Zmodo vs Ring

Zmodo vs Ring 

Porch pirates and salesmen – the two banes of my life. But what happens when a regular salesman is also a porch pirate?

I had a situation like that a few months back. I’m a writer, and although I write widely, product reviews are a staple for me. I love writing them, and I love playing with all the gadgets, often before anyone else gets to see or use them.

So, I get lots and lots of packages. Almost every second day. And I get a whole lot of snail mail too. My mailbox is forever looking like a regurgitating cow with a mouth full of straw with all the envelopes sticking out of it.

So back to Blackbeard, the porch-pirate-salesman. (and, funny enough, he really has a black beard!) And how a doorbell turned out to be his nemesis.

I started getting visits from the gentleman in question a few months earlier. He sells everything there is to sell. Solar, landscaping, home additions, telecommunication – you name it, it’s in his repertoire. He’s friendly, but he’s damned persistent. So, he quickly became a bi-weekly feature.

I like to think I’m a decent sort, so I try to be polite, and he takes that as an invitation to return in the hope that one day he’ll have something I want or need.

Around the same time Blackbeard started knocking on my door with his wares, my parcels started disappearing. This is irritating because it messes with my deadlines and involves phoning companies with my tail between my legs and asking for sample products to be sent over again.

I wrote it off as neighborhood kids that just couldn’t resist a porch that resembled a Christmas tree, and made off with goodies when their curiosity got the better of them/ It’s happened before, and it will happen again, no doubt.

Not for one moment did I connect Blackbeard’s appearance in my life with the disappearing parcels! Not at all. The thoughts didn’t cross my mind.

The solution in the case of the disappearing parcels, my friends told me, was either a dog with big teeth or a doorbell with a small camera. 

The doorbell wouldn’t injure anyone, so that’s what I opted for. When it became apparent how many products there actually are on the market, I decided to write a review about it. 

And when I got to the end, I had two products left. Zmodo and Ring. So, being a writer, I thought I’d write a showdown between the two. At first glance, it seemed they boxed in roughly the same weight, and I thought it’d be interesting to see how they square off against each other. 

And this is that particular rumble in the jungle.

And I’m also going to tell you how I found out Blackbeard the salesman, was actually my porch pirate. And how a doorbell actually sealed his fate. But only later.

Zmodo vs Ring – the initial basics

In my search for the perfect porch pirate deterrent, things finally came down to these two. In my search I applied the same methodology I would in any product review or showdown, so I rated them. 

My rating system is technical and boring, so I’m not going to give you a snoozing fit by explaining it all. But I am going to give you the result.

It’s a star-based rating system, and here is how BOTH scored:

Functionality and design – A full five stars for both

Accessibility and features – Four and a half stars for both

Customer support – Four and a half stars for both

System stability – A full five stars for both

So, they’re neck in neck, scoring pretty much the same rating across the board in the early parts of my review test.

They’re both really sexy little units. They’re well-made and obviously durable. They work well and do what they’re supposed to. But could they catch a porch pirate?

Read on to find out.

Let’s start with the Zmodo.

The Zmodo Greet doorbell 

This model has been around for a while. It’s a big seller with a big name. That’s comforting.

At first glance, the features are good, the materials it’s made from are durable, the design is pretty, and by all accounts, it’s a HUGE improvement on Zmodo’s predecessor, which sounds like it was a bit of a dud.

But that also inspires confidence. If a company brings out a dud – as many do – and it can actually dust itself off and bring a version 3.0 to market with the kind of success Zmodo has achieved with this doorbell, it means they learn from their mistakes and take their customers’ gripes seriously.

And that means I want to deal with them.

The price is more than fair, especially if you take all the features into consideration.

Installing the unit

I’m useless at DIY. It took me a while to admit that, but now that I’m conformable with it I don’t mind telling anyone who’ll listen.

Consequently, for me to install anything successfully and without everything resembling a crow’s nest, it has to be REALLY simple.

