The Video Doorbell Pro 2 is Ring’s best doorbell, but it’s expensive and needs professional installation
- Excellent audio and video quality
- Six-second pre-roll video capture
- Sensitive motion detection
- No offline video storage
Ring’s name might be synonymous with video doorbells but the company’s products have stagnated of late, offering fairly minor upgrades over the last few models. The Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2, however, is a different kettle of fish and delivers a long list of new and improved features.
It’s also the nicest-looking doorbell Ring has produced to date, with a much slimmer, less boxy shape than the usual Ring products and a doorbell button that has a bit more travel. It’s the best doorbell Ring has produced so far, but how does it compete with the best of the rest?
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Ring Video Doorbell 2 review: What do you get for the money?
The Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 costs £229 and works just like most other video doorbells – it lets you see who’s at the door, whether you’re in the house or away, talk to them live and record motion-triggered video clips of whoever approaches your house.
Unlike the most popular Ring doorbells, however, the Video Doorbell Pro 2 is a wired-only doorbell. This means, unlike many of its stablemates, it doesn’t come with a battery and so needs to be connected to mains power via existing wiring.
If you don’t have wiring, Ring provides a 24V DIN rail transformer in the box, complete with a plastic mounting bracket. You will need to get an electrician to fit it for you, though. Alternatively, if you have an electrical socket close to your front door, you can purchase the Ring Plug-in adapter to power it.
As for the Chime, you’ll have to budget extra for one of those as well, if you don’t have one installed already. The Pro 2 supports traditional mechanical and digital chimes, assuming they’ll run at 24V. Alternatively, to make things easier, you can simply purchase a Ring Chime unit for £30 and plug it into a spare mains socket or link the doorbell to an Amazon Echo smart speaker.
The doorbell’s data connection, meanwhile (which carries the video stream, notifications and so on), operates via your wireless network and supports dual-band 802.11ac networks.
And, while I’m on the subject of extra costs, remember that you’ll need to pay a subscription to use the product to the full extent of its capabilities. There are two levels to choose from: the basic Ring Protect plan, which costs £2.50 per month (or £25 if you pay up front for the whole year), covers just the doorbell and gives you 30 days of video clip storage; or the Plus plan, which is £8 per month (or £80 annually) and covers an unlimited number of Ring cameras.
Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 review: How easy is it to set up?
Ring recommends professional installation for the Doorbell Pro 2, which is sound advice, especially if you need to replace your transformer or run a new set of wires. If you already have the necessary electrics in place, however, it is possible to set it up yourself if you’re handy with a screwdriver and a drill.
You get all the screws and attachments you need in the box, including a wedge-shaped bracket, which you’ll need if your door, like mine, is set back in a porch. All you need to do next is attach a pair of wires – via the provided spade connectors – to the two terminals on the rear of the doorbell and screw the doorbell to the door frame. You may need to bypass your old chime if it isn’t compatible.
With that done, you download the app, register for a Ring account (if you don’t have so already), and then use the app to add the doorbell to your account and connect it to your home Wi-Fi network. You’ll also need to set up the Chime or Chime Pro device (or link the doorbell to your Amazon account) if you want the doorbell to ring independently of your phone.
Ring Video Doorbell 2 review: How good is video and audio quality?
On the image quality front, the camera captures 1536p footage with a wide 150-degree field of view, and adds HDR processing and colour night view.
These features together deliver fantastically crisp video, balancing bright and dark areas very well so you can make out plenty of detail in all areas of the frame. Colour night view isn’t all that colourful, though – it’s still mainly greyscale with the odd splodge of added tint here and there.
I found audio really clear at both ends, too, and with only around a second of delay, regardless of whether I was connected over the home Wi-Fi or via 4G.
Motion detection is a huge step up from previous Ring doorbells. Not only does the Pro 2 detect movement within the field of view of the camera but it also allows you to set how close objects need to be before they set off an alert. This works superbly well. It’s especially useful for houses that have short front garden paths and it effectively eliminates false positives generated by passers-by or cars driving down the street.
When someone does trigger the motion alert, not only do you get live video and audio of the event, the app also gives you a bird’s eye view of approaching visitors. Movement is plotted on a small inset satellite image so you can see exactly where people are relative to the position of the camera.
The Ring Doorbell Pro 2’s most impressive feature, however, is its new Advanced Pre-Roll functionality. This allows the camera to capture full-resolution video footage from six seconds prior to motion being detected (versus four seconds of black and white footage for the battery-powered Ring Doorbell 3 or four seconds of colour footage with the forthcoming Ring Doorbell 4).
The feature works pretty much perfectly and, whereas other video doorbells often miss the initial approach to the house down the garden path (I do wish my life was more exciting), the Ring Video Doorbell 2 captures every riveting second.
Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 review: What could be better?
Generally speaking, I really like the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2, but there are a few shortcomings you need to be aware of.
The first is that the doorbell does not officially support traditional mains-powered chimes, so if you want the doorbell to be audible inside, you’ll need to invest extra in a Ring Chime (£29) or Chime Pro (£49). Other smart video doorbells, such as the Netatmo Smart Video doorbell, the Arlo Video Doorbell and the Nest Hello, work with a regular chime box.
Next up is the fact that smart detection is limited to people. There’s no facial recognition or package detection, which are features other doorbells offer. There’s also no support for Google Assistant speakers or Apple HomeKit.
And then there’s the cost of the subscription. It isn’t particularly expensive compared with other manufacturers, but it’s worth bearing in mind that you can buy doorbells that don’t require a subscription. Our current favourites that do this are the Eufy Video Doorbell 2K (£179) and the Netatmo Smart Doorbell (£270). Both offer local video clip storage on a microSD card, with the Netatmo also delivering free cloud/network storage via Dropbox or FTP.
Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 review: Should you buy it?
The Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 is an excellent video doorbell and it has advantages over the cheaper, battery-powered Ring Doorbell 4. You never have to worry about charging a battery, and the six-second pre-roll facility is brilliant. Coupled with the advanced motion detection, it’s clear this is the best smart doorbell Ring currently produces.
There are some issues. It’s expensive and you may need a professional to help you install it. It doesn’t come with its own Chime unit and the subscription adds £25 per year for the lifetime of the device.
That means it doesn’t oust the Eufy Doorbell doorbell as our video doorbell of choice. However, if you already have the wiring in place, the image quality and excellent pre-roll feature make it well worth considering.