While I have the Ring doorbellinstalled at The Greenwich House, and am generally happy with it, I have to honestly say that the new SkyBell doorbell takes the product category to another level. I was thrilled to discover this company at CEDIA 2016 in Dallas a few weeks ago. After learning more, I can see why SkyBell HD doorbell with camera was named “Best Video Doorbell by CNET and Wirecutter.
Studies show that burglars will ring the doorbell to see if anyone is home as a last check before breaking into a house. By simply answering the ring on your phone from anywhere you can give the impression you are home and hopefully scare a potential intruder away.
I have set up my Ring doorbell as a motion sensor as well so data will be collected well before someone ever gets near the front door. The motion sensor reliably notifies me when someone is at the house, including general services such as lawn maintenance crews in the vicinity of the entrance. Should a burglar realize they he is standing in front of a smart doorbell/camera and then attempt to destroy it, a record should already exist in the cloud from the motion detector, provided you have signed up for the cloud image storage feature. While ring charges a $3 monthly fee, it is free-of-charge with SkyBell. This feature is a must-have in my view.
So how clear are these cameras? How wide or comprehensive is the view of your front entrance space? In both cases, the answer is fantastic with a clear advantage with SkyBell. Both have HD cameras though SkyBell no longer has the fisheye distortion and SkyBell has a full-color night vision camera – two big advances in image quality.
Both Ring and SkyBell offer repeater “chime” units. Andrew Thomas, co-founder of SkyBell tells me we can thank his sister for also having a built-in silent mode for the chime – a must when trying to avoid waking up a napping toddler from loud door chimes – very cool for every parent!
Both Ring and SkyBell are offered as a wired device or as a battery run unit. At The Greenwich House I already had to charge the doorbell battery once in three months. Skybell claims to have a longer-lasting battery. At CEDIA SkyBell unveiled a new narrow, rectangular SkyBell Trim Plus HD unit, an addition to their original round SkyBell HD. The rectangular case is similar to Ring’s though it is slimmer and should fit on any door trim. Both Ring and SkyBell offer attractive finishes to satisfy the designer in me.
If you wish to integrate SkyBell into an existing home automation system SkyBell Connect works with Nest, Samsung Smart Things, Honeywell, Amazon Echo and other devices and networks. Since it is clear SkyBell embraces connectivity, I am sure the list will continue to grow rapidly.
Finally, pricing and availability. Both basic Ring and SkyBell units retail for $199. SkyBell promises to be out with the slim SkyBell Trim Plus before the end of this year. For all of the above reasons it’s time to turn your basic old doorbell into a smart one. Once you have one, you won’t ever want to be without one – I truly mean that!