The newest addition to the Ring family, the Video Doorbell 3 Plus ($229.99), is a wireless, battery operated smart doorbell that installs in minutes and delivers sharp 1080p video. It offers motion detection, support for Amazon Alexa voice commands and IFTTT applets, and unlike the Ring Video Doorbell 2, it features the company’s Pre-Roll buffering technology that captures four seconds of video before a motion event. Access to recorded video requires a paid subscription, but it’s a smart choice for users who don’t feel comfortable working with wiring, as well as existing Ring product owners. That said, our Editors’ Choice, the $99 RemoBell S, is significantly cheaper and offers better all-around specs with free cloud access.
Design and Features
The Video Doorbell 3 Plus looks identical to the Video Doorbell 2 that we reviewed in 2018. At 5.1 by 2.4 by 1.1 inches (HWD), it’s bigger than the Ring Doorbell Pro (4.5 by 1.8 by 0.8 inches) and the Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro (4.6 by 1.5 by 1.3 inches), but that’s because it uses a bulky rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack while both the Ring Pro and Vivint models are wired doorbells that get their power from a transformer. Battery life depends on usage, but when it requires charging, all you have to do is remove the battery, bring it inside, and power it up using the included USB charging cable.
The design sports the same black and silver finish as the Doorbell 2. The glossy black top portion holds the camera assembly and a microphone, and the removable Satin Nickel bottom portion contains a doorbell button (the doorbell also comes in Venetian Bronze). The bottom cover pops off to reveal the battery compartment, a reset button, and four mounting holes. The back panel contains two wire terminals should you decide to use existing doorbell wire for power. Connectivity comes by way of a dual-band Wi-Fi radio.
The camera captures video at 1080p, has a 160-degree field of view, and uses four infrared LEDs for black-and-white night video. The camera will record video when the doorbell button is pressed and when motion is detected, and it uses Ring’s Pre-Roll buffering technology to capture the four seconds of activity before each event takes place (Ring also sells a Video Doorbell 3 model for $149.99 that lacks the Pre-Roll feature). Pre-Roll video is recorded in black and white and doesn’t include audio, nor does it work at night.
As with other Ring doorbells and devices including the Stick Up Cam and the Floodlight Cam, the Doorbell 3 Plus requires a Ring Protect subscription to view and save recorded video. For $3 per month or $30 per year you get 60 days of video history for a single device. If you have more than one device, the $10 per month or $100 per year plan gets you 60 days of history for an unlimited number of cameras, as well as 24/7 professional monitoring for the Ring Alarm system.
The Video Doorbell 3 Plus uses the same mobile app (for Android and iOS) as every other Ring device. Once installed, it appears in a panel on the home screen along with other installed Ring devices. There are Disarmed, Home, and Away buttons at the top of the screen that will arm or disarm certain devices depending on whether you’re home or away, and below these are Nearby Incidents and History buttons. Tapping the Nearby Incidents button accesses the Ring Neighbors feature that keeps you informed of criminal activities in your neighborhood, and the History button shows you a timeline of motion events from all your Ring devices. Tap any event to view, delete, or download the video.
Tap the doorbell’s panel to view live and recorded video. Live and recorded video can be viewed in full-screen mode by turning your phone sideways. The live screen offers push-to-talk and mute buttons, and has a gear icon in the upper right corner that takes you to the Settings screen. Here you can enable motion and video recording, view event history, configure motion and alert settings, enable People Detection (which reduces alerts from passing cars and other movement), set up privacy zones, and link the doorbell to other Ring devices.
This doorbell supports Alexa voice commands that allow you to view video on a compatible Amazon device, and will interact with other smart devices using IFTTT applets, but it lacks support for Apple HomeKit and Google Assistant. However, you can link it to your other Ring devices to have it trigger them when it detects motion.
Installation and Performance
With no wires to deal with, the Video Doorbell 3 Plus is simple to install. I already had the mobile app, but if this is your first Ring device you’ll have to download the app and create an account.
Following the written installation instructions, I charged the battery and installed it in the doorbell. After a few seconds, the device’s voice prompt informed me the doorbell was in setup mode and the LED showed a white spinning light. I tapped Set Up A Device in the app, selected Doorbells from the menu, and used my phone’s camera to scan the QR code on the back of the device. I told the app where I was installing the doorbell (my home) and where it would be located (front door, back door, etc.), and confirmed that the light was spinning. The app scanned for available networks and I selected my Wi-Fi SSID from the list. The doorbell was added to my network within seconds, and was also recognized by Alexa and added to my Alexa device list. I waited a few minutes for the doorbell to update, attached it to the wood siding next to my front door, and the installation was complete.
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus performed admirably in testing. Daytime video showed crisp image detail with good color quality, and black-and-white night video appeared sharp and evenly illuminated. Motion detection also worked well, but I had to enable People Detection mode to eliminate non-human activity alerts. Two-way audio was clean and appropriately loud, and the Pre-Roll tech worked perfectly.
I had no trouble using Alexa voice commands to stream video to an Amazon Echo Show device, and my IFTTT applet to have the doorbell trigger a Philips Hue light worked without a hitch. I linked the doorbell to a Ring Stick Up Cam, and it always recorded video when the doorbell detected motion.
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus is an excellent choice for anyone looking to add a smart doorbell to their home without having to deal with wires. It was easy to install and delivered sharp video in our tests, and it’ll show you the few seconds of activity before an event takes place. If you already own one or more Ring cameras or lighting devices, you can have the Doorbell 3 Plus trigger recordings or have the lights turn on or off, and you can have it interact with other smart devices using IFTTT applets. That said, you have to subscribe to the Ring Protect service to view and download recorded video.
For around $140 less, our Editors’ Choice, the RemoBell S, offers more features including a higher-resolution camera, free cloud storage, and a wider field of view. It’s also easy to install, but it requires working with low-voltage wiring.
Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus Specs
|Integration||Amazon Alexa, IFTTT|
|Field of View||160 degrees|