Hands on: Ring Door View Cam review

The ideal video doorbell for apartment renters

What is a hands on review?
Ring Door View Cam
Image Credit: Ring

Early Verdict

The Ring Door View Cam is the first video doorbell designed for apartment renters who can't see who's at their front door simply because they aren't allowed to install new appliances. Young, tech-savvy early adopters have had the front door shut on them, so to speak, but they'll be happy to know that Ring's easiest-to-install video doorbell is on the way, and it's battery powered. You don't even lose that traditional peephole.

For

  • Easy-to-install: no drill needed
  • Keeps the traditional peephole
  • Works well with Alexa screens

Against

  • No 5.0GHz Wi-Fi support
  • No HDR video

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.

Ring Door View Cam has changed that for 2019, replacing your existing apartment peephole. We tested the Door View Cam earlier this year and were impressed by the fact 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 when trying out the new doorbell.

Ring Door View Cam price and release date

The Ring Door View Cam has a 1080p resolution, is powered by a battery, and cost $199 / £179 at launch, 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.

It's priced the same as the Ring Video Doorbell 2

It's priced the same as the Ring Video Doorbell 2

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 has been and gone in the US, UK and much of Europe, although we're still waiting on information for the rest of the world.

Design, installation and video quality

The Door View Cam is similar to the Ring Video Doorbell 2 and Video Doorbell Pro in many ways. 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.'

The glass peephole lens is at the top, while the 1080p camera is in the middle. The electronic doorbell is the bottom on below that.

The glass peephole lens is at the top, while the 1080p camera is in the middle. The electronic doorbell is the bottom on below that.

There are a few key differences between this Door View Cam vs the other Ring video doorbells, according to our 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 you 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 its 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.

The Door View Cam (right) and Ring's four other video doorbell camera options

The Door View Cam (right) and Ring's four other video doorbell camera options

Early verdict

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 know, the smart speaker choice you made in 2018 will help dictate which video doorbell you'll be getting in 2019. 

All images credit: TechRadar

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.