Every now and then, a product comes along which shakes up and revolutionises an established category. In our review of the original Ring Video Doorbell, we alluded to it being such a product. We’ve finally got our hands on its successor, and while it’s not as revolutionary as the original, it takes some major steps forward.
If you looked at the spec sheet alone, it would appear little has changed with the second generation doorbell. The most notable difference is a higher resolution camera which now records in full 1080p over the 720p of its predecessor.
That bump in resolution is noticeable, but the last camera was adequate enough for seeing and speaking to your postman. It’s going to take more than that to justify a purchase, especially if you’re considering an upgrade from the original.
Evolving the doorbell
With little internal changes, it’s the outside which is most important with the Ring Video Doorbell 2.
Coming in at 5.05 x 2.5 x 1.08 inches, the second generation doorbell is slightly bigger in every dimension compared to the 4.98 x 2.43 x 0.87 inches of the original. Fortunately for those upgrading, Ring includes a conversion plate which screws over the existing holes to prevent you having to drill any more in your exterior wall. At least in theory.
The new doorbell comes with angled mounting plates which can tilt your doorbell slightly downwards, to the side, or even both. Many people will have their door at the top of steps where mounting the doorbell flat will provide extra coverage of the sky, but not enough of the pavement or road. Unless your visitors abseil down to your doorstep, this is not the most ideal placement and it’s great to see Ring address this with included accessories.
Unfortunately for those upgrading from the first-generation Ring Video Doorbell, using the new mounting plates will require drilling further holes in your wall. Only two holes are needed, and Ring has kindly provided the wall anchors and even the drill bit to make this easy, but it’s something to be aware of.
For the design conscious, you want your doorbell to fit in with the style of your home. We praised the original’s silver design for not making too much of a statement and having a finish which could work on any front door. The second generation just wants to make extra sure you love the design.
In the box, Ring provides two faceplates. One is silver and looks almost exactly like the original, while the other is a sleek black. Before our unit arrived we expected to prefer the silver, but after mounting it was clear we preferred the black. Fortunately, these faceplates just clip on the front so they’re quick to swap over and would allow Ring to sell other designs further down the line for deeper personalisation.
These faceplates act as the cover for the new removable battery of the Ring Video Doorbell 2, which is by far the most welcome change.
With the original Video Doorbell, you had to unscrew the entire unit and plug it in to recharge whenever it went flat. Ring claimed it to last between 6 – 12 months, but we ended up replacing it at least every three months. Even worse, the “security screws” of the original had a tendency to become rounded and difficult to remove after a few times of going through this process.
Needless to say, the ability to swap out the battery is far more convenient and allows you to purchase a second battery to keep charged so there’s no downtime whatsoever. Similarly, if the battery of the original degrades or breaks, then it’s not so easy to replace as this new model.
While we’ve not had our unit long enough to test the battery fully, it seems to be draining at a slower pace then the original despite the higher quality camera. If you had an existing hardwired doorbell and don’t want to bother with batteries whatsoever, then you can still hook the Ring Video Doorbell 2 into your home’s power supply.
Available to purchase separately is the Ring Chime Pro. In our past review we praised the Chime and called it an essential accessory, but we don’t have the same praise for this version.
Chime plugs into any spare mains socket and will allow you to hear your doorbell wherever it’s placed. With customisable ringtones and separate volume controls for each, it’s a fantastic little accessory and could be invaluable for some home setups. The range was impressive and stretched our entire home.
The new Pro version offers the same alert functionality as the standard but adds a WiFi extender with two antennas which poke out from either side. Setup was quick and can all be done within Ring’s app, but we found the performance lacklustre. We normally use a Netgear WiFi extender, which worked fine, but switching over to Chime Pro instantly started giving us poor performance alerts in the app.
Chime Pro may be ok if you only need to give your WiFi a little help, but we’d generally recommend a dedicated extender. Furthermore, you can only use the Chime Pro with Ring devices, whereas all your devices should be able to connect to even a cheap dedicated extender.
Overall, we’re very impressed with the second generation Ring Doorbell and would recommend it to both new purchasers and those upgrading from the original. The removable battery and new mounts for changing the angle of the device are major improvements, while the camera improvement is a welcome bonus.
You can find our video review below:
What are your thoughts on Ring’s video doorbells? Let us know in the comments.
Rojenx is a leading concept artist who work appears in games and publications
Check out his personal gallery here