August Doorbell Review
August’s video doorbell offerings work seamlessly with the company’s smart locks and have a lot to offer as standalone products as well.
One million of anything is a lot, but as far as selling smart locks and doorbells goes, this figure must mean a company is doing something right. In July of 2018, August had a million people using their smart locks and video doorbells, quite a feat for a company only five years old. Today, August has two video doorbells1 to choose from: The August Doorbell Cam Pro or the August View. Now, the View is a bit more controversial; after some performance issues when it initially released, August put it back on the shelves last November,2 and boy are we excited to see if the issues were rectified. Our experts have been testing both models for months, so let’s see how they stack up.
August Doorbell Cameras Analysis
|August Doorbell Cam Pro||August View|
|Color Options||Silver or dark gray||Satin Nickel, oil rubbed bronze, satin brass, midnight gray, matte black, white, red, blue|
|Operating Temperature at Degrees Fahrenheit||-13 to 122||-4 to 122|
|Battery Life If Applicable||N/A||3-Months|
|Field of view||120||150|
|Infrared or Color?||Color||Infrared|
|Cloud||15-day storage for $2.99 a month or 30-day storage for $4.99 a month.||15-day storage for $2.99 a month or 30-day storage for $4.99 a month.|
|Smart Platform Integration||Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest, IFTTT, Honeywell, SimpliSafe, Logitech, Yonomi, Wink, Xfinity, Stringify, Z-Wave, Brilliant, Leviton, SmartThings, Control4||Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest, IFTTT, Honeywell, SimpliSafe, Logitech, Yonomi, Wink, Xfinity, Stringify, Z-Wave, Brilliant, Leviton, SmartThings, Control4|
|Requirements||Mechanical chime doorbell with 16-24V transformer, need standard Philips screwdriver to install||None|
|DIY/ Professional||Either, professional costs $122.26 per unit on Amazon but says it starts at $150 on the website.||DIY|
August Video Doorbell Commonalities
August’s video doorbells are pretty different both aesthetically and in terms of features. However, they have a few key similarities, like:
What would a video doorbell be without a speaker and a microphone? Basically, it would just be a way to see your guests but not talk to them, which is not good enough in our book. Fortunately, both of August’s doorbell cameras have two-way audio, so we were able to speak to our visitors before they came into the house! Talk about hospitality. Of course, through the microphone, our guests spoke back, which was really useful for a person trying to sell us Girl Scout cookies, a knock we definitely want to answer. But for those other door-to-door salesmen, August made it easy to tell them a polite “no” and then return to whatever we were doing, not giving them a chance to respond. Listen, money doesn’t grow on trees, but if it did, we’d spend it on Girl Scout cookies.
Whether it was our kids walking off to their first day of school, a visit from a friend that lives in Paris, or even some suspicious activity, we knew that we wanted to save our August footage and review it later.
|Basic Plan||Premium Plan||Premium Plus Plan|
|Amount of Cloud Storage in Days||0||15||30|
Our footage was saved directly into August’s cloud storage, which we chose to pay $4.99 a month for 30 days worth, although we could’ve $2.99 a month for half that time. While we wish the doorbell cameras had slots for micro-SD cards, local storage, we just downloaded our cloud storage from the August Home app onto our personal micro-SD card, adding an extra step but ultimately ending up at the same place.
Imagine if we never got notified from our August video doorbells. We’d have to check constantly, monitoring the livestream like we were mall security guards. Luckily, these cameras alerted us whenever they detected motion. Now, if you live in a rural area, this sensitivity may be fine, as there probably won’t be much traffic or foot traffic. But for us living in Brooklyn, we got a lot of notifications that weren’t particularly relevant to us, whether it was cars passing by, squirrels rifling through our garbage cans or commuters on their way to work. So, if you live on a busy street, August may not be the best pick in general.
Smart Home Integrations
We controlled both August doorbell cameras with Alexa and Google Assistant,3 our right-hand voice assistants who do everything we don’t want to do. Here’s some of what we had Alexa and Google Assistant do for us:
- Alexa: We had Alexa show our livestream on our Echo Show4 devices, of which we have an embarrassing amount; we also set it up so whenever anyone rang our doorbell, they automatically showed up on our Echo Show 8, which made answering the door a snap. Of course, we could speak to them through the Echo Show itself or through the August Home app.5 Working from home, this was especially useful; as we got packages throughout the day, we didn’t have to completely interrupt our workflow to tell them directions. Rather, we could simply turn to our Show device and tell them exactly how to get in.
