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Smart doorbells are an entirely new breed of buzzer. Part door chime and part security camera, these hybrid devices alert you to activity whether you're home or away. Ring's $249 premium smart buzzer, the Video Doorbell Pro, is the latest model I've gotten my hands on (£195/AU$325, converted).
Good stuff: The Video Doorbell Pro transmits video in crisp 1080p HD resolution and it has a slimmer design than many other connected door bells, including earlier models from Ring itself.
Not-so-good stuff: You have to pay at least $3 per month for cloud video storage.
The Ring Pro is well worth consideration, but its main selling point is its small size. If you aren't installing your new doorbell on a narrow doorframe, I'd go with SkyBell's round HD Wi-Fi Video Doorbell instead. It costs 50 bucks less than the Ring Pro, comes with free cloud storage and works with more major smart home platforms.
Where most connected doorbells today measure roughly 2.5 to 3 inches wide (7.6cm), Ring's Pro clocks in at just 1.85 inches (4.7cm). That may not seem like a big difference, but it will matter a lot when it's time to replace your existing buzzer. Since non-smart doorbells are typically very small, builders often route the necessary electrical wiring to doorframes as a default.
That means you have just an inch or two of horizontal space to work with before the buzzer begins to extend past the frame. Case in point: August's 2.9-inch square Doorbell Cam.
The Ring Pro's 1.85 inches might still be too wide for some spaces, but it's definitely a slimmer design than any other camera-equipped buzzer I've reviewed.
For me that's a significant selling point. I know I wouldn't want to deal with rerouting my doorbell wiring to brick or siding; you probably won't want to, either.
And while the Video Doorbell Pro has to be hardwired, Ring's installation process is very simple. Wire extenders are even included in the box so you can improve your connection, if needed. Always consult a professional if you have any questions about the wiring. Otherwise, this installation should take less than 30 minutes (assuming you don't have to reroute wiring or drill a lot of new holes).
Ring even includes all four interchangeable faceplates with your purchase so you can change the color finish easily whenever you want. The colors include satin nickel, venetian (aged bronze), satin black and pearl white.
So, how does Ring's Pro doorbell compare with other smart buzzers? The news is mostly good, except that it's $50 more expensive. Take a look:
|Ring Video Doorbell Pro||August Doorbell Cam||Ring Video Doorbell||SkyBell HD Wi-Fi Video Doorbell||Olive & Dove RemoBell|
|Color finish||Satin nickel, venetian, satin black, pearl white||Silver, dark gray||Satin nickel, polished brass, venetian bronze, antique brass||Brushed aluminum, oil rubbed bronze||Silver|
|Power source||Hardwired||Hardwired||Hardwired or rechargeable battery||Hardwired||6 AA batteries|
|Resolution||1,920x1,080p HD||1,280×960p HD||1,280x720p HD||1,920x1,080p HD||1,280x720p HD|
|Field of view||160 degrees||120 degrees||180 degrees||180 degrees||120 degrees|
|Cloud storage||Yes, 60-day storage for $3 per month||Yes, 30-day storage for $5 per month||Yes, 60-day storage for $3 per month||Yes, free||Yes, 3-day storage for $4 per month; 7-day storage for $8 per month; 30-day storage for $28 per month|
|Mobile app||Android and iPhone||Android and iPhone||Android and iPhone||Android and iPhone||Android and iPhone|
|Third-party integrations||IFTTT; Wink||IFTTT||IFTTT; Wink||IFTTT; Amazon Alexa; Nest||None|
|Operating temperature range||-5 to 120 degrees F (-20 to 48 degrees C)||-13 to 122 degrees F (-25 to 50 degrees C)||-5 to 120 degrees F (-20 to 48 degrees C)||-40 to 140 degrees F (-40 to 60 degrees C)||0 to 122 degrees F (-17 to 50 degrees C)|
The Pro is also quite similar to Ring's $199 Video Doorbell. It has live video streaming, the same $3 monthly minimum subscription for cloud storage and the same third-party partnerships with IFTTT and Wink. Design and resolution are the main distinguishing features; the smaller Pro has 1080p HD video and the more basic Video Doorbell has 720p HD. The existing Video Doorbell also has a rechargeable battery in case you don't want to deal with wiring -- you can hardwire it if you want to, though.
Ring's Video Doorbell Pro delivered prompt alerts and the live feed worked well in day and night vision mode (this feature kicks in automatically in low-light conditions). I like that you can set motion alert zones on the video feed in the Ring app. You can also schedule when you receive alerts. Of course, you'll need to check the quality of your Wi-Fi connection at the install location before you buy. If it's spotty, the live feed and other video-dependent features won't work well (or at all).
But SkyBell's HD buzzer stands out the most here. For $50 less, you get 1080p HD video, free cloud storage and integration with Amazon's voice control platform, Alexa.
Ring's $249 Video Doorbell Pro is definitely smart, but its main selling point is its small design. If you want a connected buzzer that's more likely to fit on a doorframe, this is the model for you. Otherwise, it doesn't offer much more than most of the $199 doorbells sold today. The SkyBell HD is particularly compelling since it costs less than Ring's Pro, but has the same 1080p resolution with the added bonus of free cloud storage and Alexa support.