Ring has recently released two new versions of its connected video doorbell devices - the Ring Video Doorbell 3 and Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus. I have used The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus after using the previous version and here are my findings.
First, installation is easy as ever. If like myself you already have a Ring Video Doorbell installed, you can just replace one with another. The box comes with the tools you need to install it yourself - even if replacing an existing wired (powered) doorbell. You will find a tool (a screwdriver handle with a two-sized screwdriver bit), the screws, screws anchor (if needed), mounting bracket and even a miniature level to make sure the doorbell is properly positioned. You will also find the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus itself, a micro USB charging cable and a battery and a diode (used for the wired installation).
The easiest install, using the battery only, should take less than ten minutes to complete - is that easy.
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus gives you the same functionality as previous models, and a bit more. If you have not experienced the Ringo Video Doorbell before you will get a device that not only notifies you when someone pushes the button but can also be set to notify you if motion is detected. Motion detection works by setting "Motion Zones" (the app will show you a real-time view and you can turn the zones on and off depending on which areas you want to be monitored). This covers a 160-degree field of view and depending of its location you will be able to get away with only some zones being monitored. This is important in case you are running the doorbell on battery power and motion detection will use a bit more power than just the normal doorbell operation.
If you enable motion detection you will have any movement recorded to the cloud - this will also happen if someone pushes the button). The app can be set to notify you for either ring and motion activities - or both. In our case since, we have both enabled we get a notification of movement a few seconds before someone even push the doorbell button. For example, some couriers don't need a signature on delivery so they just drop parcels at the door and in these cases we are aware of movement even if they do not push the doorbell.
If you are not home you can answer the doorbell (or go to the live stream if a motion notification comes up) and use the two-way audio to talk to your visitor.
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus brought in some new features that make it a nice device to replace your existing video doorbell or as a new device for the home. To start with, it now supports 1080 HD video, giving you a much better picture. Not new but a nice compliment is an option for HDR recording, providing you with a picture with even more contrast and better colours - although the app warns enabling this option may decrease battery life.
The next new interesting feature is support for 5 GHz wireless LAN - previous models supported only 2.4 GHz networks and depending on the area there could be some interference causing low-quality video or delays in notifications.
But the cool new feature is the Pre-Roll functionality. When enabled, black-and-white sensors continuously record the last few seconds to a memory buffer. This way, when an event happens (motion is detected or the doorbell button is pushed) not only the event recording can be saved to the cloud but also the few seconds before it happened. If you watch the recording later you will see a lower resolution, black-and-white three to four seconds video that changes into full HD colour (corresponding to when the event was detected).
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus has other smarts. For example, you can reduce the number of motion detected notifications by turning on the option to only be notified if a human is detected.
At this point, it's important to make it clear you will need a subscription to store recorded videos in the cloud. Without the subscription, you can only interact real-time with the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus notifications and see/talk to people in real-time.
If you have more than one Ring device in your property you can use the Linked Devices feature recently added to the app. You can basically instruct other devices to start recording or turn on lights even if no movement had been detected elsewhere in the house. For example, we have another Ring device in our deck and we have set the option to start recording that area if movement is detected in the front door - just in case someone is casing the house.
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus also interacts with your Alexa and Fire TV devices. The way this interaction works will depend on the device type. For example, Amazon Echo devices can let you know "Movement detected at the front door" (if motion is detected) or "There's someone at your front door" (if someone pushes the doorbell button). The Amazon Echo Show devices will show the live video when someone pushes the doorbell button or if you say "Alexa, show me my front door". And if you have a Fire TV you can say "Show me my front door" and see the live stream on your big TV. This integration is cool because if we are not home people and leave the Amazon Echo devices at full volume people outside can hear "Motion detected" notifications from Alexa and know that they are being recorded.
Overall I felt the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus faster to start streaming to the app than before, making it easier to interact with visitors when we are not home.
In terms of battery life, we are pretty much seeing about a full month, even with motion detection, pre-roll and live view options turned on. You can check the battery level in the app - and from experience, it takes an overnight charge to have the battery back at 100%.