Ring's latest doorbell offers several new features, but is it worth it?


About the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus

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Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus comes with two interchangeable faceplates, but additional colors can be purchased to match your home’s exterior.

The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus is the latest iteration in Ring’s longstanding smart doorbell lineup. It boasts two-way talk functionality, 1080p HD video, and a 160-degree live stream straight from your front door. Keeping a very similar look to previous models, the Ring 3 Plus comes with two interchangeable faceplates in Satin Nickel and Venetian Bronze.

Sometimes installing smart gadgets can be tricky, but I found the Ring 3 Plus simple to set up. You can hardwire this doorbell or use the included battery if you don’t have existing wires. It comes with everything you need to get it up and running, down to the drill bit and wire nuts, which is a nice touch.

The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus also comes with security screws to prevent someone from stealing the porch-monitoring gadget. But, if your doorbell goes missing, Ring will replace it for free. It also includes a one-year limited warranty that covers defective parts should the doorbell malfunction.

Here are the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus specs:

  • Price: $229.99
  • Colors: Includes Satin Nickel and Venetian Bronze faceplates. More color options are available for purchase.
  • Connectivity: 2.4GHz and 5GHz dual-band WiFi
  • Smart assistants: Amazon Alexa
  • Hardwire or battery-powered: Both
  • Dimensions: 5.1” H x 2.4” W x 1.1” D

What we like

Enhanced security controls

Ring has previously come under fire for hackers being able to gain access to certain Ring cameras. In response, Ring launched a new Control Center within the Ring app, which is available for download on iOS and Android devices.

The new Control Center, which is available for all Ring devices (not just the 3 Plus), offers security features like two-factor authentication, the option to view and remove linked accounts and shared users, and control over which devices and third-party apps are synced to the account. Overall, I found the Control Center simple to navigate and very user-friendly, and I was easily able to adjust the privacy controls to my liking.

Also new to Ring’s security controls are Privacy Zones. In the Ring app, you can block certain areas from being seen or recorded by the camera. I found the black box a bit distracting to look at when reviewing footage, but the Privacy Zones were effective at blocking out parts of the camera’s view.

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New video recording feature

Pre Roll

Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

Pre-Roll is a new, low-resolution recording feature available only on the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus. It captures the four seconds prior to detected motion.

Exclusively available on the Ring Video Doorbell 3 is Pre-Roll, a new video recording feature that captures the four seconds prior to any detected motion. The video is shown in black and white and displayed at a lower resolution in an effort to preserve battery life. It took some time for this feature to grow on me due to the graininess of the Pre-Roll footage. It’s also worth noting that audio is not included with Pre-Roll.

Since Ring doesn’t offer 24/7 continuous recording, the extra several seconds give you a much-needed view of what’s transpiring at your front door, even if it’s not the highest quality. Pre-Roll is the main difference between this model and the new Ring Video Doorbell 3—aside from price. Because of the added Pre-Roll feature, the Ring Plus 3 retails for $229—$30 more than the Ring 3.

In order to access features like 60-day video history, viewing missed alerts, sharing and saving clips, and more, you’ll need to pay for a Ring Protect Basic plan, which costs $3 a month or $30 annually. It’s not uncommon for smart video doorbells to come with a paid subscription fee to unlock all of the best features, and Ring’s plan is worth paying for. The doorbell comes with a free, 30-day trial to give you a feel for all of the features, which is helpful if you’re on the fence about signing up.

Improved motion detection

The Ring app does a great job of helping configure which motion settings are best for your view, taking into account things like busy roads that may trigger false motion alerts. And, for anyone who lives on a busy road, the Near Zone feature creates horizontal motion zones within 12-15 feet of the doorbell, which also help prevent unwanted motion alerts. As someone who has previously owned and used the Ring Video Doorbell 2, I was impressed with these additions and immediately noticed a difference.

There’s also a People Only feature that’s helpful if you only want to be alerted when a person is at your front door. This feature worked just as described, but I ended up turning it off because I like keeping tabs on all of the alerts—not just people.

