Ring now offers seven video doorbell models, and as you might have guessed, the company is running out of ways to differentiate them. The Ring Video Doorbell 4 looks virtually identical to the Ring Video Doorbell 3 (and the battery-only Ring Video Doorbell 2, for that matter), and it delivers the same 1080p resolution. Like the model 3, the Ring Video Doorbell 4 can operate on either battery power or your existing doorbell wiring, and both models support dual-band Wi-Fi networks (2.4- and 5GHz). That leaves color pre-roll video previews (more on that in a bit) as the only additional feature you'll get for the extra $20 in cost. As is typical of Ring home-security products, you'll need to sign up for a subscription to unlock all the Ring Video Doorbell 4's capabilities.
The third generation of Ring's doorbell camera comes in two distinct flavors: The $200 Ring Video Doorbell and the $230 Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus, reviewed here. The most notable features the extra $30 buys you are more sophisticated motion-detection zones, a four-second "pre-roll" that starts recording motion events before the doorbell sends you an alert, and a dual-band (2.4- and 5GHz) Wi-Fi adapter. If you're replacing an existing wired doorbell, this one can take advantage of that low-voltage power source, so you don't need to worry about recharging a battery. But the competition in this space is getting fierce, and unlike some other video doorbells we've reviewed lately, Ring hasn't increased video resolution beyond 1080p, and its new camera still has the 160-degree field of view of its predecessor. The battery-powered Eufy Security Wireless Video Doorbell, for example, is also limited to a 160-degree field of view, but it captures video at 2560x1920 resolution.
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus comes with two interchangeable faceplates, but additional colors can be purchased to match your home's exterior. The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus is the latest iteration in Ring's longstanding smart doorbell lineup. It boasts two-way talk functionality, 1080p HD video, and a 160-degree live stream straight from your front door. Keeping a very similar look to previous models, the Ring 3 Plus comes with two interchangeable faceplates in Satin Nickel and Venetian Bronze. Sometimes installing smart gadgets can be tricky, but I found the Ring 3 Plus simple to set up.
This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commission. If you want to see who's on the other side of your door without having to get up and look yourself, then the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is the best choice for most everyone. It lets you screen (and record) visitors and keep an eye out for package deliveries. Motion and ring alerts to a smartphone are typically fast, audio and 1080p video are clear, and the Ring 2 can be powered by either standard doorbell wiring or a removable rechargeable battery. The Ring Video Doorbell 2 performs like a cross between a modestly aggressive guard dog and a trusty digital butler. In addition to notifying you--audibly and via smartphone--of activity, it records all motion events to the cloud, letting you view those recordings (as well as live video) on your phone or computer any time. It's also compatible with a good number of smart-home devices, platforms, and monitored security systems. Though video recording and storage require a subscription, the $30 annual fee (a mere 8¢ per day) for 60 days of unlimited video storage is downright cheap compared with the competition. We like the Ring Video Doorbell Pro for all the reasons we like the Ring 2. Additionally, it has a much slimmer and sleeker design that will fit in more doorframes and includes the option for customized motion-detection zones.
Since smart doorbells first started popping up on front doors across the U.S. in the last decade, Ring and Nest have dominated the video doorbell market. Both brands have a strong reputation and large consumer base--and there's good reason for the fanfare. The two smart home tech companies make sleek and reliable video doorbells that go beyond the basics of many other doorbell cameras, with features like package detection, facial recognition, and continuous recording. To help you decide which is right for you, we're peeling back the layers and analyzing the differences between two popular front door rivals: the Ring Video 3 Plus and the Nest Hello. The Nest Hello (pictured) and the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus both retail for $229.