Ring Video Doorbell 2 review: Ring's latest battery-powered buzzer is oh-so easy to charge

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The Good The Ring Video Doorbell 2's removable lithium ion battery makes it easy to install -- and even easier to charge. It works with Alexa via the Amazon Echo Show.

The Bad You have to sign up for Ring's optional fee-based cloud storage service to save and review past video clips. The large Video Doorbell 2 won't fit on most doorframes.

The Bottom Line Look no further than Ring's battery-powered Video Doorbell 2 if you don't want to deal with electrical wiring.

7.4 Overall
  • Features 7
  • Usability 8
  • Design 7
  • Performance 8

Ring's Video Doorbell 2 isn't my all-time favorite smart buzzer -- that'd be the SkyBell HD (mainly because it offers free cloud storage of your recorded video; every one else charges for that). But you have to hardwire SkyBell for it to work; the Ring 2 runs on wires or a rechargeable lithium ion battery. The ability to install this doorbell pretty much anywhere, no wires needed, is a huge selling point. Bonus: Unlike Ring's original battery-powered buzzer, you don't have to remove the entire Video Doorbell 2 when it's time to charge -- just take out the battery.

It performs well, too. Expect prompt alerts whenever a visitor rings the doorbell, or if its built-in motion sensor detects nearby activity. Ring's partnerships with Amazon's Alexa, IFTTT and Wink also don't hurt. If you want a battery-powered smart doorbell, the Ring 2 is the right answer. Otherwise, take a look at SkyBell, the August Doorbell Cam or Ring's Video Doorbell Pro.

Battery or wires? The choice is yours.

Check out the chart below for details on how the Video Doorbell 2 compares to other smart buzzers. 

Comparing smart doorbells

Ring Video Doorbell 2 SkyBell HD Wi-Fi Video Doorbell Ring Video Doorbell Pro August Doorbell Cam
Price $199/£155/AU$299 $199/£155/AU$265 $249/£195/AU$325 $199/£155/AU$265
Color finish Satin nickel, venetian (both finishes included with purchase) Brushed aluminum, oil-rubbed bronze Satin nickel, venetian, satin black, pearl white silver, dark gray
Power source Hardwired or removable, rechargeable battery Hardwired Hardwired Hardwired
Resolution 1,920x1,080p HD 1,920x1,080p HD 1,920x1,080p HD 1,280×960p HD
Field of view 160 degrees 180 degrees 160 degrees 120 degrees
Live streaming Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cloud storage Yes, 60-day storage for $3 per month. Yes, free. Yes, 60-day storage for $3 per month. Yes, 30-day storage for $5 per month.
Mobile app Android and iPhone Android and iPhone Android and iPhone Android and iPhone
Web app Yes No Yes No
Night vision Yes Yes Yes No
Alerts Motion Motion Motion Motion
Activity zones Yes No Yes No
Dimensions (HxWxD) 5.1 x 2.5 x 1.1 inches 2.8 x 2.8 x 0.9 inches 4.5 x 1.9 x 0.8 inches 2.9 x 2.9 x 0.9 inches
Third-party integrations Alexa; IFTTT; Wink Alexa; IFTTT; Nest Alexa; IFTTT; Wink Alexa; IFTTT; Nest
Operating temperature range -5 to 120 degrees F (-20 to 48 degrees C) -40 to 140 degrees F (-40 to 60 degrees C) -5 to 120 degrees F (-20 to 48 degrees C) -13 to 122 degrees F (-25 to 50 degrees C)

Every smart doorbell I've tested has at least one unique feature. For the Video Doorbell 2, it's the removable, rechargeable battery. For Ring's Video Doorbell Pro, it's the narrow doorframe-friendly design. The SkyBell HD offers free cloud storage -- and August's Doorbell Cam integrates seamlessly with other August products, like its HomeKit-enabled Smart Lock

While I wish Ring offered some sort of entry-level free cloud video storage option, I really like that every Video Doorbell 2 purchase comes with easy-to-remove face plates in different color finishes: satin nickel and venetian. Its smart home partnerships with Amazon Alexa via the Echo Show, IFTTT and Wink also add appeal. 

Say, "Alexa, show me the front door" to pull up a live video feed on the Amazon Echo Show's screen. 

IFTTT is a free web- and app-based service that lets you connect your Ring Video Doorbell 2 to other smart home devices, like Philips Hue LEDs so that "If someone rings your doorbell, then your Philips Hue bulbs will flash." 

Wink helps to consolidate your connected home devices to one hub and one app. Pair the Video Doorbell 2 to Wink so you can view your live feed alongside other smart products.

Ring sends you an alert to let you know you've successfully connected to its Wi-Fi module.

Screenshot by CNET

Installation, configuration, Wi-Fi!

Ring makes the Video Doorbell 2's configuration extremely simple. Download the Ring app on your Android or iOS device, create an account (if you don't already have one from an existing Ring product), and follow the instructions to set up your smart doorbell.