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Can Underdog iseeBell Upset the Big Smart Doorbell Companies?

Orignial Link: https://blog.newegg.com/can-underdog-iseebell-upset-big-smart-doorbell-companies/

by  on October 23, 2017 in Product Overviews

iseeBell is an up-and-coming smart doorbell company, using a small-form with some unique features to set it apart from the crowd.

As it stands today the home automation market is quite robust, and quick to develop new technology when the “need” presents itself. This time last year there was just a fraction of the established companies in any one segment of the market that there are today, and the space is getting crowded. One area that has been rapidly maturing is the world of smart doorbells, which now has over a dozen companies vying for control over that precious space next to your front door. Today we’ll focus on a newcomer to the competition: iseeBell, who offer a compact smart doorbell they feel has what it takes to stand up to the incumbents.

Some of those established brands are household names for home automation fans: RingRemoBellAugust, and SkyBell have all become mainstays in the smart doorbell market, each with their unique characteristics. But several others are lesser-known brands, some with really compelling features. Being one of the latter, iseeBell has some stiff competition, but can an underdog out-perform the heavyweights in the field?

Why a smart doorbell is important

Motion detection, mobile push alerts, two-way communication, and live video are all popular smart doorbell features for securing the smart home.  

Before getting into the details about the iseeBell, it makes sense to look at why smart doorbells are important parts of the home security ecosystem. Smart doorbells definitely aren’t the first thing someone would think of when looking to build out a smart security system, but they are a great piece to the puzzle that many overlook.

First, they provide visual coverage over the most important access point in a home, the front door. Even if a burglar breaks the back window or jimmies another entry point open, chances are they will ring the doorbell first to check if the home is occupied. Also, users can receive instant alerts to stay abreast of actionable security risks or other key events when they matter most and can be addressed. Most smart doorbells also give users access to two-way audio communication with the front door visitors, via the Wi-Fi network from wherever they are.

Smart doorbells also have a perfect viewing angle to identify faces. Even if someone is wearing a ball cap, the camera on a doorbell still has a clear line of sight which can identify visitors (friends or foes). Overhead-mounted cameras do not always have  the best angle to provide this level of detail (this definitely isn’t to say that one should forgo a surveillance system and put all their eggs in the smart doorbell basket, however it is very important to having a comprehensive system).

Subtle home security

iseeBell's 720p camera can pick up enough detail to make it easy to decipher facial features, from any visitor.

One of the things that initially stuck out about the iseeBell is how unassuming it is. Measuring only 3.3” x 2.9” and less than an inch thick, the product isn’t much larger than a typical round doorbell plate, and maintains a low profile.

The front face of the unit is black and the sides are silver, which I do wish was ditched for a monotone appearance. Solid black or all white would look pretty sleek, but this is all preference. The smart doorbell can be mounted either directly to the home wall, use a wedge spacer, or utilize a pivoting mounting bracket. The bracket adds a couple inches, and is mainly for utilizing the doorbell as a security camera (we will get to this later), but it can be done either way.

A watchdog for the front door

 The iseeBell has a 185° FOV camera planted in the center of the unit, which offers a comprehensive picture of the front door space. In fact, out of all the smart doorbell models on the market that I could find, this offers the widest FOV. Granted, in most cases 180° is really the maximum you would ever need with a flat wall mount, but this gives you an extremely wide angle to play with. The extra-wide angle does create a fisheye effect, however it does not distort the details around the edges.

When someone rings the doorbell, the iseeBell app triggers a ring on your phone, just like an incoming call. You can tune in to just see the video feed, or engage with the visitor in two-way communication. One of the mainstays for smart doorbells is motion detection, which triggers a snapshot and mobile push notification when the sensor identifies movement.

The video quality of the doorbell is 720p and during the daytime recording is clear. While you won’t be using it for any recreational video projects it is sufficient for identifying visitors, it gets the job done. If need be, the level of detail would be sufficient for submitting to police to secure identification.

The two-way communication is pretty straightforward. This is a great way to gain more control over visitor interaction at the front door, whether at home or away. I have used this in the past to dispatch solicitors. It can also be used to tell delivery drivers where to place a package, or more importantly trick sketchy characters into believing the home is occupied and deter break-ins.

Night vision

Despite only being 720p, the iseeBell camera makes this smart doorbell versatile for multiple settings.

The camera’s night vision is aided by four passive infrared (PIR) LEDs, and the performance is decent in pitch black for detecting any activity, however picking up fine details is not a strong point. When a light source is introduced alongside the night vision, the details increase drastically and it is much easier to pick up the fine details of facial features and characteristics.

