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Know just when your mail is delivered with Ring’s Mailbox Sensor

(CNN) —  

Ring’s entire approach to its bevy of connected home security products is centered around helping you feel safe at home. They’re all aimed at providing peace of mind.

The Mailbox Sensor, Ring’s latest product, is no different. It’s designed to provide alerts when someone opens your mailbox. It’s handy in that you’ll know when mail is delivered, but it’s also reassuring to know if someone is messing with your mail.

We’ve been testing it for the last few weeks, and found that it does exactly what it’s supposed to do. Nothing less, nothing more. And that’s perfectly fine.

When shopping for the Mailbox Sensor you’re presented with two options. You can buy the Sensor, which comes with everything you need to attach it to your mailbox as well as an antenna, for $29.99. Or you can buy the Sensor and a Ring Bridge for $49.99.

If you already have a Ring Smart Light product at your house, you already have a Bridge and can just purchase the Sensor. However, if you only have a camera-based product, odds are you’re going to need a Bridge as well.

When we opened the box with the Sensor inside, we had a moment of deja vu. The Sensor itself looks a lot like the Smart Lighting Motion Sensor. It’s nearly identical, save for the fact that the Mailbox Sensor has a hole on the back of it where you can connect the included antenna.

PHOTO:
Jason Cipriani/CNN

We’d imagine if you placed your Bridge within range of your mailbox and mounted the standard Motion Sensor inside it’d work the same way the Mailbox Sensor does. Again, you’ll need the sensor and the bridge, so if you happen to have bought a kit and have a sensor that you don’t know what to do with – it might be worth giving this a try.

The Mailbox Sensor is bigger than it looks in photos. It measures 2.56 x 2.44 x 1.47-inches. It sticks out a fair amount on our mailbox door, partially blocking the opening for larger packages (more on this below).

It’s powered by three AAA batteries, and comes with all the adhesive tape or screws you’ll need to attach it to your mailbox. There’s even a drill bit in case you need to drill a hole to accommodate the cord for the antenna.

The antenna is a small, flat piece of plastic with a 17-inch cord that comes out of the bottom that is connected to the back of the sensor.

PHOTO:
Jason Cipriani/CNN

If you don’t have a Bridge set up already, you’ll want to set that up first. Add it to your Ring account by following the instructions in the app. The steps involve connecting the Bridge to power, using the Ring app to connect the Bridge to your Wi-Fi network, and letting it take care of some background syncing.

After setting up your Bridge, or if you already have one, you’ll follow a similar process to set up the Mailbox Sensor. Scan the code, then follow the prompts to get the Sensor and Bridge talking to each other. All happens within the Ring app for Android or iOS.

Finally, you’ll be walked through the installation of the Sensor. You’ll be asked what material your mailbox is made out of (metal or plastic) and how far away your mailbox is from the Bridge. Our mailbox is made of wood, which wasn’t an option, so we picked plastic. At the end of the process, the app will recommend if you need to use the antenna or not. If you do, there’s a small switch you’ll need to make sure it is in the right position.

We opted to mount ours with the included adhesive, and instead of drilling a hole in our mailbox, we found a way to route the cable behind the door’s hinge. It’s a little tight, but works.

It sticks out far enough on our mailbox door that our USPS delivery person has had a harder time fitting small packages into our mailbox. Not to mention, it just looks weird to open the mailbox and see this somewhat giant cyclops-looking sensor staring back at you. At the back of the mailbox, it will be a little more inconspicuous and hopefully still as reliable.

Every time the mail has been delivered, and then again when we retrieve it, we receive a push alert from the Ring app stating that there’s motion at the mailbox. It’s nearly instant, which is impressive. However, the other night, the door to our mailbox wasn’t closed all the way (due to that antenna cable, we think) and the wind blew the door open and shut all night. We woke up to over 100 motion alerts. Yikes.

PHOTO:
Jason Cipriani/CNN

In the Ring app, you’re able to link the sensor to other Ring products, which are then triggered when motion is detected. We have our Mailbox Sensor linked to a floodlight camera that overlooks the box. Once the sensor is activated, the camera starts recording – something it wasn’t doing previously due to the number of times it would send a motion alert for every single car that passed by.

But now we can get a recording when someone opens our mailbox. Whether you live in an area that packages and mail are often stolen, or like us, live in an area that for a short time this fall had someone going around and placing live snakes randomly in mailboxes, knowing when your mailbox is being tampered with – or when deliveries are made – is vital. It’s peace of mind.

The Ring Mailbox Sensor is an inexpensive and common sense addition for someone who is already invested in Ring’s ecosystem of home security products; especially if they already have a Smart Lighting Bridge setup.

It’s even a common-sense investment for someone who has yet to dabble in any of Ring’s products, especially now that a lot of us are working from home, the potential of receiving important work documents or packages has gone up significantly. Adding a sensor that sends a push alert to your phone for under $50 with no monthly fee makes a lot of sense.

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