The Top 3 Video Doorbells for Capturing Who’s There


Dwight Eschliman; Styling by Ari Gelardin

The latest video doorbells don’t just connect your door to your phone. Control these with your voice, and let them govern the gadgets in your smart home.

1. Ring Door View Cam

If you live in an apartment building or a condo, you probably don’t have a hardwired doorbell you can rip out and replace with a smart option. Good news then: Ring’s new battery-­powered Door View Cam slots into any existing peephole for an easy fix to that dilemma. Call up the feed from the motion-­detecting ­camera through your phone or any Alexa-­enabled device with a screen, and use the two-way talk feature to tell strangers to buzz off. If you pay for a $30 yearly cloud-storage subscription, you can check out videoclips from the last 60 days—helpful if you want to sneak a peek at your teen’s comings and goings while you’re out of town or take a gander at who has been sniffing around your bike shed.


2. Nest Hello

Nest’s hardwired unit can use its computer vision technology to recognize faces. Train it by tagging friends and relatives in your videofeed, and the system will issue alerts when they arrive. It can announce them by name on your phone’s screen or through any Google Home speaker. If a stranger shows up, you can keep things transactional with a quick, prerecorded greeting. Video from the Hello is clear, even with tricky shadows or at night, and the doorbell can stream continuous footage if you want to survey your stoop from afar. Just know that some of the advanced features require a Nest Aware subscription ($50 a year).


3. Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell

Most door cams store footage in the cloud and require a subscription to access the captured clips. Instead, Netatmo’s hardwired device records your footage onto a microSD card—no monthly fees required. It’s compatible with Apple HomeKit, so you can set up a Siri Shortcut that turns on the smart light bulbs on the porch to illuminate both friends and foes. Of course, you can also ask your iPhone to show you who’s outside. If they’re holding a package, you can talk to them remotely through the built-in speaker: “Put the box down and back away slowly.”


This article appears in the April issue. Subscribe now.

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