SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro Review & Rating – PCMag.com

SimpliSafe’s Video Doorbell Pro ($169) is a streamlined smart doorbell offering crisp 1080p HDR video, sharp night vision, motion-triggered alerts and video recording, and a wide field of view. It’s easy to install and works as a standalone video doorbell or as part of a SimpliSafe Home sk© Security SAVER SALE System, but you have to subscribe to a storage plan to access recorded video. Moreover, it doesn’t offer the support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands and IFTTT applets that you get with our more expensive Editors’ Choice, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. But if you’ve already bought into the SimpliSafe ecosystem, it’s worth adding to your setup to keep the porch pirates at bay.[1][2][3]

Similar Products

Design and Features

The sleek SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro looks strikingly similar to the Nest Hello[4]. Both have white enclosures with rounded edges and sport a large backlit ringer button. At 4.3 by 1.5 by 1.2 inches (HWD), the SimpliSafe doorbell is just a tad smaller than the Nest Hello (4.6 by 1.7 by 1.0) and is slightly smaller than the Vivint Smart Doorbell (4.5 by 1.5 by 1.0), which up to now had the distinction of being the smallest doorbell we’ve tested. By way of comparison, the Ring Video Doorbell Pro measures 4.5 by 1.8 by 0.8 inches (HWD).

The doorbell camera captures HDR (high dynamic range) video at 1080p and has a wide 162-degree viewing angle. It contains a PIR (passive infrared) motion sensor, a microphone and speaker for two-way audio, an 802.11n (2.4GHz) Wi-Fi radio for connecting to your home network, and two infrared LEDS that provide up to 30 feet of black-and-white night vision.

As with the Ring Pro, the Wisenet SmartCam D1[5], and the SkyBell HD, the SimpliSafe Pro is a wired doorbell that uses your existing doorbell wiring. If your home isn’t already wired, you’ll have to run your own wire to an 8V-24V transformer. Included in the box are the doorbell, mounting screws, a mounting plate, and a wedge mount for angled surface mounting.

The SimpliSafe Pro records video clips when the ringer button is pressed or when it detects motion, but you have to subscribe to a storage plan in order to view them. Ring, Wisenet, Nest, and August also require subscriptions to view recorded video from their doorbells, while the Skybell HD[6] gives you seven days of video storage for free. SimpliSafe offers a single camera plan that gives you access to 30 days of video history for $4.99 per month. That’s a bit more expensive than Ring’s basic plan, which goes for $3 per month and gives you 60 days of video history. If you have a SimpliSafe security system with an Interactive monitoring plan, access to the doorbell’s recorded video is included. Additionally, you can have other Simplisafe components such as door, window, and motion sensors trigger the doorbell’s recording function.

The SimpliSafe Doorbell Pro uses the same Android and iOS mobile app as the company’s home security system. From the main screen, tap the three-bar icon in the upper left corner, tap Cameras, and then hit the Doorbell tab to launch a live stream that you can view in full-screen mode by turning your phone sideways. At the bottom of the screen is a microphone button for two-way audio communication with whoever is at the door. Back at the Cameras screen, tap the gear icon to access the Settings page where you can enable motion detection and set motion sensitivity, enable motion and doorbell ring notifications, change Wi-Fi settings, and turn the doorbell’s LED on and off. To view recorded video, go back to the three-bar icon and tap Timeline. Below Timeline are options for activating a new security system and help and support information.

Installation and Performance

Installing the Doorbell Pro is fairly easy, but it does require basic wiring knowledge, so if you’re not comfortable with turning breakers on and off and connecting wires, hire someone who is. I shut off the power to my old doorbell, removed it, and ran the two wires through the back of the mounting plate. I attached the wires to the terminals and attached the plate to the house using the included mounting hardware. I slid the doorbell housing onto the plate and restored power to the circuit. The LED ring began flashing white and a voice prompt informed me that the doorbell was ready for setup using the SimpliSafe app.

SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro Review & Rating - PCMag.com

I opened the app, tapped Set Up a Product, and selected Doorbell from the list. I entered my property name, selected my Wi-Fi SSID, and entered my Wi-Fi password. Next, I selected a location (front door, back door, side), confirmed that the LED was flashing white, and used the doorbell camera to scan the code on my phone. The code was immediately recognized and the voice prompt informed me that the camera was attempting to connect to Wi-Fi, which it did within several seconds. After confirming that the doorbell was functioning properly, I pressed Done and was finished.

The Doorbell Pro worked well in testing. The HDR camera delivers outstanding 1080p video: daytime video is sharp and colorful, and black-and-white night video is adequately lit and remains clear out to 30 feet. Despite the camera’s wide-angle lens, there is none of the barrel distortion we saw with the Wisenet SmartCam D1. Motion and ring alerts arrived instantly, and there were very few false alerts from passing cars. Two-way audio also came through loud and clear.

Conclusions

While the SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro makes the most sense for SimpliSafe Home sk© Security SAVER SALE System owners who wish to add a smart doorbell to their setup, it also works quite well as a standalone product. When paired with a SimpliSafe security system, the doorbell will begin recording when other system sensors are triggered, but when used as a standalone device it won’t interact with other smart devices, and it lacks supports for IFTTT[7], Alexa, and Google Assistant voice commands. You’ll pay more for the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, but it works with IFTTT applets, supports Alexa and Google voice services, and offers a slightly less expensive subscription plan with twice as much storage, so it remains our Editors’ Choice for smart doorbells.

References

  1. ^ smart doorbell (www.pcmag.com)
  2. ^ SimpliSafe Home sk© Security SAVER SALE System (www.pcmag.com)
  3. ^ Ring Video Doorbell Pro (www.pcmag.com)
  4. ^ Nest Hello (www.pcmag.com)
  5. ^ Wisenet SmartCam D1 (www.pcmag.com)
  6. ^ Skybell HD (www.pcmag.com)
  7. ^ IFTTT (www.pcmag.com)

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