Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus is the newest version in a long line of the super-popular Ring Doorbell series.
As COVID-19 cases rise again we are beginning to hunker down in our homes. Despite being cooped up though, we are suckers for some good Black Friday deals, aren't we? So what's a good way to keep track of all our deliveries? After all increase in online shopping has also meant an increase in theft and mishandling by delivery people.
Ring has been a household name in the video doorbell department for quite a few years. Just in 2020, we have seen the refresh to the basic Doorbell, and a new Doorbell 3. Well Ring has decided to refresh the Doorbell 3 and sent us at AH a review unit of the new Doorbell 3 Plus.
Before we do a deep dive review of this latest doorbell iteration, let's get the unboxing out of the way.
Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus Unboxing
Everything about the package screams premium. From the sleeve to the easy-open box, it's easy to see the attention to detail. But let's check out all the goodies that are inside, shall we?
Inside the box is a sleeve with instructions, Doorbell 3 Plus, rechargeable battery, wedge, and corner mounts, micro-USB cable to charge the battery, mounting hardware and installation tools which include a screwdriver and a masonry drill bit.
Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus Tech Specs
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus has a 1080p HD camera with a 160-degree horizontal viewing angle. It supports two-way audio communication with built-in noise cancellation. For Night Vision the doorbell has four IR LEDs. The ring app supports Android and iOS. Connectivity protocol is 802.11 a/b/g/n so Wi-Fi @2.4GHz/ 5GHz is supported out of the box.
The dimensions are 5.1-inches by 2.4-inches by 1.1-inches. It is also weather-resistant with an operating temperature range of -5°F to 120°F. You can power it via a rechargeable battery or hardwire it with the existing door chime wiring. For continuous charging a transformer with 8-24 VAC, 40VA max is recommended. These are easily available online for less than $20 including tax.
Installing the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus
Typically installing the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus should be quick. However, in my case, the existing door chime button was in an offset/corner location. So it took a little longer than the recommended install time of ~5 minutes.
First step is to download and install the Ring app on a device. I installed it on my S20 FE, created an account, and scanned the QR code unique to my Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus unit. Completing the setup in the app was relatively quick and painless. You will need your WiFI password and test the camera to see the picture in the app to finish the initial setup. This entire process took a little less than a couple of minutes.
Next up was installing the optional Corner Mount in the box since my existing doorbell resides in a corner. I used the mini level in the box to ensure the Corner Mount was in the right location and horizontally level prior to marking the location for the holes. Using a drill and the masonry drill bit from the device box, I started drilling holes in my stucco wall. The drill bit provided in the box proved to be dull for the job. So I used a Ryobi masonry drill bit to get the holes drilled. Ring provides anchors and screws along with the screwdriver which made the Corner Mount installation job easy.
Before starting the mount installation process, I put the rechargeable battery to charge. Next up was wiring the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus to the two wires from the existing chime. This took less than a minute with the pre-stripped wires and connectors in the box. Mounting the doorbell to the Corner Mount started off easy but took a bit longer for the top left corner screw. The reason is the screws provided are tiny and the total clearance gap wouldn't allow for proper alignment with the screwdriver provided. Took me another 5 minutes to find a magnetic matching bit screwdriver to install the last screw in the top left corner.
In my haste to test the new gadget, I installed the battery, mounted the Venetian Bronze faceplate, and moved on to tweaking the various settings in the Ring app. So I never fully charged the provided battery which is Instruction number one in the guide. Ooops. So my suggestion is to please follow the instructions in the guide. Luckily, my current doorbell transformer was giving out enough power to slowly trickle charge the battery per the Ring app.
One minor item to note that there is no star head screw in the packet that would secure the faceplate to the threaded insert in the battery. The star head tip is included on the screwdriver bit but I was not able to find a screw in the box contents.
As you can see from the pictures, the overall installation looks quite nice despite a couple of minor hiccups. And I did swap out the faceplate to Satin Nickel to take pictures for this review. Overall, start to finish time was approximately about 25 minutes.
