Top positive review
First impressions... (updated Feb 2021)
Reviewed in Canada on May 23, 2020
I pre-ordered this product on March 31st. This is something I have wanted for some time and when I saw there was a newer version coming out, I thought I might as well just get that one. I liked the better camera. When it comes to a camera that is partly security, you always want the best possible picture. Aside from its use as a home security device of sorts, I wanted this product because I am Hard of Hearing. If I'm in the basement, I often don't know when someone is at the door. I have an Echo Show so combined with the Ring Doorbell, I'll know when someone is at the door and I won't miss any more package deliveries (hopefully).
So the product arrived, I got the battery charged, waited for a nicer day and went to install it. I have never installed a doorbell so I was nervous but everything was going along smoothly as I attempted to wire the device in to the existing doorbell. There are 2 small (I'm thinking proprietary) screws on the back of the device that the wires for your doorbell hook into. I was at an awkward position, struggling to get on the second wire, I had been loosening the screw to give myself more room when I was distracted. When I looked again, the screw was gone. After searched through the flower bed forever, I realized it was truly lost.
Now is where I ran into a problem. I didn't realize the phone number was right on the back of the instructions so I went online to find it. I couldn't find it on the website. It's possible I was just stressed out and that's why but it certainly wasn't easy to find and this is something that I think customers should not have to hunt for. A friend found the number for me and I called and the call was dropped. I called back and the call was dropped. I don't know why this happened but I am noticing it happening from time to time since the pandemic started so it's possible the lines are just busier and that is why it happened. In any case, an American friend ended up calling the company and pretending to be me. They got a new screw sent to me and I waited for the screw before installing the doorbell. Of course, I'm losing my free 30 days of the Ring Protection Plan in the meantime but at this point, I just don't care, I just want the screw so I can install this, for me, very expensive device.
That brings me to yesterday, May 23rd, when the screw arrived in the mail. They actually sent two so I'm glad. Given the location of those screws, their incredibly small size, and the fact that this is a product installed outdoors, I think including extras should be standard but I do appreciate the company sending me 2 more.
I got the doorbell wired in with no problems and this was my first time ever wiring a doorbell. It was very easy. They include a level that goes into a slot on the doorbell so you can, in theory, get the doorbell on straight. I loved the concept but I found that if you moved or tilted the doorbell forward at all, the level fell out of the slot and it wasn't as useful as it could be. When I started to screw the doorbell on, it was perfectly straight but somehow when I was done it was slightly crooked but it very slight and since the holes were made in the siding, it's fine as it is!
When the button is pressed, the doorbell rings inside my house through the existing doorbell. It also notifies me on my phone. Since I only managed to install it yesterday, I can only provide my initial impressions:
The camera has really good quality. The pictures are very clear and even at night, it's still quite clear. I live on a street with street lights so I have no problem seeing images at night on it. Having been responsible for coming up with security measures for an organization, I am aware of how important the picture quality can be if there's a police involved incident and this camera will provide that.
The motion detection is very sensitive! I was getting warned all day yesterday whenever someone walked by on the sidewalk. Here's where I wish I could adjust the camera field with more control. There are 4 fields of view that can be adjusted either on or off and you have 3 distance choices to choose from as well. What I wish I could do was adjust how far each field went. So rather than having one field turned off, it would be nice to be able to simply shrink the field back but that's just me wishing for more fancy bells and whistles. It's definitely something that you'll want to play around with and tweak to get the optimal image.
You are limited to whatever chimes or sounds are included. I actually wish that instead of needing another device, that you could just download and install various chimes but at the end of the day, it's a doorbell and I just need it to ring when someone pushes the button. That said, there are some holiday chimes included and I'm sure I could find a lot of amusement in having the doorbell play "Hava Nagila".
I have noticed that my phone will flash when someone is at the door, so the doorbell works with the accessibility features on my iPhone. This is great for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community. I also noticed that in the chime options that come with doorbell, verbal notifications can also be turned on so that your device announces "There's someone at the door" when the doorbell is pushed. This is another great accessibility feature of the doorbell.
As far as having the doorbell work with Alexa devices, you just need to enable it for Alexa, link the device and you're good to go. Now I can just say, "Alexa, show front door" and I can not only see what's happening outside, I can hear it too! Audio can be turned on or off as can your own microphone.
I think one of my favourite features about this doorbell is that it doubles as an intercom and you can actually speak with people at your door without being anywhere near your door. You can even speak with people at your door without being home!
I'll certainly update this review as I have more time to use the doorbell but my first impressions are that this is a solid product. While it's marketed as a doorbell, this is also a nice little addition to home security. The fact that Amazon also provides an option for a payment plan means that it's also a security product that isn't so far out of reach for lower income households and the low monthly plan for recording images makes it affordable all the way around. This doesn't replace a security system by any means but it's a great companion and a useful device to own.
Update Jan 9, 2021: I had to recharge the battery yesterday. I didn't realize that wiring it in didn't mean the battery would not need to be charged. Not a big deal. I am terrified of losing that tiny screw again but I managed to get the plate off and back on again without dropping the screw. It takes quite some time to charge the battery and I think I will buy a second battery, that way when I get the warning that the battery is low, I can just swap them out.
I would also add that Ring has updated things and you can now choose the area that the camera covers by moving a line around. Now I have it set in a way that I'm no longer being notified every time someone walks their dog down the sidewalk in front of my house. I am VERY happy with this device and the latest updates took care of the only real issue that I had.
Update Feb 10, 2021: The battery needs to be charged again. We've had a few days of where the weather has been in the -20's C. I assume this is the cause. I highly recommend a second battery so you can just swap them at the same time. I haven't gotten a second one yet but I will. I will say, it's quick and easy enough to take the battery out (with the supplied screwdriver) that I didn't have to be outside for more than 1 minute to get it. It would definitely be better if I could have just popped in a fully charged battery at the same time. I'm hoping this next charge lasts more than 1 month but we've still got another month of really cold weather to go.