Ring Alarm Pro review: whole-home security for your digital and physical life – The Verge
I am a big fan of Ring Alarm. Mainly because the inexpensive, easy-to-use security system is an excellent smart home hub in disguise. Since the first generation of the product launched in 2018, it’s been packed with useful smart home radios, including Bluetooth, RF, cellular, Zigbee, and Z-Wave, some of which are capable of connecting to a nice selection of smart home and security devices.
I also admire Ring Alarm for leading the charge in disrupting the tired, expensive home security industry, thanks to its rock bottom prices, good hardware, and lack of long-term contracts. So, I’ve been watching the evolution of this product with interest over the last few years, waiting for the moment Ring finally united its smart home and home security offerings in this powerful piece of tech.
With the Ring Alarm Pro ($249 for the base station, $299 for a starter kit) the company has done just that. This is the ultimate smart home hub: in addition to the security capabilities of the previous model, there’s now a built-in Eero mesh router for better Wi-Fi in your home, an LTE radio for whole-home internet backup, USB type-C connections for external battery backup, a Ring Lighting bridge to connect your smart lighting, and a microSD card slot for local storage and processing of video. But they still haven’t turned on that Zigbee radio.
The Ring Alarm Pro is the next level of smart home security, a near-perfect marriage of everything you need to set up a smart home and then some, all for under $300. But it has one significant flaw that means if you already have a substantial smart home setup, you’ll want to give it a pass.
- Well-designed, easy-to-use security system
- Built-in mesh Wi-Fi router
- Local storage for video from Ring cameras
- Whole-home internet backup
- Excellent integration with Amazon Alexa
- Not ‘pro’ enough
- Add-ons add up
- No 24/7 video recording
- Local storage is behind a paywall
- Not compatible with Google Home, HomeKit, IFTTT
It makes a lot of sense for Amazon to marry its leading smart security hardware brand with its excellent consumer-level mesh Wi-Fi company. The chief complaint I hear about Ring is the poor connectivity of its cameras and video doorbells — something often solved by adding better Wi-Fi in the home. The inclusion of an Eero 6 router makes the Ring Alarm an excellent solution for homeowners who want a security system with cameras and are still using their ISP-supplied combined router and modem.
If you already have a capable mesh Wi-Fi setup and a substantial number of smart home devices — this is not the hub for you. That’s mainly because the Ring Alarm Pro has to be the gateway device for your home Wi-Fi, and for some setups (including my own), the included Eero 6 dual-band router is just not powerful enough.
This means I have to forgo local storage of Ring videos, 24/7 whole-home internet backup, and 30-plus hours of continuous power to keep my cameras, security system, heck, even Netflix online when the power goes out. This makes me sad, as I want all these things. If only Ring had put an Eero Pro 6 router in the Ring Alarm Pro (it’s even in …….
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