For years now, Ring has been one of the best manufacturers of smart surveillance systems we have in the market. If you’re into home automation, you know why their video doorbells are popular and quite competitive. Their quality is unmatched, and their support is active and impeccable at best.
All the great reviews, yet, there is this one question. I did the research, let’s face it!
Can Ring Doorbells See in the Dark? Yes, but their night vision quality varies from one model to the other. Ring Doorbells comes in seven different models, but only two, the Video Doorbell Pro and Elite have the night-color vision feature. The other models had a poor vision at night, until recently when Ring added an RGB-Ir sensor to improve visibility at night.
Like the other smart products out there, Ring doorbells have been received with conflicting views. Some believe that these doorbells are excellent, while many are frustrated with their performance- especially at night.
I decided to join the disappointed customers, so I explored their resentments and frustrations. In this article, I have laid down all the facts from my research. Read through to the end to learn more about Ring Doorbells, Ring’s color night-vision, and everything in between.
Rings Devices- Which Ones Feature the Color Night Vision
Some of the Ring devices come with a night vision feature that allows you to see through the Ring Camera in low light conditions. Such devices use the little ambient light available to create a false sense of color depth.
These devices are:
- Ring Video Doorbell Pro
- Ring Video Doorbell Elite
- Floodlight Cam
- Spotlight Cam (wired)
- Stick Up Cam (wired)
The Ring Doorbell 2 doesn’t come with a dedicated color night vision but with improved visibility at night and support for sharper videos. This is due to the added RGB-Ir (color and infrared) sensor, which enables the camera to capture higher-quality images (both during the day and night) from greater distances.
Ring Doorbell 2- Night Vision Frustrations
I have to admit, the videos from Ring’s doorbell 2 aren’t that great at night. Nothing about this video doorbell promises an entirely new experience from the 1st-Gen version. It’s just an upgrade, and as you would expect- it has its drawbacks.
Like most brand loyalists, I upgraded to the doorbell 2 when it was first available without paying keen attention to the improved features. I don’t resent upgrading though, I mean- this is a pretty decent home security device, and I will probably recommend it.
So, after reading a couple of reviews from concerned home-owners, I decided to do my own “fact-finding”. I compared and contrasted a couple of Ring Doorbells, and I’m glad to share what I learnt.
Let’s begin with the video doorbell 2.
What Or Where Is the Problem?
Most people have their porch/security lights on, all night long. I also do, as I want my house lit at night. But there’s always that one problem. If the light beams fall directly on the light sensor (on your Ring Doorbell 2), it will prevent it from switching to black & white infrared- after dark.
The Ring doorbell 2 switches from color, to black & white infrared, depending on the amount of light falling on the sensor. When there’s enough light, the images are colored, and when darkness creeps in, it automatically switches to black & white infrared.
How Do We Solve This Problem?
If you’re facing the same problem we’ve highlighted above, it’s time to hunt for a long-lasting solution- without tagging Ring Support of course 🙂
One of the things I focused on while doing my research, was on the RGB-Ir light sensor located right in front of the video doorbell 2.
It isn’t easy to spot this sensor from a distance, but with a close-up look, you’ll find it adjacent to the camera.
The sensor detects the slightest of light changes and switches between color and black & white infrared. To get a precise view at night, when the security light is shining on the sensor, you’ll need to trick the sensor into “thinking” there’s insufficient light. This way, it will not remain in the color mode but switch to the black & white infrared.
NB: Black & white infrared gives a sharper image at night in this case.
How do you go about this? Simple, you’ll have to add some sort of tint to the sensor. A small insulation strip/film will do.
You’ll cut a small circular piece and glue it to the sensor. It shouldn’t block the light entirely, just a bit to trick the sensor that’s dark even if your security lights are on. Now you’ve got the idea.
We’ve pinned a video below, which will help drive the point home. The same principle in place, just using a Glare-control window film instead of an insulation strip.
How Vibrant is the Full Color Night Vision
We mentioned earlier that specific models of the Ring devices feature the color night vision. This enhanced quality comes at a price. Is the night vision worth the upgrade? And should you go for it?
To get this right, you may want to check Ring’s color night vision page. They have come clean about the night-vision aspect, and this is something I like about Ring. They don’t necessarily pitch the latest feature just because it’s an upgrade.
For example, the color night vision doesn’t turn the entire image to color. This is a concern that had frustrated many customers, who upgraded to the video doorbell pro and Elite only to find dissatisfying night-vision images.
According to Ring, “only the parts of the images that are sufficiently illuminated by ambient light will be colorised. Areas too dark to be seen in ambient light will still be displayed in black and white.”
I’ve added a snippet of some of the frequently asked questions below.
The Quick Fix
If your Ring doorbell Pro or Elite has a lacking night vision coverage, the problem is probably with the light sensor. Before seeking some technical help or alerting Ring support, you would want to try and play around with the light sensor just like we’ve discussed with the Ring doorbell 2.
Many times, it’s the porch light shining too much light on the IR sensor. Try and locate the sensor, cover it with some insulation, and you’ll have solved the problem.
Night vision Doorbells- Other Options in the Market
For many people, having a clear view of their front doors at night is a big deal, especially if security is a major cause for concern.
Before we can explore the other alternatives to the Ring doorbells, let’s see how you can improve your home’s security while keeping the Ring doorbell.
Install a night-vision camera
Some of the outdoor security cameras with the best night-vision quality includes the Ring Floodlight Cam, Reolink Argus, and Nest Outdoor Cam. You would want to have either of these installed at different locations around your home.
Install a manually/motion-activated alarm/siren
This is another option that will enhance security in and around your home. For this case, it’s advisable to pick a security camera with either a manual or motion-activated siren. This way, you’ll know when there’s an intruder in your home via a notification to your phone.
One of the smart cameras with a manually activated siren is the Blink XT2.
We talked about the Blink XT2 and even reviewed its siren in this article. We also touched on the pros and cons of both the manually, and motion-activated sirens.
If you feel these additional cameras are too much, and you’re ready to settle for a better night-vision doorbell instead, these options might suit your needs.
- Nest Hello video doorbell – € 204
- Simplisafe Video Doorbell- € 151 ( nearly the same night-vision quality at a lower price)
After doing my research, I concluded that Ring doorbell Pro and Elite have a better night-vision than most doorbells in the market. They don’t, however, match those from individual security cameras such as the Ring Spotlight Cam, Reolink Argus 2, or the Nest Outdoor Cam.
As I wind up, allow me to be a bit biased here. If you’re going to buy a new doorbell, I would recommend that you pick one with improved visibility at night instead of the full-color night vision- especially if you’re on a budget and want to buy a Ring device.
The simple reason is that the night vision feature isn’t as perfect as you would want it to be. If you’re okay with the Ring video doorbell 2, you can save that extra money while getting quality and near-colored images/videos at night.
Check out another article we covered on Ring doorbells:
Can Ring Doorbells Get Wet? How to protect them
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