Having invented the video doorbell market, Ring now has an astounding seven models to choose from. The Ring Video Doorbell Wired, reviewed here, is the company's entry-level product and is a strong offering at $60. It's a budget camera to be sure, but it delivers all the essentials you need to keep an eye on your front porch. At this price, Ring is surely eyeing Wyze Labs, which introduced its own budget video doorbell priced at $30. But when we checked Wyze's website just before we set this review to publish, we discovered that product was out of stock, and its price tag had risen from $30 to $45.
Who'd have thought that radar would become an increasingly important technology in the smart home? The second-gen Google Nest Hub taps the tech to track your sleep, and now the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 is using it for 3D motion detection. Ring's top-of-the-line doorbell camera offers other advanced features, too, but is it enough to justify its $250 price tag--and the subscription you'll need to access them? If you're not familiar with Ring's video doorbells and other home security cameras, you'll get motion and visitor alerts, but you'll only be able to view a live stream of what's happening in front of the camera unless you sign up for a Ring Protect subscription. You can talk to people in front of the camera--using your smartphone or an Echo Show smart display--but you won't be able to see events that occurred in the past. Ring's subscriptions aren't terribly expensive, starting at $3 per camera per month, but they're the only way to get motion-activated recordings that are stored in the cloud, so you can watch them later (you get up to 60 days of history).
The Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell is the latest from one of Europe's biggest smart home security product makers. It was first shown at CES 2019, so it's been a long time coming. The product is now available in the U.S. for $300. That makes it much more expensive up front than many of its competitors, but it could easily work out cheaper over time because you don't need to pay any subscription charges for cloud-based video storage or other services. Netatmo's device is larger than some competitors, but it has a smart design with the facia split evenly into three sections: the top is the camera, the center is the speaker, and the lower third is the doorbell button.
The concept is pretty genius. Take a beefy smart lock and a video doorbell and mash them both into a single unit. It's one-stop security shopping for the exterior of your smart home, letting you not only see who comes and goes, but giving you the power to open the door for them, too. While products like Amazon Key let you cobble together a solution like this from a collection of disparate products, the Lockly Vision marks the first time it's been integrated into a single device. Camera aside, Lockly Vision is functionally similar in design to Lockly's other deadbolts, such as the Lockly Secure Pro, giving you myriad ways to open the lock.
The SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro is a wired doorbell with infrared motion detection that produces a great picture. It's the first such product from SimpliSafe, which made a major impact on the home security market when it introduced its DIY no-contract home security system in 2009. This doorbell won't do the same for the smart home security market, but it is a well-made product that's worth consideration from anyone contemplating buying a video doorbell. The camera has a pleasing design--the result of a partnership with design company IDEO--and measures 4.35 x 1.35 x 1.12 inches (11 x 3.5 x 2.8 centimeters). That makes it a little taller than, say, the Ring Video Doorbell, but it is more compact.
My house has never had a doorbell. This alone makes me a good candidate for the $179 Ring Video Doorbell, which uses home Wi-Fi to transmit the sound of a doorbell chime directly to smartphones, as well as to Ring's $30 wall-mounted Chime accessory. But there's a deeper reason why I wanted to test Ring: It's got intriguing home-security features that could discourage the crooks who've been targeting my neighborhood in a series of daytime robberies. Burglars typically start these capers by ringing the doorbell to determine if anyone's home. The Ring Video Doorbell, thanks to its built-in video camera with two-way communication, directly addresses this nefarious use case by making the bad guys think you're always at home.
Amazon completed its acquisition of smart home security company Ring on Thursday and immediately reduced the price of its popular video doorbell to $100. The Ring video doorbell launched in 2015 as one of the first video doorbells on the market and helped create a product space that attracted many competitors. It has been selling recently for around $135. Ring released a second-generation doorbell in 2017, but the original version is still popular and a good deal at its new price. The main difference between the two is an upgrade from 720p high-definition video to 1080p high-def on the Ring Video Doorbell 2. There's also a removable battery in the new model, but with today's price cut those features come at double the price.
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 ($199 on Amazon) is a relatively modest, incremental update to the original Ring Video Doorbell. And, wow, some of its set-up procedure was seriously frustrating. But as a more-or-less satisfied owner of Ring's first doorbell, I have to give Ring credit: Motion detection is better than ever, and once I got through some initial set-up hassles, Ring Video Doorbell 2 was actually easier to install than the first-generation product. Smart home gadgets are rarely as smart as we need them to be, and I've spent a lot of time on Ring tech support over the last two years, struggling to get the original doorbell working as advertised. But Ring has been tenacious, and through constant iteration the company has improved its core technology.