Back in 2017, the doorbell changed forever. Thanks to Ring and their smart Video Doorbell, you now had the ability to answer your door wherever you were in the world, see and talk to whoever was at your door without ever opening it along with recording any motion. The perfect solution to save you from answering the door to someone you don’t want to see!
Having been bought by Amazon, Ring are continuing to develop new products and improve old ones, with prices now keeping to the familiar keen Amazon level. The original Ring Doorbell was £159 at the time but the current base model is just £89 today.
In keeping with this continuing development, the latest incarnation is the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus. Priced at £199 it is at the top end of the now bursting video doorbell market. Offering Full HD 1080P, live view, advanced motion detection, rechargeable quick release battery pack, night vision and new to this latest doorbell is dual band 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz Wi-Fi and pre-roll video which shows you 4 seconds of video prior to the activation. But those new features come at a premium price so read on to see how this new doorbell performs and if it is worth the money.
In this review we are also featuring the new version of the Chime Pro available for £49.
Design and Specification
Priced at £199, this is Ring’s premium battery powered video doorbell. In the box, as with the lower priced models, you get everything you would possibly need (short of a power tool) to install it. Included is a screwdriver, a dual ended bit (the security screw is a different size to previous Ring doorbells), screws, wall plugs, tiny little spirit level, drill bit and wiring and connectors if you are choosing the hard wired option. There should not be anything else you need to install this, it is all included. Ring even provide a 6 stickers in various languages if you want to alert anyone to the fact that you have a Ring doorbell.
The design of this latest Ring is identical to the previous versions. That being a curved edge design with a black top half which houses the 1080P camera and the lower half which can either be silver (Satin Nickel) or black (Venetian Bronze) thanks to the included removable faceplates. The faceplate is secured to the main body of the doorbell by a security screw and features a LED light ring which illuminates blue when pressed. Behind the removable faceplate is the removable rechargeable battery pack which is charged via the included USB cable.
As you would expect for £199, the Video Doorbell 3 Plus includes a good set of features and specifications (although 1080P video is a bit old hat now). The camera is 1080P Full HD with HDR, night vision and a field of view of 160°. Alongside this we have Alexa integration, advanced motion detection which now features adjustable motion zones and near motion zone, two-way audio with noise cancellation and dual band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi at 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz.
The newest feature and exclusive (plus a first to market feature for Ring) to this latest Doorbell 3 Plus is the Pre-Roll feature. Rather than just seeing the video following activation, you also see 4 seconds of black and white video prior to the activation. To save on battery life, the video in the pre-roll is less than 1080P and does not include night vision.
Although the design is identical, the doorbell is slightly larger than the previous versions measuring 128mm x 64mm and 34mm thick. Ring continues to offer a free lifetime theft protection if the device is ever stolen. All you need is the police report and Ring will ship you a free of charge replacement within 14 days.
Installation and Setup
As with the previous Ring Doorbells we have reviewed, the installation and setup is extremely easy. The instructions are quite simple to follow, whether you are using the included battery pack or hard wiring it, it should take no more than 5 minutes to have it all up and running. Via the easy to use Ring App you simply add the new device to your account by scanning the QR code on the rear of the unit and then install it to your desired location. Ring also helpfully include two installation wedges out of the box, one to angle the doorbell down if you have steps up to your door for example and another to angle it to the side if placed in a corner.
Once installed, you can then proceed to configure it via the easy to use Ring App. The Ring App has improved significantly with several additional features and design compared to the first Ring Doorbell. The main view gives you the dashboard which features the view of the doorbell and any other Ring devices you may own, along with quick access to the history, settings and account features.
In the device itself, you have quick access to the live view and turning on or off the Ring alerts, motion recording and motion alerts with one simple touch. Other features are the Mode Settings which allow you to configure the doorbell and any other Ring devices to disarmed, home mode and away mode. The app now features a linked devices setting, whereby if motion is detected on one Ring device, you can set any other Ring device you own to record video or turn on the flood light, if applicable.
The motion settings are a key feature of any motion activated device and here the Ring excels. Firstly, you have a motion snooze setting where you can quickly snooze the motion from anywhere from 30 minutes to 4 hours. Smart Alerts is another new setting that features a people only mode, with this activated it should only send you alerts when humans are detected rather than a car driving by or your cat wanting to come back in.
The motion detection settings themselves can either be configured manually or by following the simple motion wizard. The settings includes motion zones which are unfortunately not configurable by drawing an area as we have seen with Ring’s outdoor camera, but you do get 4 different areas that you can turn on or off and adjust the sensitivity. The motion verification setting reduces unwanted motion notifications and trims recordings if motion stops for example. The final features are a motion schedule where you can set time and days that you do not want notifications and a motion frequency setting.
We had the Doorbell 3 Plus for a month-long extended test for our review. On top of the simple installation and setup as mentioned previously, the excellent app and features makes this a breeze to use. Despite the increased features such as HDR and Pre-roll, the battery life was excellent, with 40% remaining after the month’s use. Granted this was ‘during the time of Covid’ so there wasn’t a lot of callers but based on our experiences it should last at least a month with heavy use.