- Google Assistant: Of course, we’re never without our Nest Hub Max, because basically whenever any smart technology comes out, we have to have it. With Google Assistant, we could show our August doorbell cameras’ footage on our Nest Hubs by saying, “Hey Google, show me who’s at the front door?” Aside from our Nest Hubs, we also enjoyed showing the footage on our Android TV, especially when it was someone with a new baby. We just couldn’t wait to meet them. Seeing them so up close and personal was nothing if not adorable.
Aside from voice control through Alexa and Google Assistant, both doorbell cameras worked with a number of connected devices from third party brands, like Nest, Honeywell, SimpliSafe, Logitech, Yonomi, Wink, Xfinity, Brilliant, Leviton, SmartThings, and Control4. Finally, the August video doorbells work with any device that’s compatible with IFTTT, Stringify, or Z-Wave.
For us, this meant being able to control devices from different brands all in the August Home app. Okay, here’s an example: we had a Nest Yale Lock already installed on our front door, which was where we installed the August View. This way, we could unlock the door whenever someone visited who we wanted to let in. Once again, we live in Brooklyn, where package theft6 is pretty common, so being able to see our delivery man, speak to him through the August View, and then unlock the door for him so he could drop off the package in front of our door, was awesome. And the fact that it’s all in the same app was just the cherry on top.
We’re super impressed with how many smart home brands the August video doorbells work with, allowing for thousands of different automated actions. Plus, they worked well with both Alexa and Google Assistant, making them a great choice whether you’re in the Google or Amazon smart home ecosystem.
The August Home App
Whether we were using the August View or the August Doorbell Cam Pro, if we weren’t home to command it hands-free, we controlled it on the August Home app, the iOS version to be specific (although there’s also a version from Android). Here, we got notified when our cameras detected movement, and from there, checked in on the livestream and talked to any guests, if they were there. The app is also where we set up all of our smart home integrations, automating our smart home, so we don’t have to control it manually.
We didn’t have many issues with the August Home app, and other August customers seemed to be in concurrence, as the app has a 4.8 rating from the Apple store and a 4.2 rating from the Google Play store. The only negative thing we noticed is how much of our battery the app uses up, so make sure to turn Bluetooth off when you don’t need it.
August Video Doorbell Differences
Okay, now for the meat of the review. The August Doorbell Cam Pro and the August View are pretty different in terms of pricing, design, and features. Let’s get into it.
Since we planned to place these on our front doors, they had to look good and match with our brownstone aesthetic. For the Doorbell Cam Pro, choices were pretty limited with either silver or dark gray (we chose silver). But for the View, we had a lot more choices: satin nickel, oil rubbed bronze, satin brass, midnight gray, matte black, white, red, or blue. While we wanted to take a risk and go with the red for a pop of color, we ended up going with the midnight gray for consistency. Sigh. Maybe next time!
We live in Brooklyn, as we’ve said ad nauseam, and in Brooklyn, we get all kinds of weather. Snow in the winter (and sometimes in the spring and the fall), rain year-round, and in the summer, heat capable of cooking an egg on the sidewalk. While both worked in a large temperature range, the August Doorbell Cam Pro’s range was a bit longer, from -13 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit compared to the View’s minimum of -4. To be honest, it never gets much colder here than 10 degrees, so both doorbells worked well all year round for us, but for someone in a frigid climate, we recommend the Doorbell Cam Pro.
While we hardwired the August Doorbell Cam Pro into our 16-24 V transformer, the August View was powered by a rechargeable battery that lasted us about three months. The nice thing about it being rechargeable is that we didn’t have to spend more money on new batteries; we simply recharged the battery for about three hours and bam, three more months of power. We must say that being battery-operated made the August View much easier to set up, as we didn’t need to deal with any wiring, only mounting. Plus, when the power in our home failed last winter, the Doorbell Cam Pro shut off with it, but our August View kept kicking.