The ring App is fully featured and very easy to use
Remember the initial setup is done prior to the actual installation. Once the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus was installed, the regular usage for the review commenced. First thing right off the bat I noticed the crazy amount of notifications. These come in pretty much instantaneously so I dived into the app settings to see if I could fine-tune the motion detection settings. I will get to the details in a bit but first I am going to do a walkthrough of the Ring app.
Main menu lets you quickly toggle off alerts, motion detection, and motion alerts. You can also go straight to Live View to see who is at the door. Pressing Live View shows who is at the door, flipping the phone to landscape mode offers full-screen view for better clarity. Tapping Event History shows all the various things captured by the camera. You can filter each of the activities left to right from the various options including marking some using 'Star' button.
Next up let's see what other options are available in order to maximize the benefit of this smart security device. Mode Settings lets you choose Home, Away, or Disarmed modes. If you have a lot of foot traffic at your door – event, party, furniture delivery, home repairs etc you can choose to snooze the motion detection from 30 minutes to 4 hours. The next item is Linked Chimes which is self explanatory. I linked the Doorbell 3 Plus to my existing chime without any issues.
You can add more users via the Shared Users menu option. It is fairly self-explanatory as far as adding extra users is concerned.
Using the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus
I have now been using the doorbell for a little over a week. The video and audio quality are absolutely stellar. I like the Pre-Roll feature quite a bit which is the main upgrade over the previous version. Pre-Roll allows you to see an additional 4 seconds of video prior to a motion event alert being triggered which is its unique first-to-market feature. The Pre-Roll video is in black and white and low resolution to preserve bandwidth/storage/battery life. But nonetheless, I think this is a great feature to have.
My front door faces the street and on the first day of use, the number of motion notifications was absolutely bonkers. A quick trip to the Motion Settings menu was all it took to calm the notifications storm down. First off use the Motion Wizard and answer a few questions to help calibrate what motion detection you are interested in. Second, use Motion Zone to narrow the detection zone with even more precision to get rid of street traffic notifications. And lastly, use Advanced Motion Detection to improve accuracy and trim empty footage from your recordings.
Next I recommend going to Smart Alerts and toggling on people only mode to further help reduce unnecessary motion detection notifications. Once these options are fine-tuned it is a good idea to toggle on rich notifications so you can actually see a preview of the person's face in the notification itself!
After getting all settings dialed in, I had zero unwanted motion detection alerts. Notifications on the app are on point and instantaneous. And because of rich notifications, you can get a preview of the video right from the notification itself rather than having to open the app which is an amazing feature.
Of course, you can always tap the notification to go to Live view and have a two-way conversation. And, if you miss the notification and tap it at a later time, you will see the Pre-Roll footage along with the rest of the video clip. As far as audio is concerned, the 2-way talk feature works just like a regular video chat call and audio quality was excellent during my review time.
The Ring app has a few other menu items to help you either navigate or use the device better. For example, Device Health shows Power, Network, Device MAC address, and Firmware information. You can also check Ring Status and Device Health Report from this menu. The last menu left is the Help Content where you can browse tutorial videos and helpful articles.
Now that we have looked at the various options in the app it is time to find out how good the video capture really is. In summary, the picture quality in daylight is crisp, and it is easy to see who is at the door especially delivery drivers. See an example below for yourself.
Nighttime video is black and white but still provides reasonable clarity. In addition, the audio quality is still as good during the daytime with the HD color videos. Below you can see an example screen grab from a night time motion detection video clip.
In summary, my experience with the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus after using it for over a week has been extremely positive. Specifically, I like that I can hear a physical chime instead of just relying on my smartphone. I also love the Rich Notifications with the preview image and the Pre-Roll footage is an excellent addition to an already feature-rich device and app.
Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus is a recommended gadget this holiday season
Ring has improved on their current set of rechargeable/hardwired doorbell series with the new Video Doorbell 3 Plus. It provides a lot of options for installation including customized faceplates. The app is very easy to use and is feature-rich and robust. Video and audio quality are excellent and the Pre-Roll feature is the icing on the cake. For these reasons, it earns our Editor's Choice recommendation for a smart security device.