When it comes to home security and smart home gadgets, I always took a no-compromise approach. The smart home technologies are developing at a fantastic rate in the past few years and combining smart control system, wireless technology, and mobile apps seem to be the current major trend.
Skybell has been a major player in the smart doorbell technology for years, and although I didn’t like their previous Skybell 2.0 bell, the new next-gen Skybell HD caught me off guard!I didn’t like Skybell 2.0 (out in early 2015) because of its wired-only limitation,low 640×480 resolution, and the inability of recording videos. The Skybell HD perfectly addressed those issues with 1080p HD resolution, all wireless configuration, on-demand streaming, and recording capabilities. It also comes with handful new features, like the integration with third party products such as the Amazon Alexa and Google Nest, and having its own IFTTT channel.
How Does it Work?
In case you’re a complete beginner with video doorbell (don’t worry, we all did one time), the Skybell HD works in a very simple and easy to understand manner:
1. Someone presses the Skybell HD doorbell
2. The signal goes to the Wi-Fi router
3. Your Wi-Fi router extends the signal to the mobile networks tower, which will, in turn, send the signal to your smartphone
4. The downloadable Skybell App in your smartphone will notify you
5. You can view the HD video of your visitor, and do two-way talking for your visitor just like an intercom in your Skybell App
Pretty straightforward and convenient, right? How about the installation process? Let’s do a bit of a walkthrough.
Installing a Skybell HD
When you purchased a Skybell HD, the package will come with an installation kit of a mounting plate, screws, and Allen wrench. Provided you already got a low-voltage doorbell with a mechanical chime, the installation process is almost a plug-and-play process. If you have a digital chime, Skybell also provides an adapter (purchased separately).
For the installation process (and requirements), check out this installation video guide by Skybell itself.
After you’ve mounted the Skybell HD, simply download the Skybell app on your smartphone and sign up with your e-mail.
You can then add your Skybell HD to the Skybell app by entering the device ID. The device ID can be found both in the box and the device itself. After that, you can simply connect to your Wi-Fi network and the Skybell HD is ready.
Here are some of the notable features I found on the product:
– 5x zoom 1080p video
– On-demand viewing, you can view anytime
– Motion sensor, you can detect visitor (or people wandering around) even when the doorbell is not pressed
– Two-way communications, you can speak with visitor using your smartphone even when you’re not inside the house
– Full-color night vision
– Wide third-party compatibilities including but not limited to the Nest Cam and Amazon’s Alexa, IFTTT compatibility allows easier integration to many third-party apps and products.
Pros & Cons
In general, the Skybell HD comes with a lot of handful state-of-the-art technologies that will make your smart home security a convenient one. However, no one product will always be perfect, and there’s no review without a pros and cons section. So, let’s start with what I like about the product:
Pros of The Skybell HD
– Superb HD video quality both on daytime and nighttime, the color night-vision feature is excellent. Arguably, the night vision is the best among its competition
– FREE video recording and unlimited download, no subscription fees at all which is a huge advantage compared to its competitors
– Easy physical installation, especially if you are using a mechanical chime
– Excellent performance during any weather, rain doesn’t really affect its performance and durability
– Third party integration is excellent especially because of its IFTTT recipes compatibility, connecting it with my Nest Protect and Amazon Alexa was a breeze
– Skybell’s support is always responsive and helpful, and the app updates regularly every few weeks or so
– Design wise, it comes in two selection of sleek black and white with modern, ‘next-gen’ feel design
– Can use multiple accounts at once, so if you have multiple family members, all can access the app
However, there’re a few minuscule flaws I didn’t like about the product, they are:
Cons of the Skybell HD
– Doesn’t come with a rechargeable built-in battery, so you’ll have to wire it with you home’s wiring. This could be a hassle if you didn’t already have an existing doorbell installed
– Slightly pro iOS, my wife is using Android and my iOS app tends to be updated a few days in advance.
– The motion detection’s sensitivity can be irregular sometimes, but it might be because of my placement. Skybell did add Motion Sensitivity control (low/normal/high) to their app a while ago, though, which did help a lot
To stay unbiased, here are some summaries of user reviews i collected from several top sites:
User & Other Reviews
Users that gave it high rating noted similar pros and features with what I’ve discussed above. For those who gave negative ratings, they mostly complained about the complicated installation process if you didn’t already have an existing wiring for a previous doorbell. Some also received faulty products and needed to get it replaced.
CNET gave it a favorable review of 4 out of 5-star, complementing the wide range of third-party integration and HD video quality.
The Skybell HD provides a state-of-the-art, next-gen technology for your smart home security needs. The installation process is relatively easy, although if you hadn’t had an existing doorbell installed before, the wiring process might be a little more complicated. In general, the product is very reliable, durable, and the video quality is superb in both day and night. The free video storage and unlimited download are a huge plus, so you won’t have any subscription fee and other additional fees needed ever.
The third-party integration is great, especially if you have an existing smart security system like the Nest Cam or Amazon’s Alexa. The synchronization process is extremely easy with IFTTT recipes, and it’s almost a plug-and-play experience. I would definitely recommend the Skybell HD Wi-Fi Doorbell as an upgrade to your home’s best doorbell camera.