As part of our ongoing effort to help you pick out the best smart devices for your home, we’re taking a look at two similar smart doorbells: The August Doorbell Cam Pro 2nd edition, and the Ring Video Doorbell 2. At first glance, these models seem to have the same features, but there are some key differences. Let’s go over what you need to know.
Note: Video doorbells in particular depend on strong Wi-Fi signals to function properly. If you can’t maintain a reliable connection, the doorbell is going to be too slow and develop other problems. You can always use a Wi-Fi booster to make the signal stronger if necessary.
The August Doorbell Cam Pro 2nd edition has an easily distinguishable square design, with a prominent doorbell button and the sensor/cam on either upper corner. The bottom of the doorbell is devoted to the two-way speaker. It’s a compact and friendly design that’s easy to install.
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 doesn’t fare quite as well on the design front. While it’s also easy to install, it has a flimsier, oblong design that doesn’t expose the speaker system as well as August’s model does. August wins on this point.
One of the most important ways these cams diverge is on power options. The August doorbell requires a wired installation, which means it must be connected to your electrical system to work. This isn’t a problem if you are installing the doorbell right where an old version used to be, but if you need to move or reposition the doorbell, you might need to do some expensive electrical renovation just to get it in the right place.
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 offers two options. You can either wire it directly to your house, or use the rechargeable battery. This gives you a lot more flexibility in where you can put the doorbell, and the rechargeable battery is quite easy to remove and plugs in when necessary. Ring is victorious here!
The August Doorbell Camp Pro offers HD video with full color at night and a built-in mini-floodlight for better lighting when needed.
The Ring Video Doorbell 2 also offers HD quality video with night vision capabilities, but it relies more on its infrared system and does not have a floodlight, which is less intrusive, but also leads to somewhat lower image quality at night.
The two doorbells are very different when it comes to how they manage video data. The August doorbell keeps video footage around for 24 hours in the cloud for free, allowing you to view and download the video during that time. It allows you to keep important footage of theft, vandalism, stalkers, or any other nasty things the doorbell might track, which is vital for legal and insurance purposes.
The Ring model, however, doesn’t keep any footage at all unless you pay for a subscription plan. It’s a huge failure on Ring’s part, as even the most casual security cams keep footage around for a brief period before deleting it, at no additional cost. This issue, more than any other, really hits the Ring option hard.
The doorbells have a whole lot of smart features in common. Both use motion detection to sense when someone is approaching, and both have two-way communication options that you can use right from your mobile device to talk to people from the doorbell. Both will send alerts to your mobile devices about any activity, and both are compatible with Amazon Alexa devices, like the Echo Show, as well as other security devices in their family — the August doorbell can work with August smart locks, and so on.
However, the apps that each doorbell uses have some key differences. They both allow you to set what you get alerts about (motion versus rings, for example), but the Ring app has a slight edge with its more versatile event viewer and potential options to control motion sensitivity, check up on the health of the device, and more.
Pricing is one of the easiest points to compare these models, because they’re so similar:
That was easy! With prices more or less a tie, it’s easier to look at the doorbell features when making up your mind between these two models. Even paying for an installation via Amazon costs roughly $100 for both models. Of course, you should always double-check prices because of the chance of a deal, but the MSRP is not an important point of comparison in this case.
Both models also offer subscription plans.
August offers a Premium video service for $3 per month, which saves your videos for up to 15 days, and another Premium Plus plan for $5 per month, which saves videos for up to 30 days.
Ring, meanwhile, offers Protect Basic for $3 per month, which allows you to view videos for up to 60 days, and a one-year warranty for parts (there’s also a lifetime warranty for doorbell theft). It also has a Protect Plus plan, which adds in 24/7 monitoring services for extra security, at $10 per month.
Ring is the clear winner here in terms of both cost and features, but note that a subscription plan isn’t required to use these devices.
August’s model saves video for 24 hours for free — that’s is a huge plus compared to Ring’s model, which requires a subscription to save anything at all. Otherwise, Ring’s model pulls ahead with better power options and slightly smarter features.
If you don’t have any problem paying a few bucks a month for your video doorbell, the Ring doorbell is your best choice. If you want to save more money, the August doorbell is the better recommendation.
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