Day two with the Ring Video doorbell, and the excitement at my fancy new security gadget has faded. To say “it doesn’t work” would be completely unfair, as the majority of the features work precisely as advertised. But, I do have some gripes with some of the features, and those are enough for me to feel like the functionality I saw in the “Customer Stories” section on the official website and the functionality I am seeing now are not quite the same thing.
My biggest gripe is still with the “motion detection” feature. On day one, I was being bombarded with notifications as a result of having the “sensitivity” setting turned all the way up and every passing car triggering the sensor. To be fair – this is clearly explained in the tutorial that accompanies the setup screen. And, as promised, after turning the sensitivity down to about 75% of the way, I did not get any more motion notifications from cars. However, this is not my gripe.
No, my complaint actually comes from what I’m starting to notice is the motion sensor being just plain “picky”. For example, this morning, after I left for work, I caught a motion detection from my wife moving her car up into our driveway. A car pulling into my driveway is something I want to see. Yet, in looking back through the footage from around the time I left, I see no notification of me leaving my own house, despite my car being a similar size and the exact same distance from the sensor as her vehicle was.
Similarly, last evening after adjusting the sensitivity, I asked my wife to go outside and walk slowly past the sensor. This was a good 15 minutes after trying to save the settings, so I would have hoped it was done with it’s reprogramming and was back into normal operation mode. Regardless, not only did she walk past it slowly, but she literally stood in front of the thing and jumped up and down. No alerts were sent.
Jump back a few hours earlier, however, and I got two separate alerts from my eight-year-old son walking quickly past the sensor while playing outside.
So, the sensitivity of the motion sensor is does not have a lot of rhyme or reason to me. Additionally, when I went to take a look at the footage from when my son tripped the sensor, all I saw was video of an empty front yard. I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t have DC power hooked up to it yet and running on battery-only makes it behave differently, but in my mind, I’d expect the device to actually *always* be recording, and then when triggered by the doorbell or motion, it would actually write a few seconds of video from before the event began, so the owner can actually see what triggered it. At least, this is how I see other types of devices like this typically work.
But no. In each instance where my son walked by and tripped the sensor, I never saw him.
Now, to be fair, there are three different levels of “Smart Alert sensitivity” to pick from, and I started using the recommended “standard” setting. Later in the afternoon, I adjusted it to the “frequent” setting, let it sit for a good 10 minutes, and then tried to trip it by quickly walking back and forth in front of it a few times. The first time, it didn’t trigger at all. The second time, I literally stopped and stood in front of it for a few seconds, and then stepped off to the side. After a minute or two, I got an alert that there was motion at the front door. I didn’t answer it, as that takes me to a live stream of the door. After another minute, I checked the “recent events”, saw the new motion recording, and took a look. Again, it was just a video of an empty doorway.
So, my most looming concern is that while it does feature motion detection, it’s not showing me what is setting it off. And while it does capture some things in places where I want it to, it completely ignores others for reasons unknown.
Either way, I think a bit more granularity over the motion settings would be great. In the current motion settings, you have the ability to enable or disable zones, as well as adjust the distance covered by all zones. However, you cannot set the sensitivity of each zone individually – most likely as this really just controls the power sent to the IR sensor. In my case, this would be ideal, as I would adjust the sensitivity of the zone facing the street to be lower, but keep the ones at the sides at a higher level – especially on the side with the driveway and sidewalk.
Alas, I have not given up on it yet. I now have it hooked to a wired power supply and fully charged, so I can rule out any kind of battery-saving features as being a cause of delays in alert or recording. I will continue to play around with it and let everybody know how my experience goes.