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Ring vs Blink: Which video doorbell reigns supreme?

A combined image showing a Blink video doorbell next to a Ring video doorbell

Considering getting a video doorbell? We compare Amazon’s biggest ventures into the smart doorbell market, Ring and Blink

Video doorbells are highly popular and genuinely useful – despite some privacy concerns – and the two biggest brands in the marketplace right now are Amazon’s Ring and, of course, Amazon’s Blink.

That’s right, you might not have known this but both of these brands, their security cameras and video doorbells, belong to Amazon. Amazon purchased Blink and Ring about a month apart, Ring, however, is the one that has become a household name.

In broad strokes, Ring is generally regarded as Amazon’s premium brand while Blink is more cost-conscious; however, don’t automatically assume that the pricier option is the one that’s right for you.

Ring vs Blink: Privacy

When it comes to privacy, Ring has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) alleged that not only had Ring allowed employees to spy on their customers, but they had failed to implement sufficient security measures, allowing hackers to harass, threaten and insult Ring’s consumers – including elderly individuals and children – via the cameras’ two-way functions. So, you’d be more than justified in being wary of potential privacy issues with Ring.

However, as we already mentioned, Blink also belongs to Amazon. So, even though these controversies are not directly linked to Blink, it’s not exactly a stretch to imagine there might be similar problems at both companies.

Of course, all of this resulted in Amazon having to pay out millions in fines for the privacy breaches. The company committed to making changes in how it approaches privacy following these issues – we would expect that changes at Blink would also be part of that – but the fact of the matter is that any camera connected to the internet has the potential to be hacked by third-parties or abused by the company that made them. That’s regardless of whether the camera is from Ring, Blink or any other brand.

Winner: Draw

We can’t point to a winner here because there are no winners, only informed customers who can then treat these products with the appropriate level of caution.

Ring vs Blink: Subscription pricing and value for money

Neither Ring nor Blink have an expensive subscription fee: Ring charges £4.99/mth or £50 annually, while Blink asks for £2.50/mth or £25 annually, and this is the per-device pricing for both companies, respectively. That said, if you have more than one device then you can sign up for their “Plus” subscription, but this is £8/mth or £80 annually for either Ring or Blink.

Product image of the Blink Video Doorbell

So, if you have more than one camera, there’s no money to be saved with Blink, at least at first glance. However, one of the main reasons to get a subscription is for cloud storage, and only Blink offers a way to store footage without a subscription. It requires a Blink Sync module, to which you connect your own USB storage, but that add-on will quickly pay for itself in saved subscription fees, if that was your only reason to subscribe.

Winner: Blink

So, on balance, we’ll give this one to Blink, especially since the upfront cost of their cameras is also lower than Ring.

Ring vs Blink: Video quality and features

There’s a reason that Ring cameras cost more than the Blink units, and it can be seen in the video quality. This is especially true with higher-end Ring products like the Ring Wired Video Doorbell Pro and the Ring Battery Video Doorbell Plus – both of which we awarded four stars and our ‘Recommended’ verdict.

Winner: Ring

If you’re willing to pay for the privilege, you can get resolutions above 1080p, better night vision and a wider field of view from Ring. So, Ring wins in this category handily.

Product image of the Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2

Of course, the truth is you don’t need those high-end features to get most of the benefits of having a video doorbell, so don’t get too hung up on the numbers unless you have some ultra-specific purpose in mind – such as finally capturing high-resolution, colour, night vision footage of the British Bigfoot.

Ring vs Blink: Power options and battery life

There’s a mix of power options with both companies, with wired, battery-powered or hybrid solutions. You can even get a solar battery extender for both brands, though their utility in the UK is perhaps debatable.

Product image of the Blink XT

If you’re renting, or just don’t want to bother with the hassle of installing electrical wiring, then the battery-powered devices are of most interest, with Ring video doorbells promising between six months and a year of battery life – according to their “standard usage” definition – while Blink promises double that.

Winner: Blink

It is, admittedly, only a minor hassle to remember to charge your Ring camera every six months, but if you have multiple cameras, and particularly if they’re installed in tricky-to-reach spots, only doing the recharge dance half as often might be a killer feature. From that perspective, Blink is the clear choice.

Ring vs Blink: Motion detection and alerts

Both Ring and Blink cameras have very similar motion detection and alert features. A subscription offers you person detection, so it won’t alert you every time your pet walks by, and you can even specify motion zones to help prevent false alarms.

Product image of the Ring Video Doorbell 4

Winner: Ring (with some caveats)

There are some potentially exclusive features for Ring users. For example, in the US, Ring users have access to an app called ‘Neighbors’, where you can share footage with other Ring users in your neighbourhood and receive nearby crime or safety alerts. It’s not been confirmed whether this will come to the UK, however.

Ring vs Blink: Which one should you buy?

Both Ring and Blink devices are perfectly functional and worth owning and using. However, despite them both being Amazon companies, there is still no interoperability between them as of this writing. So, whichever type you choose, it’s best to stick with it; that way you won’t have to juggle multiple apps to access all of your cameras.

While Blink has not suffered the same reputational damage as Ring, and its privacy policy seems good on paper, both are still run by the same parent company. It’s up to you if you’re comfortable with that.  In any event, regardless of the brand you pick, you should be mindful of where you point these cloud-connected cameras.

Overall, Ring offers more premium hardware, better quality video, and more sophisticated and varied features. At the same time, Blink focuses on the core features, offers less bulky hardware, and is, on average, easier on the wallet. So, if Blink offers everything you need, there’s no need to spend more.

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