple device offered a whole new suite of potential security ideas, without spending big on cameras and alarms. They also liked the app, the ease of installation, and the price. But the build quality was a flaw, as was the slight lag in between conversations, which can compromise the microphone function.
However, most media outlets agree that, for the price, the Ring Video Doorbell is an excellent product and an easy way to add some security to your home.
How to Install Ring Video Doorbell Devices – Some Handy Tips
The basic version of the Ring Video Doorbell is extremely easy to install for an advanced security product, and most users won't need to bring in an electrician or security specialist to get the job done:
First, users need to set up their Ring App and Ring Account. After that, they have to fix the mounting on a surface near their door, at about chest level.
After drilling holes in the required places, security screws provided with the device can be used to fix the Ring Video Doorbell in place. When the battery has been charged, the Ring unit can be slotted into place, and the casing can be attached over the top.
Finally, users need to set up their Ring device with the Ring App. To do so, head to your Ring Account and choose the “Set up a device” option.
Now, use your phone to scan the bar code on the back of your Ring doorbell. Choose a location and name your device. When this is finished, look at the Ring doorbell itself. Press the orange button on the device. While the light is spinning, press the “continue” option on the Ring App.
At this stage, your phone should link automatically to the Ring wifi network. Finally, you'll need to connect the Ring doorbell to your wifi network at home. You'll need your wifi password to do so, and you can choose the right network via the Ring App.
From start to finish, the process shouldn't take more than 30 minutes, but most vendors provide professional support for those who aren't sure about how to install their devices. They may come at a small extra cost, but it's sometimes advisable to make sure that every step has been carried out properly.
Using the Ring Video Doorbell with Popular Smart Technology
One of the most attractive things about Ring's products is the tie in with Amazon. In theory, this should enable in-depth smart connectivity, but as we've seen, this only applies to the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. The standard version does not work with Alexa or any other smart platforms, unfortunately.
Does Ring Video Doorbell Pro work with Google Home? – In the past, Ring's products have catered poorly for Google Home users, but as of mid-2019 that all changed. Now, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro works with the Google smart assistant. Just ask Google Assistant to “Talk to Ring”, and you can ask it to start recording, access video, or talk to people at the door. However, customer feedback suggests that many users still struggle to get Ring working with Google Home, even though the tech giant has announced that there should be few compatibility problems. So you may want to avoid Ring's systems until those issues have been well and truly sorted out.
Does Ring Video Doorbell Pro work with Alexa? – The situation is very different when it comes to Alexa. Unsurprisingly, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro was designed to work with Alexa, which is owned and developed by the security firm's parent company. There should be no compatibility issues when hooking Alexa up to your Ring – enabling voice-activated security and access control like never before.
Additionally, the Pro version of the Ring Doorbell works with Samsung SmartThings, which is handy for Galaxy or Note owners who have embraced the Korean company's smart platform.
Things to Remember when Using the Ring Video Doorbell
When you've set up a Ring Doorbell system, how can you get the most from your installation? Taking care of the device makes a big difference, so here's a quick FAQ including some commonly asked queries about how to keep your Ring Doorbell in peak condition.
How long does Ring Video Doorbell battery last? – Ring has included relatively long-life batteries with all of its doorbell products, including the standard version. Expect a battery lifetime of 6-12 months (or just hook the doorbell up to mains electricity if you have any worries on this score).
Does Ring Video Doorbell need wifi? – Yes, the Ring doorbell will require a wifi network to function properly. The standard version requires 802.11 b/g/n wifi, at a speed of 2.4 GHz, so double-check that you meet those requirements before buying.
Is Ring Video Doorbell waterproof? – As we noted earlier, Ring has engineered the Ring Doorbell to be rugged and resilient, and this includes ensuring that it can withstand heavy rain, freezing temperatures, and scorching heat. Obviously, we don't recommend dunking the unit in a bath, but it should deal with any UK weather conditions admirably. However, if you're worried about water getting into the Ring's casing, it may be a good idea to place a hood over the unit. A simple plastic shield can divert any moisture away from the casing, ensuring that it works perfectly for years.
How and When to Find the Best Ring Video Doorbell Deals?
Take security to another level with the Ring Video Doorbell. With this smart home access platform, users can see who is at the door, chat to their visitors, and decide exactly who to let into their home, and who to avoid.
By and large, the Ring Video Doorbell tends to be fairly cheap, at least compared to high-tech competitors. But the cheapest versions will still cost over £100, and Pro variants much more than that. If you add in a Chime or two, and a subscription to Ring Protect, the costs can swiftly mount. So how can you find a Ring Video Doorbell cheap?
The answer is simple. Shopping for smart security tech at the Ring Video Doorbell sale is the way to go. Our listings include up to date deals from major electronics merchants like Currys, Argos, John Lewis, AO.com, BT Shop, Toolstation and – naturally enough – Amazon. Look out for bundles with online subscriptions and Chimes, and check for heavily discounted Pro devices, as they are much more sophisticated than the original version.
As with all tech products, shopping at certain times of the year can have big cost benefits. For instance, Ring products are always available for less during the Amazon Prime Day promotion, and Black Friday is a great time for deal hunting. So if you can wait a while, you may find that your buying options broaden.
Smarten Up Your Home Security and Save Money with the Ring Video Doorbell Offers at hotukdeals
Marketed by Amazon, the Ring Video Doorbell is a nifty little security device that can really enhance homes across the UK. The Ring Doorbell mixes a security alarm with a doorbell, offering a well-designed and useful fusion. Anyone who wants to explore what Ring has to offer can find the lowest possible prices at the Ring Video Doorbell listings.