Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2
“Ring best rang the doorbell and added a bump to the key specs. Then there was radar! ”
High quality video day and night
Ring’s latest video doorbell builds on previous successes and adds a new dimension to its bag of tricks: radar, which currently seems to be all the rage in the smart home industry. Ring hopes that with the addition of radar, motion tracking will be even more accurate and gaming more fun. It’s a nice demonstration for sure, but how useful is it? I wanted to find out.
When you compare the Ring Video Doorbell Pro to the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2, there are few physical differences. They basically look the same. While the horizontal field of view is slightly limited on this newer generation (150 degrees out of 160 degrees), you get a much wider vertical field of view (150 degrees out of 90 degrees). You also get what Ring calls “3D motion detection,” which I’ll get into in a moment. Ring also increased the resolution of his camera to 1536p HD video. In short, Ring has chosen an already excellent performer and improved him with a new technology. So let’s look at how “amplified” it is.
But first we should look at the doorbell as a whole. At first glance, most of the upgrades you’ll get from the previous generation Ring Video Doorbell Pro are minor. You get more resolution and more field of view, but there isn’t much beyond that. That’s just because the Ring Doorbell Pro already sets a very high bar. It’s not surprising that Ring built radar into this generation, as anything else would be hard to beat.
The Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 still gives you an immersive installation experience with voice prompts as opposed to cryptic beeps or messages displayed on your phone. You get the great experience with the Ring software including the Neighbors app, the cameras provide great clarity during the day and night, and the reduced horizontal field of view is not that much reduced so you can still see everything outside your door.
The video quality is still pretty clear. This generation increased the resolution to 1536p, which is the highest ever. During the day, the videos are crisp and hardly have a fish-eye effect at the edges. Color rendering is good if a touch on the cool side. The picture is very balanced even in bright sunshine. At night, the camera is able to generate colors in low light that switch to IR if necessary. In short, the camera is very good.
Alexa as a concierge
One feature that isn’t new to the Ring Video Doorbell Pro range (but was new to me) was using Alexa to open the door. When someone rings your doorbell, Alexa can enter after a set time and greet your visitor for you. Alexa is quite limited in this capacity; You can choose from a number of pre-selected messages. For example, Alexa can instruct a parcel handler where to leave the delivery, or she can ask your neighbor to leave a message.
I would have liked a little more artificial intelligence (AI) to be involved here. Stir in facial recognition and parcel recognition and you can get yourself a nice virtual butler on your doorstep. As much as Amazon Alexa would like to shoehorn on every device under the sun, I would expect Alexa to be a little smarter here.
You don’t even need Alexa to say, “Please leave the package at the door.” It’s just a recorded message. In fact, I would argue that letting people record a message that says, “I’m not getting to the door, but can you leave the package in the garage” would actually be more secure than a generic Alexa message. I think after all this time I just want Alexa to be a lot smarter.
Your front door in 3D
One of the highlights of the latest generation of doorbells from Amazon is the so-called “3D motion detection”. It uses radar built into the doorbell to let you know where the action you see on your video feed is actually taking place. If you watch the live feed or playback of a previous event, you will see a bird’s eye view of your home (read: satellite view) with dots on the map showing where the action took place. Amazon claims it can detect movement up to 30 feet. I clocked it closer to 20, but that’s still pretty impressive. In some cases, the radar detected my dog before she jumped onto the quarterdeck and could be seen clearly. Rings radar knew something was back there.
It works like this: While your subject is moving in the frame, a trace of dots is displayed on the small map in the corner of the image. The map can be moved, but its size cannot be changed. It doesn’t have to be real as the map is really only there to give context to the image that moves on the screen. The dots disappear as your subject moves, giving you a sense of movement and direction. It is really very chic.
The key value here is frankly lost to me as I have a pretty good sense of direction and depth. If I watch a video of someone walking around my front yard, I can tell exactly where they are. This is not the case with all. Not everyone is wired to look at a 2D image and find out exactly where something is going on. The bird’s eye view and a series of points showing where movement is taking place give the viewer much more context as to where the action is taking place.
This is one of the top three doorbells you can buy right now.
How useful this is ultimately depends on the user. It sure is a nice addition. But is it worth an extra $ 100? I’m not sure. I know exactly what Ring is doing here, and it can be interesting. But I don’t consider it a flagship or a reason to upgrade from an earlier generation doorbell.
Overall, this is the best video doorbell Ring has made. It’s a bit pricey at $ 250, and as I said in my review of the Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell, video doorbell prices have been going down recently. That doorbell flies in the face of that. The main reason for purchasing this doorbell over the original Ring Video Doorbell Pro is its radar capability. While this does add some feature and context to your video, it’s hard to say that it definitely adds value to the doorbell, let alone worth more than $ 100.
Fortunately, that’s not all the new doorbell adds. You also get degradation in video resolution and field of view. When you put all of this together, it will be easier to see where your money is going. Ring already had one of the best video doorbells out there, and adding it makes everything even better. It is not enough to upgrade from the original Pro to the new one, but if you are looking for a new video doorbell in the market, this should be considered.
Is there a better alternative?
There is no better doorbell that uses radar technology because there is no other doorbell. The Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro gives you a better field of view and the last generation Ring Video Doorbell Pro gives you better value for money when the radar isn’t exciting for you. The Arlo Essential doorbell gives you a similar software experience, but it lacks the Neighbors app. Put it all together and this is one of the top three doorbells you can buy right now in terms of the total package.
How long it will take?
The construction of the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 is very robust. It is similar to previous generations and has the same operating temperature range and limited warranty. I wouldn’t worry how that doorbell is going to hold. It will surely take you a while.
Should I buy it?
Yes. This is one of the best video doorbells you can buy today. It’s expensive, but cheaper alternatives cut corners that you may or may not be okay with. If you already have a bell, you probably don’t need to upgrade to this one. If you want to save a few dollars, use the original Ring Video Doorbell Pro. Otherwise, this should be at the top of your list.