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Ring Video Doorbell 4 review: A no-fuss, all-around top contender

Ring Video Doorbell installed on a home.
Ring Video Doorbell 4 review: A no-fuss, all-around top contender
MSRP $200.00
“Detailed video, extra long battery life, and other convenience features make this a top contender.”
Pros
  • Easy to install
  • Durable build quality
  • Excellent night vision
  • Accurate motion alerts
  • Feature-rich
Cons
  • Need subscription for full features
  • Only minor changes over previous model
  • No Alexa Greetings feature

Ring has released an abundance of products over the last few years, but its video doorbells seem to be the brand’s biggest draw. The Ring Video Doorbell 4 is the successor to the Ring Video Doorbell 3, which surprisingly enough is separated by less than a year, but the company has put out a few other doorbells outside of the main series.

For instance, the Ring Video Doorbell Wired serves as an affordable alternative to the more expensive options, while the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus offers additional features you don’t get with the regular Ring Doorbell 3. But what’s new and different about the Ring Video Doorbell 4? Is it worth upgrading if you already have another Ring Video Doorbell? Is it a best video doorbell contender? I reviewed the Ring 4 to find out.

Design

The Ring Video Doorbell 4 is relatively large, clocking in at 5.1 inches tall, 2.4 inches wide, and 1.1 inches thick. It’s larger than some other brands like the Nest Hello, but it’s the same size as the Ring 3. The Ring 4 only comes in the satin nickel color, but the bottom faceplate is removable, and Ring offers a code for a free faceplate in a different color after you set up the doorbell.

Erika Rawes/Digital Trends

It retains the rectangular shape, and it doesn’t have the oblong design you’ll find in other doorbells like the Arlo Doorbell or Nest Hello. Overall, it’s well built, and nothing feels cheap or flimsy. The weather-resistant device works in temperatures ranging from minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit to 120 F (32 F to 113 F when hardwired for continuous charging).

Installation

Because the Ring Video Doorbell 4 includes a quick-release battery pack, installation can be incredibly easy if you want to just use the battery for power. However, when you use the battery, the doorbell doesn’t connect to your existing chime. You can receive alerts on your phone and Alexa device when someone comes to the door, so it makes a chime somewhat unnecessary. You can also opt for a Chime Pro from Ring that alerts you when guests arrive. However, I have Echo Show devices throughout my home, and I found the Alexa video alerts to be more than sufficient when someone arrived at the door

Erika Rawes/Digital Trends

If you want continuous charging so you don’t have to worry about battery life, you can use your doorbell’s wiring and connect to your existing doorbell’s chime (provided it’s compatible). I tested both continuous power using my existing doorbell wiring and battery power. When I charged the battery, it took a full six and a half hours to reach a full charge. That’s a long time to be without a functioning video doorbell, so you may want to bear that in mind. After a full day’s of use, its battery level dropped to 97%, but it’ll vary depending on usage and environmental conditions. Ring claims that it’ll have an average of 20 or more motion events per day when compared to the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus.

Improved battery life is based on an average of 20 or more motion events per day as compared to Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus

After charging the battery, I just had to reinsert the battery and connect the doorbell to my Wi-Fi network using the Ring App. The Ring Video Doorbell 4 works with dual-band Wi-Fi, so it works on both 2.4GHz and 5Ghz networks. The Ring app walks through the setup and installation process with prompts, making things much easier.

If you want to use your existing doorbell wiring (8-24 VAC, 40VA max, 50/60Hz), you just need to connect the wires to the two screw terminals. There are extension wires included in the packaging to make this easier. Ring even sells a power adapter for around $18 if you want to go that route. After you have the wires connected, follow the instructions in the app to see if your chime is compatible. The kit includes a mounting wedge for installing on an angle or in a corner.

Erika Rawes/Digital Trends

If you’re using battery power, installation takes less than 10 minutes. If you opt for continuous charging via your doorbell’s wiring, the installation will take around 30 minutes. Most people will be able to install it without any trouble, but if you’re concerned about performing a hardwired install, consult an electrician or opt for battery power.

Video and Audio Quality

Video quality on the Ring Video Doorbell 4 is clear and sharp, and I can see a detailed picture of my porch. I can even see far off into the distance, clearly identifying people and cars far down the street. When a salesperson rang my doorbell, I noticed there were people in the background about 100 yards off in the distance. I could identify one of the people in the background as a friend of the family, even though that individual was a football field’s distance down the street. Its camera records 1080p HD video, with a 160-degree horizontal and 84-degree vertical field of view. I can see a head-to-toe image of the person on the porch, provided they stand a few feet back. However, if the person stands directly on the welcome mat, I can only see the visitor from their kneecaps up. The vertical field of view is lacking a bit at a close-up distance.

