Tech review: Ring Door View Cam is easy to set up, ideal for renters

The battery-powered Door View Cam does not require drilling any holes or hooking up to a power source, unlike Ring's existing video doorbells.
The battery-powered Door View Cam does not require drilling any holes or hooking up to a power source, unlike Ring's existing video doorbells.PHOTO: RING

The Ring Door View Cam cleverly makes use of your door's existing peephole to mount a video doorbell without requiring any drilling.

Popularised by Amazon-owned Ring, a video doorbell lets users screen visitors at their door remotely via a smartphone app. These devices usually come with home security camera features such as motion detection, two-way audio and infrared night-vision sensors.

The battery-powered Door View Cam does not require drilling any holes or hooking up to a power source, unlike Ring's existing video doorbells.

All that is required is that your door has an existing peephole. This peephole will be replaced by the Door View Cam's own peephole, which has a privacy shutter to prevent visitors from looking in.

It took me less than 10 minutes to install the Door View Cam after following the detailed instruction in the Ring's user manual. A tutorial video was also available in its mobile app (available for iOS and Android).

Probably the most difficult part of the installation was removing the peephole on my door. Those renting their homes can reinstall the original peephole when needed.

The smartphone app sends a notification when someone presses the doorbell, triggers the motion detection feature or knocks on the door. You can see and talk to your visitor using the Live View feature.

The Live View feature is free, unlike the motion-triggered video recording function, which saves short video snippets to the cloud. This feature requires a subscription that costs US$3 (S$4) monthly or US$30 annually. The videos are available online for 60 days and can be shared or downloaded. The Door View Cam does not have a memory card slot, or other local storage options.

 
 

The quality of the videos from its 1080p camera is generally good, though the audio can sound a bit noisy, despite the noise cancellation feature. A High Dynamic Range (HDR) feature promises better videos, especially in bright daylight, though it will also decrease the battery life, which should last several months depending on usage.

If your door faces a busy hallway, which can result in false alarms, you can lower the sensitivity of the motion detection feature in the app, or even disable it entirely.

In such cases, a useful fallback is the knock detection feature, which senses impact on the door. It is also handy when your hands are full with grocery bags, as you can simply kick the door instead.

Because of privacy concerns - the camera may face your neighbour's door for instance - the app lets you define up to two rectangular "blacked-out" privacy zones where the camera will not record. This privacy zone feature works for both recorded videos and the Live View mode.

Unsurprisingly given its parent company, Amazon's Alexa voice assistant is supported. Instead of using the Ring mobile app, you can use an Alexa-enabled smart speaker or display to hear notifications and interact with visitors. Unfortunately, Alexa is not officially available in Singapore unlike its rival Google Assistant.

Compared to outdoor home security cameras or Ring's other video doorbells, the Door View Cam is much easier to install, as well as to remove if you are only renting the place.

FOR

Easy to install, does not require any drilling

Impact detection feature

User-friendly app and detailed user manual

AGAINST

Subscription required for cloud storage; no local storage option

No Google Assistant support

SPECS

Price: $299

Video resolution: 1,920 x 1,080 pixels with night vision

Dimensions: 57.4 x 112 x 29.5mm (indoor), 47 x 97.3 x 19.8mm (outdoors)

Door thickness: 34 to 55mm

Peephole diameter: 12 to 14mm

Field of view: 155 degrees (horizontal), 90 degrees (vertical)

Connectivity: Wi-Fi (2.4GHz)

Platforms: iOS or Android

RATING

Features: 4/5

Design: 4/5

Performance: 4.5/5

Value for money: 4/5

Overall: 4/5