Ring Door View Cam Review: Peep shows go digital

Posted: 30 September 2019 3:08 pm News

The Ring Door View Cam adds another layer of visibility with a door camera suitable for people who also need a door peephole.

Ring Door Cam review

Quick Verdict:

If you don't want an externally mounted Ring camera or need the added security of an inbuilt peephole, the Ring Door View Cam will meet your security needs nicely.
Price: $299
Where to buy: Amazon

The good

  • Excellent installation instructions
  • Good video quality
  • Easy to add to an existing Ring system
  • Nothing to screw in or permanently affix

The bad

  • Needs decent upload speeds
  • Less useful if you change door types
  • Needs Ring Protect subscription for long-term video storage

Ring has been around for some time selling its particular brand of home security camera devices.

Ring is actually an Amazon subsidiary, and it's slightly surprising that it hasn't been subsumed into the Alexa branding, given that's more or less what rival Google did with competing brand Nest.

The Ring Door View Cam takes the existing Ring Door Camera and adds a peephole functionality to it, which leads to some small but significant changes to the way it operates.

Ring Door View Cam: Installation

  • Easy installation instructions
  • No screws, drilling or permanent changes needed
  • Might not mount as well on hollow or thinner doors

Ring Door Cam View review
One of the factors that I've liked about Ring's security cameras is that the installation instructions are built with idiots like myself in mind. I'm not proud of the fact, but I'm well aware that in terms of home DIY and woodworking, I'm not in any way skilled whatsoever.

With that kind of general – but I suspect rather widespread – incompetence in mind, Ring provides absolutely everything you might need to install the Ring Door View Cam into a door with an existing peephole.

To give you an idea of how extensively Ring has thought about the issues you might face, there's a small tool present that you use to scrape away any old paint that might be around the existing peephole because the first step in installation will be to remove that peephole. The same tool doubles as a peephole removal tool, which is clever engineering in action.

It's now I should also point out that I didn't actually have a peephole-ready door to test out the Ring Door View Cam with, so Ring sent me a tiny, Barbie-sized door to test on. I can't speak to how hard it might be to remove an existing peephole because I've never had to do that.

The supplied tiny door didn't have an existing peephole to remove, but the idea here is that even if you're renting, you should be able to painlessly remove the existing peephole array and store it somewhere while you use the Ring Door View Cam.

In compatibility terms, the Ring Door View Cam should fit on any door that's at least 34mm thick up to a maximum of 55mm thick. If you live in a tent or conversely a thick-walled castle, it might not be for you, but in either case, you have quite different security issues to deal with.

As with the previous Ring cameras we've tested, such as the Ring Video Doorbell 2 or the Ring Spotlight Cam Battery, everything is detailed in the small instruction manual that comes in the box, and this is a good thing.
Ring Door Cam View review

Unlike Ring's standard wall-mounted cameras, the Ring Door View Cam's placement and build are quite different. It's split into two parts, with the actual bell button and peephole installed on the outside of the door, while the battery compartment sits behind the door itself. The two parts connect via a supporting tube that sits within the door itself where the old peephole array used to sit.

That means that unlike the standard Ring Doorbell, the battery doesn't need to be screwed in place to keep it secure. Instead, there are plastic clips that keep the battery cover in place. This means that there's no need to pop out the screwdriver when you have to get the battery for recharging.

Indeed, there are no screws used by the Ring Door View Cam at all, which could make it an ideal prospect for renters because outside of removing the existing peephole glass, you're not changing anything or drilling any holes in order to install it.

The entire device is supported and mounted by the tube that forms the peephole. It's a neat solution, although one that might not work quite as well if you're installing it on a hollow core door because it would have less support overall.

Once you've got the physical installation out of the way, the set-up is no more complicated than installing the free Ring app for iOS or Android onto a compatible device and scanning the QR code found in the rear plastic shell.

That will detect the Ring Door View Cam, and then take you through the simple process of setting up variables such as its motion detection, whether it's sitting behind a secondary door or whether you want to block off areas from recording, such as into a neighbour's property. Like the physical installation instructions, these are clear and very easy to work your way through, which is highly appreciated.

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Ring Door View Cam: Performance

  • Video quality is good for answering the door or for recording security footage
  • Camera will move if the front door does, unlike a standard ring camera
  • Relies on decent upload speed, which could be problematic
  • Ring Protect subscription needed for video storage

Ring Door Cam View review
The Ring Door View Cam shares the same essential video feature set as the Ring Doorbell 2, which means it's capturing video at 1080p resolution, including at night where you get a slightly less sharp night-vision mode. The angles of viewing are quite wide, and while some tweaking is generally needed to get the motion detection and capture areas correct, it's still a good way to monitor your front door or even answer it when you're not actually home.

