Thursday, September 18, 2014

What Is A Smart Doorbell

What Is A Smart Doorbell, And Which Should You Buy?

What Is A Smart Doorbell, And Which Should You Buy?

By Dave LeClair
There was a time not long ago when we saw things like a door that unlocked without keys or a thermostat that could be controlled remotely as science fiction. Now, thanks to smart home products, there’s nothing fictional about being able to do awesome things like this at home.
It extends beyond locks, cameras, and thermostats, too, as you can also get a smart doorbell. That’s right, you can find out who’s at your door and even communicate with them without ever opening the door. Sound like magic? With these smart doorbells, it really is possible!

What Is A Smart Doorbell?

Basically, a smart doorbell is a device that your visitors push just like a normal doorbell. However, that’s where the similarities between traditional and smart doorbells end, because you also get all kinds of cool features thanks to the ability to connect to a WiFi network.
SkyBell WiFi Doorbell Answer Door from Smartphone Mozilla Firefox 2014 09 09 00.55.44   What Is A Smart Doorbell, And Which Should You Buy?
With smart doorbells, you have the benefit of receiving alerts when someone is at the door, seeing who it is, and communicating with your visitors — all from your smartphone, anywhere in the world. It really makes you feel like you are living in the future,, which is exactly the goal we are trying to achieve with the magic of a connected home.
Prices on most of the available smart doorbells seems to be hovering right around the $200 mark. It’s a pretty new category that’s still sorting itself out, and many of the models available have gone through crowdfunding sources like Kickstarter and Indiegogo in order to bring the ideas to life.

Models To Consider

As I mentioned previously, the smart doorbell market is still budding, much like the entirety of the connected home field. This means there’s not a lot of models out there, and most are of from companies you haven’t heard of before. It’s all untested as far as sales go, which means the big companies haven’t jumped in head first. With that said, this leaves you with the opportunity to be the first among your friends to install one of these outside of your home, and that’s a cool chance to have!


Availability: Available now, directly from the manufacturer’s website. Also sold from other popular online shopping sites such as Amazon.
Price: $199 with free shipping.
Key Features: Doorbot has all of the cool features you’d expect from a smart doorbell. It connects to your smartphone and allows you to both see and communicate with your visitors. The wide-angle camera is adjustable, so you can point it in the direction you want. If attaching a $200 doorbell on the front of your house concerns you, the company promises that it’s theft-proof and will even replace your smart doorbell if it’s ever stolen. Doorbot has a built-in battery which lasts for months, but can also be powered by existing doorbell wiring, which leaves buyers with options.

SkyBell WiFi

Availability: Available now from the manufacturer and on Amazon, though the manufacturer’s website is saying it could take several weeks for delivery due to high demand.
Price: $199
Key Features: Like the other models, this smart doorbell has WiFi, a camera, and the ability to connect to your smartphone so you can see, hear, and speak with your visitors. The SkyBell WiFi doorbell has a leg up on Doorbot with its motion sensor feature that alerts you even if your visitor at the door never pushes the button. It does not, however, have a built-in battery, so if you don’t have a place to connect your doorbell to power, you are going to want to pass on this one.


Availability: Available for preorder, with the device set to ship at the end of 2014.
Price: $199
Key Features: This device is far more focused on the camera features than the other offerings on the market, and that really increases to coolness factor. Of course, it connects to your wireless network and comes with a camera, but it has a couple of unique features including the ability to recognize frequent visitors, and alert you specifically for them. It can also work like a voicemail for your house, allowing you to record messages for certain visitors. You can even set a do not disturb message for certain visitors, so the device won’t alert you when they drop by.


Availability: Available for preorder with an estimated ship date in December 2014.
Price: £165.00 ($265.60)
Key Features: The i-Bell is pretty standard as far as the features go. It does have a motion sensor (something missing from Doorbot) and it has an integrated battery (a feature not available from SkyBell). However, it comes with a higher price tag than the others, which will make it a less appealing option, as it doesn’t really offer any new or innovative features to justify the higher price tag.

Which One Should You Get?

Each model offers some really cool and useful features, so the decision will boil down to personal preference. In the end, though, as long as you have the ability to connect the device to electricity, and want slightly more traditional doorbell functionality, the SkyBell WiFi is the way to go. The addition of the motion sensor feature is a huge convenience when someone is carrying something, and isn’t able to reach the doorbell. Plus, it has a slightly smaller form factor than the Doorbot. The i-Bell, while shaping up to be a nice device, is just priced a little too high.
If you want to go as smart as possible, with as many connected features as you can get, the Chui is your best choice, although it might be overkill for most users.
Are you going to place a smart doorbell on your home? Which model are you planning on buying?



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