SimpliSafe’s Video Doorbell Pro: A great picture, but it won’t work with your smarthome

SimpliSafe’s Video Doorbell Pro: A great picture, but it won’t work with your smarthome


SimpliSafe’s first Video Doorbell Pro offers
a great picture and doesn’t require an entire SimpliSafe alarm system, but it also won’t
integrate with your smart home. SimplSafe made a big impact on the home security
market when in 2009 it launched a DIY, no-contract alarm system. Its new video doorbell probably won’t do
the same for the smart home security market, but it is a well-made product that’s worth
consideration from anyone contemplating buying one. The picture from the doorbell is good. In fact, it’s better than most. It shoots in 1080p high definition and the
camera’s support for HDR (high dynamic range) is immediately obvious. You can see how it’s evened out the dark
area under my porch overhang with the bright sky in the background. The field of view is 162 degrees, so you get
a nice, wide view of what’s happening in front of your house. For detecting motion, it uses an infrared
sensor with four settings: off, low, medium and high. Infrared means it’s looking for heat sources
like people, animals or car engines and won’t be fooled by the swaying branches of a tree. Right now the detection is pretty limited
but I found the low setting worked well, keeping alerts to just about only people walking to
my front door. Any higher and passing vehicles triggered
the detector. There is no ability to add detection zones:
The camera monitors the entire image or none of it. One of the selling points of this video doorbell
is that you don’t need a subscription for basic functions to work, and that’s good
news. Without paying the $4.99-per-month fee, the
doorbell’s app will pop up an alert on your phone when it senses movement or when someone
presses the button. You can pull up a live video view and talk
remotely to the person in front of your door. If you do subscribe, you’ll also get video
storage, which means you can review video of people coming to your door that you missed
at the time. If you’re going to subscribe, remember to
work in the cost of the monthly subscription when evaluating competitors, or choose one
with recording and no monthly fee. On compatibility, the video doorbell integrates
with SimpliSafe’s second- or third-generation home security systems and they can trigger
camera recording should a security sensor be triggered. But as a stand-alone unit, it isn’t compatible
with other security systems or with smart speakers, such as Google Home or Amazon Echo
and that’s a bit disappointing. Installation was pretty easy. It’s a wired doorbell so requires a 8- to
24-volt power supply, there is no battery option. One of the best parts of the install process
was way it connects to WiFi. Usually this involves your phone, switching
from WiFi to a connection to the doorbell to set access details and then switching back. It’s a hassle that sometimes doesn’t work. SimpliSafe takes your home WiFi access information,
creates a QR code and the camera on the doorbell reads it to grab the network name and password. It’s a pretty neat idea and one other manufacturers
should consider. It makes setup much easier. The doorbell comes with a white faceplate
that is removable. If you buy from Best Buy you’ll get white,
jade and black face plates in the box. The units from SimpliSafe come with just white,
for some reason. I found a bug when testing. The alerts come in based on Eastern time,
even though I’m in the west. SimpliSafe says it’s working on that. So, overall I think the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell
Pro is a quality entry into a competitive field. The picture is top-notch, the design is pleasing,
and the app is stable. A few minor concerns—such as the notification
time zone problem—are promised to be fixed soon. The absence of wider smart home support, on
the other hand, is a significant downside. TechHive rated it 4 out of 5. Ultimately, this is a product that will be
most appreciated by people who either currently have a SimpliSafe system, are planning to
buy one, or people who want to operate it as a stand-alone unit without further smart
home integration.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Sucks that it doesn't work with digital doorbells… C'mon Simplisafe! What year is this? Also lets see some outdoor cams and how bout a mount for the indoor cam? I love the system but needs better accessories.

  2. As a tech guy myself I am really-really glad it doesn't connect to any "smart voice-command" big globo tech home spy devices. They have a record of disregarding privacy.

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