Ring has been around for a while now and is now part of the bigger Amazon parent.
The Ring Doorbell Battery Plus has been revamped with the ability to now, with a wider field of view, an improved video quality alongside performance improvements that should help with battery life.
As someone who has been somewhat sceptical about video doorbells or security cameras and the storage, upload and security of said storage online, given the current and previous scandals of Ring and most recently Eufy brands, when this was offered I thought I would see if there have been improvements to security and features for the users, it was worth giving it a try
So can the Ring Doorbell Battery Plus convert this sceptical reviewer?
What’s inside the box
Ring Video Doorbell, Battery (included inside), 0.5m USB-A to MicroUSB cord, Battery, Screws and angle plate (plastic) and instruction booklets and warranty information.
The Ring doorbell is made from a polymer plastic outer shell and back plate. The camera is located at the top centre of the front, whilst the battery can be easily removed and changed by undoing the included screw to hold the battery in place via the included ring screwdriver. An important note is not to lose this, as if you do, you’ll be stuck until a replacement can be delivered (at your cost).
Once you have the screw off, you simply take off the bottom panel, push the metal clip and slide the battery out to either place a spare charged battery which you can purchase from the ring website or retailers such as Bunnings, JB Hi-Fi, The good guys, Officeworks and Amazon for approximately $50.
To charge the battery, you will need to plug the 0.5 metre Micro-USB cord — USB-C would be far more beneficial — into a wall charger which isn´t included. Charging the battery takes a couple of hours, so it might be worth purchasing an additional battery if you can.
Placing the battery back into the doorbell is pretty simple, just reverse the process to remove it.
If you have steps at your front step, ring does recommend angling your ring doorbell downwards — optional extra mounting plates are available — so you get a better view of anyone coming to your property, luckily we only have one step, but if you have a few then I can see why this would be a better thing to do.
Interestingly, ring has only enabled the doorbell plus to connect to 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks which is a little frustrating, but understandable in the world of IoT and connectivity issues.
What does it do well?
Installation is easy as the ring app gives you tips and step-by-step instructions on how to install the device to either brick or hard walls to timber and soft walls.
The wide angle lens is undoubtedly an improvement over previous generations, and looking at family and friends who have these older generations versus the Ring Doorbell Battery Plus, you can see the difference in viewing angle and the quality of the videos. Of course, the stream quality can also vary depending on your internet connection speeds.
The ring app is easy to use and set up, especially if you have an existing Amazon account. Once set up, you can also link your ring app to your Alexa-enabled speakers, although if you have Google Assistant speakers and screens, don’t expect these to work.
The night vision is also pretty clear, which was a small concern to me, given our front porch doesn’t have great lighting, and the camera can still pick up people clearly, albeit still a little grainy in quality; but that’s to be expected under a tiny IR light.
There is the ability to capture night vision in colour but depending on lighting, I found that the app and camera would sometimes go back to the typical black-and-white night vision.
The new wide-angle camera does allow for earlier detection and viewing of incoming visitors. The 150-degree field view that the camera allows a head-to-toe vision of visitors to your property compared to the previous generations, which were limited in their view and angle.
I like the ability to store and download the videos should you need to share them with emergency services, namely the police, just in case, but I have seen a few make their way to TikTok and YouTube for, well, interesting and entertaining moments.
Utilising the head-to-toe view, you can set up package alerts which can let you see and notify you when a package is delivered. There is also a greeting that you can have your ring device say when someone either drops off a package or rings the doorbell, including seasonal greetings. Some of these You can set these up within the ring app; however, you will need to purchase a ring subscription for this.
As mentioned earlier, you can pair your ring device to your Alexa-enabled displays via the Alexa app utilising the ring skill. I had to try a few times, and whilst the skill was enabled in the app, the display was not always able to connect straight away; it took a few goes to disable and then enable and re-enable.
In terms of battery life, for me, the ring doorbell battery plus seems to last up to 25-28 days between charges. Possibly a touch more, but sadly my partner, who is a smoker, tends to smoke near the doorbell and does set off the notification all the time, draining the battery.
What does not do well?
There can be notifications galore that can hit your device, and it’s worth making sure you select the ones you want to be notified about. Notification fatigue could lead to you disabling them and you miss the ones that matter.
It’s worth noting that smart notifications are enabled through ring protect subscription, almost eliminating false and unwanted notifications.
Unsurprisingly for cloud-based service, there is also a small delay when connecting your device to your phone. When I’m at home, this delay is very minimal, but when I was out of home and on my mobile, the delay was about 20 seconds or so. This isn’t much of a delay, but it can be the difference between catching someone at your door and talking to them, or seeing them drive off.
You will need to pay for a subscription if you want to make the most of your ring device. The subscription comes in – basic and pro, with the main difference between the two is the pricing.
Basic coverage costs $4.95 per month per camera, or $49.95 per year, whilst the pro comes pricing is $15 per month or $150 per year of course, with the Pro version being more focussed on users who have more than one ring device.
You can see what the inclusions are for each plan below, which was taken from the ring.com/au website:
To be honest, I have been impressed with the Ring Doorbell Plus Battery version as, for me, it does offer a wider field of view and is quite simple to install and set up.
My only real concern is regarding the subscription pricing, given the only difference comes down to the ability to extend your warranty. I wonder whether those who apply for the pro subscription at $15 per month would be covered if they didn’t buy the device through the ring website itself, but instead through retailers who also offer an additional warranty.
Other than the few little issues mainly surrounding the unavailability of streaming the doorbell to our Alexa smart display, the ring doorbell plus battery does offer some compelling upgrades and inclusions to make it worthy of consideration, especially if you live in a rental property and are unable to have a wired doorbell in place.
The device is attached to the house, ring has not requested its return