I wrote a detailed review on Amazon last February when I switch to Ring. I’ll copy that here below…sorry…it’s kind of long. Since this post…I would still recommend Ring Alarm. I’ve had a few instances when the alarm tripped by accident, and the call center called as expected. I am looking forward to see what the Wyze solution looks like though. I was a big proponent of the Ring Doorbell cam when I first got them…but honestly I am very disappointed in them now. The response/quality of my $20 Wyze v2 cam is much better! I do like the Alexa integration of my Ring alarm…this is how I set it every night, and the cost is not too bad…would be better if the cameras actually worked. Anyways…here’s the full review. Let me know if you have any questions.
START AMAZON REVIEW
First, a little history. We had our first wireless alarm system (GE Simon 3 panel with monitoring by NCA) over 10 years ago. At the time, we had to hard wire a land line phone into the system so that it would dial out in case of a trip. They were not able to tie the alarm into a VoIP (Internet Phone) system at the time. To be fair, they did have a cellular option, but it came with an additional fee which I wasn’t interested in. The monitoring service was great, and very reliable from NCA.
When we moved into our current home (3 years ago), we did not bring the former alarm with us, so we did a lot of research on a newer, updated system. We landed on SimpliSafe as our choice, and purchased the equipment up-front with the ability to self-install. Installation was pretty straight-forward, and very easy to install myself. For the most part, I was fairly happy with our SimpliSafe; although as technology improved…I really would have hoped that they (SimpliSafe) would have given us the ability to upgrade features over the life of our equipment. For example…we paid $14.95 per month to monitor our home, but this did not give us any mobile/app options. If we wanted to actively monitor our home and know when an alarm tripped, or if I wanted some remote capability…we would have had to pay $24.95 per month. When I recently called them to compare against the Ring Alarm, they gave me a few months of the Advanced ($24.95) service for free to test drive the features. I’m sorry, but I was not impressed. The capabilities from the app are very basic. You can remotely activate your alarm system, or disable and you can get notifications sent to your phone when there is a change in status, or trip. That’s about it. As I said, for the most part SimpliSafe was “good enough” for the past three years, but now I expect more for my money.
For Christmas 2017, my parents gave us a Ring Doorbell 2. I had always wanted to check this out, and though it was a great idea. Well…it sat in the box for most of the year before I even opened it. Honestly, it was out of sight and I forgot about it. I think down deep I figured that it was going to be a bit of a hassle to install, so I just left it alone (and on top of that I wasn’t sure if I wanted it on the front of the house, or on the back door.) This past November, I finally opened it up and was surprised how SIMPLE it was to install. In fact, everything that you need to install comes in the packaging which is honestly the best packaging of any product I had ever purchased. I chose to put this on the front door (where packages are delivered) and I shared how cool this was a bunch of people……including my parents. Christmas 2018…I got a second Ring Doorbell 2 for the back door.
I was really impressed by how easy it is to use the Ring Doorbell system, so I began to look a little deeper into the Ring Alarm system. I was very interested to have one system that tied everything together from video to alarm to whatever comes next. I was really happy with the Doorbell and it’s quality, so I figured the Alarm must be up to the same level. Another key factor to consider…to really get the most out of your Ring Doorbell, you need to subscribe to the Protect Basic Plan ($3/month or $30 for the year) for each Doorbell. Otherwise you cannot go back and watch recordings…only live views. Doing the math…you’re already in for $60/year for 2 Doorbells.
Looking further into the Ring Protect Plan Plus, I learned that for $10/month or $100/year, I could cover all Ring equipment (both Doorbells) + get professional monitoring for the Ring Alarm. I was paying $14.99/month or $179.88/year for just SimpliSafe and I would have to add $60/year for the Doorbell plan OR just switch over to Ring for everything at $100/year with no contract.
I decided to purchase the 14-piece Ring Alarm, and it’s exactly what I was hoping for. It replaces everything I had with SimpliSafe. Installation was very simple using the provided 3M Command strips. I also really like that the keypads are rechargeable…another con for the SimpliSafe which used 4 AA batteries for each keypad. The Ring Alarm base (which also houses the siren) is much louder than my SimpliSafe siren (which took batteries as well.) With the SimpliSafe siren, the sound was greatly degraded as the batteries declined. With the Ring Alarm base, I plug it directly into the wall and the supplied power will keep the siren loud….always.
The real power of the Ring Alarm is in the mobile app. First, you get the basic necessities that you would expect…set the alarm to Home, Away, or Off and receive notifications for those changes in state. You can customize each and every sensor to define whatever you want to call it….example “Front door.” You then have the ability to be notified if that sensor is “Opened” or “Closed” or “tripped” …etc. It is very reassuring to know immediately via a mobile notification (or chime from the base) when a sensor state is changed. Another benefit that I recently detected is that you are also notified if the Ring Alarm base loses power. The base has a rechargeable backup battery and cellular backup, but the real benefit here is that I always know when my home loses power. This could be greatly beneficial if you are away from home and are unaware if you lose power for a long time. You might need to know how long the freezer was without power….this is a good indicator. A recent update also now allows you to begin recording video from your Doorbell(s) (other Ring cameras) if the alarm is tripped. This is exactly why I wanted an integrated system where all components work seamlessly together.
Are there some features that could be improved? Sure, but overall it’s a great system. I hope to see additional components soon like water/leak detection, glass breakage sensors, instant panic button, and the like. I also need some type of range extender for my back Doorbell, as it has weak connectivity. In fact this is one reason that I have not yet purchased a floodlight cam. I’m not so concerned about getting it power, but rather connectivity. A few more improvements for the Alarm…I like the simple keypad, but I could look at the SimpliSafe and it had a screen which would tell me if it were armed or not. With Ring, either hit a button to light up the current state, or check the app. I also need to know how to trip the alarm immediately…in case of panic. I would hope this already here, but it’s not so obvious where to find it. Lastly…I’m not sure why I need to enter my code to arm the house? I would rather just hit “Away” and go.
I have not yet tested the Ring monitor service (7 days to test without dialing out), so I cannot yet provide feedback there, but if it aligns with everything else…it should surpass my expectations. I look forward to adding additional components to my overall system as they are released, and I highly recommend Ring to protect your home, apartment, office or other.
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