Erika Rawes/Digital Trends

Like most modern video doorbells, the Ring 4 has two-way audio. The two-way audio feature allows for clear conversation back and forth without any noticeable delay. Audio delay has been a problem with other video doorbells I’ve tested in the past, but conversation on the Ring Video Doorbell 4 flowed naturally. This is likely because of the improved performance, as well as the stable Wi-Fi connection over my 5GHz network. There’s also noise cancellation, so background noises like wind and background speech don’t drown out conversations between me and the person on the porch.

Night vision

I can clearly see my porch and anyone who enters my property at night, but I can’t see as far off into the distance using the night vision feature. Porch lights, street lights, and other sources of illumination cause a glare, which makes it so I can’t see down the street as well as I can during the daytime.

Erika Rawes/Digital Trends

Night vision is monochrome, so it’s not as vibrant as the color daytime image. This is not to say the night vision isn’t quality though, as the Ring Video Doorbell 4’s night vision is still better than many of the other video doorbells I’ve tested.

Features

Like the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus, the Ring Video Doorbell 4 features pre-roll, which allows you to see a few seconds of video before an event occurs. However, the Ring Video Doorbell 4 lets you see up to four seconds of high-quality color video before a motion event is triggered. This is an enhancement over the 3 Plus, which shows pre-roll footage in black and white.

The quick replies feature is like an answering machine for your doorbell.

You also get features like geofencing, which lets you snooze motion alerts while you’re at home. You can set up smart alerts so you can see what triggered a motion event, as well as use the quick replies feature. Quick replies make it so your doorbell can give your guests a message after a certain amount of time — instantly all the way up to 20 seconds — and the doorbell will say something like “Hi. We’ll be right there” or other preset messages. The quick replies feature is like an answering machine for your doorbell, and guests can leave a message. This is different from the Alexa Greetings feature, which makes it possible for Alexa to greet visitors, take messages, or provide instructions for package delivery personnel. The Ring Video Doorbell 4 does not have Alexa greetings at this time.

Erika Rawes/Digital Trends

There’s a neighbors feature that lets you view and report events that occur in your neighborhood, like lost pets or suspicious activity. From Amazon Key delivery to Amazon Sidewalk compatibility, the Ring Video Doorbell 4 is feature-rich. Well, provided you have a Ring Protect subscription. Without the $3 per month basic subscription, you get access to live video, motion-activated alerts, real-time video with live view, and lifetime theft protection. However, the subscription gives you additional benefits like video history for 60 days, video saving and sharing, people-only mode, and much more.

The Ring Video Doorbell 4 isn’t strikingly different than the Ring Video Doorbell 3 and 3 Plus. The devices look similar, and they all perform well overall. However, the Ring Video Doorbell 4 has a longer-lasting battery, it has color pre-roll footage, and it performs better at nighttime. Furthermore, the Ring Video Doorbell 4 is also supposed to have better motion detection than the regular Ring Video Doorbell 3.

Our take

While the Ring Video Doorbell 4 isn’t all that different from its predecessors, the device still has a lot to offer. The app is comprehensive, and this is one of the more feature-rich doorbells currently available. The pre-roll feature lets you see a color video image of what went on for the few seconds before a motion event occurred, while the battery lasts for long enough to make the device functional without connecting to wiring. This is a device that provides options  — use as many or as few of the features as you want.

Is there a better alternative?

If you want a more affordable option, the Ring Video Doorbell (2nd Gen) is worth a look. You can get more of a baseline model for half of the price, and you don’t have to spend more if you’re not looking for extra bells and whistles like quick replies, dual-band connectivity, or pre-roll technology.

How long will it last?

The Ring Video Doorbell 4 is sturdy and well-made, so the device should last for many years. The companion application has supported older Ring models for some time after their release, so there’s no reason to think Ring would stop support for it any time soon.

The Ring Video Doorbell 4 comes with a one-year limited warranty and lifetime theft protection.

Should you buy it?

Yes. If you’re new to the video doorbell market and you want a doorbell with the latest technology, the Ring 4 is an excellent choice. On the other hand, if you already own a previous generation Ring Video Doorbell, it may not be worth upgrading for just a few new features.

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