Ring Doorbell 2 Review

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by Greg Hook Oct 10, 2017 at 10:36 AM

  • Tech review

    25

    Highly Recommended
    Ring Doorbell 2 Review
    SRP: £179.00

    What is the Ring Video Doorbell 2?

    Earlier this year we reviewed the original Ring Video Doorbell. A product that brought the humble old doorbell kicking and screaming into the 21st century by making use of Wi-Fi which most of us now have in our homes. It was one of those products that you wish you'd invented yourself as it seemed such a simple idea but implemented in such an excellent way. And, once you've installed one, you wonder how you ever managed without it.

    The original Ring Doorbell has an RRP of £159 (although this can now be found for £139) and performed superbly, even with the limitation of 720P video. Providing that you supplied it with a strong Wi-Fi signal you received instant alerts, notifications and had quick access to recordings.

    Ring have now released their new incarnation, the imaginatively titled Ring Video Doorbell 2. This looks to build on the excellent performance of the original Ring, whilst improving the video quality to Full HD 1080P and now with a removal battery pack. So for those that aren’t looking to hardwire it you no longer have to take the whole doorbell off the wall to charge it. With an increased RRP of £179 as at the time of writing (October 2017) the improvements need to be worthwhile, so read on too see how this updated version performs.

    Design and Specifications

    The Ring 2 includes everything you need to install it, including the required tools, drill bit, screws, diode and even a cute little spirit level and very easy to follow instructions. Unlike the original Ring that was available in a range of colours, the Ring 2 has been redesigned so the bottom faceplate is removable to access the battery pack. As such they have included in the box both a black and silver faceplate (or Satin Nickel and Venetian as they like to call them), no other colours are currently available.

    The Ring 2 keeps to the overall attractive design with the curved edges that we saw on the original Ring, in fact it is almost identical apart from two vents on the side that have been added. There is an LED light ring around the doorbell button which illuminates blue when pressed or white when in setup mode. Compared to the original’s 720P, the camera has been improved to 1080P Full HD video although the field of view has slightly decreased from 180° to 160°. Night vision, motion detection and two-way audio are again included and the Wi-Fi connection uses 802.11 b/g/n at 2.4Ghz.
    Ring Video Doorbell 2 Design and Specifications
    As with the original, you have the option of either hard wiring the Ring 2 or using battery power. One of the big improvements with the Ring 2 is the inclusion of a removal battery pack. Whilst it wasn’t a major job to remove the complete doorbell and charge it up, it was one of those annoying tasks that could have been made a lot easier and thankfully that’s exactly what Ring have done here. To remove the battery you simply remove one security screw, lift off the cover and take out the battery pack. A USB cable is provided to charge the pack.

    Compared to a standard doorbell the Ring 2 is considerably larger so bear that in mind to ensure it will fit your door. It is very slightly larger than the original Ring coming in at 128mm x 64mm and 27mm thick. Unfortunately the doorbell tone still can’t be changed which would have been nice to see in this updated version.

    Ring continue to include free lifetime theft protection when you purchase the Video Doorbell 2, so for those concerned at having £179 screwed to their front door, if the device is ever stolen Ring will replace it for free when provided with a valid police report.

    Installation and Setup

    As previously mentioned, you will require no additional tools or parts when fitting this doorbell. Everything is provided for you and the instructions are very well laid out and extremely easy to follow. If you choose to use the battery power option, the installation is very quick and simple. Hard wiring is clearly a more advanced option but can still be completed easily without the need for an electrician.
    Ring Video Doorbell 2 Installation and Setup
    As with our review of the original Ring Video Doorbell, we chose the wireless install option as we have no wired doorbell to replace. Initially you need to charge the battery to 100%, but once that is done the installation should take no more than 5 minutes. Once fully charged you then download the Ring App to your smartphone and follow the simple instructions to add the doorbell to your account. You can then test the video quality prior to fitting to ensure you have a good enough Wi-Fi signal available.

    To physically install the doorbell requires just 4 holes for the screws for the main unit, the included spirit level will ensure you fit it perfectly level. Then simply fit the faceplate and the security screw and that’s it. All installed and ready to go. If you are replacing the original Ring doorbell you will find the hole positions different with the Ring 2, but again Ring have thought of everything and provide an adaptor plate and additional screws so you don’t need to drill new holes. Also included are two paintable wedges, one to angle the doorbell 5° down, if for example your front door is up a few steps and one to angle it 15° left or right.

    If you choose the hardwired option and are replacing an existing hardwired doorbell it requires a transformer with a voltage of 8-24VAC and if wiring directly to the transformer you need to fit a resistor. The included diode will be required if your existing doorbell is digital. It’s then a simple case of connecting the two wires from your original doorbell to the Ring 2. Again, covering all bases Ring also provide two wiring extensions in case the existing wires are not long enough.

    The Ring app is very easy to use and has a simple and clear interface. The app has a log of all the events such as doorbell rings and motion detection. You also have quick access to the live view and the device health to check on the battery life, motion, live-view and the Wi-Fi settings.

    Ring Video Doorbell 2 Installation and Setup
    Ring Video Doorbell 2 Installation and Setup
    The motion detection settings include 6 motion zones and a customisable motion range of 5ft to 30ft. Zone 6 is immediately in front of the doorbell and extends to 5 feet, then zones 1 to 5 extend from 5 to 30ft. Individual motion detection rules can be set as to when motion detection is disabled. If you don’t want to be alerted every night between 11pm and 7am then you can set up a rule for this or if you have a particularly busy part of the day when people leave for work or school, you can set up a rule to ignore motion for just a 15-minute period. The final part of the motion detection is the Smart Alerts which changes how often you get alerted if a repeated or continuous motion is detected. If someone comes to the door and you stand chatting for 10 minutes, you won’t want it to keep chiming every time they move, so the Smart Alerts will stop that.

