Plenty of existing video doorbells can show you what happened in the moments before they detected activity on your doorstep, but none of them were battery powered—until now, anyway.
Amazon-owned Ring just announced its new Video Doorbell 3 PlusRemove non-product link, a $230 battery-powered unit that’s capable of capturing a four-second, black-and-white “pre-roll” of activity just before a motion-triggered event.
While the ability to capture pre-rolls of motion-triggered videos isn’t particularly new as far as wired video doorbells are concerned (Ring’s wired doorbells have had the feature since 2017), it is new for battery-powered models. That’s because the pre-roll feature, which involves continually capturing images in a rolling buffer, demands a “huge” amount of power, according to Ring.
In order to add the pre-roll feature to its Video Doorbell 3, Ring says it created a low-power, three-camera module that records video in black and white, and at a lower frame rate and resolution than the main 1080p camera. The time lapse-style images from the three cameras are stitched together into a “steady” pre-roll video.
The rolling video buffer that enables the pre-roll feature is stored locally on the device and overwrites itself automatically, Ring said, although pre-roll videos may be stored on the cloud if you subscribe to the Ring Protect subscription service.
Slated to ship on April 8 and available for pre-order now, the Video Doorbell 3 Plus also features dual-band 2.4GHz/5GHz Wi-Fi connectivity, a rechargeable quick-release battery, night vision, a 160-degree field of view, two-way audio with noise cancellation, a “near” motion zone that allows for detecting motion within 5 to 15 feet of your home, and (of course) Alexa integration.
In addition to the Video Doorbell 3 Plus, Ring also announced the Video Doorbell 3Remove non-product link, a $200 version of the doorbell shares the same features save for the Plus’s pre-roll feature.
Updated shortly after publication to note that the Video Doorbell 3 has the same features as the Plus version except for the pre-roll feature. The original version of this article incorrectly stated that the Video Doorbell 3 lacked the Plus’s dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity and “near” motion detection features.
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Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices. You can follow Ben on Twitter.