If you want to increase the security at your house, adding a smart doorbell is a good start. Remotely seeing the view from your front door can give you peace of mind by letting you know who is at your door. I am going to save you a lot of time reading smart doorbell reviews by giving you my Skybell HD Review.
I bought the Skybell 2.0 in January 2015. It wasn’t great and I wasn’t happy with it. Wiring up the doorbell was easy, but it went downhill from there. I had trouble connecting it to my WiFi network. It turned out that I had a defective product and had to go through the RMA process to get a replacement. Eventually, I got the new doorbell and got it working. The video was horrible and didn’t work on my Android phone, but it did work on an iPhone.
I wasn’t really happy with it, but I stuck with it because I had spent about $200 on a doorbell and one feature worked great. At the time, we had napping babies and dogs. When the doorbell would ring, the dogs would bark and wake up the babies. The Skybell let me turn off the indoor chime and ring from the app instead. That way the dogs didn’t bark. Letting the kids sleep was worth all the hassle.
Skybell HD Review
In October 2016 I upgraded to the Skybell HD. I wanted to go with a Ring doorbell because of how poor the Skybell 2.0 was for me. Skybell offered a credit to upgrade to the HD so I entertained the idea of sticking with Skybell. I read a ton of reviews and they made it sound like all the issues I had with Skybell 2.0 were resolved with the Skybell HD. So, I gave it a try.
Installation was easy and I was able to get it connected to my WiFi network without any difficulties. I already have a strong WiFi signal at my front door though. If you’re considering a Skybell, be sure to do a speedtest to make sure you have enough bandwidth for video. If not, you might have luck improving your WiFi network.
You can still disable the indoor chime. There is also an outdoor chime to let people know that the button press was successful. App notifications are configurable and you choose if you want notifications when the button is pressed and/or when motion is detected. Then you click on the notification and it will bring up the video from the doorbell. You don’t need to wait for something to happen, however. You can watch video on demand at any time. Then from the app, you can review the events and video.
There is no additional fee to record video. When you’re viewing the live video you can also carry on a conversation with whoever is at your front door. So even if you’re not home, you can answer the door. Finally, if you’re worried about your expensive doorbell being stolen, you don’t need to worry. They will replace it if it’s stolen.
Adjusting the settings is easy from the Skybell app. Most of the configuration options have simple On or Off options. The default LED color that shows on the button is green, but you can change that if you want. If you have low bandwidth, lowering the image quality is an option to get smooth video. The 720p setting also produces good video. Finally, the doorbell speaker volume is adjustable if you need more volume for the person at your door to hear you.
How well does Skybell HD work?
The video is great and it’s clear even at night. The app works on both iPhones and Android phones. They did a great job addressing the issues of the Skybell 2.0. It’s more than just me in the house and we can set up access to the Skybell HD for every member of the house.
It’s not perfect though. A few times there has been a delay between the button press and the notification, but that hasn’t happened in a while. Sometimes a large vehicle will trigger the motion detection. We just had a thunderstorm that kept triggering the motion detection with all the lightning strikes. Skybell is working on the motion detection issues. These haven’t been deal breaker issues to me, but I needed to include them here.
Skybell vs Ring
These two smart doorbells have more in common than differences so I’m not going to repeat what they do the same. Skybell HD can work in more extreme temperature ranges, so keep that in mind if that applies to you. Ring includes angled mounting plates to angle your doorbell if it’s on the side where there’s a small charge for that for Skybell. That, along with how they look, are the big differences in specifications. However, there’s one more difference that matters for security. Ring charges a subscription fee to record video. You can still get notifications and on-demand video, but Ring won’t record without the subscription. Since Skybell includes this with no extra charges and does a great job with all the other features, Skybell is the clear winner. Finally, I’m glad I didn’t give up on Skybell since it also sells at a better price than Ring.
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I’ve been having problems with the motion detection feature where it’s triggered by sunlight, trees, large vehicles, etc. I reached out to Skybell support and here was their answer:
The issue appears to stem from the recent increase in the SkyBell‘s motion detection to address concerns that the device was not detecting sufficient activity, this was achieved by incorporating the use of the camera and analyzing the image it records and being alerted to any significant changes. This has resulted in some Skybell‘s reacting heavily to any large object passing in front of the camera, vehicles driving by where the street is visible, or sudden changes in lighting or shadows. Our development team is working to scale this sensitivity back and find a more suitable middle ground so that the SkyBell can detect activity that is more relevant (ex. people, animals, etc.) to the user rather than reacting to everything that it sees. They have not yet given us an exact release date for completion but have given us their assurances that they are working on this new update and testing it and as soon as it becomes available to upload, your SkyBell will receive it automatically and you should see a significant difference in performance.
I apologize for the inconvenience and I can say I most definitely share your desire to see this update completed and applied as soon as possible. I will keep an eye out for an announcement for early release or beta testing opportunities so we can try to get your device updated to the new firmware as soon as possible. In the meantime, If you wish to keep motion detection working but do not wish to receive constant alerts, I would suggest disabling the motion detection notifications, this way the SkyBell will continue to record activity and not miss anything of relevance while not overwhelming your phone with notifications.
Thank you for your continued patience