Now, if August offered cellular backup, all of our hardwired devices could stay on during an outage, depending instead on cellular data. But since August didn’t give this option to us, we have to say that the August View is better in an emergency than the Doorbell Cam Pro.
We’ve bought and tested out a bunch of different video doorbells from all the most popular companies, and they tend to cost around $200, making August’s options both reasonably priced. The August Doorbell Cam Pro is right at the average, priced at $199.99, while the View is slightly more expensive at $229.99. But in the next few paragraphs, you’ll see exactly why the View is worth the extra $30.
Budget Tip: The August Doorbell Cam Pro costs about $30 less than the August View, so it’s a better choice for those on a tight budget.
First of all, the View has much better video quality than the Doorbell Cam Pro, as you can see above. We noticed that when we used the View, we could see details much better, like our visitors from far away or even the license plates of cars driving by. This extra clarity made sense when we saw on the user’s manual that the camera has 1440p HD display, which is about a third more clear than our typical standard, 1080p HD. Plus, we got a really wide shot of our stoop and the street, as the View has a 150-degree field of view. In terms of the video format, this was much better than most of the other doorbell cameras that we’ve reviewed. For example, Ring’s video doorbells only have 1080p HD at the clearest, closer to the 960p HD display of the Doorbell Cam Pro.
While the Doorbell Cam Pro’s video wasn’t quite as clear as we would’ve liked, it certainly got the job done; we could see our visitors, identify them and, from there, choose to let them in or leave them in the cold. Even the camera’s 130-degree field of view was wide enough for our purposes, namely seeing who’s on our property. So while the View has better video quality than the Doorbell Cam Pro, they both worked for our purposes.
Another way we preferred the View over the Doorbell Cam Pro was because of its infrared night vision. Although our night footage from the View was in black and white, the LED sensors weren’t visible to anyone entering our brownstone, and we like to keep our security devices on the down low in case of an intrusion. Due to the sensors’ near camouflage, we actually startled many friends and delivery people speaking through our August Home app. And yes, we recorded and saved that footage for future laughs.
With the Doorbell Cam Pro, the night vision was in color. While this certainly looked better on our smart displays, people couldn’t help but notice the camera’s bright white light, and some even said it was a bit blinding. So overall, we prefer the infrared night vision from the View over the color night vision from the Doorbell Cam Pro, but this may come down to your personal preference.
Finally, when it came to installing the August video doorbells, the process was pretty different with each, although it began the same. First, we got out our August Home app and added the devices, connecting them to Wi-Fi and naming them based on their location, i.e., front or side door. From there, we actually had to mount our doorbell cameras. Since the View is wireless, we simply screwed it in near our front door, so it faced outward, pretty simple. The August Doorbell Cam Pro was a bit more involved, as we had to remove our existing doorbell and hook up its wires to the Doorbell Cam Pro, then screw it back in with a Phillips Head screwdriver. Fortunately, we had a doorbell already, but the Doorbell Camera Pro wouldn’t be a good option if you don’t have one in your home.
Advice: If you don’t already have an existing doorbell setup, get the August View, which has no installation requirements whatsoever.
Which August Video Doorbell Is Right For You?
If we had to pick one August doorbell to use, we’d definitely choose the View; it’s wireless, has better video and night vision, and comes in a lot more colors. However, it is more expensive by about $30, so those looking to save money should consider the August Doorbell Cam Pro.
Buy the August Doorbell Cam Pro if you’d like…
- Hardwired installation
- Less expensive option
- Color night vision
- Slightly larger temperature range
But get the August View if you want…
- Wireless video doorbell
- More color options
- Infrared night vision
- Superior video quality and larger field of view
August Home. (2018). August Celebrates 1 Million User Milestone.
August Home. (2019). The August View Is Back.
August Home Support. (2019). How to Use Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant with your Doorbell Cam or View.
August Home. (2017). August Doorbell Cam Talks to Amazon Echo Show.
Apple App Store. (2020). August Home App.
New York Times. (2019). 90,000 Packages Disappear Daily in N.Y.C. Is Help on the Way? nytimes.com/2019/12/02/nyregion/online-shopping-package-theft.html