A video doorbell for residents – CNET

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Editor's note, December 19: More than 3,000 Ring customers have recently released their personal account information. According to reports, We remove all ring products from the recommendation. The original review, published June 20, follows.


Ring $ 199 Peephole Cam is a lot different than I tested the other doorbells, Instead of a door frame, hard-wired or battery-operated doorbell, this buzzer is mounted in the middle of your door.

It was specially developed for apartment doors with peepholes, replaces your old peephole and can be installed without cables or screws. Otherwise, this doorbell looks, works and has similar functions to the other cameras from Ring. Set it up with the same ring app where you can view the live feed, adjust settings, and more.

The peephole camera works with Alexa, If you have a compatible smart display, Use a smart display to show the video feed on a larger screen and speak directly to the person at your door with simple voice commands.

Even for the entry-level cloud storage option, Ring Protect, there's a fee that starts at $ 3 a month and gives you 60 days of access to saved activity-based video clips. This will be even more disappointing afterwards Apple introduces its free 10-day clip storage for his HomeKit-enabled cameras when iOS 13 was launched.

The part of the doorbell holder that leads into your door is weaker and more plastic than the camera on the outside. Since there are no screws attached directly to the door, it feels even less secure when I remove the front panel to access the battery installed in the base plate.

This is certainly not a deal breaker, but I think $ 199 squeezes it a bit for this product because of its simpler hardware, minimal installation, and plastic interior mounting.

The bigger potential problem is privacy. Ring and local police departments in the United States offer discounted and occasionally free ringtones to residents. In exchange, Residents agree to hand over the security material to law enforcement agencies upon request,

Ring does not currently offer facial recognition in its cameras. However, the company is Amazon filed two patents related to facial recognition in 2018 in particular the ability to identify "suspects" through law enforcement databases.

Overall, this doorbell is the best option for anyone who can't or doesn't want to deal with wiring or screwing the door frame with screw holes. It's designed for dwellers, but any house with a peephole could use this product, provided you are willing to pay the $ 3 monthly fee – and are familiar with the current data protection landscape of these technologies.

What's in the box

From the box you get the camera that is attached to the front of your door and a back that is attached to the inside of your door. The inner and outer parts still have a built-in peephole, so you can see who is at your door as before.

The inner part consists of two parts, a base plate and a front plate. So you can only remove the front panel to access the battery inside. As mentioned above, the base plate was pulled away from the door almost every time I removed the front plate because it wasn't really attached to the bottom door. It is only connected to the door via the peephole above. So while it didn't feel like it was going to break or fall off – it's held in place by the included tension nut – the bottom half pulls too easily away from the door.

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The installation of the peephole camera is very easy.

Lauren Routt / CNET

The installation process is extremely simple, certainly the easiest I have ever experienced. You don't have to deal with circuit breakers, electrical cables, or even a screwdriver. It took me literally 20 minutes from start to finish, including configuring the peephole camera in the app. And it only took so long because I borrowed an employee door to test it, and I was extra careful on the way to avoid spoiling the paint or otherwise destroying the door.

Note: Small paint chips here and there when removing the peephole should be the extent of the problems installing this thing. At the door of my colleague, the original peephole was installed using a door knocker. Removing the door knocker only caused the paint to flake off slightly, but removing the peephole itself did not cause any damage.

You can find the complete installation details in the gallery above and in my video embedded on this page. But this process was incredibly easy. There is even a peephole extender if the opening in your door is slightly larger than that on the peephole camera.

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Removing the old peephole was really easy.

Chris Monroe / CNET

The camera itself is shorter and has a slimmer profile than Ring's other doorbells, but looks similar to that Doorbell video doorbell pro in terms of style. It also has the same functional components – a camera with a horizontal field of view of 155 degrees, a motion detector, a loudspeaker, a microphone and a button for ringing. And even though it's installed in the middle of the door, no one will have a problem recognizing it as a doorbell.

Ring offers you a variety of options that allow you to customize your settings. Already during configuration, the app asks a number of questions, such as whether you have a storm door, whether your street is particularly busy and takes these into account accordingly in the settings. In the case of a storm door, for example, Ring automatically switches off night vision because the lights used for night vision can reflect back into the camera when there is a glass door in front of the camera.

You can also switch to the Ring app at any time and make changes.