Ring Door View Cam Review: A useful tool which needs some local tweaks

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Ring is the Amazon-owned technology company that’s been revolutionizing home safety across the United States. It has now made its way to our shores to help protect homeowners and residents alike. Ring has a variety of smart doorbell products. The one I got to try out was the Door View Cam – it literally replaces your peephole with a doorbell built-in with a 1080p HD camera, motion detection, infrared night vision and much more. It all runs on a rechargeable battery pack. I’ve spent a few weeks with it and it’s been enlightening, to say the least. Let’s break the experience down.

Ring Door View Cam: Setup

Right out of the box you’ve got every tool you need to set up your Ring Door View Cam. Almost every peephole out there can be unscrewed out of its hole.

Snapshot of all your connected devices as soon as the app is launched

If it’s wedged in tightly, Ring provides you with a universal key to wiggle it out without ruining your door. There’s a handy pamphlet you can follow for the basic initial instructions or go straight into downloading the Ring app on the Play Store or Apple App Store. Within the app, you’ll first set up your location and then the device. It’ll give you a step-by-step walkthrough on what you need to do to set it up and begin using it.

Almost all doors

It’s all pretty straightforward but it will take you a bit of time from the instant you open up the box till you’re ready to use the device. It’s incredibly DIY so anyone can do it. It took me about 30 minutes from start to finish. Simplicity aside, there were a few hitches along the way. The most surprising was setting my location up in the app. The location settings were very US-centric, I couldn’t find my apartment or even the area I live in (Jumeira Village Circle). Having used enough of local apps, I’ve never had to struggle setting up my location. Luckily there was an option to do it completely manually.

You can also add multiple users to a device. In this case, I was able to invite my wife to download the Ring app and connect to the device that I’ve set up so she has full access to it and its recordings.

Batteries and Battery-life

The Ring Door View Cam comes with a removable, rechargeable battery. It’s a clear USP, ensuring you don’t need to do any electrical work to get started with the device. It is, however, a very unusual battery. During setup, I was instructed to ensure the battery is fully charged. It comes with a USB charging cable that I plugged in and connected to the battery and it had 2 strips of lights that both shone red. I was confused at this point to whether it meant it was fully charged or not at all. The lights weren’t blinking to indicate charging, they were just on. I left it plugged for a while to see if anything changed. It didn’t, so I inserted the battery back into the device and completed setup. Upon completion, I could see in the app the battery was only about 50% charged. I let it be to see how long it would last and it went on for about 2.5 weeks. As it came close to 0%, I received an email reminding me I need to charge the battery along with app notifications. Quite useful features.

Removable battery that’s forever charging

The battery is very easy to take out and put back in, but the charging process can be confusing. I plugged it back in and at 0%, the 2 red strips of light were back on and I just let it charge. I checked it a few hours later, no change in the lights. Checked it about 12 hours later and still no change. I let it charge for almost a day and there was still no indication on how much it’s charged and whether it’s full or not. After about 24 hours I put it back into the Cam and checked the app to see the battery is at 100%. I have no idea how long it took to go from 0-100%. I just hope it wasn’t 24 hours.

Ring Door View Cam: Getting Started

It was a fun installation overall. Now with my location and device set up, I get to play around with all the settings and see everything I can do with my new doorbell camera. The settings are dense, filled with some useful and some novel features.

As soon as you open the app you’ll see a screen with all your connected Ring devices. This is for people who have larger houses with multiple devices to monitor their area. I’m living in an apartment so I have just one Door View Cam named “Front Door” and below it a black and white image of a fish-eye view of my corridor. Since my corridor has automated lights that switch on with motion, the Ring comes with a very useful feature infrared night vision. Even though it only needs to be in use when there’s motion, it’s nice knowing that it can still see in the dark.

Neat and tidy box with all its components easy to remove and begin assembling

Alerts

There are 2 primary settings you need to take care of first. One is “Ring Alerts” and the other is “Motion Alerts”. Ring Alerts means being alerted when someone rings the Ring doorbell on the Door View Cam. Every time someone pushes the button, you’ll hear it from the device and your phone will buzz with a notification that lets you jump straight into the 1080p HD video camera. Fair warning: in the weeks I’ve had it installed, it’s been pressed about 2-3 times. Your average visitor/delivery man will straight away go for the traditional bell and just glare at the device attached to the door. Luckily I don’t need someone to press the Ring doorbell, thanks to its Motion Alerts feature when it senses someone is in front of, or around the door, the camera fires up and the app sends out a notification.