Installing the Zmodo was really easy. It took me 20 minutes, and quite frankly, I had a beer when I was done to celebrate my fine craftsmanship. The whole job looked like it had been done by a professional.

How long did it take? 15 minutes. I kid you not.

The Zmodo Greet design

This is one of the better-looking doorbells on the market. When I called a friend over to come and look at my handy work (I really felt that good about my installation effort!) he commented that the doorbell looks better than the house.

Zmodo paid lots of attention to detail. A bit like Apple does. It’s a product you feel good owning, and you don’t mind telling others you own.

A well-featured product

The Zmodo Greet (2.0, remember?!) has a 720p HD camera, two-way audio, a smart motion detector, and on-demand video. That’s almost more than most Beemers on the market!

Here’s a list of specs:

  • 720p HD camera
  • 155-degree field of view
  • LED night vision technology
  • Two-way audio streaming
  • One-way video streaming
  • A motion sensor
  • Full integration with other Zmodo products
  • Fully weather-resistant, a bit like the postal service
  • Easy setup
  • Cloud storage
  • A 1-year warranty
  • A flexible mobile app that works without a hitch

The Zmodo also takes your me-time into consideration with its “quiet hours” feature. Once activated on your mobile app, it goes into do-not-disturb mode. I believe this is a feature designed by a writer.

The Zmodo Greet kicks into action when a PIR sensor detects movement. Immediately, the app alerts you with a video clip.

You can also record a message for visitors. Heck, this is an answering service too! Instead of opening the door when you don’t feel like it, you can let the Zmodo Greet do the talking for you!

“Sorry, I can’t come to the door right now.” Or, “I’m not in the market for anything right now, thank you very much.”

I’m actually sitting here and thinking about how a writer can make a few extra macaronis by writing creative messages for people’s doorbells. Who’d have thought that possible!

The ups and downs

Like any other product on the market, the Zmodo greet absolutely shines in certain areas but also falls short of the mark in others. Here’s the lowdown.

The ups

  • Definitely the message recorder
  • It’s really easy to use
  • The design and aesthetics are great
  • Video and audio quality
  • The integration possibilities
  • The mobile app is excellent
  • The 8GB built-in storage
  • The quiet-hours feature – quite ingenious, actually

The downs

  • No way to record to the cloud
  • The package comes only with the doorbell and the manual – I felt a bit lost

The verdict

All in all, this is a fantastic product. The features are comprehensive. I’d use them, well, most of them. 

Obviously, Zmodo took this upgrade to version 2.0 seriously. And it’s no wonder it’s getting the attention in the market that it’s getting.

But can it catch a porch pirate?! You’ll find out soon!

The RING Video Doorbell

The Ring Wi-Fi enabled doorbell boxes from the other corner in today’s rumble. And it’s an equally serious contender.

This specific model is Ring’s top-selling doorbell. The positive reviews across the Internet on this single product are actually staggering. It has built an enormous following and a reputation as a real piece of tech art.

And when I started lifting the hood on this doorbell, I realized – what I thought was going to be a prize fight, is actually the equivalent of the Incredible Hulk facing off against Woody Allen in a twelve-round winner-takes-all! Well, almost …

Installing the unit

No wires on this one. I mean, you have the option of a wired connection, but who’d bother, right?

As much as I felt lost when the Zmodo package arrived, I was delighted when the Ring came. It was all there – including the drill bit! And a screwdriver. The woodscrews. Other stuff I didn’t know what to do with. It was ALL there.

Here’s what you get in the box:

  • The doorbell, obviously
  • A micro-USN charging cable
  • The mounting bracket with a level
  • A drill bit
  • Masonry screws with their anchors
  • Wood screws
  • A screwdriver (the tool, not the drink)
  • A screwdriver bit
  • All-weather sealant
  • And when all else fails, refer to manual – it’s there too

EVERYTHING you need is there. And there is a step-by-step Ring video which they uploaded specifically to help a dunce like me get the doorbell up and running while still sober.