With the previous Ring devices we have found that it does need a strong Wi-Fi signal to get the most out of it. This is still the case here, but thanks to the dual band Wi-Fi it didn’t appear to be as much of an issue. When motion is detected, you get an instant notification on your smart device. If you press this notification it takes you straight to the live view plus in the top left corner you see the pre roll footage of the 4 seconds prior to the activation. Depending on your internet speed (2Mbps minimum upload speed is recommended) it should take around 10-30 seconds before the video has been uploaded to the Ring servers and is available to view back.
We found usually that you get a motion detection alert before the person has had a chance to press the doorbell, once they have done that you then get a ‘someone at your door’ alert. If you have an Echo Show it will alert you that someone is at the door plus show you the video too. Thanks to the pre-roll feature, it now eliminates the issue we found where if someone quickly came to the door and then departed, such as the postman, the doorbell would alert you but all that would be recorded was the back of someone as they left, here you get to see the 4 seconds before.
In addition to the Pre-roll feature, the doorbell also takes a snapshot between events, this can be set to either every hour or rather randomly every 14 minutes. It will affect battery life, but we had it set to 14 minutes and as mentioned above we found the battery life to be excellent. There is an option to take a snapshot every 5 minutes but this is only available if the doorbell is wired or has the solar panel accessory.
For anyone these days that uses a smart security camera or similar, you will know that to access all the features you need to unfortunately pay extra for it. Here with Ring that is also the case. Each device comes with a free 30-day trial of the Cloud storage and video recording service. After this 30-day period if you wish to keep these features then you will need to purchase one of their Protect Plans. If you don’t purchase a plan you will still get the 2 year warranty, motion activated notifications, live view, two-way talk and theft protection, but you will lose the 30 day video history, video saving and sharing and the snapshot feature.
The Basic plan costs £2.50 per month or £24.99 a year (per device) and gives you all the Cloud features. The Plus Plan costs £8 a month or £80 a year (for any number of devices) and includes all the features of the Basic plan, plus extended warranties, 10% off at Ring.com and free trial, cellular backup and assisted monitoring for the Ring Alarm.
Chime Pro and Additional Accessories
In addition to the Ring Video Doorbell 3, we were also sent the latest Chime Pro for review. This has been completely redesigned from the original rather basic looking Chime Pro. Costing £49 it acts as a Wi-Fi extender and Chime for all Ring devices (note it won’t extend Wi-Fi for non Ring devices)
The new Chime Pro has a very sleek modern look to it and whilst being taller and wider than the original is much thinner. It has a white curved plastic housing with a grey fabric front and a Blue LED light in the top corner. Anyone with a Ring device (and no offense intended to Americans) will know the rather annoying voice that comes out when setting up or changing a Ring device. Thankfully with the new Chime Pro it is a much softer English voice that isn’t as harsh on the ears. It also features dual band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi at 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz.
The Chime Pro has customisable Chime tones, snooze option for up to 12 hours and can be configured to only alert you when a particular Ring device is activated if you have more than one. It also has a night light feature which comes on via the light sensor. If you don’t have the greatest Wi-Fi and are finding your Ring doorbell keeps moaning at you about low signal, the Chime Pro may be worth considering.
In addition to this, Ring do have lots of accessories available such as the new Chime for £29 which is similar to the Chime Pro but just missing the night light and only has 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi. Additional battery packs are available for £19.95 and a rather sleek looking solar charger which is fitted behind the doorbell for £49. Ring also do now have their own smart security system which we hope to get a sample of to review at a later date.
It is also worth noting that the 2nd generation of Ring’s entry level Doorbell is due out in July and costs £89. This has all the features of the £199 Doorbell Pro 3, but loses the 5Ghz Wi-Fi, Pre-roll feature and the quick release battery pack.
- Dual Band Wi-Fi
- Pre-roll video
- Excellent motion detection system
- Simple setup
- Easy to use and well designed feature rich app
- Everything included out of the box to install
- Much improved Chime Pro design
- Useful Chime Pro night light feature
- Not really worth the premium over the new basic Ring Doorbell
- Only 1080P video
Ring Video Doorbell Plus 3 Review
The new Ring Video Doorbell 3 Pro at £199 continues to impress and improve on Ring’s already growing range of Smart home products. With 1080P HD (HDR) video, night vision, two-way talk and the new snapshot and Pre-roll features, it offers everything you could want in a video doorbell.
With a simple installation and setup, an App that has been continually improved over the years to offer an impressive array of features it creates a good user experience and presented us with no issues at all during our month long testing including an impressive battery life.
As for negatives, other than 1080P video being a bit old hat, our only issue is with the price. At £199 it is comparable with the Nest version at £229 and when the first Ring doorbell came out in 2017 it was one of the first available, but now the market is flooded with alternatives. A £110 premium compared to the 2nd generation Video Doorbell due out in July for what essentially is a removable battery, pre-roll and dual band Wi-Fi might seem a bit excessive but if you can look past the premium then the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Pro is one to consider.
The newly redesigned Chime Pro at £49 is also a worthy addition to the Ring product range and is definitely worth considering if your Wi-Fi coverage isn’t the best.
Our Review Ethos
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