Ring Door View Cam first look: A smart peephole upgrade

A simple way to upgrade your peephole

Early Verdict

The easiest smart doorbell to install could find itself the doorbell of choice for people with existing peepholes.

Key Features

  • 1080 sensor
  • Amazon Alexa compatible
  • iOS and Android app control
  • Ring button and impact sensor

Ring Door View Cam release date and price

Announced at CES 2019, the Ring Door View Cam will be available later in the year for £179.

What is the Ring Door View Cam?

It’s not always easy or possible to install a regular smart doorbell, which is where the Ring Door View Cam comes in. Designed to replace your existing peephole, the new Ring camera fits into place without requiring any drilling or cable runs. As such, it’s ideal for renters or people in apartment blocks, although it will equally suit anyone in a house that wants a simple way to upgrade their entry security.

Ring Door View Cam – Design and features

Fitting the cameras is easy. The old peephole has to be removed, and the new camera slots into the existing hole. Onto the back of the camera, inside your home, is the battery pack, which both provides power and locks the camera into place. The Ring Door View camera uses the same type of rechargeable battery as the Ring Video Doorbell 2; it’s charged via micro USB.

Using this system has a couple of advantages. First, the outside part of the doorbell is thinner and smaller than on the chunky Ring Video Doorbell 2. Secondly, the battery pack remains safe inside your home.

With the doorbell in place, the old peephole continues to work, so you can continue to look through your door in the old fashioned way.

At it’s most basic, the Ring Door View Cam operates like other products in the line-up: when someone presses the button on the front, you’re notified on your smartphone. Annoyingly, the call has to be answered in landscape mode; it would be nice if Ring could handle portrait mode.

In North America, but rolling out to the UK later, the Ring Door View Cam (and other models in the line) notify you of a doorbell press on Echo devices. Currently, the system isn’t quite as accomplished as with the Nest Hello, which will show you the video feed from the door on a Google Home Hub, plus the option to answer the door. In the demo that I saw, the Echo Show just displayed a message saying that someone was at the door, and you had to ask to see the video feed. The ability to answer the door from an Echo Show is coming, though.

Motion detection lets the camera record in 1080p anyone that comes up to your door. With Smart Alerts (coming to all cameras in 2019), you get additional control over recordings, although you’ll need a Ring Protect Plan for some features. Smart Alerts let you set motion detection zones and motion sensitivity; motion verification, which filters out false alerts; motion stop, which stops recording when there’s nothing important happening; and person detection.

The new camera has a couple of tricks of its own. First, it has an impact sensor, so will tell you when someone has knocked at the door, rather than using the button, which is handy for those couriers that softly knock and then run away.

For privacy, it’s possible to block out parts of the image that you don’t want to record. Ring told me that the blocking is done on the camera, so nothing is sent to the cloud that you don’t want to record.

First impressions

Doing something different to the other smart doorbells out there, the Ring Door View Cam seems to be the easiest-to-install model yet. It retains the great features and image quality that made the Ring Video Doorbell 2 stand out, plus adds some neat tricks itself. I’ll bring you a full review when samples are available next year.