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Good audio and video quality

Ring 3 Plus nighttimea

Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

The night vision is fine, but it becomes harder to make out the details of someone’s face the farther away they are.

Audio and video quality are arguably some of the most important features when it comes to choosing a smart doorbell. What’s the point if you can’t see or hear what’s going on? Ring’s Video Doorbell 3 Plus delivers clear, two-way audio when communicating with someone at your front door. I tested this with both an Amazon Echo speaker and the Ring app without any delays or issues.

The doorbell comes with 1080p HD video quality, which is pretty standard on smart doorbells anymore, and offered me a clear view of my front porch and yard throughout the day. However, I found it a bit challenging to make out the features of someone’s face at night when they were standing farther away from the doorbell camera. The night vision was much clearer for me to see when someone was within five feet of the doorbell.

What we don’t like

Amazon Alexa only

The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus is pretty limited in terms of smart home functionality since it doesn’t work with Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri—only Amazon Alexa. I use both Alexa and Google Assistant, so this isn’t a dealbreaker for me, but it may be for you.

However, if your home is full of Alexa-enabled smart speakers, the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus will fit right in. I paired the doorbell camera with several Echo speakers, which made announcements when visitors were at the door. I also tested it with the Echo Show 5, Amazon’s best smart display, and the doorbell camera’s live stream appeared on the screen once the doorbell was pressed. Alternatively, the doorbell works well when used in conjunction with the Ring Chime Pro. I could hear the chime’s ring from any room in my 1,400 square-foot home. The Chime Pro also functions as a WiFi extender and nightlight.

Motion zones need more customization

Motion zones

Credit: Reviewed / Rachel Murphy

There are plenty of motion zone features to play with, but I wish the motion zones were more customizable.

One of the things I love the most about our favorite smart doorbell, the Nest Hello, is the ability to create custom motion zones that let you click and drag to define an exact area. It’s a simple feature that goes a long way in helping to avoid false motion alerts.

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Unfortunately, while I like the improvements Ring has made in regards to motion control, the Ring 3 Plus doesn’t include truly customizable motion zones. Rather, in the app, you can select from four predetermined motion zones to turn on or off. Every front door looks a bit different, so giving users the ability to define tailored motion zones would be a game-changer for this doorbell.

Other settings like motion scheduling and motion frequency give you control over when and how often the doorbell sends alerts, but I still didn’t find this as beneficial as drawing my own motion zones.

Should you buy it?

Maybe, but there are better doorbells out there in doorbell land

Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus

Credit: Reviewed / Jackson Ruckar

The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus retails for $229 and only works with Amazon Alexa.

Overall, the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus is an improvement over previous iterations. As someone who has used the Ring Video Doorbell 2 before, I can say that the Ring 3 Plus is noticeably better at detecting motion and doesn’t have a problem staying connected to WiFi. However, unless you’re dead set on accessing Ring’s new Pre-Roll feature, I’d recommend looking at the less expensive but still new Ring Video Doorbell 3 for $199. It’s a solid and reliable choice for anyone who exclusively uses Alexa to control their smart home or is committed to using only Ring products.

But, unless you’re running a Ring-only ecosystem, other doorbells are more worth your money. The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus doesn’t offer as much value as similarly-priced doorbells, like the Nest Hello (MSRP $229), that works with both Alexa and Google, and come loaded with additional useful smart features like artificial intelligence detection and customizable motion zones. And, remember, the Ring 3 Plus only works with Alexa, which is pretty limiting considering that many other video doorbells offer integration with multiple smart assistants.

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

Meet the tester

Rachel Murphy

Rachel Murphy

Staff Writer


@rachel_murphy

Rachel Murphy covers smart home for Reviewed. She holds a journalism degree from the University of Central Florida. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer for several major outlets and as an associate editorial producer for ABC News’ Good Morning America.


See all of Rachel Murphy’s reviews

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