Amazon’s Ring today unveiled the Ring Video Doorbell, an improved version of the Video Doorbell the company launched over six years ago. The $99 doorbell boasts a Snapshot Capture feature that takes photos at certain intervals throughout the day, as well as new Privacy Zones that help control what the camera sees and what it doesn’t.

The new Video Doorbell’s debut comes as some cities see an uptick in crime during the coronavirus pandemic. The NYPD reported a 169% increase in commercial burglaries in New York City for the first four months of 2020 compared with the first four months of 2019, while the Memphis Police Department said shoplifting and carjackings in Memphis are up 8% and 90% year-over-year, respectively, from the beginning of this year to April 15.

The Video Doorbell supports both battery-powered (built-in and rechargeable) and hardwired configurations, and it can record footage in up to 1080p resolution with enhanced night vision and noise-canceling two-way talk. The new Privacy Zones capability lets users exclude areas of the camera’s field of view from recording, complementing the new motion zones and new near zone for more precise motion detection (five feet to 15 feet away). And three preset modes — Home, Away, and Disarmed —  allow customization of the detection threshold that triggers video recording.

Ring says the near zone will only alert to motion events that happen closest to the Video Doorbell. A car driving by a home wouldn’t set off motion alerts, for instance, nor would a tree blowing in the wind. As for the aforementioned Snapshot Capture, it uploads and integrates captured 640 x 360-pixel snapshots into the Ring app’s timeline for seven days, and then deletes them if they haven’t been downloaded to a mobile device.

Ring Video Doorbell

The Video Doorbell optionally ships with a new Solar Charger, a secure mounting bracket with built-in solar panels. As with other Ring products, it works with Alexa, showing video streams on supported devices (like Amazon’s Echo Show), along with custom notifications.

Other highlights include crisper audio and a revamped mounting system.

“We think customers should expect more from their Video Doorbell — better hardware, improved motion detection, and easy installation,” said Ring founder and chief inventor Jamie Siminoff. “But [they] shouldn’t have to pay a premium for it. Ring Video Doorbell is one of our most popular products … [and ] today we take it to the next level.”

The Video Doorbell is available for preorder starting today on Ring.com and Amazon.com. It’ll be available for purchase on June 3 in the U.S., and the Solar Charger will retail for $49 in July.

It’s worth noting that Snapshot Capture requires a Ring Protect Plan (either the Protect Basic Plan or the Protect Plus Plan), a monthly subscription that covers monitoring and video recording services. In the event that the Video Doorbell becomes disconnected from the internet, it will store an adjustable number of snapshots on-device and automatically upload them once it comes back online.

The launch of the new Video Doorbell comes after Ring refreshed the Ring Alarm and began shipping the Video Doorbell’s high-end counterparts, the Video Doorbell 3 and Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus. Ring also recently announced additions to its Smart Lighting lineup — the Solar Floodlight, Solar Steplight, and Solar Pathlight — and all-new Smart LED lightbulbs in the A19 Smart LED Bulb and PAR38 Smart LED Bulb.


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