Ring Video Doorbell 4 - 2021 Reviews

Cupertino, November 5, 2021

Video Doorbell 4 ($ 199.99) is the latest addition to the growing family of Ring home security devices. It offers features not typically found on battery-powered ringtones, including dual-band Wi-Fi, optional cable connectivity, and Pre-Roll video to capture the first few seconds of activity before a motion alert is triggered. As with other Ring ringtones, this model works with Amazon Alexa and can interact with a lot of smart devices from third parties. The main difference between this and Video Doorbell 3, of 179.99 USD, is that it supports full-color pre-roll videos. However, you still have to pay a monthly fee to access recorded videos and use certain features, and while Video Doorbell 4 delivered clear 1080p videos during testing, you can get more detailed videos with the Arlo Essential video ringtone of $ 199.99. If you are looking for a wired bell, meanwhile, the $ 99 Ezviz DB1C is still the best bet.

Familiar design, paid features

Ring Doorbell 4 is very similar to all other Ring Doorbell. It has the same glossy black finish and satin nickel as the Ring Video Doorbell 2020 ringtone, and at 5.1 by 2.4 by 1.1 inches (HWD), it is about the same size. The camera assembly occupies the top of the device, while the bottom half has a removable cover with a backlit ring button that flashes blue when you press the button.

Under the cover is a reset button and a removable battery. If you prefer not to charge the battery every two months, you can connect a wired power supply (8-20VAC) using the two rear terminals. A built-in dual-band Wi-Fi radio allows you to connect the ringtone to a 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz network SSID. Along with the bell, the Ring includes a mounting wedge; mounting hardware and terminal connectors; safety screws and a safety screwdriver; and a user guide in the box.

The camera captures videos at 1080p, has a field of view of 160 degrees (horizontal) and uses four infrared LEDs for black and white night videos. It also supports the colorful pre-scrolling function of the Ring, which captures a four-second clip of the activity that took place before an alert. Doorbell 4 will record video and send a push alert when someone presses the bell button or detects movement. However, you must subscribe to a Ring Protect plan to view, download, or share your videos. You also need a plan to receive person alerts (the ringtone will send an alert only when it detects a person) and to use Snapshot Capture (the camera takes snapshots during the day so you can see what's going on between events triggered by movement). The $ 3 per month ($ 30 per year) basic plan gives you 60 days of video history for a room, while the $ 10 per month ($ 100 per year) Plus plan gives you the same coverage for all Ring devices .

Options for third-party applications and integrations

The ringtone uses the same mobile app (for Android and iOS) as any other Ring device and appears in a dedicated panel on the app's dashboard screen. In the app, a Neighbors button takes you to the Ring Neighbors community screen, while the History button shows you all ring events. Touch the ringtone panel to launch a live stream that can be viewed in full screen by rotating the phone sideways. Below the video panel is a chronology of events (motion detection, button pressing and live viewing).

Timeline provides pause, fast forward, and rewind commands. At the bottom of this screen are additional buttons: Share, Calendar, Filter and More. Use the Share button to send the video to your friends or the Ring Neighbors community. The Calendar button allows you to search for chronological events by date. The Filters button lets you customize what type of events appear on your timeline (Person, Ring, Motion, and Live View), while the More button has options that allow you to delete and download videos.

Touching the wheel button in the upper right corner will take you to a screen with buttons that allow you to view a live stream, as well as enable or disable Call Alerts, Motion Detection, and Motion Alerts. The Smart Answers feature allows you to assign a pre-recorded answer when someone rings the doorbell. With Motion Settings, you can configure the sensitivity of the sensor and create motion programs. Additional mode settings allow you to arm or disarm the ringer camera. On the Device Settings screen, you can configure quality settings and video notifications, create privacy zones, and adjust ringtone volume settings.

Call mobile app screens that display live stream settings, activity log, and smart replies

Doorbell 4 works with Alexa voice commands and supports IFTTT applications for integration with many third-party devices. However, it does not support the Apple HomeKit platform or Google Assistant voice commands.

It works as expected

Installing Video Doorbell 4 was quick and easy in testing. I've already installed the Ring app, but if this is your first Ring device, you need to download the app and create an account. I charged the battery for a few hours, tap Set up a device at the bottom of the home screen, and select Ringtones from the list of devices. Using my phone's camera, I scanned the QR code on the back of the ringtone, selected my location, and named the ringtone. Then I inserted the battery and waited a few seconds for the voice message to tell me that the ringtone was in setup mode. I checked that the light was turning on, selected my Wi-Fi SSID, and the ringtone immediately connected to my network and joined my list of Alexa devices. I waited a few minutes for the firmware to update, attached the bell to the front door frame, and secured the security screw cap to complete the installation.

Video Doorbell 4 provided clear 1080p videos during testing. The colors seemed precise and well saturated during the day. The black and white night video showed good contrast and seemed clear at about 25 feet.

Motion alerts and button presses arrived instantly, with no false motion alerts. I had no trouble viewing videos from the ringtone on an Amazon Echo Show using Alexa voice commands, and Alexa always announced when the ringtone button was pressed. The two-way sound between my phone and the doorbell came loud and clear.

Perfect security for the bell

If you want to add a smart ringtone to your home security arsenal and you don't want to deal with any wiring, Ring Video Doorbell 4 is worth considering, especially if you already have other Ring devices. It's expensive at $ 199.99 and locks in the best features behind a paid monthly subscription, but it's very easy to install and supports Alexa voice commands. It also works with a lot of third-party devices, such as smart door locks and lighting systems, and lets you see what happened before a ringtone sound or a motion-triggered event. If the 1080p video just doesn't cut it, the $ 199.99 Arlo Essential video ringtone is equipped with a higher-resolution HDR camera with a 180-degree field of view at the same price. And if you prefer a wired solution, Ezviz DB1C offers a lot of features and a high-resolution HDR sensor for $ 100 less.

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