Spending time at home is the norm these days, leading many people to think about how to upgrade their living space. For lots of Americans, installing a DIY home security system has become an easy project during isolation and thanks to technology from Ring and its competitors, it’s easier than ever to monitor what’s happening around your property.
Recently, Ring introduced two new video doorbells: the Ring 3 and Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus. If you own an older Ring device, you might be wondering what’s changed with these products and if they’re worth the upgrade. In this post, we’ll break down these new models and share our thoughts on whether or not you should invest in one.
What Is Ring?
As a bit of background, Ring offers a range of smart home security products designed to work together and create a “ring of security around your home.” Started in 2013 as a pitch by founder James Siminoff to investors on Shark Tank, the company was purchased by Amazon, in 2018, for $1 billion.
In addition to its flagship video doorbells, Ring also sells security cameras, security systems, monitoring services, smart lighting, and other security-related products. Some of Ring’s top competitors include Arlo, SimpliSafe, and Vivint.
If you’d like to read more about Ring’s products and services, check out our in-depth Ring review.
How Is the Ring 3 Different From the Ring 2?
To put it simply, there isn’t a long list of differences between the Ring 3 and its predecessor. However, the newer model does include two key features that might appeal to you, depending on how you use your video doorbell.
In terms of aesthetics, the Ring 3 is nearly identical to the Ring 2. As far as features, Ring introduced a handful of upgrades to its newest video doorbell that might interest you.
For example, the Ring 3 offers both 2.4GHz and 5GHz dual-band WiFi, whereas the Ring 2 only includes 2.4GHz. This could be beneficial if you don’t have a strong WiFi signal at your front door (or wherever your Ring device is set up) since it will improve video transmission from your Ring video doorbell.
The other key improvement of the Ring 3 is its “near” motion zone, which only detects motion in areas between 5 - 15 feet away from your home. That way, you should only get motion detection alerts when there’s actually someone at your door, not when your neighbor is walking down the sidewalk. It’s a handy feature if you live in a busy area or get too many unnecessary activity notifications from your Ring device.
In addition to the enhanced WiFi and motion detection features, Ring also made some minor upgrades, including more durable screws, a redesigned faceplate that’s easier to remove, and an automatic chime connection to simplify installation. Like the Ring 2, the Ring 3 runs on a rechargeable battery and can also be hardwired.
In terms of price, the Ring 3 retails for $200, while the older-generation Ring 2 will run you $100.
Ring has also recently introduced a slightly higher-end product called the Ring 3 Pro with even more compelling features.
In particular, the Ring 3 Plus’ “Pre-Roll” technology sets it apart from other video doorbells on the market. With this new feature, Ring will capture and record the four seconds of activity before any motion alert you receive.
As a Ring user, that means you’ll be able to identify what happened to trigger the motion alert. However, you shouldn’t expect the Pre-Roll footage to be super high-quality because it’s captured in black and white to conserve battery life. Also, this feature works best in well-lit areas.
Ring is the only provider on the market to offer Pre-Roll technology, and we think it sets the Ring 3 Pro apart from similar products. Without any discounts, the Ring 3 Pro costs $229.99.
Should You Upgrade to the Ring 3?
Although the Ring 3’s new features are compelling, it’s probably not worth upgrading immediately -- unless you’re in desperate need of a new video doorbell.
The enhanced WiFi connectivity is certainly a bonus, but it’s probably not a make-or-break feature if you’re already using Ring successfully. Similarly, the “near” motion zone is also a nice-to-have perk but only necessary if you’re getting bombarded by irrelevant motion detection.
We think the Ring 3 Pro might be a worthwhile upgrade if you’re curious to understand what’s triggering motion alerts on your property. It’s definitely the most significant selling point for the Ring 3 Pro.
Evaluating Ring As a Home Security Solution
With a Ring device, you can oversee the day-to-day activity on your property -- but how does it stack up as a home security solution? Some security experts advise that although video doorbells like Ring are useful, they shouldn’t substitute for more robust home security systems.
“Cameras can be used to tell the story after the fact about how and when a crime occurred,” says independent security consultant Michael Silva, CPP. “However, using cameras for home security is greatly overrated because they do little or nothing to deter crime.”
The Bottom Line
In general, Ring video doorbells are a budget-friendly way to keep tabs on what’s going on at home, and its products are only getting better. The Ring 3 offers some compelling upgrades from previous models, but most Ring owners won’t need to upgrade right away. When you are ready to replace your older Ring, however, the Ring 3 Pro is probably your best bet.