It would have been nice to see more smart-home integration between the Ring Alarm and other well-established third-party names, if only because the company has already set such a precedent for itself in this area. Buying it won't introduce any new tricks to an existing Ring doorbell, either, but if you're already in the ecosystem and you're looking to expand, this $200 starter kit is a sure fit.
The caller from the monitoring service will identify themselves as being from Ring, since that’s who your business relationship is with, but they actually work for a third-party company that Ring contracts with: Rapid Response Monitoring Services. This is a common arrangement for home security systems. Nest, for example, contracts with MONI Smart Security (which is now doing business as Brinks Home Security). Alarm.com is another major third-party monitoring service.
Ring’s Alarm, which is finally shipping to customers starting today, is the latest in these new, do-it-yourself home security systems. It’s most similar to the Secure system that Nest released last year, and uses a variety of motion, entryway, and fire / carbon monoxide sensors, along with Ring’s other home security cameras to monitor your home for emergencies and intrusions.
I've owned the Ring Video doorbell for about 6 months and it has been a very pleasant experience. It was very easy to install and easy to use. It has never stopped working or had any major issues. This doorbell lets me know when I get packages delivered, when people approach my door, or ring my doorbell. It is very convenient. The only issue I've had is with motion sensitivity. I get a ton of motion notifications from cars on the road, which are about 35 feet away from the doorbell. It seems very accurate with detecting people but it has an issues with cars, especially large vehicles.
The square wireless base station is the main component of the Ring Alarm system. It's 6.7 x 6.7 x 1.4 inches in size, and though it lay flat on a bookshelf for this review, it can be mounted on a wall. The base station has ZigBee and Z-Wave antennas, and while the latter is available to use with compatible third-party accessories, anything that isn't Ring-certified won't work with security monitoring.
So what happens if an Alarm is triggered? If an event is detected, you will get an email and an instant push notification to your phone which you can swipe to open the Nest App. From the Nest App, you can see which sensor triggered the alarm, and you will be presented with two options: call the police or turn the alarm off. If you have a Nest Cam, you will be able to view footage from the event simultaneously. If you have multiple Nest Cams, you can swipe through to a view a live feed from all of your cameras. If you’re subscribed to Nest Aware, the Sightline feature will bookmark the event so next time you access your camera’s timeline, you’ll see a red bar. Tap on the red bar to review the footage of the event. Of course, while all of this is happening, your siren will sound.
At 4.5 by 1.8 by 0.8 inches (HWD), the Ring Pro is slimmer and looks more like a traditional doorbell than the August Doorbell Cam Pro, the RemoBell, and the original Ring. It comes with four interchangeable faceplates (black, bronze, nickel, and white) to match the exterior of your home, a screwdriver, mounting screws and anchors, a Pro Power Kit for connecting to an existing chime box in case your existing doorbell wiring does not provide enough power, extension wires, and illustrated instructions. Ring also sells a battery-powered model, the Video Doorbell 2.
The base station is also wall-mountable and can be installed on a Wi-Fi network or connected directly to your internet router over Ethernet. It has a 24-hour battery backup plus the ability to connect to an LTE network in the event of a power outage. (The LTE connectivity is available when you subscribe to Ring’s Protect Plus monitoring service and uses AT&T’s network.) Both the keypad and the base station feature colored LED rings to signify if the system is armed or disarmed and have built-in speakers to sound the alarm in the event of an emergency or intrusion.
You’ll need to connect the Pro to a doorbell transformer that supplies 16- to 24 volts of AC power. If your home already has a wired doorbell, it’s probably at this voltage, but you’ll need to check. And not every home has doorbell wiring. If yours doesn’t then you’ll need to install power at your porch (or get an electrician to do it) if you want to use this.
All of these limitations make the Ring Alarm feel less like a cohesive part of an integrated smart home and more like a bolt-on appendage that requires its own app and accessories. For its part, Ring says that smart home integrations are coming, but it wanted to make sure that it had nailed down the security aspect of the system before adding to it. The company says it plans to add integrations with lighting, door locks, and other smart home gadgets down the road, but it wouldn’t provide a timeline for these options when I asked.
Though the Ring Alarm system covers the bases for a home security setup, there’s a lot of room for integration with other smart home products that Ring has left on the table. For example, it’s not possible to use the Ring’s motion or contact sensors to trigger lights or adjust a smart thermostat when you leave or come back home. This is despite the fact that the Ring Alarm sensors are based on Z-Wave technology, which is a widely used smart home standard.
In February 2018 at 2AM Ring came in handy. I received the "Motion Detected" alert on my phone and saw an unknown, adult, male, holding a large black object near his side, walking up my driveway, and towards my front door. The male looked directly at the Ring, stopped, turned around, walked back into the street, got into a vehicle and left. I like to believe Ring deterred this guy from committing a crime. After that moment I remembered I never did an Amazon review for Ring. So here it is. Do yourself and/or family a favor and get the Ring. Peace of mind and makes life easier. SEE ATTACHED PICTURES FOR DETAILS.
When you add the keypad, you’re asked to come up with a four-digit PIN that you’ll use to arm and disarm the system. If you opt in to professional monitoring, you’ll also need to come up with a verbal passcode that you’ll use to identify yourself as an authorized user when the monitoring service calls (so be sure to provide this information to your secondary contact, as they’ll need it as well).