A well-featured product

  • An HD, 720p 30fps camera
  • 180-degree field of vision
  • Built-in night vision
  • Audio streaming with two-way noise cancellation
  • Motion sensor with smart motion detection
  • Cloud recording
  • Dual-powered – you can opt to use the rechargeable batteries or you can use an outlet.
  • Fully weather-resistant
  • Quick and easy setup
  • Lifetime warranty

So, already the Ring pulls ahead of the competition in the features list. And all of these features are handy. They’re usable. They’re there for a purpose and the purpose is the customer.

The one thing that really blew me away about the whole Ring package, is their theft replacement policy. I was more than a little apprehensive about the porch pirate’s ability to lift things when nobody is looking.

The thought of him finding my new security doorbell attractive and simply taking that along with whatever else was lying around on the porch gave me the jitters. But Ring gave me the answer.

If your doorbell is stolen, send them an email telling them exactly what happened, attach a police report, and they’ll send you another completely free of charge. Now, THAT’S service.

See how clever they’re boxing?

The ups and the downs

The ups:

  • You can use your phone to communicate with a visitor through the doorbell
  • Super easy to use
  • The design is great – like Porsche met Apple and they had a little baby
  • Both the video and audio quality are excellent
  • The night vision is superb
  • Lifetime theft replacement
  • Cloud recording

The downs:

  • The motion sensor can be over-sensitive

The verdict

This is the one I bought for my own home, but I think you guessed that already. And it caught a porch pirate. I’ll tell you how in a moment. It’s a helluva story.

The Ring looks great, the features are unbeatable and practical at the same time, and you have the peace of mind of great customer service and warranty specs backing it up. For me, it was a no-brainer.

The direct comparison

Okay, so we’ve looked at both the Zmodo and the Ring now. We’ve touched on their features and spoken about a host of other things.

Let’s compare and adjudicate on each point. 


This is Ring’s round. Fair and square. Too many features and well-designed capabilities for Zmodo to compete with.

Battery life

This round goes to Ring too. It works both as a wired and wireless unit, so you have a choice. And, if you choose the wireless option as I did, the AAs that you’ll need are in the box.

Look and feel

They’re both good-looking and durable. I prefer the Ring, but it’s probably because I own one. Let’s call this round a draw.

Cloud recording

This one belongs to Ring. Zmodo opted to stay in the corner.

So, how did it catch the porch pirate?

Amazing how things don’t always work out the way you think they will, right? Well, this is one such instance.

Shortly after I installed the Ring (and yes, I did it myself!) I went down to Florida to see a friend. It was just for two days, so I didn’t bother canceling my mail.

On my last day there, I get a call from my neighbor. He’d been walking his dog later than usual, and in the dusk, he’d seen someone messing with a small bundle of parcels on my porch.

Our neighborhood is great like that. We look out for each other. When I’d installed the Ring, I told everybody about it, and some people now have Ring systems themselves.

I digress.

John, my dog-walking-neighbor, is an ex-marine, and not really the kind of guy you’d like to have on the other side. So, he walked up to the stranger, with his Mastiff on the leash, and asked the guy what he was doing.

He recognized the guy as a salesman that was active in the area. No straight answer was forthcoming, so he apprehended the guy (he never really told me how …) and called the cops.

There was a bit of bob’s your aunty going on. The porch pirate told them he was actually looking for me because we had an appointment. And that I must have forgotten, because I wasn’t home. You know the song and dance I’m talking about.

The long and the short if it is, the chap was charged with trespassing. Right there on the spot.

So, where does the Ring Doorbell come in, you ask?

Well, on a whim I went over the recordings it had made in the time I was away. I found two on the timeline where Blackbeard, the porch-pirate-salesman, had sniffed around and actually taken packages from my porch.

As fate would have it, the items in those packages were actually quite valuable.

The Ring recordings were more than enough evidence to have the guy charged. He’s waiting for his court case.

So, is the Ring worth the money you’ll spend on it?