I just moved into a new house, which gave me the perfect opportunity to check out a product I'd lusted after from afar: the Ring Video Doorbell. We've looked at it a few times on Windows Central, initially as part of our Hidden Gems campaign in 2016, and then earlier in 2017 with a review of the range-topping consumer model, Ring's Video Doorbell Pro.
There are now three products in Ring's consumer doorbell lineup, and the one I've got is the middle of the pack. The imaginatively named Video Doorbell 2 sits above the original model and below the Pro in both features and price.
For most people, it's probably the one to go for.
The Ring Video Doorbell may have started out as a novelty item, like many early smart home products, but the company quickly forged its own path. The Doorbell is the original Ring product (and the reason for the company name), but now there is a portfolio of additional products as part of its ecosystem.
There's the Stick Up Cam we recently reviewed, which is a basic, yet appealing connected security camera. This has since been joined by a floodlight camera and a number of spotlight cameras.
The Ring products all work together through a single app which is available on Windows 10, as well as iOS and Android, and you don't need to be a DIY whizz to install them. Most of the products can be run on battery or in some cases, solar power, so anyone can use them to help secure their home.
Ring Video Doorbell spec comparison
Video Doorbell vs. Video Doorbell 2 vs. Video Doorbell Pro
|Category||Doorbell||Doorbell 2||Doorbell Pro|
|Wi-Fi||2.4GHz||2.4GHz||2.4GHz + 5GHz|
|IR Method||Infrared heat||Infrared heat||Pixel mappings (faster)|
|Night Vision IR||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Included face plates||No||Yes||Yes|
|Power Source||Battery or hardwired||Battery or hardwired
Removable battery pack
|Field of view||130 degrees||160 degrees||160 degrees|
The Video Doorbell 2 is about $50 cheaper than the Pro while offering many of the same features. Compared to the original model you get the increased field of view and higher resolution video, as well as a second faceplate in the box if you prefer a darker look.
It's larger than the Pro and doesn't have the more advanced IR and motion tracking either, but where it has the edge is the removable battery pack. If you don't have an existing mechanical doorbell or you just plain don't want to hardwire one, the Doorbell 2 has a removable battery pack. This means you can have a second charged up to swap in when the first runs out, and they charge over a regular micro-USB connection.
Ring Video Doorbell 2 setup
Much of the setup process is the same as other Ring doorbells, and you get everything you could possibly need inside the box:
- Ring Video Doorbell 2.
- Removable battery and micro-USB charging cable.
- Two interchangeable faceplates.
- Screws, screwdriver, drill bit, and instructions.
- A tiny spirit level.
- Corner and wedge mounting kits to angle the doorbell.
- Ring security window sticker.
I was surprised to find the right drill bit to make the necessary holes inside the box. Ring thought of everything.
Personally, I went battery power because my house didn't have an existing mechanical doorbell. Of course, this means power will run out eventually, but since you can't yet use live view without being hardwired, it's only active when someone is at the door. Because the battery is replaceable, that's of less consequence since I'll have a second one ready to go.
If you're using the Doorbell 2 without hardwiring, installation is as simple as screwing it to the outside of your house. If you need to angle it vertically or horizontally to account for your layout, you just have to mount the relevant wedge to the house first. The Doorbell 2 then screws into this for a neat finish all around.
The battery pack simply pops in the front, the faceplate goes over the top, and then you secure it through the base with a single screw. Ring describes it as "quick release" but I'd argue against that a little. Besides having to remove a screw from the bottom, the faceplate doesn't pop off as easily as I'd like.
The Doorbell 2 is also a pretty nice-looking product. It's not quite as attractive as the Pro, but the design has been refined a little from the original model.
Ring Video Doorbell 2 and Windows 10
Once installed the setup process is very easy. It's a case of creating an account in the app, and hooking up your Doorbell to your home Wi-Fi network and you're good to go. The Doorbell 2 only has 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, so while you lose some performance it'll still work well if your router is some distance away.
I'm not going to go too much into the app, because our Executive Editor, Daniel Rubino, already provided excellent coverage in both our Doorbell Pro review and in an early look at the version 2.0 update for Windows 10, which adds some great new features and performance.
In my experience, Ring works great on both my Windows 10 PC and my HP Elite x3. One of the things we love the most about Ring as a product is its support for Windows 10, and it's not a half-assed approach either. The Doorbell 2 isn't actually listed in the app on mobile right now, but selecting the option for the original model worked just fine.
There are things you don't currently get on Windows 10, but the core feature set is intact and works well. Ring also supports Amazon Alexa, so if you're using a Fire TV or Echo Show in your home, you can ask Alexa to show you who's at the front door.
Video quality from the 1080p camera is pretty good, as is the performance when it gets dark outside. The video is clear and bright, and it's very easy to make out what's going on. The 160-degree field of view is great, too, a 30-degree improvement on the original model.
Ring Video Doorbell 2 accessories
The fun doesn't stop with what you get in the box with your Ring Video Doorbell 2.
You can't utilize one of the company's solar panels to power the doorbell, but you can accessorize it with an indoor chime. The cheapest is a simple box that plugs directly into a wall outlet and will sound when someone presses the doorbell.
Alternatively, there's a chime that has an integrated Wi-Fi extender if you need to boost the connection between your router and your doorbell. The basic Ring Chime is $27.99 while the Chime Pro with Wi-Fi Extender is $45.99.
Specific to the Doorbell 2, you can also purchase additional battery packs for around $25. If you're not hardwiring this is an essential purchase.
Ring Video Doorbell 2 review bottom line
Smart home technology still isn't for everyone, but when a product is as high quality and easy to use as the Ring Video Doorbell 2 it makes for an easy recommendation.
Ring's whole existence is about making home security accessible, easy to use and ultimately, smart. You're not just attaching a doorbell to your home here, you're sticking a small, motion-triggered, IR-capable security camera to your front door. The Doorbell 2 is just one piece of the puzzle, and joined with any of Ring's other security cameras you can easily monitor your entire home through a single app. It's still fairly pricey, though, at $199 or £179 in the UK. And you need to fork out for a recording plan on top to get the best from it.
- Excellent 1080p video quality.
- Easy setup and support.
- Works with Windows 10, iOS, and Android.
- Replaceable battery pack.
- Solid, well-built hardware.
- "Quick release" battery is fiddly to get out.
Ring's support for Windows 10 isn't only admirable, it's high quality. For now, it's a big thumbs-up, but with Windows Mobile out to pasture we hope at the very least to keep getting new features and support for future devices on the PC. Only time will tell on that front, but if you also have an iOS or Android phone then it's less of a worry.
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