One camera, two uses

A movable mounting bracket and alternate power source gives the iseeBell utility as a smart doorbell and a surveillance camera.

One of the unique benefits of iseeBell is the ability to use it as a standalone Wi-Fi security camera, stowing the doorbell features and utilizing the motion detection, cloud recording, and live view features. I found this to be a very interesting dimension to the product, and quite useful.

While there are other IP cameras available that can be bought as standalone units for specific applications, I find it nice to be able to use one app to control all aspects of the surveillance system. Positioning additional units around the home is beneficial for covering sensitive areas, and the ability to utilize the motion detection and two-way audio is a beneficial perk.

The 720p resolution isn’t nearly as detailed as other cameras on the market, many of which are 1080p. For the purposes of close range recording and facial identification at the front door this is sufficient, however when using the camera in a surveillance setting (which traditionally means a higher mounting point and a greater depth of field) it would be nice to have a higher resolution. Again, this isn’t a need per say, but more of a want. This setting is really where the ultra-wide angle FOV makes a difference. Setting up the doorbell as a surveillance camera, instead of utilizing the traditional doorbell wires to power the unit, requires the use of an included AC power adapter. The length of cable is about four feet, so to utilize it as an outdoor camera additional cable would need to be used.

iseeBell app

The iseeBell app is used for media review, settings adjustments, and chime selection.

Users can adjust settings, view the live video feed from the camera, listen to audio and speak through the app, as well as taking snapshots of the video feed. If motion detection is enabled users can adjust the sensitivity, eliminate certain sections of the FOV from triggering a notification, and set a schedule to enable or disable the motion alerts during specific times.

The iseeBell uses 128-bit bank-level encryption to secure data collected and prevent hacking. Events will automatically record and be stored in the cloud, while also having the notification pushed to a mobile device. Utilizing the cloud recording does incur a fee of $2/month, which enables users to save the videos that are recorded instead of needing to catch the live view in the moment. If you don’t opt-in for the cloud service, photos and videos that are manually taken will store to the mobile device, however motion detection alerts will not automatically record.

The app was easy enough to use, although there were a few instances during my time with the unit where I would lose connection with the camera and need to re-pair it with the app, which prevented me from viewing the live feed at home while I was at work on occasion. If the internal chime is utilized, users can choose from 25 different tones. Otherwise, the chime that is currently wired in will be used.

Buy iseeBell Wi-Fi smart doorbell- $149

How does iseeBell stack up?

Compared to big name smart doorbell manufacturers, iseeBell has some unique features that make it a solid contender.

In my experience, it is never about the individual specs or features that make a device a success, it’s dependent on how they all combine in practical application. From my time with the iseeBell, it definitely does have some compelling features over some of the other smart doorbell models from more popular brands.

One thing iseeBell does that several other smart doorbell companies fail to do is include a remote indoor chime, which remotely pairs with the main unit. Since the doorbell itself is hard-wired into the system and takes advantage of the standing chime, this is essentially a backup that can go in the farthest part of the home from the front door (up to 110yds) or even in a detached garage.

Also, the ability for the iseeBell to be used as a Wi-Fi security camera without the doorbell function is an interesting option. The resolution is crisp indoors, so I can see this being a viable option for those that want to have an in-home camera with vocal communication capabilities. iseeBell also has additional terminals to allow control of an electric strike or magnetic lock, which negates the need for a separate smart lock. This is something that no other smart doorbell I have encountered features, and while it would seemingly require some additional handiwork to set up, is definitely a unique characteristic.

The small form factor and remote chime inclusion are user-friendly aspects that make the iseeBell my preferred smart doorbell over the RemoBell, which I have tested. At $149, it comes out about $50 cheaper than the SkyBell, and $100 cheaper than the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. When it comes to home automation, often times the underdog can outperform the big names in the field, and offer a better product. Most of the time, the big players have far more marketing dollars to spend, so they outshine the competition to all but the most automation-savvy. The iseeBell is proof of this, proving that the “most popular” doesn’t mean “best”, especially in the crowded smart doorbell market.

Tech50+ | Technology through our eyes

Original Link: https://www.tech50plus.com/iseebell-video-doorbell-and-monitor/

Forget the peephole, there’s a growing market for video doorbells, where you can see on your phone who’s come calling – whether you are home or away. A recent entrant is the iseeBell – as they capitalize it – which must be hard-wired outside your door, something that actually makes it more useful, if slightly more difficult to install.

iseebellLet’s get to the install part first. The iseeBell comes with a mounting plate (with a built-in level!), a small screwdriver, a drill bit, screws, some extra wires and a power supply you can plug into a regular outlet. If you already have a wired door bell, you can use those wires to connect the iseeBell to power, but if you don’t have an already wired doorbell you’ll have to drill through a doorpost or other location and connect the supplied power brick (it has about an 8-foot cable) through the hole and plug into a hopefully nearby outlet.