There’s plenty of other settings that can be adjusted, from choosing different app alert tones to setting up Chime Alerts. Chime Alerts are for users with large homes that will amplify the doorbell from the Ring Door View Cam device to ensure you can hear it across your home, even if you don’t have your phone on you at the time.

High-res video

The built-in camera supports 1080p HD as well as HDR, this can lower the overall battery life, however. You can also adjust how the live camera functions when the app launches along with the infrared night vision mode which can be turned off as well.

Ring Door View Cam: Motion Alerts

Since the definition of ‘Motion Alerts‘ can be quite broad and needs to adapt to different kinds of hallways and entrances of villas, etc. you can adjust it to a fine degree to fit your specific exterior and your own preferences.

Motion detection slider that can be adjusted for any kind of hallway or driveway

In the Motion Settings section, you can optimize motion detection for your home by just answering a few pre-defined questions in the app. You can take this a step further and manually choose the sensitivity of the motion outside your door as well. I initially didn’t predefine to a strict degree so it literally picked up every time someone was walking up and down the corridor. It was novel at first but it wears off quickly. I finally made it so that only when someone was right outside my door would the notification set off.

When a doorbell or motion alert notification goes off, the phone buzzes with a notification saying either “There is someone at your door” or “Motion has been sensed at your door”. If you click the notification immediately, it’ll take you to the live view and a timeline below where you can see a Red or Blue bar depending on the kind of notification. The bar will be as long as the duration of that interaction and by scrubbing over it, it’ll replay the recording of that moment. Motion notifications can be snoozed at any point and you can even set up times of the day where you don’t want to get notified, i.e. between 12 am and 7 am while you’re at home, most likely in bed.

Interact from anywhere

When someone’s outside, I can activate the mic and speaker so I can talk to them in real-time. Again, a novel feature to have fun with friends but useful when an Amazon delivery guy comes by without calling and I can just tell him from the Door View Cam to leave it with the security. I only got to do that once, because they always call first, and it was fun. The driver didn’t freak out at all.

The recordings of each interaction are saved and can be viewed at any time. It’s interesting to be able to see when someone has come in or left the house because that counts as motion and gets recorded. Undoubtedly the coolest feature of the Ring Door View Cam, but it comes with a big caveat. The ability to record and view these videos, along with other features are part of an add-on program called Ring Protect Plan. With each device purchased, you get 30 days of complimentary use, after which you need to choose between a Basic or Premium plan. In the emails I got about the plan, it’s clearly stated these services are available only within the U.S. I haven’t gone beyond my free trial yet to see if I can actually purchase it out of the UAE or not.

Knock Knock

Another offshoot feature of Motion Detection was ‘Knock Detection‘. Assuming you’ve got Motion Detection off and only Ring Alerts on, you might want to know when someone’s knocking on your door. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get it to work on my door. The Knock Detection is built-in with a sensitivity setting clearly aimed at accommodating for all different kinds of doors but even at its most sensitive setting of 10, I couldn’t get it to work. My door is thick but surely not the thickest door ever built.

Ring Door View Cam: Final Thoughts & Availability

The Ring Door View Cam’s a great device and can be bought on Amazone.ae for Dh629. Should you buy it though? My first impulse is yes, purely because it’s a very functional device and helps your home become smart and safe.

Living in Dubai, we are lucky to have a constant sense of security and there isn’t a delivery person that shows up on our doors without calling first. In almost a month of usage, I struggle to think of many instances where having the Ring Door View Cam made a significant impact to my every-day life. It was fun to ‘spy on my neighbours’ and even irritate my friends waiting to be let in but its most essential function is security. Without the Ring Protect Plan, I don’t feel like the hardware justifies its cost but if you live in an area where you feel insecure about your home and belongings, then this is definitely the device for you.