A worthy upgrade

Ring Video Doorbell 3

$ 200 at Amazon

Pros

  • Easily removable battery
  • Dual-band Wi-Fi support
  • Additional advanced motion detection options
  • Higher resolution video
  • Live view available on battery power

Cons

  • Narrower field of view
  • Poor Google Assistant integration

Four years is a long time in the world of tech, and a lot has changed since the original Ring Video Doorbell launched. The third generation brings significant improvements to the table, including higher resolution video, support for faster 5GHz Wi-Fi, better motion detection, an easily-removable rechargeable battery, and better overall construction. It’s not just a huge spec upgrade, it’s a quality-of-life upgrade worthy of your cash.

The OG

Ring Video Doorbell

$ 100 at Amazon

Pros

  • Very wide field of view
  • Cheaper

Cons

  • Loses config if battery does
  • Battery is not removable
  • Live view not available when battery-powered
  • Lower resolution video
  • Only supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi
  • Poor Google Assistant integration

The original Ring Video Doorbell made a name for itself by being an affordable wireless video doorbell that actually worked. Over the years, Ring has added significant value to its seminal video doorbell, but hardware limitations are starting to show themselves and make this a product that’s beginning to feel a bit on the old side.

The Ring Video Doorbell was an incredibly important device upon launch. As one of the earliest video doorbells on the market, it set the stage for how things should be done. Unfortunately, its hardware hasn’t aged all that well, despite some important software updates, and limitations of mobile, battery-powered chipsets quickly show their age in a world of constant technological improvements.

The Ring Video Doorbell 3 takes every single shortcoming of the original and improves upon it, only falling short in a single area: field of view. Despite this minor shortcoming, the Ring Video Doorbell 3 is absolutely worth the upgrade for folks wanting to stay in the Ring ecosystem.

Significantly more convenient

The original Ring Video Doorbell wasn’t just a pioneer in connected video doorbells; it was also a pioneer in wireless video doorbells. Being wireless is important because it makes installation a breeze and also makes it possible for renters to utilize a video doorbell. However, the original Ring Video Doorbell had one big setback: the battery was built-in, making it difficult to charge. On top of that, if you ever let the battery completely die, the Ring Video Doorbell would reset and have to be set up from scratch again.

Ring Video Doorbell 3 Ring Video Doorbell
Price $ 200 $ 100
Rechargeable battery Yes, removable Yes, built-in
Video resolution 1080p 720p
Field of view 160 degrees 180 degrees
Dimensions 5.1 in. x 2.4 in x 1.1 in. 4.98 in. x 2.43 in. x .87 in.
Live view Yes Only when hard-wired
Connectivity 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi 2.4GHz Wi-Fi only
Motion detection Adjustable motion zones plus near zone Basic detection
Privacy Zones Yes No
Smart Assistant Integration Amazon Alexa Amazon Alexa

Ring Video Doorbell 3 features a quick-release battery pack that charges separately and easily. On top of that, you don’t have to worry about it losing its configuration when you remove the battery — Ring solved that problem with the advent of the battery pack. Having a removable battery also means that you can buy a second battery to swap out so that there’s no downtime at all, adding an extra layer of convenience to the process.

The original Ring Video Doorbell’s battery-powered nature also came with some usage restrictions. While you could view the feed from your front door at any time if the Ring Video Doorbell was hardwired into the wall, being on battery power would disable this feature. Ring Video Doorbell 3 doesn’t have any such limitation and can be used as an outdoor camera at any time, not just when someone presses the button or motion is detected.

Privacy and accuracy at its core

The Ring Video Doorbell 3 also features enhanced motion detection options over the original model, including more accurate motion detection that only detects movement between 5-15 feet in front of your home. That’s helpful to reduce false motion detection notifications that might be triggered by traffic out in the road or a bee flying in front of your camera.

Ring also provides the option to adjust the areas where motion is detected, further helping to ward off unnecessary or erroneous motion detections by highlighting areas where movement commonly triggers motion detection, such as a bush blowing in the wind. Users can also block out areas from being recorded at all, helping deliver a more private experience for users who might not want every single part of their video recorded. This is particularly important for folks that share their videos on Ring’s social network, Neighbors.

Technical and quality-of-life improvements

These privacy and accuracy improvements are made possible in part by the increase in resolution, which sees a jump from 720p in the Ring Video Doorbell to 1080p on the Ring Video Doorbell 3. More detail means it’s more likely that your doorbell will see fine details and be able to more readily identify subtle movement. It also means you can more granularly block out parts of the image you don’t want everyone to see.

However, what good is higher resolution video if your Wi-Fi network can’t handle the extra traffic? Ring has upgraded its minimum recommended Wi-Fi speed from 1Mbps for the original Ring Video Doorbell, to 2Mbps for the Ring Video Doorbell 3. Along with the recommended bandwidth increase comes the ability to support faster 5GHz networks, which can handle significantly more traffic and deliver data faster, as well. But don’t worry if your 5GHz network doesn’t reach to the front door (or if you don’t have a 5GHz Wi-Fi network) because the Ring Video Doorbell 3 still supports 2.4Ghz networks as a backup.

Aside from technical improvements, Ring has also improved the construction and design of the overall product (despite not looking visually all that different from the original release). The wall mount now features improved screw strength that helps keep the doorbell in place, even if you accidentally press down too hard while reinserting the battery. The Ring Video Doorbell 3 also has a redesigned faceplate that’s easier to remove, so you can get your festive decorations on easier than ever. It even automatically connects with the Ring Chime, which can be used to better notify everyone in the house that someone is at the door.

So it’s a no-brainer upgrade, right?

Yes — for the most part, upgrading from an original Ring Video Doorbell to a Ring Video Doorbell 3 is a universally excellent decision. There are some minor differences between the two that aren’t all positive, but thankfully, they are minor and don’t really qualify as issues.

First off, Ring reduced the field-of-view for the camera from 180 degrees on the Ring Video Doorbell down to 160 degrees on the Ring Video Doorbell 3. That means you’ll see just a bit less of your front porch, so you may need to adjust the mounting angle of your camera. The bright side of this design is that there is less distortion on the edges of the video, making things look a bit more natural. It’s also worth noting that the Ring Video Doorbell 3 isn’t any smaller than the original Ring Video Doorbell.

Despite the normal trend of technology shrinking over the years, Ring’s latest product is actually a tad larger than the original design. Weird, but it’s not the end of the world and ultimately is a minute enough difference to be unnoticeable unless comparing side-by-side.

Bottom line? The Ring Video Doorbell 3 is a significant upgrade that’s worth the $ 200 entry fee, as it really brings a significantly better experience to the table all around.

A truly notable upgrade

Ring Video Doorbell 3

Basically, everything is better

$ 200 at Amazon
$ 200 at Best Buy

Sometimes upgrades can feel like sidegrades, but not with the Ring Video Doorbell 3. It improves the experience in every area over the original release and adds in a few important privacy features to boot.

Still a great entry-level option

Ring Video Doorbell

Simply a great choice

$ 100 at Amazon
$ 100 at Best Buy

You’re not going to find a much better video doorbell out there at this price point. With Ring’s powerful ecosystem and excellent software, the Ring Video Doorbell is a great entry-level video doorbell for folks looking to save some dough.

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