Same price, better product

Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen)

$ 99 at Best Buy

Pros

  • Near Zone helps decrease motion capture false positives
  • 1080p video
  • Better night vision
  • Higher quality two-way audio
  • Easier to install

Cons

  • Need to completely remove from wall to charge battery
  • No support for 5GHz networks
  • Poor Google Assistant integration
  • Narrower camera field of view

Ring did something truly amazing. It upgraded its excellent Ring Video Doorbell without upcharging on the price. That makes the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) the best value for a connected video doorbell on the market. Higher resolution video, better night vision, higher quality two-way audio, and better motion detection are here, all without a higher price.

Time to say goodbye

Ring Video Doorbell (1st Gen)

$ 99 at Ring

Pros

  • Can likely be found for well under MSRP
  • Super wide camera field of view

Cons

  • Need to completely remove from wall to charge battery
  • No support for 5GHz networks
  • Poor Google Assistant integration
  • Lower resolution video

Ring Video Doorbell (1st Gen) was the pioneer in video doorbells and helped Ring make a name for itself. It has fantastic integration into Amazon’s Alexa ecosystem, the ability to easily tap into the Neighbors app to see what’s going on in your area, and Ring’s excellent software and support. Unfortunately, the hardware is showing its age and will be discontinued soon.

Ring brought something new to the table in 2020. While most other Ring products iterate in numbers, for example, Ring Video Doorbell 2 or Ring Video Doorbell 3, the new second-generation Ring Video Doorbell keeps the original’s name and swaps out a few important internal components for a better user experience, all without raising the price.

That means the new Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) is the same affordable price as the original, despite launching several years later and with better features. Despite all these new features, however, the doorbell itself looks identical. The only noticeable physical difference is that the new doorbell is actually a thicker device; something often not seen when upgrading devices in the tech space. Part of the reason for this newfound thickness is because Ring made it easier than ever to install the doorbell, something that’s important since you’ll need to completely remove the doorbell in order to charge it.

Same looks, easier to use

If you’re looking to use the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) as a wireless video doorbell, there are a few things you’ll need to be aware of. First, unlike the Ring Video Doorbell 2 and 3, the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) has a battery pack built-in to its chassis and isn’t removable. That means you’ll need to completely remove the entire doorbell from the wall and plug it into a charger when the battery gets low. Thankfully, Ring has designed an installation bracket that makes this easier than ever before.

If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of regularly recharging the doorbell’s battery, Ring offers several other options. Just like the original Ring Video Doorbell (1st Gen), the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) can be hardwired with your existing doorbell’s electrical wires. If you’re a renter or otherwise don’t feel like being an electrician for a day, Ring also sells a handy solar-powered charger that gives the Ring Video Doorbell the ability to charge itself when the Sun is up.

Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) Ring Video Doorbell (1st Gen)
Price $ 99 $ 99
Power Source Rechargeable battery, or hardwire Rechargeable battery, or hardwire
Video resolution 1080p 720p
Field of view 155 degrees 180 degrees
Dimensions 4.98 in. x 2.4 in. x 1.10 in. 4.98 in. x 2.43 in. x .87 in.
Night Vision Yes Yes
Live view Yes Yes
Two-way audio Yes Yes
Connectivity 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 2.4GHz Wi-Fi
Motion detection Adjustable motion zones, Advanced object detection, Near Zone Adjustable motion zones
Privacy Zones Yes No
Smart Assistant Integration Amazon Alexa Amazon Alexa

See and hear more clearly, even at night

While Ring has added significant features to the new Ring Video Doorbell, both generations can only connect to a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network, so those faster 5GHz networks simply won’t be usable. That’s a bit surprising simply because Ring increased the resolution on the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) to 1080p, up from 720p on the Ring Video Doorbell (1st Gen).

While you’ll be getting a much clearer view of your front porch thanks to the big upgrade in resolution, there’s always the distinct possibility that your 2.4GHz network might struggle occasionally with the speed requirements for the higher resolution video.

Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) features a better night vision camera that can more clearly see things at night, giving you a better representation of what might be outside of your door when it’s dark out. That’s important for catching snooping crooks or for when UPS or FedEx are running a bit late.

Speaking of package delivery, the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) has better microphones and speakers than the Ring Video Doorbell (1st Gen), which makes talking to folks at the door easier than ever. That’s particularly great when you can’t get to the door or might be in a loud place away from home.

More accurate detection and improved privacy

Ring has utilized its expertise in motion detection and provides the same Near Zone motion detection method you can find on the Ring Video Doorbell 3. The Near Zone detects motion only between 5-15 feet of the video doorbell, helping to more accurately identify when someone is on your doorstep. Cutting out movement further out than 15 feet helps eliminate erroneous movement detection from cars or foliage, and ignoring any movement closer than 5 feet helps cut out those annoying notifications caused by bugs flying in front of your camera.

Ring also sports the same great Privacy Zones as the Ring Video Doorbell 3, which means you can block out sections of the video so that they aren’t recorded at all. That could be great if you have an open bedroom window and don’t want your video doorbell to record.

Same great price, greater capability

The Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) is an affordable way to get a big upgrade without making too many changes. It’ll still work with your entire smart home setup, including your Amazon Echo and Alexa routines. The low price will net you much higher resolution video, better night vision, improved two-way audio for talking to folks at the door, and even enhanced motion detection and privacy features.

It’s an impressive upgrade that’s a no-brainer if your Ring Video Doorbell battery is on the fritz, or if you are just looking to get a better overall doorbell without breaking the bank. It’s less expensive than the vast majority of video doorbells on the market, and Ring’s excellent software and compatibility with many smart home systems make it a great choice for new and current Ring owners alike.

Surprisingly affordable

Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen)

An upgrade without the upcharge

$ 99 at Best Buy
$ 99 at Ring

Ring did what most companies wouldn’t ever dream of: it created a more fully-featured product without increasing the price over the original release. That’s what makes the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) worth the upgrade.

A gem for its time

Ring Video Doorbell (1st Gen)

Still great if you’ve got it

$ 99 at Ring

Ring has discontinued the 1st generation Ring Video Doorbell, but that doesn’t mean you need to ditch it if you’re not ready to move on. It’s still a great, capable product.

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