    Testing and Optional Accessories

    As we found with our review of the original Ring, the Ring 2 was easy to install, setup and use and provided you gave it a strong Wi-Fi signal, you will receive instant alerts on your smartphone when there is motion detection or if the doorbell is pressed. If an alert is received you open the app and can either look at the live view to see if anyone is there or wait a few seconds and watch back a recording.

    If someone quickly comes to your door, puts something through the letter box and walks off, chances are by the time you get the notification, open the app and look at live view they will probably have long gone. So given how quick the postie is, you are never likely to catch them on live view unless you happen to be watching it at the time, but shortly after the motion detection there will be a recording to view back to see exactly what caused the detection.

    When the doorbell is pressed you will get an instant notification that someone is at your front door. You can then click the notification and be presented with the live view. This is similar to answering a call, with a green phone symbol to connect and talk to the person at the front door or red to disconnect. Or you can simply press nothing and just watch the action. The video quality at 1080P is a noticeable improvement from the original Ring with much better definition and the ability to cope with lighting differences as you can see below. Using the battery we've had the device on test for two weeks now and the battery has dropped to 15%. We expect that to stabilise over the coming weeks and months.



    We did find one negative with the system and that is if you have a power cut for example or turn off your router (or the Chime Pro), the Ring 2 won’t always reconnect to the Wi-Fi signal. Setting it up again is not an effortless process that can be done solely via the app, you have to go to the doorbell, remove the faceplate, press the setup button and then follow the instructions in the app.

    As with most Cloud services that you get with security cameras and similar devices, the service is usually not free and this is the same here with Ring. With each doorbell you do get a free 30-day trial of the cloud storage and video recording service but to continue to access recordings and have them saved you will need to purchase a subscription. There are two options for this Cloud Service, either the Basic service which is £24.99 per year or £2.50 a month per a camera, which gives you all the Cloud features or the Protect service at £80 per year which covers unlimited cameras plus includes a lifetime warranty and 10% discount on future purchases. You are also able to log in directly to your account on the Ring website and review the videos and events stored there.

    As with the original Ring, the doorbell chime cannot be altered in tone or volume unfortunately, but there are several accessories available to solve this issue. The Chime at £29 and the Chime Pro at £49 both add a secondary location to hear the notifications with the Chime Pro also working as a Wi-Fi extender (for Ring devices only) to extend the range of the Ring network.
    Ring Video Doorbell 2 Testing and Optional Accessories
    The installation of the Chime Pro was very quick and easy and adds separately configurable motion and doorbell activation chimes including one with dogs barking, all using the same app as the video doorbells. The Chime or Chime Pro are a very worthwhile addition to the Video Doorbell and if you shop around you can find some good value packages that include both the Video Doorbell and the Chime or Chime Pro.

    Additional accessories include a Solar Panel at £39.99 for those that can’t hardwire their doorbell and don’t want to charge it every few months, a solar powered illuminated warning sign at £39.99 and an additional battery pack at £20. Ring also offer additional cameras such as the ‘world’s only’ motion activated HD security camera with 1080P, built in floodlights, two-way audio and siren at £249 and additional 720P cameras at £159 and 1080P at £199. There is also an option for the Video Doorbell Pro at £229 which includes the same 1080P recording as the Ring 2, but also includes a Chime in the package, a 24VAC transformer, slightly improved Wi-Fi and uses a slimmer design. This does require professional installation though.

    Conclusion

    9
    AVForumsSCORE
    OUT OF
    10

    Pros

    • Very easy to install
    • Works perfectly
    • Excellent 1080P video quality

    Cons

    • Doorbell ringtones still can't be adjusted
    • Doorbell won't always reconnect to Wi-Fi after power cut
    • Video recording features require paid subscription
    You own this Total 4
    You want this Total 5
    You had this Total 0

    Ring Doorbell 2 Review

    Is the Ring 2 Video Doorbell worth buying?

    The Ring Video Doorbell 2 at £179 adds to what was an already superb product with the original Ring via the addition of 1080P video and a removable battery pack. If you are looking to beef up your home security or simply want to spy on people that come to your door, then the Ring 2 will do that with ease and in a simple and straightforward way. This would also be of benefit for those with a disability who may not be able to get to the door quickly or at all.

    We really struggled to find anything negative to say about the Ring 2. Everything is included in the box to install it, which is a very quick and easy procedure and the 1080P video quality is a noticeable improvement on the 720P of the original Ring. It is important that you have a good Wi-Fi signal where the doorbell is located and if you do, we found the notifications to be instant and the doorbell to work exactly as it should. Our only negatives really are that the chime on the doorbell can still not be configured in tone or volume, plus if you do have a power cut it won’t always reconnect to the Wi-Fi, requiring you to manually set it up again.

    At its current price the Ring Video Doorbell 2 offers a lot for the money and is a device that has been well thought out in both implementation, design and package. There are also several deals available if you shop around, where you can get both the Ring 2 and the Chime for just £189, which makes for excellent value. As with the original Ring, we are again happy to award this an AVForums Highly Recommended badge, it really is one of those products that you wonder how you ever managed without it.


    Suggested retail price when reviewed: £179.00

    The Rundown

    Connectivity

    9

    Features

    9

    Set Up

    10

    Build Quality

    9

    Performance

    9

    Value for Money

    8

    Verdict

    9

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