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Ring.com has an innovative Wi-Fi Video doorbell but there are key elements missing from the doorbell unit that some customers find annoying. Here are some of the problems and alternative devices to Ring.com’s camera doorbell.
The Ring video doorbell originally started off as a Kickstarter project under the name DoorBot. The release of the unit stuttered a few times because of manufacturing cost and small hurdles in software but the device soon gained heavy backers which gave its R&D enough financing to help solve a lot of issues with the unit and bring it to the market as Ring. Ring.com was officially formed last year and their commercials are everywhere on TV and YouTube but do their doorbell deliver on the promise of scaring off potential thieves from your front door with their 2-way audio and a camera? The answer in most cases is yes but unfortunately, with all first to market products, there were some unforeseen flaws with the Ring device that customers have brought to light recently.
A lost connection cannot be re-established
The Ring video doorbell allows you to communicate with someone as soon as they push the unit’s doorbell button or if they enter a predetermined area in front of the camera with Line Detection Zones. Unfortunately, if you lost connection with that person in front of the doorbell either by data loss or from you accidentally hanging up on the connection, you will not be able to re-establish that connection unless the person in front of the Ring doorbell activates the device by pushing the doorbell button again or moving out of the camera’s view and come back into view several seconds later. Ring.com do acknowledge this problem and said that their newer more expensive model Ring Pro for $249 will allow automatic re-connection.
On-Demand video viewing is not available
Again the Ring doorbell was designed to view guest once they press the device’s doorbell button or stand in a detection zone. The Ring device does not at this present time have On-Demand viewing which could allow you to view a video at any time you choose through the Ring camera app. The Ring Pro is scheduled to have an upgrade allowing On-Demand video.
You must pay to record video in the Cloud
It’s only $3 but for some customers, it’s the principle. They want to have control over how much they record. The Ring 1.0 video doorbell doesn’t have an onboard recording feature and Ring.com has not added one to their newer doorbell, the Ring Pro.
Now, before I get into alternatives to the Ring Remote Doorbell, let me first say that there have been a lot of satisfied customers who swear by the Ring device and the few Ring doorbells that I have installed for customers, they’ve all worked quite well. Even with its limitations, I think the Ring Doorbell is on the right track when it comes to a reliable device with their ironclad warranty and protection. If your Ring video doorbell is stolen, they will replace your unit. All you have to do is provide them with the police report and they will ship you another Ring doorbell.
Alternatives to the Ring doorbell
Recently, I’ve been pre-testing the Zmodo Torch Pro at $199 and I have to say, I fell in love with it. For the price of one Ring doorbell, it surprisingly came with 2 cameras. One for the doorbell with 2-way audio and another one that replaces your porch light bulb with an HD camera and customizable light that you can turn on and off as well as change colors remotely from your mobile phone or tablet. I found the doorbell setup to be very similar to Ring. It allows you to talk with anyone who presses the doorbell button or within close view of the camera. The camera can be activated on-demand to view and communicate with 2-way audio even if the device wasn’t triggered by pressing the doorbell button or motion detection. This is the biggest feature missing from the Ring 1.0 video doorbell but I really like how the second camera picks up other angles that the doorbell camera can’t view. This is important since I’ve found a lot of doorbell wiring are located on sidewalls pointing sideways across the front door instead of facing outward from the doorway. The porch light can be screwed into a light socket facing up or down. The camera will automatically flip the camera’s view with auto-sense.
I tried it inside a light lantern and found that I had to clean the glass due to bug residue. I did expect a lot of light flare from the lantern glass but there was very little with the light on. I played with the light colors from Halloween Orange to green as well as light blue to white and found very little light interference from the glass. You can program the lighting effect as well as set an automatic on and off time directly from the free app for the Zmodo Torch Pro. You also can program any color variations up to six settings.
If you just want the doorbell camera with 2-way audio then the Zmodo Greet at $150 transcends other video doorbell cameras in the market. There are no monthly fees for cloud storage and 8 gigabytes of onboard video storage is available for local door video recording. You can also record a message to be heard by anyone who presses the doorbell. You can leave instructions for post delivery of your package or for guest to let them know to come around to the side gate because the party is in the backyard. These features are not available on the Ring doorbell at $199.
You have to admit, the Ring Doorbell is battle tested. It’s been in the market the longest and upgrades have been made for customers to download. So far, I haven’t found a customer complaining about a broken Ring doorbell unit because of weather or continuous use. On the other hand, it seems Zmodo has set back and studied the software and hardware mistakes and issues of the Ring video doorbell and engineered a doorbell using Ring’s own R&D. When it comes to the quality of the video, I’ll rate the Ring and Zmodo about the same. The Zmodo seems slightly better but at the time of testing, it could have been better lighting conditions that tipped the scales in Zmodo’s favor.
The new Skybell 2.0 video doorbell was easier to set up and had a better picture than both the Zmodo and Ring doorbell. Unfortunately, the awkward round size of the unit didn’t quite fit the area we were connecting it to but it did have On-Demand video as well as a better voltage regulator than both Zmodo and Ring and like the Ring, it comes with a choice of device colors. Recently, the price dropped from $199 to $122. I don’t know if the drop in price is due to its struggles of getting from under the relentless advertising of the Ring video doorbell or if they are trying to be aggressively competitive. Regrettably, just like the Ring video doorbell, Skybell requires a monthly video cloud storage fee.
All of the above-mentioned video doorbell devices are presently or soon to become compatible with 3rd party devices like door locks, sensors, and other home automation devices.
Remember, installing these video doorbell cameras require you to work with high voltage doorbell wires. If you feel uncomfortable installing a doorbell unit with high voltage wiring, consider a security camera expert that can install any of these Wi-Fi Video doorbells professionally for you or have them integrated a video doorbell into a complete home security camera system. Contact a knowledgeable installer in your area.
You can find Professional Video Doorbell installers located in Chicago, Orlando, Tampa, and other locations throughout the United States.
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