Top positive review
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Ring vs Skybell comparison = Ring wins
on June 23, 2015
Someone pried the button off my doorbell and I had to interact with Ring customer service for the first time. I'm upgrading them back to 5 stars because I was so impressed with my interaction (unlike Skybell). I went on chat to see about buying a replacement button. Zach told me they didn't offer replacement buttons, but would be happy to replace the whole unit for me. A few minutes later, I had an order confirmation and a new unit on the way. I'm impressed by how easy it was to contact them, and how responsive they were. On top of that, I'm pretty sure a break-in to my neighbour's house was averted when a suspicious person came to look through her windows last night and she confront him through her Ring.
Finally got live view on my own Ring now. Other members of my household got it a few weeks earlier than I did so they don't seem to roll it out by household but rather by individual account.
Although my Ring has the latest firmware update (1.6.76), I still don't seem to have live view on my app. According to the Ring support site this feature is being steadily rolled out and users will receive an email when their device has been enabled. My neighbour's Ring has already been activated so I added a screenshot of what your Ring should look like with live view as an option. Note : According to the support page on Live View, you will only have this feature on the regular Ring if you are connected to doorbell wiring for power.
You might want to wait to get the new Ring Pro depending on your needs. They just announced that they are accepting preorders for availability within the next couple of months (not available to preorder on Amazon yet.) The new Pro version requires wired doorbell power while this current version allows battery. The Pro version is 1080P instead of 720P and supposedly has better options around motion detection and night vision. I'm curious to see if the Pro version will resolve some of the issues I've seen (and some of the criticisms other reviewers have) of the delay between a motion alert or doorbell ring and getting the alert on your phone.
In my previous update 3/19/2016 I erroneously stated that only Ring Pro will have live view. As Joe pointed out in the comments, Live View should be available as a firmware update for existing Ring devices. My device did not yet update so I cannot test this feature, but once mine does I will check it out and update this review again!
I bought the Skybell first because I hadn’t heard of Ring. Due to a manufacturing issue where I started seeing the video feed of SOMEONE ELSE’S front door instead of mine, I got a Ring instead. I'm actually glad it happened because I prefer the Ring so much more to Skybell, despite some of the limitations.
Having had a chance to install both on my door, here are my impressions:
Skybell comes with the bell, a mounting plate, and some instructions. Screws were standard and installation was relatively straightforward. Getting the doorbell to connect to our network was a PAIN. It wasn’t able to connect via a 5G network plus it didn’t have strong enough signal strength so we had to get a second router for and set up a whole separate network for Skybell.
Ring’s package impressed the heck out of me. You get a little tool pouch with all the tools you need to set up the Ring, including a screw driver, drill bit, self level and more. If you are screwing into stucco (as I was), I don’t recommend you use the included drill bit. The hole it drilled was a little large and I had to silicone caulk the hole afterwards to give the screws enough grip. Ring connected to our network pretty seamlessly and didn’t need to have a separate network nor require the 2nd router.
Ring is MUCH larger than Skybell. I wish it was thinner but I understand there’s a lot to cram in. The Ring does stick out quite a bit visually on my wall, but worth it for what I get. See attached photo to see the size difference.
Skybell: 2.15cm / 0.8in thick, 7.1cm / 2.8in diameter
Ring : 0.87in thick, 4.98 tall by x 2.43 inches wide
***Battery / Power to the device***
Skybell is fairly low powered, so there is no battery attached to it. It runs off the power from your doorbell so it cannot be mounted anywhere you do not have direct power.
Ring is battery powered. I charged it to about 60% via a USB cord first before I plugged it into the wall. You can get some trickle power from the doorbell, but depending on the weather and use, you may find you drain the battery faster than it charges. An hour after the bell has been plugged and with one test video call in I was at 57% battery. Three days later it charged to 77%. This might get annoying, but it does mean Ring can be mounted anywhere, not just where you have direct power.
Skybell only lets you have one user at a time. If you want more than one person to have access to the video stream you have to share accounts. I do like that you can see your doorbell on demand. I like being able to check in on my door. I understand that Ring is working on this but it’s not yet available.
Ring lets you have multiple users. The first installed user just has to send email invites to the other users. Ring shows you recent activity, but you need to pay a $3 a month subscription to see your videos on cloud. I wish that wasn’t the case but $3 isn’t that bad. I imagine I will upgrade for the cloud storage long term.
***Video on demand**
Skybell : yes, but I saw another person's front door too.
Ring : not yet, coming soon
Skybell : Yes
I couldn’t find the specs on the Skybell. Ring seemed to have slightly higher video quality in the day and slightly higher audio quality but this may be subjective.
Please note : If you are expecting the quality that you get on your web cam or Facetime on an iPhone the quality will NOT be comparable. This is still early technology so the voice quality and video quality will be a bit crude. I suspect the design team had to make some trade-offs between video quality and ability to power the unit via battery / trickle charge from the doorbell electrical wire. That said, I am able to identify the voices and recognize people in the camera so that for me is sufficient though of course I hope that future generations will continue to improve in this respect. Ring's cloud recording page gives you a pretty accurate idea of what your videos would look like.
***Lag / Delay between door bell ring and phone notification***
Seems to be about the same on both. There is a bit of a delay, but for me that’s acceptable compared to the alternative of just missing the door altogether.
Haven't had to interact with Ring's customer service, but Skybell's was so horrid I'm still upset about the interaction. Skybell wanted me to ship my defective Skybell to them at my expense when it was broadcasting someone else's video stream instead of mine right from the start. I get that it's expensive for them, but it's NOT a way to win a customer.
UPDATE : I actually did have to interact with Ring customer service and they impressed me greatly. My doorbell button was probably tampered with and they issued an exchange, no questions asked within minutes of contact.
Overall, between Skybell and Ring, Ring wins for me hands down.