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August View vs. Ring Video Doorbell 2

Which of these battery-powered video buzzers is best?

Chris Monroe/CNET

Editor's note, March 26, 2021: Ring has been called out for its partnership with local police departments in the US, leading privacy advocates to express concern about the data Ring shares with law enforcement and how they use that information. In December 2019, thousands of Ring users' personal information was exposed, leading us to stop recommending Ring products. Ring has since updated its security policies, from offering customers a Control Center dashboard allowing people to more easily access privacy and security settings to requiring two-factor authentication

We have resumed recommending Ring's products with this caveat: If you have concerns about Ring's privacy policies, make sure to familiarize yourself with its privacy statement. You can read more about how we factor Ring's privacy policies into our recommendations here. CNET has not and will not be issuing Editors' Choice awards to Ring while the company's policies around law enforcement and surveillance remain on their current course.  

Editors' note (April 26, 2019): August has recalled its View Doorbell Camera due to performance issues. Find out more.

While smart doorbells vary somewhat from model to model, they all do roughly the same thing: tell you when someone's at your door, display a live video feed on your phone and give you the chance to chat via a built-in microphone and speaker. 

The very best models send fast alerts so you can see who's there in real time -- and talk to them without frustratingly garbled audio or awkward lag times. We've already compared the hardwired Nest Hello with the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, but what about battery-powered buzzers?

A new generation of doorbells that don't require wires are cropping up with similar specs and features as their hardwired counterparts. They're excellent alternatives for anyone wanting a camera-outfitted doorbell that can't (or doesn't want to) mess with wiring. 

The August View Doorbell Camera and the Ring Video Doorbell 2 are the two main models with rechargeable batteries worth considering. 

So let's dive in and compare these two buzzers side-by-side to see where each one shines and if there's a clear standout.


The Ring Video Doorbell 2 performed better than the August View during my testing. Ring's model sent fast alerts to my phone and the live video feed was crisp and easy to see a majority of the time. 

The August View's live video feed was similarly clear, but other issues hurt its performance. Its two-way audio sounded good at first, for instance, but I regularly heard an annoying echo through my phone. 

Even on an overcast, rainy day, I could still easily see who was at the front door.

Screenshot by CNET

The app says: "Connecting to your August View, please be patient, this takes about 15 seconds." That's frustrating when you want to see your video ASAP.

Screenshot by CNET

There's also a significant delay between clicking on the "watch live" button in the app and actually seeing the live feed. In the event that you really need to see activity happening in real time, you likely won't be able to. This message appears when you try to pull up the live feed: "Connecting to your August View, please be patient, this takes about 15 seconds."

This delay is an effort to extend the View's battery life, but for me, it wasn't worth it. It meant waiting at least 10 seconds or more between getting a motion alert on my phone and actually seeing the camera's feed. Because of that wait time, I typically missed action as it was happening. 

Note: Performance will vary based on the quality of your Wi-Fi network.


The August View and Ring Video Doorbell 2 have similar features and for that reason, are roughly tied in this category. 

Both doorbells have removable, rechargeable batteries and simple wire-free installations (the Ring model can be hardwired if you don't want to deal with batteries). Both also have HD live streaming, motion detection, motion alerts and two-way audio. 

On the other hand, a plug-in doorbell chime is included with your August View purchase so you can hear your doorbell ring even if you aren't near your phone. Ring sells two different chimes separately -- a $30 basic model and a $50 model that doubles as a Wi-Fi range extender. 

August View vs. Ring Video Doorbell 2

August View Doorbell Camera Ring Video Doorbell 2
Price $230 $199
Color finish Black, red, white, blue, brass, satin nickel, midnight gray, bronze Satin nickel, venetian (both finishes included with purchase)
Power source Removable, rechargeable battery Hardwired or removable, rechargeable battery
Resolution 1920x1440p HD 1920x1080p HD
Field of view No information 160 degrees
Live streaming Yes Yes
Cloud storage Yes, free basic plan, plus 15-day storage for $3 per month and 30-day storage for $5 per month Yes, 60-day storage for $3 per month
Local storage No No
Mobile app Android and iPhone Android and iPhone
Web app No Yes
Night vision Yes Yes
Alerts Motion Motion
Activity zones No Yes
Dimensions (HxWxD) 5.2 x 1.8 x 1.3 inches 5.1 x 2.5 x 1.1 inches
Third-party integrations Alexa; Google Assistant; Nest Alexa; IFTTT; Wink
Operating temperature range -4 to 122 degrees F -5 to 120 degrees F

August offers 24 hours of free video clip storage, whereas Ring charges a minimum of $3 per month for any cloud storage, but Ring's cloud storage includes activity zones so you can customize particular areas, like a walkway to receive alerts and ignore activity in other areas. 

In terms of voice assistant compatibility, the August View works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant; Ring works with Alexa (Amazon is its parent company) and Google Assistant via IFTTT.


It's tough to pick an obvious design winner between these two buzzers -- both look nice and, perhaps more importantly, actually look like doorbells -- but I slightly prefer the August View. 

August's last-gen buzzer, the Doorbell Cam Pro, which will continue to be sold, is square. The square shape looks neat, but visitors won't immediately recognize it as a doorbell. 

Fortunately, August has improved on that with the View, giving it similar dimensions to Ring's rectangular Video Doorbell 2, particularly in height and depth The August View is noticeably narrower than its Ring counterpart, though, with a 1.8-inch width; the Ring model clocks in at 2.5 inches wide. 

Both the August View and the Ring Video Doorbell 2 have interchangeable faceplates, too, so you can customize your doorbell to suit your decor. August offers more color finishes, but each additional color is sold separately starting at $15 for each plastic faceplate and $30 for each metal one. 

Ring has fewer finish overall options, but a satin nickel and venetian bronze faceplate comes with every purchase. 

Ultimately, the two doorbells looks pretty similar. It might comes down to the space you have to accommodate your doorbell. If it's a narrow door frame, the August View might be the best bet. If not, it could come down to the faceplate color you most want and August offers eight options. 

Final thoughts 

Taken all together, there are some clear pros and cons with each model -- and other areas where they're so close it's tough to call. 

To recap, the August View costs $230, whereas the Ring Video Doorbell 2 costs $199. You get a chime accessory with your $230 August purchase, but you get two faceplate options with your $199 Ring purchase. August offers free 24-hour cloud storage (with optional paid plans if you want to upgrade to more storage time) and Ring charges for this starting at $3 per month. 

August's performance suffers a lot due to the 15-second "boot-up" time required to conserve battery life. Not being able to catch activity in real time -- or at least, missing a lot of it -- is a major limitation, one that is tough for me to overlook. So even though both battery-powered doorbells share a lot of similarities, the View's disappointing wait time makes the Ring Video Doorbell 2 the best bet right now when it comes to a battery-powered doorbell. 

I'm looking forward to testing Ring's new Door View Cam, another battery-powered buzzer that replaces a traditional peephole. Stay tuned for that. In the meantime, check out my favorite smart doorbells for 2019

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