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Ring's Battery Doorbell Pro is one of the best security systems I've tested (but there's a catch)

I never thought I'd recommend a Ring camera, but the Battery Doorbell Pro nearly changed my mind - if it weren't for this one thing.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
Ring Battery Doorbell Pro
Maria Diaz/ZDNET

ZDNET's key takeaways

  • Amazon just launched a new Ring Battery Doorbell Pro for $230.
  • The high-end video doorbell is battery powered, making it easy to install anywhere, and has the Pro features for which Ring is known, such as Bird's Eye View and 3D Motion Detection.
  • My biggest problem with Ring is that you need to pay a subscription to access most of your device's features, which is a problem you can't bypass with local storage options. 
  • I also wish this Battery Doorbell Pro had a 2K resolution instead of 1536p to justify the upgrade to 'Pro'.

Ring has become the quintessential brand for video doorbells. It's like Kleenex for facial tissues, Google for search engines, and Band-Aid for adhesive bandages. In short, you can't help but think of Ring when you hear about video doorbells. 

However, I don't always like recommending Ring products to anyone looking for a video doorbell or security camera for one simple reason: most of the best features are locked behind a subscription plan, and that's something that you can't bypass by adding a separate hub or a microSD card like you can with most other brands. But there is a large percentage of smart home and security enthusiasts who prefer the convenience and peace of mind that comes with a subscription.

Also: Everything you need for smart home security

The Ring Battery Doorbell Pro is the company's best battery-powered video doorbell, hence the 'Pro' moniker. It's the first battery-powered doorbell to join Ring's Pro lineup of devices, which stand out from other lines due to their stronger construction, high-end finishes, and extra features, such as Bird's Eye View and 3D Motion Detection.

View at Amazon

Having tested the Ring Battery Doorbell Plus recently, I couldn't see huge differences immediately. The two doorbell devices have some slight physical differences, but they're as hard to find as a spot the differences game. 

Aside from the Doorbell Pro being 1mm taller than the Plus, both are the same width and thickness and have an outer housing that appears to be made of the same plastic material. The Pro weighs about 244g, while the Plus weighs about 235g, a difference of less than one ounce. 

Ring Battery Doorbell Pro

Ring Battery Doorbell Plus (left) and Ring Battery Doorbell Pro (right).

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

One of the only physical differences between the two video doorbell models is the look of the camera. The Pro has a deep, dark frame around the camera and a different set of lenses. 

Low Light Sight was my favorite feature to test on the Battery Doorbell Pro -- it's a feature unique to this video doorbell that helps you see more clearly in near darkness. This doorbell also has zonal infrared LEDs that help even out the image to balance over- and under-exposed videos. 

Ring Battery Doorbell Pro
Maria Diaz/ZDNET

When it comes to the different physical appearances of the cameras, the Pro probably uses a slightly wider aperture. Amazon doesn't specify the exact aperture and just says the Ring Battery Doorbell Pro has "premium imaging sensors".

This feature -- and the Battery Doorbell Pro's video quality in general -- performed superbly. I have to admit that the Ring's video clips looked better than the ones from my 2K resolution doorbell, although performance on all other points was largely similar. 

Also: How to extend your smart doorbell's battery life in cold weather

Installing the Ring Battery Doorbell Pro is easy, with no extra mounting plates required to snap the doorbell to -- probably one of my favorite features of the Ring Battery Doorbell Plus and Pro. 

Because this Pro video doorbell has a removable battery pack, you install it by removing the faceplate and screwing the doorbell directly onto your front porch wall or door frame. Any time the battery needs charging, you can release it or swap it out for a fully charged one if you want to keep an extra battery around. 

Ring Battery Doorbell Pro

The Ring Battery Doorbell Pro's removable battery pack.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Aside from Ring Protect Pro features like Bird's Eye View, 3D Motion Detection, and pre-roll, the Ring Battery Doorbell Pro also supports Audio+ for improved two-way talk and dual-band Wi-Fi, which means it can support both 2.4 and 5GHz networks. 

Setting up Bird's Eye View is interesting. You use an overhead map to delineate a surveillance area up to 30 feet away. This feature gives you an aerial map view of events around your home, showing you the path a person took when accessing your property. 

The 3D Motion Detection feature uses radar to detect motion in a customizable area of your choosing, reducing false alerts and powering Bird's Eye View. 

Also: The Echo Show 8 is still the best smart display and speaker combo available

In essence, these Pro-exclusive features power advanced motion detection to reduce false alerts and provide more accurate notifications, giving you more details of what happened when someone was spotted entering your property. Ring hopes these features help to diminish those 'motion detected' alerts you can get when leaves blow by in front of the doorbell.

Ring Battery Doorbell Pro vs Eufy

How the Ring Battery Doorbell Pro's night vision compares to the Eufy Security E340's.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

And my tests suggest those extra features work. I've only tested the Ring Battery Doorbell Pro for a few days, but I haven't had any issues with false alerts or missed notifications. However, I didn't have that problem with the Plus model either or with my Eufy Security E340. While the Bird's Eye View information was nice, I didn't feel I needed the feature, or think it delivered much insight into each video clip and motion event. 

ZDNET's buying advice

The Ring Battery Doorbell Pro is certainly the best battery-powered doorbell the company offers; it has the most high-end features, and its performance doesn't disappoint. 

That being said, it's harder to recommend when the Ring Battery Doorbell Plus already exists, with most of the same features for $50-$80 less. Both devices feature a 1536p resolution with head-to-toe view, two-way talk, person and package detection, a quick-release battery pack, and color night vision. 

I wish the Pro device had an upgraded 2K resolution to justify the extra cost and as a bonus for its Pro moniker. There's also the problem that you can't bypass a subscription fee. You shouldn't buy a Ring Video Doorbell Pro unless you're okay with the fact that you'll always have to pay a subscription fee to access most of its features. I'm on a tight budget and like to save as much as possible, so I'm not looking to spend $200 on a security camera and then keep paying a dollar amount a month to keep using it.

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