If you were hoping for some kind of high-tech peephole array with inbuilt notifications and a coffee maker, I've got some bad news for you. The peephole part of the Ring Door View Cam is just a tube with some fish-eye magnifying glass at one end. It's as low tech as it could possibly be.

There's a shutter on the inside if you do want to block views of the outside world for some reason. I would call it a privacy shutter, but the optics of the external peephole give no view of the interior anyway, so you're already private by default.

The actual doorbell part of the Ring Door View Cam is identical to the existing Ring Door Camera 2, for better and worse. The inbuilt sensor on the Ring Door View Cam is quite sensitive, as it is on the regular unit, and based on my extensive experiences with that unit, it means you may end up with a few false alarms based on the movements of your neighbours, passing vehicles or even visiting moths.

There's also the issue of upload speeds. The Ring Door View Cam records and uploads video at 1080p quality, and to do that it recommends a minimum upload speed of at least 2Mbps.

My own home HFC connection should jump that barrier neatly – it's a Telstra HFC with a theoretical capability of up to 5Mbps – but there are times when Ring will register an alert from the sensor but then fail to send my phone video because it can't get a fast enough connection. If you're on the NBN on a 12/1Mbps connection, you'd be out of contention entirely.

Ring Door Cam View review

That upload speed can also affect how quickly your connected device starts ringing. The actual Ring Door View Cam's speaker starts chiming right away, but notifications can take a little while to make it if you're not home, or if your home is large enough that you can't hear it. That's probably not an issue when friends are visiting, but it could be for courier deliveries if you're not a fan of those "sorry we missed you" cards being jammed under your door frame instead.

The Ring Door View Cam's also comes with knock detection, so if a nervous visitor doesn't press the button, it can still fire up an alert as long as it's powered up. It's not enabled by default, and you do have to again choose sensitivity based on the thickness of your door to avoid false positives. One cute aspect here is that a detected knock gets a message that tells you that somebody "may" be at your door, presuming the camera hasn't already spotted them. I guess you could disable the camera part entirely and rely entirely on doorbell presses and knocking, although I'm not sure why you'd bother.

Now, the door that I tested with was a sample rig that didn't move, but even I can see one potential issue for security recording with a peephole-mounted door.

If you do open the door – presumably after checking the video feed or peering through the peephole – then the video recording is going to swing inwards or outwards depending on the mounting of your door.

If all you want is early warning of visitors that's not going to be an issue, but if you're concerned from a personal safety viewpoint, or want detailed video for insurance purposes, it means the camera could end up pointed at a wall or inside your home once it's opened up.

That's especially true given that the lens itself is a fish-eye lens, which works well for external monitoring, but also means that same wider view might apply inside your home once the door is open.

Ring is an Amazon subsidiary, so it should come as little surprise that it's Alexa-ready as long as you have some other kind of Alexa smart speaker in your home. You can't quite talk to a Ring directly as yet. The flip side of that is that it's not directly wired into Google Assistant or Apple Home for those same voice functions.

The Ring Door View Cam will work just fine for straight up door answering purposes, but its motion sensing can also make it double as a simple home security camera. The one catch here is that if you want to be able to review camera alerts, you'll need a Ring Protect subscription.

The basic plan runs $4 per month for one Ring Device if you subscribe for a full year or $15 per month for any number of Ring devices with 60 days of video review on tap. Without a subscription, you can answer the Ring Door View Cam when it chimes or detects motion, but nothing will be stored in the cloud for later review.

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Ring Door View Cam: Should you buy it?

  • Really easy to install or remove at will
  • A product for a specific niche of users

Ring Door Cam View review
If you're in a position where you've got a door with an existing peephole and you don't want an externally mounted video doorbell, the Ring Door View Cam should fit the bill nicely.

It's also a good compromise position for folks who are renting because both installation and removal are quite simple and should be essentially painless, which is great if you don't want friction with your landlord.

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Ring Door View Cam: Pricing and availability

The Ring Door View Cam sells outright for $299.

Buy now at Amazon

Ring Door View Cam Specifications

Product Name
Ring Door View Cam
Camera field of view
155° horizontal, 90° vertical
Connectivity
802.11 b/g/n
Video Quality
1080p with night vision
Battery
6.5MP
Dimensions
57.4 mm x 112 mm x 29.5 mm
Weight
1.32kg
Price
$299
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