You might consider having an electrician do this part if you’re not particularly handy, and the electrician might provide a hardwired power supply that stays out of sight.

Even if you have a wired doorbell, the power supply provided is a good idea, as you can setup the iseeBell indoors before you mount it.

Setup is not difficult after you download the iseeBell app for your Apple or Android phone and register an account. You’ll need to connect the video doorbell to your home Wi-Fi network – using the 2.4 GHz band only – and they make things easier by putting a QR code on the back of the doorbell (why setting it up inside first makes sense).

With the doorbell mounted and secured with a special screw, you’re all set. The iseeBell’s camera has a 185-degree view and automatic night vision. There’s motion detection and you can set its sensitivity, zones and schedule in the app, where you’ll be notified if anything sets the detector off – and here’s one of the good things about it being hardwired – you can view & record live video with just a tap of the screen, and not worry about battery life, as with some other video doorbells that are not wired in.

When someone “rings” the bell, you, of course, are also notified – pretty quickly I found – and have a choice to Answer or Decline – unlike some video doorbells, it waits for you to make a choice. Answering allows you to speak with the person at the door – which you can also do when motion is detected.

iseebellIf you already have a door chime in your home, and it was previously hard-wired to your doorbell, iseeBell provides a way to make it still work, but the kit also comes with a small indoor chime (and nightlight) that you plug into any outlet & easily pair with the video doorbell, something other video doorbells don’t always provide. The iseeBell also has additional terminals to attach wires for an electric lock, so you can unlock the door from the app.

There’s no charge to see who’s at the door, and you can save still photos on your phone, but if you want to keep a record of videos, to need to subscribe to their cloud service at $2 a month or $20 for a year, which is slightly less than some other video doorbell cloud services.

You can have multiple iseeBell devices – if deliveries are made to your back door or you just want to be able to monitor around or in your home – and you can share the devices with other users.

One thing to remember – and this applies to all video doorbells – it must be in range of a good Wi-Fi signal or it won’t work.

Although I only did an “indoor” trial of the iseeBell – my front doorbell is not wired – the doorbell, camera and chime all performed as advertised, and it even came with printed setup & installation and app guides. Printed, remember those things?

The iseeBell kit is under $150 direct or at Amazon – including a free 30 days of cloud service. The current model is plastic, but weatherproof.

Gadegteer | Review on iseeBell Security Cam

   

Original Link: https://the-gadgeteer.com/2017/08/22/iseebell-video-doorbell-security-cam-review/

In all of my reviews, I try to be as fair as I can. Every product has its good and bad points and I try to point them out. No product—no matter how good it is—is perfect. At first glance, my review of the iseeBell Video Doorbell Security Cam may not seem fair—and maybe it isn’t. But that doesn’t mean I don’t like it. Let me explain.

My intended use for the iseeBell video doorbell was just that—a video doorbell. The setup is advertised as super easy: You remove your original doorbell and then use its existing wiring to connect. All you need are some minor drilling and mounting skills (iseeBell even supplies the proper tools and instructions). But I had forgotten one (not so) minor detail: About 6 years ago, we switched to a wireless battery doorbell. After removing the previous (wired) doorbell, I shoved all the wiring inside the wall and then stuccoed over the hole. It seemed like a smart idea at the time! As a result, I could not use and review the iseeBell as it was intended. However …

Even though I no longer could give the iseeBell a fair review as a video doorbell, they also advertise it as an indoor/outdoor security camera. After considering this, I realized that I still had a great use for it as a security camera. That’s fair, right?

I live on 2 acres in Florida and my large backyard has a separate studio building where I do freelance graphic design and also write about and photograph the products I review. Needless to say, I have some expensive stuff in the studio. Up until now, the studio has never had any security monitoring. We have large and very protective dogs in our house, but I worried about the studio because it’s 100 feet away and out of reach of the dogs. With the iseeBell, I now have a chance to monitor the building 24/7. So how does it work? Let’s see.

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When you open the box of the iseeBell, you are presented with a lot of stuff which can seem overwhelming. However, you generally won’t need all of it. iseeBell has done a good job of accounting for different installation setups you may have. The setup & installation guide is straightforward and easy to follow with clear directions and illustrations. Granted, if you have no experience with home repair tools, you may be better off asking for help. The Guide lists everything included in the box and what kind of wifi you need. A 2.4Ghz network is required, but since I have an Apple dual-band router, I was good to go. One caveat is that your wifi router must either be strong enough or physically close enough to the iseeBell to work properly.

