Ring Video Doorbell Pro: Useful device comes at a cost to your privacy
Review: Every time you open the door, anyone with access to app for your doorbell can see – and hear – what’s going on
Privacy seems to be a fast disappearing concept. If it’s not big tech using the details of our lives to sell us more and more products and services, it’s a growing integration of smart products and services that claim to make our lives easier but also allow our every move to be monitored and recorded.
With that in mind, you may or may not be a fan of video doorbells. On the plus side, you can be “at home” even when you’re not. So if the postman knocks, you can tell him where to leave the package. You have a certain level of reassurance that your house is safe and secure. On the negative side, your doorstep has a spy camera that could work against you as much as it works for you.
Ring has a range of video doorbells aimed at home and business users. The original was a little on the larger side, but it did the job. The Ring Video Doorbell Pro offers 1080p high-definition video and two-way audio, so you can chat away with your visitors and lie through your teeth about being in the house while you’re really on the other side of the world.
As soon as someone pushes that button, you’ll get a notification . . . as long as you have an internet connection.
If you are not great with electrical work, or get easily frustrated, follow the company’s advice and get a professional to install the doorbell. Unlike the regular Ring, this doesn’t operate with a battery; it is wired, similar to the Nest Hello and Sky Bell. That won’t be a problem for most Irish homes, but it’s not a given that you have a wired bell so it’s worth checking out first, avoiding any tense conversations about why you’ve spent all this money on a bell you can’t use.
Not that I’m talking from experience here. But there was a moment, when installing the doorbell, that we needed to reset it to get it to connect to the app and the house wifi.
This involved pushing a button on the side to put it in pairing mode. Do you think we could find the button that purported to be on the side of the casing? Reader, we could not. There were some harsh words and a bit of frustration before the button was discovered by removing a section of the casing. That wasn’t too clear from the instructions.
Do yourself a favour and pay someone to come in and install it if you can.
Getting the bell connected to the app after that was a doddle. In no time, we could see what was going on at the doorstep without having to crane our necks at the front window. In fact, you don’t even have to wait for someone to ring the bell; there is a live view on the app that can be triggered to turn your camera into some sort of CCTV system. Nothing that happens immediately in front of your home will escape attention.
On the downside, sneaking in in the small hours of the morning is now impossible. As soon as you approach the bell, it triggers a motion alert, which appears on your phone.
It may seem like something to laugh and joke about, but there is a certain amount of sacrifice involved in installing a video bell. Everything can be monitored. Every time you open the door, anyone with access to the account connected to the Ring bell can see – and hear – what’s going on. Just something to consider before you take the plunge.
Smaller than the Ring and Ring 2, the Ring Pro is not completely unobtrusive, but it doesn’t scream “I’m watching you” too loudly.
The not so good:
If you don’t have a wired doorbell set up, you’ll need to get one installed. The Ring Pro doesn’t have a battery option.
You’ll need to sign up for a Ring plan to get access to certain features such as video replay, storing your videos in the cloud for up to 30 days, and the ability to download them and share the footage via your phone.
Video bells are more common than ever, but Ring has an easy to use interface that makes it the least complicated to use.