Ring just unveiled a bounty of new tech headlined by the Video Doorbell 3 and Video Doorbell 3 Plus. These two are the next generation of battery-powered video doorbells from Ring, and are up for order now at $199.99 and $229.99, respectively. The biggest news? Well, they keep similar sizes to their predecessors, deliver 1080pHD video and maintain the standard battery life you’ve come to expect from Ring.
Even better, the Plus model is equipped with “Pre-Roll Video,” which uses the cameras and motion sensors to detect an incoming person (let’s say a package delivery) upon approach. This contrasts Ring’s previous battery-powered doorbells, which only detect someone once they’re much closer or after they’ve hit the ring button. On more than a few occasions we’ve checked the app only to see the backside of a delivery person. You can customize this experience by setting up motion zones as well.
Video Doorbell 3 vs Video Doorbell 3 Plus
Ring’s Video Doorbell 3 and Video Doorbell 3 Plus stick close to the design of the previous video doorbells. You’ll have the camera and sensor deck located at the top, and the physical ring button down towards the bottom. And yes, it’s still a vertical setup. Both of these devices can be powered by a battery pack or from a direct wire into the electrical system of your house. The choice is ultimately yours, but the battery will require a recharge from time to time.
Each Video Doorbell offers a view of wherever the doorbell is facing through a 1080p HD lens with a wide 160-degree field of view. At widths like that, you can see the street and even the sidewalks to the left and right. And when you’re watching the feed on your phone via the Ring app or an Echo Smart Display, you’ll get a clear view with deep contrast, so you can distinguish details about people or deliveries. You’ll even be able to do so at night thanks to the Doorbell 3’s night vision capability.
To help improve connectivity, these devices support Dual-Band Wi-Fi, with support for 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz networks from the same device. This should reduce the number of notifications regarding connectivity issues, and could rule out the need for a Wi-Fi extender. We’re eager to put this to the test.
Like previous Ring doorbells, you’ll get to control motion zones as well. During the setup, you can drag boxes over an area wherein, if the device detects motion, you should receive an alert. It’s both neat and helpful, and now you can create them as close as 5 feet from the Doorbell, extending up to 30 feet out. This solves a pretty big pain point we had with the Video Doorbell 2, which only supported the creation of a motion zone starting 15 feet away. With the new tight motion zones of the Video Doorbell 3 and Doorbell 3 Plus, you can detect someone right at your doorstep.
For the most part, the Video Doorbell 3 and 3 Plus are nearly identical. You can expect a solid view from the doorbell, the ability to talk to visitors, long-lasting battery life and a familiar build overall. With a Doorbell especially, we think it doesn’t need a facelift every generation; you’re better off keeping it the same and upgrading the internals for better detection. And that’s just what Ring did with Pre-Roll on the Video Doorbell 3 Plus.
Pre-Roll is akin to a Live Photo on iOS or a Motion Photo on Android. When motion is triggered, the Video Doorbell 3 Plus will intelligently include a three- to four-second recording made prior to the motion. This is possible through AI, software and hardware working together. It’s also black and white for the pre-roll duration and switches to color once it enters motion recording. Ultimately, it aims to give you the full story when there’s motion outside your home.
We’re eager to try this out and will have more to share on this feature in the coming weeks. Ultimately, though, you’re paying an extra $30 for this Pre-Roll technology.
Chime vs Chime Pro
Additionally, there’s a new pair of wireless chimes in town: Chime ($29.99; amazon.com) and Chime Pro ($49.99; amazon.com). Yes, both let you hear the doorbell ring throughout your home, but the Chime Pro adds in a smart nightlight and a Wi-Fi extender. The latter will essentially cast your network further and help devices that sometimes struggle to connect (AKA smart doorbells and outdoor devices).
All four of these are up for preorder now and will ship on April 8. Stay tuned to Underscored for reviews on these in the coming weeks.
Note: The prices above reflect the retailer’s listed prices at the time of publication.