As I said earlier, the iseeBell will run on existing doorbell wires (if you have them). The guide uses step-by-step instructions. Yeah, I know, I didn’t actually install it as a doorbell—and that’s the unfair part of this review. But trust me, I’ve installed enough stuff to know that these are easy instructions to follow.

Also included in the box is a separate indoor wireless door chime (must be plugged in), which I haven’t decided if I’m going to use or not. Why? Because the iseeBell comes with a downloadable app (iOS and Android) that works just as well for my use.

The iseeBell unit itself has a 720p HD camera that works well in low light, although the video loses some detail and becomes monochromatic. The camera is wide-angle which captures a great peripheral view. It does distort in a fish-eye effect around the edges, though. Using the app, you can you see what the iseeBell sees. It also records and stores photos and video on your phone and/or in iseeBell’s cloud. This cloud service is an extra cost option—$2/month or $20/year. While that’s not expensive, it’s worth noting. You get a free month trial with purchase. iseeBell claims your photos and videos are protected by bank-grade security. Strangely, you can only purchase the cloud service through the iseeBell app. There is no mention of it on their web site.

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The iseeBell easily connects to a home’s existing wifi via the app. There’s also a motion detector that works a little too well. More on that later. The unit is weatherproof, so rain shouldn’t be a concern.

For my use, I mounted the iseeBell just inside the door of my studio a little above eye level. I used some of the supplied screws but did not need the included masonry drill bit as this was an indoor installation. All I had to do was decide where I wanted the camera placed and drill the screws into the wall. iseeBell offers an optional adjustable wall mount that allows the camera to be swiveled at various angles for a better view. I highly recommend this option—it acts as a mounting base and allows you to point the camera practically in any direction.

I ran into two issues with the wiring on the iseeBell. Since I’m using it indoors and not as a doorbell, it needs to be plugged into an outlet for power. I wanted to mount the camera up at ceiling height, but the cord was a few inches too short to do this, so it had to be lower than I preferred.

The white cord was a bit too thick to fit into the slot at the rear of the camera, so I had to strip some of the wirings to expose more of the black and red wiring from inside the cord. It was not easy, but I’ve stripped wiring before, so I knew what I was doing. However, I could picture some people pulling their hair out if they ran into a similar problem as I did. Note that doorbell users won’t have this issue since the iseeBell won’t need the power cord.

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Once I got the wiring taken care of, all went well. I opened the iOS app, set up my account and linked the app to the camera via my wifi network. With that done, I could see a live image of myself in the apps video frame. There’s a bit of a lag, but not enough to matter. As I said earlier, The image is wide angle, and since the camera is above eye level, there is little opportunity for a close-up of a face. But the image can easily be zoomed in even while live.

Audio quality was so-so. it was somewhat distorted and difficult to understand when watching the video. There’s also a built-in speaker allowing you to talk to the person/intruder if necessary. The speaker volume was a bit weak and should have been louder.

After setting up the motion detector in the app, I noticed that it works really well … as in really well. Whenever I stretch or get up from my chair I get an audible beep and a motion warning shows up on my iPhone. It’s becoming a bit comical, but at least it works! And since I’m only concerned when there should be no one in the studio, I appreciate its sensitivity. Incidentally, the warnings can be controlled through the iPhone’s Notifications or Android’s Sound and Notification settings.

All in all, I like the iseeBell Video Doorbell Security Cam, even though I’m not using it as it was intended. It does what it’s advertised to do and does it well. I now have added peace-of-mind if anyone should enter my studio (invited or not) and I will instantly know about it.

I’m now wondering if it’s time to get my doorbell rewired?

The iseeBell Video Doorbell Security Cam sells for $149.95 US.

Source: The sample for this review was provided by iseeBell. Please visit www.iseebell.com for more information and Amazon to order.

Check Your iseeBell App Any time Anywhere

Check Your Iseebell App

Download iseeBell from iOS App Store or Andriod Google Play Now. After logging in, you are able to speak and see your visitors from your mobile device. Ask postman to leave a package on your porch or remotely unlock the gate for your family and friends.

Easy Outdoor Cam

Easy Outdoor Cam

You can use iseeBell in extreme weather conditions. With the adjustable wall-mount, mount your iseeBell wherever you want. Installation is easy and we’ve included all the tools you need.

Care Your loved One

Don’t limit the use of iseeBell to only doorbell. It’s also good for an indoor security cam for your loved ones.

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