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Hands-on review: Ring Door View Cam

29 Nov 2019
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Ring caught my attention some time ago, and this has been my first opportunity to examine one of their products.  Ring’s team have been asked a few questions about their products. Questions like: “What if you don’t own your home, or what if you live in an apartment?” and, “What if you’re not allowed to drill holes into walls?”

The Door View Cam may well be the answer to your questions. If your door has an existing peephole, you’ll be able to install the Door View Cam in minutes. Ring loaned me a dummy door, because for some reason I wasn’t considered capable of drilling a peephole in our front door.  Now my darling wife is having fun ringing the bell and chatting to me as I work feverishly away in our little office. I think she quite likes making me jump every time she presses a button.

Setup

You need a home WiFi network and a mobile device. Take note of my comments on WiFi connections in the conclusion, because what I have to say may well affect you as well as me. Meanwhile, simply go to your App Store and download the Ring App. Everything you need is included in the Ring Door View Cam kit. The nifty Ring Tool will help you remove your peephole and will help you lock your device when installed.  It will even help you scrape away excess paint around the peephole.

The removable, rechargeable battery comes with its own charging cable. Plug it into your mobile’s charger and wait until the green light is displayed.

I’m a bit of a doofus when it comes to following written instructions. Ring appear to have anticipated the likes of my kind because the installation instructions include idiot-proof illustrations that even a reviewer can follow.  I had everything set up in under five minutes.

On the side of the unit, inside the easily removable cover, you’ll find a little orange reset button. After my device refused to link to the temporary WiFi network, I realised that my unit may have been set up elsewhere, so I pressed the reset button. Setting up an account, forgetting my password, and resetting it took mere minutes and the Door View Cam told me it was ready to connect to the home WiFi network. The Ring Tool is the only tool you will need, so don’t lose it.  Your mobile device also needs a camera so that you can scan the QR code from the “Setup Steps” document in your kit.

Using the device

Ring provides you with a free trial of their connection software, assuming you may want to record any motions around your front door.  The device can be set up to activate purely by motion, meaning that you can capture your friendly local burglar’s picture, even if they don’t press the bell. You can set the sensitivity of the motion detector. Once your free trial is up, you can opt for a paid subscription, with the basic plan starting at $4.50 a month.

No matter where you are, your phone can let you know that there’s someone at the door. You can use the built-in peephole if you happen to be at the door when it rings. Otherwise you can engage with your visitor via your mobile device. You’ll be able to record video and sound as well as converse with your visitor. The beauty of the device is that they will never know where you are. You can talk to whoever is at the door from any location. 

The helpful folk at Ring have further explained the settings you can choose. There are three of them: Ring, Motion and Knock. You can customise your settings to receive notifications according to your preferences.

Specifications

The most useful bit of information is the “Avg install time” of 5 minutes, which turns out to be quite accurate. The outdoor dimensions are 47 x 97.3 x19.8mmand the indoor dimensions are 57.4 x 112 x 29.5 mm.

Connectivity is 802.11 b/g/n WiFi @2.4 GHz and it’s powered via the rechargeable battery pack.  The camera is up to 1080p HD resolution, with a 155º field of view.  Audio allows for two-way talking and includes Noise Cancellation. For night visitors you’ll be pleased to know that IR LEDs are equipped.  The Ring folk recommend an internet connection with a minimum upload speed of 1Mbps, or 2Mbps for optimal performance.

If you meet all these requirements, this model may well be the answer to your home security options, keeping the landlord happy knowing you aren’t drilling any holes, and giving you piece of mind knowing that you can answer the door no matter where you are in the world.

Final thoughts

Ring have put a lot of thought into their product, the settings, and have built in a signal strength test. As they point out on their website, modern home requirements can place quite a demand on routers. If yours is like mine and provided by an ISP, chances are they haven’t updated it in a while. It may be worth a phone call to them about that. The more demand placed on a router, the weaker your signal may become.

I like the way Ring have thought of the end users.  Ring offer other accessories so be sure to check out the alternatives. Their products can also be integrated into your Smart Home Hub such as Alexa. For a very reasonable price, currently under $300, you can have added security for your home.