Amazon-owned Ring Security released its newest video doorbell in South Africa in May. I’ve been testing the Ring Battery Video Doorbell Plus for almost a month now. It retails for R3499.
The Battery Video Doorbell Plus has replaced my Video Doorbell 3, which has been discontinued but I moved it to the driveway as a motion sensor camera.
This model is well suited for the current climate we’re in: that of load shedding. As its name suggests, it’s a battery operated model, thus wireless, which means it works when there is no power.
- Head-to-toe view 1536p HD Video
- 150° horizontal and 150° vertical field of view
- Two-way audio with noise cancellation
- Internet: Min 2.5Mbps upload; 2.4GHz WiFi
- Quick release battery pack
- Pairs to the Ring App, accessible anywhere
The Battery Video Doorbell Plus has dimensions of 12.8cm x 6.2cm x 2.8cm. It is a compact size for its capabilities, and fits the existing place holder at the front of my house perfectly. It’s really simplistic in design; the person at the gate won’t fumble looking for the button – it has a blue ring.
Its weather proof design is expected, but I feel comfortable knowing it is partially covered. It can withstand temperatures between -20.5°C to 50°C. Not that I have to worry much about extremes in Johannesburg.
My previous model doorbell shares a lot of similarities, such as motion detection and alerts; two-way talk and quick replies – this is supported with Ring Protect, a paid subscription; Live View – you can open the app anytime to check the cameras; Night Vision and Motion Snooze. Some of these are customisable like drawing the zones you want covered, motion sensitivity, smart alerts and motion schedules.
What’s new on this model is a wider field of view of 150° both ways, so if there is a person standing with something in their hand, you will see their whole body. Night Vision is now in colour, which is nifty. Video resolution is gone up from 1080p to 1536p – you can download videos from the app on a supported Ring Protect Plan.
There’s also an improved battery life but I’ve not yet seen a difference purely because we recharged it once since set-up, which is around 2 weeks and we’re still tweaking the sensitivity. I also have 2 cameras in my front and back garden, they are all interchangeable so when i’m recharging the front, I can move them around. Battery life on my current set-up is not a concern.
Other features I get from Ring Protect, a paid subscription is People Mode (not animals); timetables when not to detect anything – this is handy on the days my gardener comes in for the general Ring security cameras; and the ability to go back into video and pictures to view and save or share. It downloads with a timestamp. I usually download videos if my neighbours cat comes to visit – and it helped me figure out how she gets into my yard!
How I use it on the daily
I have a bunch of other Amazon devices, which our accounts are linked to, so whenever someone is at the front gate, Alexa tells me exactly that. I also get push notifications on the Ring App, based on my custom settings. This is not an app I want to mute. The only annoyance here is that is doesn’t support Google stuff. Almost all my other smart home appliances, no matter the size, supports both platforms. I don’t have an Apple smart speaker or look for Home Kit products.
It supports rich notifications, which I absolutely love. I just have to pull down and long press to see the thumbnail of what is going on, without opening the app unnecessarily. I can also determine if someone is at the front gate waiting to be let in vs. someone walking by with their dog.
I love that I can hear about any movement at my front gate through Alexa, it gives me peace of mind. I also answer the doorbell from wherever I am. I don’t open my gate without asking who the delivery is for (they have to give my name), if it’s a package, which is probably the most type of doorbell rings I receive.
When you buy an Ring product, it includes a 30-day trial to Ring Protect so you have an idea if its worth purchasing. After my initial trial from when Ring first launched in SA, I opted to subscribe. There is a basic plan for $3.99 a month for one device or $10 a month for unlimited. There was a time it was limited to three devices so half my cameras didn’t have the extra features, but this has changed now.
I think the $10 a month is worth it when you pay upfront of $100 a year, which gets discounted by $20, and considering how many devices I have linked to my account. But, crucially, it’s the only way you can activate video recording for your device. If you are shopping around and considering a Ring security device, factor the price of Ring Protect too.
Features you get without paying: 1-year limited warranty, motion-activated notifications, real-time video with Live View, Two-Way Talk and theft protection.
Ring Protect Basic: For one device. The above plus video history for up to 180 days, video saving and sharing, snapshot capture, person alerts, rich notifications.
Ring Protect Plus: For unlimited devices. All of the above plus assisted monitoring with your Ring Alarm, cellular backup with your Ring Alarm, extended warranties for all Ring devices.
Recharged is an independent site that focuses on technology, electric vehicles, and the digital life by Nafisa Akabor. Drawing from her 16-year tech journalism career, expect news, reviews, how-tos, comparisons, and practical uses of tech that are easy to digest. email@example.com