Ring has made a name for itself by creating an ecosystem of security devices that can be controlled by a single app. That includes a series of video doorbells, now led by their new Ring Video Doorbell 3 and 3 Plus. Here’s what you can expect from this video doorbell, from installation to day-to-day use.
What’s New for the Ring Video Doorbell 3?
For the most part, the Ring Video Doorbell 3 is the same as the Ring Video Doorbell 2. It still captures 1080p HD video using a fish eye lens that has a field of view that spans 160 degrees horizontally and 84 degrees vertically. There’s also built-in infrared night vision to capture video at night.
The biggest change comes from how it handles motion detection. The Ring Video Doorbell 3 uses left, right and center zones, along with a near field zone. There are also new audio and video privacy zones, which let you block out video and noises from specific areas, like your neighbor’s front door.
Installation of the Ring Video Doorbell 3
Ring includes almost everything you need to install this doorbell. You will need a drill if you’re fitting it to a stucco or brick wall, but the kit even includes a drill bit. Silver and satin nickle covers are included, letting you choose the color that best fits your home’s exterior. There’s also a set of doorbell wire extensions, attachment hardware, a screwdriver and a small bubble level that clips into the front of the doorbell. This last piece lets you use the doorbell as a template to drill mounting holes.
Before fitting the device, the battery needs to be charged, and the doorbell needs to connect to WiFi via the Ring app.
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 can function wirelessly, or tap into your existing doorbell wires for power. The doorbell is designed to be installed four feet off of the ground or the top of the porch. If you need to mount it higher to reach your doorbell wires, you can use the included wedge mount, which sets the camera at a better viewing angle.
This device uses the same battery pack as some other Ring devices, including the Ring Doorbell 2 and Peephole camera. That means replacements are readily available, and you can reuse your old pack if you’re replacing one of these models.
Setting Up Ring Video Doorbell 3
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 has dual band WiFi compatibility, working with 802.11 b, g and n. WiFi connectivity is a problem with any outdoor-mounted device, since the signal has to pass through thick exterior walls. That said, owners have complained that reception isn’t as good as the Doorbell 2, which can cause issues with connections.
Setup and control of the Ring Doorbell 3 is handled by the Ring app. This app can control and monitor all Ring devices in your home, as well as permissions for client devices. This lets you link the doorbell to your family’s smartphones and tablets.
Motion zones are set using the app, letting you can fine tune how and when the camera turns on. Even small areas can be excluded, helping avoid false positives without affecting motion detection. The doorbell can also be set to a timer, shutting the sensors off automatically at night. Of course, the camera is always activated when the button on the doorbell is pushed. Privacy areas let you block sections from being recorded, including neighboring buildings.
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 is powered by a rechargeable battery pack. This pack can be trickle charged automatically using doorbell wires, as long as they supply 8-24 volts of AC power. That means you can use standard doorbell wiring, but you can’t wire the doorbell directly into your 120 volt household wiring. This connection also lets the device active your home’s doorbell chime, just like a standard doorbell. If you don’t have wiring pre-installed, you can add it with Ring’s transformer kit.
Want a completely wireless doorbell? Connect the Ring Video Doorbell 3 to a Ring Chime or Chime Pro to get an audio doorbell. The Chime Pro also acts as a WiFi repeater, helping you get a clear signal to your doorbell.
Pre-Roll Recording with the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus adds the ability to record “pre-roll” video. The Doorbell 3 Plus has a second camera and built-in storage for four seconds of video. This camera is always on. Triggering the main camera with a motion sensor or doorbell press joins this buffered video to the main video recording. This lets you get a better view of the person walking up to the door, whether it’s a mail carrier or someone attempting a break-in. However, the pre-roll camera only records in black and white, and it doesn’t have the main camera’s fish eye lens. This compromise is necessary to maintain battery life.
Using the Ring Video Doorbell 3
The Ring app lets you view video and communicate through the Ring Video Doorbell 3, whether you’re at home or away. The doorbell is also compatible with some smart doors, letting you lock and unlock the door remotely. The camera can have problems with direct sunlight, and text can be hard to make out, even in good lighting conditions. However, in most cases, video quality is excellent, and the fish eye lens has a great viewing angle for capturing the area around your door.
If you have the Ring Protection Plan, the company will store video from your device for up to 60 days, and lets you share videos and photos recorded from your doorbell. Currently, a subscription to this service costs $3 per month per device, or $10 per month per household.
Since Ring is owned by Amazon, it should be no surprise that this device works with Alexa. This lets you control the doorbell with your voice, as well as hold conversations with whoever is at the door. If you have an Echo device with a screen, like the Alexa Show, it can display a live view of the camera.
The battery has a built-in micro USB socket. It can be charged with the included USB cable or AC charging cable. Battery life can vary widely. Most users will find their battery will go for months before needing a charge. However, if false positives are constantly turning on the camera, one charge may last just three or four days. Wired doorbells still rely on the battery for power, but this connection can trickle charge the battery when it’s below 90% charge.
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 is designed to work in temperatures ranging from -5 to 120°F (-20 to 48.5°C.) At extreme low temperatures, the battery isn’t able to provide enough power for the doorbell to function. This can be an issue if you live in an area with cold winters.
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 builds on what made the Doorbell 2 a great choice for video door bells. While some users may have trouble with WiFi connections and severe weather, great video quality and improved false positive prevention makes this an excellent choice for front door security.