Ring is probably the most popular smart security device brand name in the USA right now. Ring Alarm second generation continues to provide a comprehensive DIY home security solution with an all-new look.
A Ring Alarm kit is perfect for DIY folks wanting a comprehensive and relatively affordable home security solution for their house. The eight-piece alarm kit includes the base station, a keypad, four contact sensors, a range extender, and a motion detector. And right now with special deals for the holiday season, you can get it with a free Amazon Echo Dot and an amazing 40% discount.
In this review, we will look at the installation and operation of the Ring Alarm 2nd generation. So let’s dive in by unboxing the kit first.
Unboxing the Ring Alarm 8-pc kit
For a kit with a lot of components, the packaging is quite small. In addition, there is some good creative packaging design going on in order to fit all the items in a small cardboard box. Top layer consists of the base station and the keypad. The bottom layer has the range extender, motion detector, power adapters for base station and keypad, and the four contact sensors. The ‘Always home’ envelope has instructions, stickers, etc.
Ring Alarm Tech Specs
Alarm Base Station is the largest piece of the kit. It is a 6.65-inch square that is 1.46 in thick. The base station has a grille for the ultra-loud 104-decibel alarm speaker. I like the elegant but simple blue colored LED ring integrated into the speaker grille. The base station connects with Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and Z-Wave and you can connect it via cellular service if you subscribe to Ring Protect Plus. It needs a power adapter to run and has an internal rechargeable lithium-ion backup battery.
Next up is the Alarm Keypad. It’s a 4.41 x 4.13-inch rectangle with a 0.75-in thickness. It connects via Z-Wave to the base station as long as it is within a 250-ft range which should work for most folks. The keypad has a micro-USB power supply and a lithium-ion rechargeable battery for portable use.
Alarm Motion Detector is a 2.6-in square that is 1.64-in thick and again uses Z-Wave to connect to the base station. It has two AA batteries with an approximately 3-year life.
There are 4 Alarm Contact Sensors. This is the biggest change with the second generation as these are about half the size or even smaller compared to the 1st generation sensors. Dimensions are 2.09 in x 1.12 in x 0.55 in. Connectivity is via Z-Wave to the base station. The sensor gets power from two CR2032 lithium batteries with an approximately 3-year life.
The last item if necessary for use is the Alarm Range Extender. This also uses Z-Wave for connectivity and extends the range of the base station by another 250 ft. Its dimensions are 1.86 in x 3.19 in x 1.66 in. It plugs into a standard power outlet and has an internal rechargeable lithium-ion backup battery.
Ring Alarm kit hardware impressions
All the individual pieces seem to be put together quite well and the fit and finish are absolutely stellar quality. All the adapter plugs go into the wall without any extra resistance. The surfaces of the individual pieces have no sharp edges or corners. Surface texture is also an area where the premium build quality shows up. Every click and snap has satisfying tactile feedback.
Setup and Installation of the various elements of the Ring Alarm kit
Setting up is very easy and quick. More so in my case, since I have the Ring App connected to the Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus at the house entrance. In the main menu just tap Set Up a Device, then tap Security Devices and select Base Station. Then just simply follow along with the in-app instructions.
Installation is actually fairly quick. I put the base station literally 2 ft away from my internet router and decided to use the ethernet cable in the box to connect it. Next up I placed the motion sensor in a location that would detect motion from both front and back doors. I know that my Wi-Fi connection is slightly poor in one of the spare bedrooms so I decided to put the range extender in the hallway just to be on the safe side. Even though the distance from the farthest sensor to the base station is probably less than 40 ft.
The app guides you to install each item in the kit even if you jumble up the order. For the contact sensors, you can scan the QR code on the box or on the device itself. Just a quick note on the contact sensor installation that double or triple check how you want to install each sensor. I messed up the first one slightly – see picture below. This mistake enabled me to figure out a way better way of installing the remaining three contact sensors. Another minor item to note is that there are no extra adhesion strips so once you stick the sensor module or the magnet that’s it.
Second generation means improved design. The biggest improvement is the compact size of the contact sensors which is a great bonus. My neighbor has the first generation alarm and the new sensors are almost 50% smaller in size including the window magnets. Ensure you pull out the film tabs so that the batteries inside connect the sensor to the base station.
I saved the Keypad installation for the last. The reason for that is because it is the only item that requires screws. I selected a location near the door for installing the keypad. Anchors and screws are provided in the box for easy installation – you do need a drill and a screwdriver. The keypad is powered by a micro-USB cable and a power adapter.
The lack of any sort of cable management from the power outlet to the keypad adapter was my biggest gripe as far as the installation process goes. All of the other components blend in quietly and elegantly. But the keypad cabling issue stands out like a sore thumb. I really wish this is one area Ring improves on either via a small kit or in the next generation or at least provide guidance on how long the battery charge will last to remove the cable after charging is complete.
From start to finish it took me about 30 minutes to install all 8 items in the Ring Alarm (2nd Gen) kit.
Using the Ring Alarm every day via the Ring App is extremely easy
Using the Ring Alarm every day is extremely easy. This is mainly due to the fact that the Ring App interface is extremely intuitive to use. From the main screen tapping Devices brings you to the Security option showing the Alarm Base Station. Tapping it shows all the various components of the Ring Alarm kit.
The Base Station Menu allows you to check battery health and cellular signal strength at a quick glance. You can also add Shared Users here, Test Siren, and explore Language Options. If there is a Firmware Update pushed out by Ring that should also be visible in this menu. One neat option is the Linked Devices menu which allows you to link your Doorbell and other items like Security Cams, Smart Locks, and Smart Lighting for a more comprehensive smart security solution.
Tapping each Ring Alarm component individually provides a quick view in terms of general battery health and a set of options of that particular component. Some menu options like Event History, Audio Settings, LED Settings, Help & FAQs are common to most of the components.
Moving on to motion detection related items, if motion is detected then you can see it on the Motion Detector menu. Similarly, if a window or door is opened that shows up in the main menu or in the actual sensor menu. Event History keeps a log of all events for all the various sensors.
Let’s talk about notifications. Notifications for motion detection can be turned on once you leave the home and the system is Armed. Now, while you are at home, there is no reason to see a pile of notifications on your device with the Ring App. When you are ‘Away’ from the house it is easy to turn the Alarm system on via the Ring App or by tapping the keypad.
Another neat feature is the ability to control the LED light brightness and the type of chirp sounds on the various sensors – unique sound per sensor is also possible. This just shows how impressive the level of granular control the Ring Alarm system provides.
One last thing to mention in terms of everyday use is the ability to either monitor the alarm system. You can always choose Self Monitoring or use Professional Monitoring via Ring Protect Plus plan. Signing up for the plan is easy via a few taps within the app. Furthermore, the Protect Plus subscribers get 10% of Ring products
Ring Alarm System (2nd Generation) is a great option for DIY home security
Ring has improved on their current product to provide a better version of the best-selling DIY home security system. In particular, the second-generation improves the size of the contact sensors by making them smaller (inconspicuous which is great) while maintaining functional excellence. And the Ring App is probably one of the easiest and most intuitive to use from the various systems on the market. The Ring App allows for easy integration of other smart security devices. On top of that Ring allows you to custom tailor the alarm system to your needs by selling individual components ala carte as well.
For these reasons, it earns our Editor’s Choice recommendation for a smart security device.
And right now there are some really good discounts on the Ring Alarm System along with a free Echo Dot when purchased on Amazon. Hence, if you are interested in upgrading your home security system it is a good time to buy.