The set-up and troubleshooting for the Ring Doorbell 4 is the most painful consumer electronics experience I have had in a long time - possibly ever

Just wanted to pop this here as encouragement for the software/network people to get things a bit more functional. This evening, I had to set up a new modem/router, which had a new SSID (wireless network name) and new password. It took me 15 minutes to re-set up the phones, two Google Nest Hubs, one Chromecast, two Smart TVs and one PS5.

However, I’ve spent 90 minutes on trying to reconnect the Ring Video Doorbell 4, including 20 minutes on the phone to Ring Support - and it’s dropping in and and out since, so the issue is hardly remedied.

The biggest issue I had was trying to connect an already established device (ie, I had a Ring Doorbell 4 set up in the app) to a new network (through Device Health → Change Network (which is not the most intuitive place to put the setting, when there is a separate option called “Device Settings”. It would try to connect to the Ring wifi network from the device, but wouldn’t connect due to (at least apparently) there being no internet. However, it turns out a hard reset fixed this (not something mentioned in the app, or in the support video* that comes up sometimes (but by no means always) - but the only way to find this out is to call support.

However, after doing the hard reset, suppot then told me that I wasn’t allowed to trigger motion (on the video doorbell attached to a wall facing a street that people walk past) for 15 minutes or it would cancel the firmware updated. Two things:

  • This method of updating firmware is pretty odd - in most devices, you connect the device, then you initiate a firmware update from in the app.
  • It might be worth advising customers to place something over the motion sensors before triggering a process that relies on them not being activated.

If this was a one-off, it’d be understandable, but the initlal set-up process was also a hair-pulling nightmare, as was the ongoing trouble trying to get to the bottom of issues that were caused by the Chime Pro (now disconnected and thrown out - hopefully because it was defective, but with the issues I’ve had with Ring products, I’m by no means confident it wasn’t some built-in design flaw).

When they’re working, Ring products are great, but getting them working is another story altogether - it is time-consuming, difficult and very painful. I’d strongly encourage efforts to improve the set-up process (at least on Android, I can’t speak for Apple) - and also increase the hardware capacity to pick up a signal, for a device that lives or dies on its wifi access, the Ring Doorbell’s capacity to pick up a signal (relative to other devices I’ve tested alongside it) is poor - which was more than a little surprising - and the dual-band Doorbell 4 defaults to 5GHz wifi regardless of the relative strength of the connection - so I have to split my wifi network into separate 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands just to make sure the doorbell has a half-decent connection.

There’s a lot Ring gets right - an awful lot. When it’s working it’s a dream. But the pain required in getting it working means I could not in good conscience recommend getting a Ring Doorbell at this stage.

  • The support video was very good - if the thing that was causing the issue had been covered in the video, it would have been fine, but after the video came up, couldn’t get back to the app without closing it and restarting it, starting the process all over again there was no ‘back’ option from the video to the app.