Smart home security company Ring has announced a new battery-powered doorbell. The $229.99 Battery Doorbell Pro builds on the Ring Battery Plus released last year — which brought 1536p HD video and a head-to-toe view to Ring’s wire-free doorbell line — and adds 3D Motion Detection powered by radar instead of passive infrared sensing. This should give more accurate alerts and not try to tell you that a tree branch is a person. There’s also dual-band Wi-Fi, color pre-roll, color night vision, and noise-cancelling audio.
Ring now sells three wireless battery doorbells: the Video Doorbell (second-gen) for $100, the Battery Plus for $150 (down from its launch price of $180), and the Battery Pro for $230. The new top-of-the-line Pro has essentially all the features of the wired Video Doorbell Pro 2 (one of my picks for the best video doorbell) in a battery-powered package. It’s really only missing battery-hungry (and frankly useless) features like Alexa Greetings. But disappointingly, it still looks like every other Ring doorbell.
Come on, Ring, it’s time for a shake-up. The original Ring doorbell turns ten this year, and its industrial design has barely changed a jot. Most of the competition is at least trying to make their doorbells look halfway decent, but while Ring is innovating in areas like motion detection and battery life, the design team seems to have been left out in the cold. Founder Jamie Siminoff has moved on, so if ever there was a moment for a radical redesign, it’s now.
It might have one of the most iconic designs in the smart home, but the Ring video doorbell is ugly. I wince every time I see this garish silver thing with its Dalek-like head and shiny blue eye slapped on the side of gorgeous historic homes in my hood (Charleston, South Carolina). Okay, it’s practical and screams, “We’re watching you.” But please, it’s time for a new look.
Granted, Ring has some sleeker styles, but only if you go wired. And while you can swap out the shiny silver face plate on some battery models for a more aesthetically pleasing version, it doesn’t go a long way to hide the fact that this is a honking lump of plastic on your door. Give us some more stylish battery-powered options, Ring. Please.
Aesthetics aside, the Doorbell Pro has a few other upgrades over the Doorbell Plus (my current pick for best battery-powered video doorbell). There’s now “Low Light Sight,” which uses an advanced sensor to show color video at night with just a sliver of ambient light. There’s also noise-canceling Audio Plus for better two-way talk.
The doorbell also uses its radar sensors for two “Bird’s Eye” features: Bird’s Eye View and Bird’s Eye Zones. These show an aerial perspective of motion on your property in the Ring app and can work with the camera motion zones to let you pinpoint where you want alerts to come from.
While I’ll have to test the new doorbell before I can confirm if it’s worth the extra $80 over the Plus, based on my experience with Ring’s radar motion detection, this will be a good upgrade if false alerts at your front door are an issue.
Like all Ring’s battery-powered doorbells, the Pro can be hardwired to trickle charge its (removable and rechargeable) battery and work with your existing doorbell chime. Unless you pay for a Ring Protect plan (from $3.99 a month), it only offers motion alerts and a live stream in the Ring app. If you pay up, you get cloud storage of event-triggered videos, rich notifications, and smart alerts for people and packages. Unlike most of the competition, there are still no animal or vehicle alerts, although Ring has hinted it’s working on the latter.
Ring also recently reversed its policy that allowed police departments to ask for videos from people’s cameras publicly through Ring’s Neighbor app. However, it will still share them with law enforcement without a warrant in emergencies.
Ring offers end-to-end video encryption, but you lose some features. Its new doorbell can work with Ring Edge for local storage and processing of videos. This requires a Ring Alarm Pro and a Ring Protect Pro subscription ($20 a month) and also adds cellular backup that can keep your doorbell online if the power and internet go out.
The Battery Doorbell Pro works with Amazon Alexa to announce visitors on an Echo speaker or show you a live feed on an Echo Show smart display. It’s available for preorder starting today, February 7th, for $229.99 and will ship to customers on March 6th, 2024.