Ring Video Doorbell 4 review: is Ring's newest basic doorbell worth the money?

We test the smart doorbell leader's most recent entry

Ring Video Doorbell 4 mounted to concrete wall beside dark brown front door
(Image credit: Ring)
Livingetc Verdict

The Ring Video Doorbell 4 is as impressive as we expected, with the new pre-roll feature adding valuable security and convenience to an already popular device. With few fresh features, we wouldn't recommend upgrading from an older generation Ring doorbell. Still, anyone interested in jumping into the smart doorbell world for the first time will be delighted.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Ring's most up-to-date basic model

  • +

    Works seamlessly with Alexa and other Ring products

  • +

    Pre-roll feature

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Chime must be bought seperately

  • -

    Not a huge upgrade on Ring Video Doorbell 3

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There's no doubt that Ring has proven itself in the smart doorbell realm and now has a fleet of devices with enticing features and selling points. Having tested many of the company's other doorbells and cameras, we wanted to see whether its most up-to-date basic video doorbell (not including its Pro or Wired ranges) is a significant jump up from previous generations.

The Ring Video Doorbell 4 comes after the release of the original model, the 2nd Gen, the Ring Video Doorbell 3, and the 3 Plus. The original model and 3 Plus have now been discontinued, while the two middle-children continue to be sold.

That makes it a little tricky to decide which would be best for your home, and you can read on to see what we thought of this 4th generation offering. You can also take a look at our guide to the best video doorbells around, as well as the best wireless doorbells if you don't have existing wiring.

Ring Video Doorbell 4: Key specs

  • Power: Battery, hardwired
  • Resolution: 1080p Full HD
  • Field of view: 160 x 84 degrees
  • Storage: Cloud
  • Finishes: Satin Nickel (silver)
  • Dimensions: H5 x W2.4 x D1in

Ring Video Doorbell 4

(Image credit: Future)

Ring Video Doorbell 4: Design

Ring has opted to keep the design of its doorbells consistent across generations, and so the Ring Video Doorbell 4 looks identical to the 2nd and 3rd Gen models. It makes sense since the boxy device has been somewhat iconic, and those who want a thinner doorbell can look towards the Pro models or the Ring Video Doorbell Wired.

And so anyone who has used a doorbell from Ring will know what they're in for - a swappable Satin Nickel (or silver) faceplate and a black base that you can mount to the wall outside using brackets provided. The camera is situated at the top, while the button is in the middle and will glow blue to signal when it's in use.

caroline preece author image
Caroline Preece

The Ring Video Doorbell 4 was tested in the writer's own home for a period of several weeks, alternately placed on the front and back doors of her suburban garden flat. All reviews from Livingetc are based on genuine hands-on experience with the product being written about, ensuring that our readers can always trust our recommendations to be informed and honest. 

Ring Video Doorbell 4: Set-up

As a wireless device aiming for simplicity, Ring provides you with everything you'll need to set up and install its doorbell as part of the package. As the picture below indicates, you will find an angular mounting bracket (for awkwardly shaped front porches), charging cable, security stickers, a small screwdriver, and wiring if you'd prefer not to use the battery.

Simply remove the battery pack from the main unit by pressing the release button on the base, and charge it with the orange cable. Then, while you're thinking about the best location for your new doorbell, you can download the app and create an account.

When the battery is fully charged, the light will turn green. You can then insert it back into the main doorbell and scan the QR code under the faceplate with your phone to pair the device with your Ring account. The app will guide you through the process from there.

To attach the doorbell to your door, you can use the included mount to ensure it's perfectly positioned. For example, if you want to attach it to the side of your door, the mount will angle it for the best view. Use the screws and drill bit from Ring to mount it securely.

Ring Video Doorbell 4

(Image credit: Future)

Ring Video Doorbell 4: Performance

The Ring Video Doorbell 4 is the company's newest basic model, but you won't be too caught off guard if you've ever used a Ring device before. Newbies will also be fine since one of the selling points of the range is how easy it is to use for the majority of people.

The view from the doorbell camera is wide and clear, showing my relatively narrow front (or back, as I use my back door as the main one) patio area in full. The first thing I had to do was adjust the motion detection zones; otherwise, I would be bombarded with alerts for passers-by on the adjacent road. This is very easy to do, and the app makes the whole process very intuitive with draggable lines that you can contract or expand to your preferences.

Testing the doorbell for a period on my actual front door to see how it would perform for deliveries, the pre-roll video feature came into its own. If you find couriers in your area have developed a habit of pressing the doorbell before scarpering, you'll be able to see what happened immediately before the 'event'. This is convenient for everyday situations but could be vital for security purposes.

The Ring app is as fantastic as it's always been, with fast loading times and clear navigation. Other apps tend to fail in how long the live feed takes to load, but we had no trouble pulling up the video when needed. Two-way audio always works brilliantly, and you can even leave a 'quick reply' message for any visitors - telling the person that you're out or that you might take a little while to reach the door.

Ring Video Doorbell 3

Ring Video Doorbell 3

(Image credit: Ring)

Ring Video Doorbell 4 vs Ring Video Doorbell 3

As the name suggests, the Ring Video Doorbell 4 is the next generation release, with a few extra features on the Ring Video Doorbell 3. 

Ring previously (perhaps confusingly) released the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus, which split the difference between the two main releases by adding features like pre-roll footage to the older model. However, this hybrid doorbell has since been discontinued, with the Video Doorbell 4 replacing it on the market.

But how did they differ? Not very much, as it turns out. The only real disparity between the two is that the pre-roll footage of the Ring Video Doorbell 4 is in color, while the Ring Video Doorbell Plus' was black and white.

The Ring Video Doorbell 3 is a slightly different proposition and lacks the pre-roll feature entirely. Otherwise, the motion detection technology, field of view, video resolution, and pretty much everything else are the same. The 4th Gen doorbell adds just one feature, allowing you to see precious seconds before an event.

Ring Video Doorbell 4

(Image credit: Ring)

Ring Video Doorbell 4: Our verdict

The Ring Video Doorbell 4 is an excellent video doorbell and performs all of its functions well. The Ring app is smooth and pleasant to use, and integration with Alexa will be very useful for those who own an Amazon Echo smart display or speaker. 

Our big criticism is that it doesn't push the needle much further than the Ring Video Doorbell 3, and certainly no further than the 3 Plus. Essentially, you're paying around $20 extra for the pre-roll feature, which, if you're security-conscious and want to be able to see more of an event, could be worth it. This is less of a dig against this model specifically and more confusion about the range in general.

Still, if you've yet to purchase a Ring doorbell and are wondering whether the Ring Video Doorbell 4 is a worthy entry point, the answer is a resounding yes. We'd be less inclined to recommend those with a Ring Video Doorbell 3 make the jump.

About this review, and the reviewer

The Ring Video Doorbell 4 was tested in the writer's own home for a period of several weeks, alternately placed on the front and back doors of her suburban garden flat. All reviews from Livingetc are based on genuine hands-on experience with the product being written about, ensuring that our readers can always trust our recommendations to be informed and honest. To find out more about our process, you can read our page on how we create buying guides and reviews.

Caroline Preece
Smart Homes Ecommerce Editor

Caroline is the smart home ecommerce editor for Livingetc, covering everything tech for the home, from smart speakers to air purifiers and everything in between. She is passionate about the role that technology and smart devices can play in daily life, enhancing the home without sacrificing personal style and carefully chosen interiors. In her spare time, she can be found tinkering with bulbs, soundbars, and video doorbells in an effort to automate every part of her small home. Previously, she lent her expertise to the likes of Expert Reviews, IT Pro, Coach, The Week, and more.