It's 11 o'clock and someone is at your door. Do you know who's there? If you're an apartment or condo renter, there's a very good chance the answer is 'No.' Existing video doorbells don't really work for you – or your landlord's strict rules.
The Ring Door View Cam is poised to change that in 2019 by replacing your existing apartment peephole. At CES 2019, we tested the Door View Cam and noticed that it'll require no drilling into the door or its frame, and it's entirely battery-operated.
Finally, renters – often young and tech-savvy – can become video doorbell owners, too, and see who's knocking at their front door. Here's what we found at CES.
Price and release date
The Ring Door View Cam has a 1080p resolution, is powered by a battery, and costs $199 / £179, which puts it on the same level as Ring's best-selling Ring Video Doorbell 2. What's the difference? The Video Doorbell 2 requires drilling and doesn't have some of the peephole-specific features we'll talk about in a second.
We will note that the Ring Video Doorbell Pro is still superior with support for 5.0GHz Wi-Fi in addition to 2.4GHz, offering cleaner high-bandwidth video. But it costs more and it's one of Ring's hardwire-only configurations. It's a bit more complicated to install, even if you're allowed to drill into your door or door frame.
The Ring Door View Cam release date is slated for later this year in the US, UK and much of Europe, according to the Amazon-owned company. There's no word on the Ring Door View Cam price outside of the US and UK at the moment.
Design, installation and video quality
The Door View Cam is similar to the Ring Video Doorbell 2 and Video Doorbell Pro. It has a camera that sends notifications to your phone whenever someone presses the built-in doorbell, knocks on the door, or triggers its motion sensors.
You can see, hear, and speak to visitors through your smartphone, tablet, or smart speaker with a screen, like the Amazon Echo Show 2nd Gen, Amazon Echo Spot, or the new Lenovo Smart Tab with Alexa. Remotely peering out into the hallway is as simple as saying 'Alexa, show me my Door View Cam.'
There are a few key differences between this Door View Cam vs the other Ring video doorbells, according to our early CES demo. Your traditional peephole functionality isn't going away. You can still peer out of a glass lens (located at the top of the Ring Door View) to see who is at the front door when you're standing on the other side.
There's a unique 'Impact Sensor' just in case your guest (or unwanted guest) doesn't think to press the doorbell button and knocks instead. A built-in sensor will pick this up and still alert to on your phone.
Ring also made motion detection is smarter, knowing you'll probably have neighbors passing in front of the Door View Cam a lot more than average homeowners. Motion detection can be adjusted to weed out false alarms when the camera learns to deem passersby as unimportant.
The camera resolution is 1080p, even though Amazon's press materials and it's own website say 'HD' which could easily mean 720p. We've confirmed it's actually Full HD. It also runs off of a rechargeable battery located on the plastic housing that's inside the door. There's no need to have an existing doorbell chime or to mess with any wires.
Your landlord can't complain, as long as you don't have even more draconian condo rules in which nothing can be outside. If you can't hang a wreath during Christmas, you probably can't hang a video doorbell of any sort.
It's funny – young, tech-savvy apartment renters haven't been able to become early adopters of video doorbells simply because existing options require drilling. That's why the Ring Door View Cam could lead to a surge in adoption. It opens up the idea to a whole new group of people, and most landlords won't have a say.
Alternatively, if you do have the ability to drill, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro is superior thanks to its 5.0GHz support, or you can look into the Nest Hello Video Doorbell. The Google-owned Nest doesn't have a wireless doorbell similar to the Ring Door View Cam, but it does have a slightly better wired doorbell camera with HDR. It works with the Google Home Hub, not the Alexa ecosystem. Little did you, the smart speaker choice you made in 2018 will help dictate which video doorbell you'll be getting in 2019.