It was a staycation day, Emerson was at school and Karl and I were lying on respective couches, drinking our respective drinks (beer for him, wine for me), watching something on the History Channel… or was it NatGeo? Or The Travel Channel? Anyway, it’s one of those channels that gears most of its ads to white men over 50 and there was an ad for Ring.
“This is what I was talking about!” Karl said as the ad started. He had mentioned seeing some sort of camera for the front of the house. I was assuming a camo-printed infrared thing made for hunting but Ring was very polished, attractive, and sounded pretty darn great. $199 one-time fee and a satisfaction guarantee… I opened my laptop, read a few unsponsored positive reviews, and ordered one that very day.
Ring is an internet-connected video doorbell. Not much larger than a juice box, Ring has a long-running battery and adheres to the front of your house. We don’t have a doorbell system so we didn’t wire it to the house, though it is possible to hardwire it to an existing doorbell system and your home's electric wiring. When a visitor presses the Ring doorbell, instead a bell ringing inside our home, we receive a notification on our SmartPhone (you can choose the type of notification; Karl has chosen chimes and a banner message). When we open the app, we see fish-eye video of who is there and we’re able to verbally communicate with them. Recently, Ring updated to include motion detection; the app notifies you when there’s activity at your door.
The Ring app (Android and Apple versions available) can be added to multiple mobile devices; since Karl is home more often than I, he has more notifications; mine just flashes a notification on my lock screen when there’s a visitor. However, no matter where we are, either of us can open our phone, see a video of what’s happening at our front door and speak (really good for freaking our raccoons ransacking our recycling bin). We’ve been able to tell the FedEx guy to leave a package with our neighbor when we’re five states away, and we can use it from our living room to determine if we want to answer the door to a solicitor. And yes, it’s darn fun to hear that chime late at night, open the app and scream at raccoons from our cozy bed and see them flee.
Sometimes there’s a bit of a delay – a few seconds between someone at the door and getting a notification, and sometimes a delay with the video showing up. Depending on the speed of the wifi you are on, the video can be pixelated or frozen, and audio can be garbled. When in the house we rarely have an issue, but when we’re out and about and somewhere without wifi, we’ll get the notification but won’t be able to load the video or will see the video but won’t be able to speak or hear.
Since we got it this past spring, we’ve only had to charge the doorbell once; you remove the body from outside and hook it up to your laptop and an hour or two later put it back. We don’t have a porch so our doorbell is exposed to the elements but it has held up beautifully. About 75% of people who come to the door recognize it as a doorbell, but in our historic community doorbells aren’t terribly common. Now that we have the motion activation we still know someone’s there if they lightly rap on the door and can still communicate with them.
With your purchase of a Ring doorbell you receive 30 days free of cloud recording; if you want to continue to have your sessions saved you can pay just $3 a month or $30 a year. Some of our neighbors have had packages stolen from their front steps; as a blogger I get a ton of packages in the mail and love this added security. With the fisheye lens not only can I see our front step, but our front gate, entire walk, and our next door neighbor’s front walk. There is no two-way video, and we have freaked out a few delivery people with our headless voice coming from the house, but it has been a really great tool and form of added security for our home without a huge price or monthly fee.
I know this isn’t fashion related, but it’s just a cool gadget I had to share. I hesitated sharing it but when I read this week that Richard Branson invested in the company, I felt it was a sign to share. Branson had a visitor to his island use the app to communicate with a UPS delivery person back home in California; Branson was so intrigued he reached out to Jamie Siminoff, CEO and inventor of Ring asking to invest in the product. I’m a fan, and am happy to answer any question completely honestly (this may be a glowing review, but I am not sponsored in any way).