If you’re new to video doorbells or if you’re looking to upgrade an existing one, it’s worth shopping around to see what features each of the leading brands are offering from their devices. Ring and Arlo are no strangers to smart home surveillance – as well as security cameras and alarm systems, Ring has a wide range of video doorbells, the latest being the Video Doorbell 3 Plus, while Arlo’s first foray into the video doorbell market has just launched, complimenting the company’s wide selection of security cameras for indoors and out.
But which one’s better?
All video doorbells are completely weatherproof and have the same standard functionality – a visitor rings the doorbell, it alerts you via a companion app on your smartphone and you can see and speak to them directly (but they can’t see you) though the app, wherever you are. So far, so good.
From there, the features on each model or brand can differ considerably so it’s best to look at all the options available, so you can decide exactly which of these functions are important to you. Pricewise there’s not a lot in it, with Ring coming in at £19 more expensive than the Arlo model at £179.99.
What they look like
Measuring H13x4.5xD2.5cm, the Arlo is slimmer in size than Ring’s latest model and with its curved edges, we have to admit that it looks a lot prettier, too. Ring’s device measures a slightly wider H12.8xW6.2xD2.8cm, mainly because it houses a rechargeable battery pack. It does however, have a choice of two interchangeable faceplates in silver and bronze-black to help coordinate with your door décor.
Where they’re similar
Standard features on both models include HD 1080p video, night vision and motion sensors that will alert you if someone’s approaching your door. Like the majority of home surveillance devices, Ring has a subscription service that expands the uses of the device. Called Ring Protect (priced from £2.50 per month or £24.99 per year), Ring’s service will save video for up to 30 days in the Cloud and with the Video Doorbell 3 Plus, you also get access to a feature called Pre-Roll. This shows you playback video of what happened up to four seconds before the motion sensors were triggered. Arlo’s Foresight Preview feature works much like Ring’s Pre-Roll, recording three seconds of video before motion detection. Again, this is only available if you subscribe to Arlo’s Smart service (from £2.49 per month). Like Ring’s cloud service, it also offers a 30-day video history, but compared to the free 30 days of Ring Protect you get when you buy a device, Arlo’s doorbell comes with three month’s worth of free subscription.
Motion detection can be a double-edged sword though and if your front door faces onto a busy pavement or street, video doorbells can often annoyingly trigger motion alerts every time someone walks by your house. Both the Arlo and Ring models thankfully feature the ability to customise and narrow down the area of focus, eliminating a load of unnecessary messages being sent to your phone.
How they differ
Unlike the Ring doorbell, Arlo’s device will call you directly as soon as the doorbell is pressed so you can see who’s there. This eliminates the usual few seconds of delay while you wait for the companion app to open.
Arlo’s model also differs from Ring’s device as it offers a larger viewing angle. While most other doorbells show you a letterbox view of your doorstep, the Arlo device has a 180 degree square viewing angle which gives you a full body shot, from the top of the person’s head right down to their toes (where they may have left a package).
If you’re a fan of smart connectivity, the Ring doorbell can be connected to an Alexa voice assistant – if you have an existing Alexa device with a screen (like an Echo Show) you can ask it to show you who’s at the door. But if would-be intruders concern you more, Arlo’s model has a handy built-in siren so you can set it to sound if you spot some dodgy activity near your home.
While Ring’s device is battery operated and DIY installation takes a matter of minutes, Arlo’s doorbell is wired so ideally will need to be installed by an electrician. However, this means that once it’s up and running you will have to remember to remove the Ring doorbell every now and again to charge the battery, while the Arlo device can be left as is.
For ease of installation and smart connectivity, Ring’s Video Doorbell 3 Plus is the obvious choice. However, if aesthetics are important to you, as well as having a wider view, quick answering and a bonus alarm, Arlo’s new video doorbell wins hands down.
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