Ring Battery Doorbell Plus

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

ZDNET’s key takeaways

  • The Ring Battery Doorbell Plus is available for a limited time at $150, with a 17% discount from its usual $180 price.
  • The Ring Battery Doorbell Plus offers a clear head-to-toe view of your front door, has a removable rechargeable battery pack, and offers reliable motion-detection alerts and a seamless integration with Alexa.
  • Ring continues to keep most features behind its Ring Protect subscription. Though the video quality is better than HD at 1536p, the video clips have a slight fisheye look and prominent vignetting.

Choosing a video doorbell isn’t an easy task — the selection process depends on the user’s needs, the features they require, and your choice is even affected by the place where the device will be installed. To that last point, I’ve always chosen a battery video doorbell to surveil my front door.

My old home’s existing doorbell wiring wasn’t in working condition when my family moved in, so we opted for a battery doorbell because I didn’t want something else to sort in what already was a fixer-upper. We still live in the same home, and I’ve tested several video doorbells since then.

Also: Everything you need for smart home security

I eventually landed on a favorite device, the Eufy Security video doorbell, E340, which means the Ring Battery Plus has big shoes to fill.

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Setting up the Amazon-owned Ring Battery Doorbell Plus is quick and easy. The installation process is much simpler than other video doorbells, with a built-in flat bracket, which is accessible when you remove the front panel cover. This bracket makes the Ring Battery Doorbell Plus a single unit, so it can’t be easily pulled off the wall next to your front door by wrongdoers, which is a big concern with any video doorbell.

The box also includes a corner kit in case you need to install the doorbell at an angle, which can be screwed onto the wall, and then the Ring doorbell is mounted on it.

The battery doorbells I’ve tested come with a base mounted to the wall, and that’s where the actual video doorbell snaps onto. Devices use this setup because battery doorbells need recharging, and most have a built-in rechargeable battery. The Battery Doorbell Plus — and, when available, the Pro version — has a removable battery pack. This approach makes the device more secure and convenient to use, as you can have an extra battery on hand to swap out the depleted battery, which means you never lose surveillance.

I already have other Ring devices at home, including a Ring Alarm kit, so I added the new Ring doorbell to the Ring app and then installed it on my front door, right above my current video doorbell.

Also: The Echo Show 8 is still the best smart display and speaker combo available

The Ring app is very easy to use. The app shows video events and lets you stream video, go through video history, motion-event history, set motion zones, smart responses, adjust motion sensitivity, and more. You can connect the app easily to a Ring Alarm system to switch modes between Disarmed, Home, and Away, and then choose how your devices behave in each mode.

Ring Battery Doorbell Plus

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

My Ring Battery Doorbell Plus didn’t miss an event, at least not one that my other video doorbell captured during the same time. I decided to use the Ring Battery Doorbell Plus in conjunction with my Eufy Doorbell to see how the performance of the devices compared.

The video quality of captured footage by the Ring Battery Doorbell Plus is superb for a video doorbell, which is great for a device that doesn’t claim to offer 2K video resolution. The Ring Battery Doorbell Plus delivers a clean image with little to no grain that looks more vibrant than my 2K resolution Eufy Security Doorbell.

Also: The best video doorbells: Ring, Nest, Arlo, Logitech, and Eufy compared

Because the Ring Battery Doorbell Plus captures videos in 1536 pixels by 1536 pixels, its video resolution is larger than HD, which is 1080p. But the square image and the large 150-degree field of view mean that the camera captures more complete images than other competitors, offering a head-to-toe view of visitors and covering enough space to keep a package in view, all in full color and color night vision.

That said, the image shows some pretty prominent vignetting along the outer edges and some fisheye distortion. The latter is a common trait in other video doorbell models, but the former has been largely eliminated as video doorbell technology improves. Video doorbells are security cameras that strive to have a large field of view to cover as much area as possible. This forced angling creates a fisheye effect that doesn’t bother me, for the most part, as it’s not bad enough to distort people’s faces, but the vignetting makes the video look dated, in my opinion.

Ring Battery Doorbell Plus vs Eufy Security Doorbell

Both doorbells have a fisheye effect, but while the Eufy has one camera for packages and one for people, I much prefer the Ring Battery Doorbell Plus’ vibrant and full image.

Screenshot by Maria Diaz/ZDNET

The biggest problem of all, however, is that you have to pay a monthly fee in the form of a Ring Protect subscription to unlock many of the great features of the Ring Video Doorbell.

The Ring Protect Subscription unlocks advanced features, including Package Detection, which lets users know when a package has been delivered or picked up; Quick Replies, which lets you have visitors hear preselected messages when they press the doorbell button; and Person Alerts, which is only triggered when a human is detected.

Ring Battery Doorbell Plus

Here is a glimpse of the format of the Ring and Eufy Security apps. I prefer the latter’s more compact design.

Screenshot by Maria Diaz/ZDNET

However, a subscription is also required for more basic features that you would expect from a battery doorbell, such as saving and sharing your video clips, storing footage in the cloud for up to six months, and even seeing a photo preview of what triggered a motion alert on your phone’s notification.

If you decide to forgo a subscription, you’ll only have access to real-time notifications of motion alerts, live-view, two-way talk, and customizable motion zones through the Ring app. Without the Ring Protect Plan, you won’t be able to view event history or video clips from past motion-detection alerts. Unfortunately, there is no way to forgo a subscription for local storage, as Ring doorbells don’t have an SD card expansion slot.

I haven’t had any issues with a short battery life as I haven’t had to charge the doorbell since I began using it a couple of weeks ago. If anyone were to have issues with a shortened battery life, which is a common complaint with battery video doorbells, then I’d recommend adjusting the device’s motion-sensitivity settings in the Ring app.

Ring Battery Doorbell Plus

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

The Ring Battery Doorbell Plus is a great addition to the company’s range of devices. Until the launch of the Plus video doorbell, Ring only offered the Ring Battery Doorbell, which is a highly popular, $100 video doorbell with a 1080p resolution and a built-in rechargeable battery.

ZDNET’s buying advice

While I’m not someone who’s keen to buy a separate subscription to use devices that already cost me hundreds of dollars, there are scenarios where the Ring Battery Doorbell Plus makes perfect sense for many smart home enthusiasts.

Some smart home users enjoy the Ring ecosystem and already have a Ring Protect Plan, so adding a new product to their lineup of smart devices is a non-issue. These customers are the perfect Ring Battery Doorbell Plus buyers, especially those looking for a battery-powered video doorbell that offers crystal-clear, head-to-toe views, and package detection.

The Ring Battery Doorbell Plus also links seamlessly with Alexa, other Ring devices, and Amazon products, making it a shoo-in for an Amazon Alexa-powered smart home. You can easily view and communicate with your Ring Video Doorbell Plus from an Echo Show smart display, or have the video doorbell’s live stream pop up on your Fire TV when someone rings it. 

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