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Video doorbell mounts easily on peephole

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 Ring 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 Ring 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 Ring Door View Cam after following the detailed instructions in the 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.

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 speak to your visitor using the Live View feature, which is free.

There is also a 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 Ring Door View Cam does not have a memory card slot or other local storage options.

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

    DOOR THICKNESS:34mm to 55mm

    PEEPHOLE DIAMETER: 12mm 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

The quality of the videos from its 1,080p camera is generally good, though the audio can sound a bit noisy, despite the noise cancellation feature.

A High Dynamic Range 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.

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 recorded videos as well as the Live View function.

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

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 18, 2019, with the headline 'Video doorbell mounts easily on peephole'. Print Edition | Subscribe