Got a peephole in your front door? That's all you need to install the Ring Peephole Cam (formerly known as the Door View Cam). You don't need cables or power adapters: This video doorbell runs off a rechargeable battery that fits into the back of the camera and uses Wi-Fi. Combine this with the Ring app, and you can answer the door from anywhere without running a cable anywhere. It's a very useful device for apartments, or other locations where it's impractical to install a traditional video doorbell.
Editor's Note: Ring had temporarily discontinued the Peephole Cam in 2022, but has brought it back in 2023 at a new lower price of $129.
The Ring Peephole Cam has the same silver-and-black styling as the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, but with a couple of additions. One is a second lens at the top of the bell housing, which holds the replacement peephole mechanism. The second is a large, white plastic housing that fits on the back of the door, which holds the battery and the back of the peephole.
This design means that you can use it in a standard half-inch peephole. The Peephole Cam comes in two parts, joined by a tube and cable that feed through the peephole that runs through the door.
The battery that runs the camera has a large 6,040-mAh capacity and can be charged with a USB cable. Ring doesn't provide an estimate for battery life, but I guess it to be between 20 and 40 days, depending on how much you use it. If you have a lot of visitors, use the motion detection or fire up the live view a lot, it will be on the shorter side. Spare batteries cost $30, so you could have a spare plugged into a USB cable and ready to swap out.
Installing the Peephole Cam was very simple. All I had to do was remove the existing peephole mechanism, put the front of the Peephole Cam on the door with the cable and tube feeding through the hole, put the back part of the camera into place, screw on the retaining clip, connect the cable and slide the battery into place. The retaining clip holds the camera in place: You don't need to use any screws or sticky tape.
After installing the Peephole Cam, you connect it to the Ring app by scanning a QR code on the back of the camera body with your smartphone's camera and running through a couple of steps to get the Peephole Cam onto your wireless network. Again, this is a simple process to complete, as long as your 2.4-GHz Wi-Fi network reaches your front door.
Finally, the Ring app offers a setup wizard, which steps you through setting the motion sensitivity and other options for the doorbell. The Ring app is simple and straightforward, providing access to Ring devices in your home from an iOS or Android device. When someone presses the button (or it detects motion), it notifies you and allows you to talk to the person directly. It also allows you to look at live video from the camera at any time.
If you want to keep video of when the doorbell is rung or motion is detected, you'll need to subscribe to a Ring Protect plan, which costs between $3 and $10 a month, depending on how many Ring devices you have and how long you want to keep the video.
The Ring Peephole Cam captures 1080p HD video, and we found that the video was generally of excellent quality. At night, an infrared emitter under the button kicks in to illuminate the scene when the camera detects motion or someone rings the doorbell.
One issue that we did notice was that, if you have a storm door, the camera is useless at night for detecting motion. That's because the infrared light reflects off the storm door and blinds the camera. While a normal video doorbell sits outside the storm door, a peephole is behind it, and the infrared light is reflected back from it.
If you have ever tried to take a cellphone picture through a window, you'll know the effect: The reflection of the light in the window blocks out everything else. The Ring Peephole Cam does include a mode for this, which disables the infrared illuminator and tries to make the most of the existing light, but the video is definitely of lower quality in this mode.
There's a lot to like in the Ring Peephole Cam: It is simple to install and use, and doesn't require any drilling, cutting or other things that might upset a landlord. That makes it an ideal pick for tenants who have a peephole but want something a bit more flexible. It's not without its quirks, though: If you have a storm door, video quality will be significantly affected at night, and the battery could run out quickly if you use the motion detection or live view extensively. That's a pretty minor issue, though, as a spare battery costs only $30 and is easy to swap out. But, the Ring Peephole Cam is a solid pick for tenants or apartment owners who want to add a video doorbell without hassle.