CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Smart Home

Get a Ring-style video doorbell for $59.99

Can the Zmodo Ding possibly rival the Ring? Plus, speaking of rings, here's one to rule them all -- on Blu-ray!

CNET's Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter!


This bundle includes not just a video doorbell, but also a Wi-Fi extender and two door/window sensors.

Zmodo

Now that Amazon has acquired Ring, I wonder how long before it stops selling the Zmodo Ding.

Yep: Ding -- an unabashed clone of the popular video doorbell with a seemingly cloned name to boot.

I know from a recent Twitter poll that readers are interested in this product category -- way more than I'd expected, in fact -- so when this Ding deal crossed my radar, I had to share it.

But there are caveats. Oh, yes.

Here's the deal: Amazon offers the Zmodo Ding Wi-Fi Video Doorbell bundle for $59.99 shipped. That's a little less than one-third the cost of the current-gen Ring, and the Ding comes with several extra goodies.

But is it "just as good" as the Ring, as one recent headline claimed (without a shred of evidence to back it up)? Can it possibly be?

First things first: I haven't tested either product myself, in part because I work from home and sit about 10 feet from my front door. When packages come, I grab them immediately.

Here's what I can tell you, though: The Ring 2 has a 4.1-star review average from over 4,700 customers; the Ding has a 3.8-star average from over 900. I wouldn't say that's a wash, but it's pretty close.

I always check app reviews as well; they can reveal a lot about a product. The Ring and Zmodo apps both have pretty bad ratings on both Android and iOS, but Zmodo's are worse, averaging between 2 and 2.5 stars across the platforms. Ring's are better: a 3.5-star app average.

However, Zmodo's app controls a variety of connected-home products, not just the Ding. It's nearly impossible to say what the review score would be from Ding users alone.

Speaking of connected-home products, this doorbell also comes with Zmodo's Beam Wi-Fi Extender (the better to get a strong signal from an outdoor camera) and two door/window security sensors. That's a lot of hardware for $60.

You also get a six-month subscription to Zmodo's cloud-storage plan, which stores seven days' worth of continuous video. That same plan will then run you $4.99 a month or $49.90 a year.

On paper, this deal looks pretty impressive. Zmodo backs the Ding with a three-year warranty and provides US-based phone support. But the reviews suggest you may be in for some hassles with regard to installation (it requires hard-wired power), and shouldn't expect anywhere near the video quality of the Ring 2 (which can stream 1080p, as opposed to the Ding's 720p).

Your thoughts?

vansky-car-mount-landscape

Vansky

Bonus deal: Still haven't found just the right car mount for your phone? I get it: Not every style works for every car -- or every user.

Here's I style I haven't seen before, along with a tasty deal so you can try it on the cheap: the Vansky universal dashboard phone mount for $11.24 when you apply promo code UD926R4A. Reg. price: $15.

This one sticks to the top of your (hopefully fairly flat) dash with a combination of sticky pad and suction cup. A spring-loaded holder keeps your phone securely in place -- but only in landscape view. If your car has a shallow dash or a small windshield, that might be preferable to a portrait-orientation mount, which can block more of your view than is comfortable.

Now, regarding the reviews: I don't need an algorithm to tell me some of them are fake. It's obvious from reading them. But I daresay that doesn't matter here; as long as the thing sticks to your dashboard, you're good. If it doesn't, return it. The only real question is whether this style mount is right for you and your car.

lord-of-the-rings-extended-edition-blu-ray

You... shall not... pass... up this deal!

Best Buy

Bonus deal No. 2: Is there a better movie trilogy than "The Lord of the Rings"? (Answer: no. Discuss.)

Actually, table that discussion for a moment: Best Buy has "The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy Extended Edition" on Blu-ray for just $12.99. Update: According to several readers, Best Buy erroneously displayed Extended Edition artwork for this deal, when in fact it was for the theatrical versions of the movie.

If there's a Best Buy store near you, you may be able to snag it for a buck less -- and save on shipping. To do that, add it to your cart, but don't choose in-store pickup; choose the shipping option. Then, when you get to the checkout page, you should see a "save $1 with local pickup" option.

That's assuming, of course, that your local store has them in stock. If not, $12.99 is still a killer deal: Amazon currently sells the collection for $44.62.

Next point of discussion: Are the extended editions actually better, or do they maybe run a little too long?