5 things we learned getting hands-on with Ring.

In the smart home space, Ring has quickly become a top brand. We were impressed with their pitch when they first came to demo their products. But we like to get hands-on with the gear ourselves. So we arranged to give Mike, one of our advisors, some gear to install at his new home. Here's what we learned.

1. Ring is more than just a video doorbell

Ring has quickly become widely known for its popular video doorbell. Mike was definitely interested in one, but he really wanted motion-sensor lights. "It's beautiful out here," Mike told me about his country home, "but the first night we walked outside, I couldn't see my own hands. And my wife was worried about security when she's at home by herself. So we started looking for options beyond just lights." Ring's Spotlight Cams was the perfect fit, and they even have built-in cameras.

2. You don't have to hardwire it

When Mike was choosing which gear to install, he had to take a big factor into consideration: he wasn't going to have easy access to electrical wiring. "I wanted lights where I didn't have nearby outlets or junction boxes." Fortunately, Ring's Spotlight Cams have a battery-powered option. He also picked up some Ring Solar Panels so that he wouldn't need to worry about recharging the batteries. If you have a nearby outlet, check out the wired version, or if you are replacing an existing hardwired light, try the mount instead.

3. Installation is a breeze

Mike grabbed a bunch of tools to prep for the install, but he didn't end up needing them because Ring includes the necessary equipment right in the box – including a screwdriver and drill bit! And the app walks you through the setup of each device. "The toughest part was figuring out where to put the solar panels so they get enough sunlight to charge the batteries on my Spotlight Cams."

4. The app is awesome

Mike can check a live view from any of his cameras, answer when someone rings the doorbell, or activate the lights or sirens on his Spotlight Cams from wherever he is. He can also adjust motion zones, tweak notification settings, and even check his neighborhood's crime report.

What I like about the Ring system is how easy it is to use. I can see and control everything from the palm of my hand.

5. It can definitely help keep you safe

Shortly after the install, Mike got a motion notification while he was at work. He opened the app to see a couple guys peeking in his windows and trying the knob on his front door. He used the two-way talk feature to ask them what they wanted and to let them know they were on camera. Thankfully, that was enough to make them run back to their van and speed away.

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