Gear

The Ring Doorbell Security System Is the Cheapest We’ve Ever Seen

It's an easy-to-install home security game-changer.

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Calling a Ring a doorbell is like calling LeBron James a basketball player — technically accurate, but wholly inadequate. Like any other doorbell, you do mount the Ring next to your front door, and it does have a button that makes a noise to alert you to someone’s presence outside. When you upgrade to a Ring, however, you’re adding so much more to your smart home ecosystem and your home security setup.

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Ring Doorbells monitor what’s happening near your front door and let you know if something is amiss. When someone presses the button, an alert pops up on your phone, tablet, or Echo Show, so you don’t have to be home to know someone is there; you can even video chat with them instantly. If you’re on your way home, for instance, you can let a delivery driver know it’s OK to leave that package on the front porch, saving a trip to the post office.

But the Ring’s biggest security features are its camera and motion detector. Ring doorbell cameras, while specs do vary between models, capture wide-angle, high definition video during the day and, thanks to the built-in infrared night vision, at night. Pay $3 a month and you can review video of every Ring event for up to 60 days; pay $10 a month and you get professional monitoring.

The motion detector means the camera starts recording — and you are alerted — whenever motion is detected in front of your house. Obviously, that means you’ll need to tweak the settings so that the neighborhood cat doesn’t blow up your phone every time he walks through your yard.

The original Ring Doorbell is now regularly available for just $100 on Amazon, but we’d recommend taking advantage of big savings on two more advanced models, on sale today because of Amazon Prime Day.

The Ring 2 also added interchangeable faceplates — you can choose from black and white options — and a removable battery pack. This last feature is key, as folks without a hardwired doorbell can swap out a dead battery for a charged one swiftly for uninterrupted protection.

Besides the wifi connection, the biggest upgrade you’re getting with the Pro model is the advanced motion detection. It allows you to define different regions of the field of vision so that they do or do not activate your doorbell. If you live on a busy street, for instance, you can set it up so that the motion detector isn’t triggered (and your phone notified) for every car that goes by. You can set up time constraints so that you don’t get woken up when the garbage men pick up your trash at the crack of dawn on a Friday, and there’s also a motion sensitivity slider that lets you set a certain zone to be monitored for “All Activity” or just “Human Shapes.”

The high-tech features of Ring Doorbells add up to sleek, powerful devices that can instantly make your front door much more secure. Every homeowner should consider a smart video doorbell, every homeowner/parent should strongly consider it, and every homeowner/parent who wants to save some cash should get to Amazon and pick one up today.

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