Ring Video Doorbell 4 review: Great for folks in the Ring ecosystem

Ring currently has seven video doorbell variants, and as you might expect, the firm is having trouble distinguishing them. The Ring Video Doorbell 4 has a similar design to the Ring Video Doorbell 3 (and, for that matter, the battery-only Ring Video Doorbell 2), and it has the same 1080p resolution.

The Ring Video Doorbell 4, like the model 3, can be powered by batteries or your existing doorbell wiring, and both models support dual-band Wi-Fi networks (2.4- and 5GHz). Color pre-roll video previews (more on that later) are the sole additional feature you’ll get for the additional $20.

doorbell 4

To access all of the Ring Video Doorbell 4’s features, you’ll need to pay up for a subscription, as with all Ring home security systems. You’ll get motion-activated notifications and be able to see a live stream from the camera and talk with a visitor on your porch if you don’t have one, but that’s about it. You won’t be able to shoot video or use any of the camera’s more advanced features while this mode is active. Ring Protect has a basic subscription that costs $3 per month or $30 per year, but it only covers one camera. Most individuals will want to upgrade to the $10/month/$100/year Plus plan, which includes expert monitoring and covers an unlimited number of Ring cameras.

Ring Video Doorbell 4 feature set

With the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus, Ring incorporated pre-roll video. This function initiates motion-triggered video recording up to four seconds before the doorbell sends you an alert, considerably improving your chances of seeing who or what triggered the doorbell even if your guest doesn’t press the button.

doorbell 4

However, unlike the prior camera, which only recorded a four-second black-and-white pre-roll, the Video Doorbell 4 shoots lengthier sequences in full color. You won’t get audio, and the pre-roll video is recorded at a lower resolution than 1080p (Ring doesn’t indicate how much lower, but it is grainy).

In the Ring Video Doorbell 4’s field of view, you can configure up to three irregularly shaped motion-detection zones. This makes it much easier to avoid fake motion warnings from waving branches on trees and shrubs. If you enable Smart Notifications, you can tell the doorbell to only record motion and warn you when individuals are identified within the camera’s field of vision, and you can fine-tune the camera’s motion sensitivity if you’re still getting too many alerts. You can also draw one or two black rectangles anywhere within the camera’s range of view to create privacy zones. There will be no video in such places, live or recorded.

doorbell 4

You may extend the battery life of the camera by defining how often it should check for motion, with options such as “often” (low battery life), “regularly” (mid battery life), or “periodically” (extended battery life). You may also set a timetable to turn motion alerts on and off if you don’t want to be bothered at night (or any other time frame you specify). When you return home, a geofencing feature will snooze motion alerts for 15 minutes to three hours, ensuring that you aren’t bombarded with alerts based on your own movements. The camera will continue to record footage in reaction to motion, but you will not be notified.

Quick Replies is the less-advanced cousin of Alexa Greetings, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro function introduced in February. Quick Replies just plays one of six recorded responses when someone rings the doorbell, unlike Alexa Greetings, which allows Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant to answer the door, take a message, offer instructions on where to put products, and other such activities. Visitors can leave a message, just like they can with Alexa Greetings. This is similar to an answering machine for your front door, according to Ring. You don’t need a Ring Protect subscription to utilize Quick Replies, but you won’t be able to listen to any messages left for you by your guests.

doorbell 4

Finally, Linked Devices can use motion sensed by the Ring Video Doorbell 4 to trigger other Ring devices both inside and outside your home (and vice versa with devices equipped with their own motion sensors).

The more Ring devices (and third-party Ring-compatible devices) you have, the more you’ll benefit from this functionality, which includes everything from cameras and smart lights to compatible smart locks and the Chamberlain Smart Garage Control system.

For example, if you have a Ring A19 Smart LED Bulb installed inside your home, you can program the Ring Video Doorbell 4 to switch that light on as soon as the doorbell senses motion, ensuring that you don’t walk into a dark house.

Installing the Ring Video Doorbell 4

Physically, the new model is identical to the prior one; in fact, it was fitted in the same screw holes where I had previously installed a Ring Video Doorbell 2. Ring Video Doorbell 4 can connect to low-voltage wire and a suitable power transformer (8-24 VAC, 40VA max, 50/60Hz) if they are already installed. This will allow you to use the current chime on your old doorbell. If you don’t have a chime, you can use your smartphone to receive notifications or install a Ring Chime or Ring Chime Pro, which also functions as a wireless range extender.

The first step is to take out the battery and charge it using a USB power supply (Ring provides the cable for this, but not the AC adapter). The green and amber LEDs will light up at the start of this cycle, and the amber LED will go black after five to six hours, indicating that the battery is fully charged. The ring supplies swappable spares for roughly $30 each if you don’t want to be without a doorbell camera the next time the battery dies.
The ring has mastered the installation process like few other firms I’ve dealt with, perhaps because they’ve brought so many products to market.

You get a printed manual, which is becoming increasingly rare these days, but you won’t need it because the Ring app does such a good job of guiding you through the entire procedure. Before you put the doorbell to the wall, Ring recommends configuring it near your router. Simply open the Ring app, pick Set Up a Device, and scan the QR code printed on the doorbell’s label; alternatively, scan the QR code printed on the printed instructions. I had the doorbell mounted about 10 minutes after charging the battery.

Take notice of the numerous reminders Ring will provide you during the installation process to use the correct screw to attach the battery inside its compartment—the machine screw with a Torx head, not the wood screw with a Phillips’s head. Using the incorrect screw might harm or kill the battery, resulting in a variety of problems. I’m unhappy to discover that Ring’s doorbell only comes with a Torx driver. They used to provide a multi-tool with a Torx driver on one end and a Phillips screwdriver on the other to secure the battery and mount the doorbell.

Bottom line

There are several video doorbells in a vacuum that are technically superior to the Ring Video Doorbell 4 and/or offer greater value. If you want your footage kept locally, the Eufy Security Wireless Video Doorbell is a fantastic option. If you’re a fan of Apple’s HomeKit smart home ecosystem, the Circle View Doorbell from Logitech is a wonderful choice. If you don’t need a battery-powered doorbell, the Arlo Video Doorbell is an excellent option.

But few of us live in a vacuum, and if you’ve decided to go with Ring’s smart home ecosystem, the Ring Video Doorbell 4 offers the ideal balance of features, functionality, and affordability.

 

 

3 thoughts on “Ring Video Doorbell 4 review: Great for folks in the Ring ecosystem

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