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Ring Alarm Pro combines our favorite security system and router in one

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The Ring Alarm has long been a reliable option for keeping your home safe — it’s currently our pick for the best security system you can buy — but now it also wants to help you stay online. Ring Alarm Pro looks to combine a traditional Ring Alarm with an Eero 6 Wi-Fi router to let you monitor your home while also having a backup internet solution in the event of a sudden outage.

The Ring Alarm Pro is currently available for preorder now starting at $249, with shipments expected to start in the coming weeks. Wondering if this advanced security system is for you? Here’s everything you need to know about the new Ring, as well as a breakdown of some major new security features coming to all Ring devices.

Amazon

Like previous Ring Alarm devices, the Ring Alarm Pro is a big white box that can connect to various sensors and cameras around your home in order to alert you, a loved one or the proper authorities in the event of a break-in or weather emergency. It’s a bit chunkier this time, and there’s a good reason why — this security system also packs a full-on Eero Wi-Fi 6 router inside.

This means that the Ring Alarm Pro can perform all of the usual home security functions of a Ring Alarm device while doubling as a router for delivering fast speeds while surfing the web or bingeing your favorite TV show. The standard Eero 6 is our favorite mesh Wi-Fi router thanks to its ease of use and reliable connection speeds, so we’re eager to see how the same technology performs while baked into a Ring Alarm.

Thanks to this added connectivity, Ring Alarm Pro owners who have a Ring Protect Pro subscription (which starts at $20 per month and is required for home monitoring) will be able to take advantage of up to 3GB of cellular data per month whenever their internet goes out. According to Ring, that nets out to about 300 Ring video recordings, an hour and a half of video streaming and up to 2 hours of video conferencing, all while your internet is down. This subscription also gets you the benefits of Eero Secure (such as advanced parental controls and ad blocking) as well as Alexa Guard Plus for hands-free emergency calls. If you opt into the Extra Data option, you’ll be charged $3 for each additional GB used after you’ve gone over the base 3GB you start with.

The Ring Alarm Pro also brings local video storage to the Ring Alarm family for the first time and it’s a very welcomed addition. The camera comes with a 64GB microSD card, which, once inserted and synced up with a Ring camera, will allow you to store roughly 47 hours of Ring video footage.

For those who currently have Ring Alarm and are actively subscribed to the $10 plan, fear not as you will be grandfathered in at that rate. You will need to upgrade to the new $20 plan to get the internet backup and to use all the functionality of the Ring Alarm Pro. If you choose to get the upgraded Base Station, you’ll be able to swap it in and follow instructions in the Ring app for setup.

We’re big fans of the standard Ring Alarm thanks to its easy installation process, reliable motion detection and wide range of features (including optional 24/7 monitoring), so we’re eager to see how it works when combined with the same tech that powers our favorite router in the Eero. It seems especially ideal for those who currently have spotty Wi-Fi connections, or live in an area where internet outages are a frequent occurrence due to weather conditions or just unreliable internet providers. If you’re in the market for both a new security system and a router, the $249 Ring Alarm Pro is one to keep an eye on.

Ring

For those that want an extra layer of monitoring beyond what Ring offers out of the box, the company is rolling out Virtual Security Guard. Launching later this year in partnership with Rapid Response, this subscription service allows third-party security companies to monitor your Ring cameras according to your preferences and dispatch agents in the event of an emergency.

Virtual Security Guard seems to be aimed at both businesses and everyday consumers who want some assistance with keeping an eye on their homes. There are multiple levels at which Rapid Response will intervene — for example, an agent will simply monitor when someone walks by your door or drops off a package, but if they notice someone looks to be forcing entry, they can engage via two-way talk or flash lights. They can also dispatch emergency services if needed.

Handing over access to your Ring cameras to a third-party comes with some obvious security concerns, which the company plans on addressing with several levels of user control and built-in safeguards. For starters, you get to choose which of your cameras can be accessed by Virtual Security Guard, and all of your Ring cams will be opted out of the service by default.

Third-party agents can only view videos when a motion event (such as someone walking into frame in your camera) occurs, and will not be able to download or view any saved footage. They also won’t be able to access any Privacy Zones you have set up, and you’ll always know when Virtual Security Guard is on — and which videos were viewed by agents — via the Ring app.

That all sounds solid on paper, but we’re still a bit weary about the idea of an external security company having access to our home Ring cameras — especially since the company has a history of privacy issues that include hackers gaining access to home cameras. As such, we’d want to test this feature extensively before recommending it to any Ring owners.

If you are interested in checking it out for yourself, however, Virtual Security Guard will start rolling out this year for a yet to be announced price, and you can sign up right now in order to receive an invitation to the service. You’ll need a Ring Alarm with a professional monitoring plan and an outdoor hardwired Ring Video Doorbell or Security Cam in order to be eligible to subscribe.

Ring

Whether you’re getting a Ring Alarm Pro or sticking with your existing Ring system, the company is rolling out a few new features that allow Ring owners to enjoy more personalized notifications.

The new Custom Event Alerts feature lets you get notifications whenever things change in a specific scene that your Ring Spotlight Cam is capturing — for example, you can get notified any time your garage door is opened or closed. The feature uses machine learning to figure out the difference between, say, an open window and a closed one, and can let you know as soon as something changes. One of our few gripes with the current Ring Alarm is it’s performance when it comes to very specific sensor alerts (such as not triggering an alarm when a dog walks by), so we’re eager to see if this update can help address some of that.

Lots of us are getting more deliveries than ever in our current work-from-home world, so we’re especially interested in trying out the new Package Alerts feature. This option lets you get notified when a package is detected within a specific zone that you create, which will hopefully eliminate the need to keep checking your phone to see if a delivery has arrived yet. And if you have a Ring Video Doorbell Pro 2 and have Alexa Greetings enabled, you can have Amazon’s virtual assistant give the delivery driver specific instructions on where to leave the box.

Custom Event Alerts are set to arrive for Spotlight Cam Battery owners subscribed to Ring Protect Plan “in the coming months,” while Package Alerts are coming to Ring Video Doorbell 2 and Ring Video Doorbell 2020 with a Ring Protect Plan today. We’re very eager to try both of these, but Package Alerts has been a missing feature in Ring’s otherwise good doorbell offerings.

Ring

Need a security camera that can literally fly around your home? The $249 Ring Always Home Cam announced at last year’s Amazon event is finally rolling out as a limited Amazon Day 1 release, and you can sign up for an invitation to purchase one right now. This drone-like camera is designed to let you monitor every part of your home without needing a wide array of separate cameras, and can be programmed to fly along preset paths within the Ring apps.

The idea of a drone that monitors your house might sound creepy to some, but Amazon says the Always Home Cam will only fly when you want it to (either via the Ring app or when triggered by, say, someone coming to your door and activating your Ring Alarm), and that it’s lens is only in use during flight. It sits in a home base, which also charges the camera, when not in use. The Always Home Cam is certainly one of the most unique Ring products we’ve seen yet, and we’re looking forward to testing out how practical its aerial security monitoring is when it starts rolling out this year.

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