5 smart doorbells that make screening visitors easier than ever – CNET

5 smart doorbells that make screening visitors easier than ever – CNET

Your front door is the gateway to your home, an entry point for friends, family and a whole lot of other folks, some welcome, some…not so much. Of course, you can always try to master the stealth-mode front-door tip-toe method to see who’s there, but that isn’t ideal. That’s what smart doorbell manufacturers want you to think, at least.

These assorted Wi-Fi doorbells, ranging in price from $149 to $349, all offer built-in cameras, microphones and speakers so you can see — and even talk to — visitors from your phone either on Wi-Fi or a cellular network. It’s a seemingly-handy hunk of tech, but smart doorbells are a budding category and the earliest models had some significant flaws.

Still the market is growing, with a number of new and intriguing options — check ’em all out here.

August Doorbell Cam

August’s $199 Doorbell Cam is a first-gen model with a 1,280×960-pixel high-definition (HD) resolution and on-demand live streaming capabilities. Yes, you do have to connect it to your existing doorbell wires and it will only work with traditional mechanical chimes, but this smart buzzer is a step above the the rest.

Beyond the solid HD resolution and live feed, the Doorbell Cam also works with August’s Smart Lock and related accessories. Available on the same Android or iPhone app, fans of multiple August products will find this integration especially useful. The one caveat is its size — this thing is pretty wide and simply won’t fit on every door frame.

Read CNET’s full review of the August Doorbell Cam.

DoorBird Video Door Station

Bird Home Automation’s DoorBird Video Door Station has an adjustable 720p HD video resolution, night vision, two-way talk and motion sensing. It’s also designed to work alongside the team’s BirdGuard outdoor security camera. We haven’t reviewed this doorbell just yet, but its $349 price tag does give us pause. We’re interested to find out if DoorBird’s performance and features justify its cost.

Read CNET’s first take of the DoorBird Video Doorbell.


Ring Video Doorbell

The $199 Ring Video Doorbell is a 720p HD model that’s powered by your existing doorbell wires or the included rechargeable battery. While the battery does allow for a more flexible install, it limits the available features, like live streaming (which can drain a battery fast).

Fortunately, Ring is considering adding live streaming for hard-wired customers — an upgrade that will likely boost its overall usability as a security device. This will also make it more competitive alongside the August Doorbell Cam and SkyBell, two models that offered this feature from the beginning. Ring also introduced its $199 Stick Up Cam this year, an outdoor camera designed to work in tandem with the doorbell.

Read CNET’s full review of the Ring Video Doorbell.


Ring Video Doorbell Pro

Like the newer SkyBell HD, the $250 Ring Video Doorbell Pro boasts 1080p video quality. This hard-wired-only model also offers interchangeable face plates and motion zones that you can customize to suit your needs. Theoretically that means that you can ask the Ring app to ignore street traffic, but pay attention to anything that gets close to your front door — a neat add-on security feature designed to enhance overall usability.

Read CNET’s first take of the Ring Video Doorbell Pro.

SkyBell Video Doorbell (version 2.0)

Source: CNET Smart Home