The SkyBell Slim Line Doorbell requires a subscription through Alarm.com. However, the SkyBell HD comes with a week of free cloud storage.
SkyBell HD Video Doorbell Review
The SkyBell HD is SkyBell's latest video doorbell, a waterproof device with color night vision.
Founded in 2013, SkyBell Technologies has 63 patents issues and an additional 39 patents pending- pretty good for a five year old company! SkyBell’s entire focus is on its video doorbells, which allow someone to speak to and see whoever’s at their door- even before they push the doorbell button. I ordered the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell and I’m ready to see what’s in store.
In this review, I’ll go over the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell’s design, features, functionality, convenience, and finally, the SkyBell app. Let’s get started with the SkyBell HD now!
SkyBell HD Pros and Cons
Let’s make sure you’re reading the right review before I go too far into detail.
The best qualities about the SkyBell HD are its temperature range of -40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, its 1080p HD video display, and free cloud and local storage.
But I’m not loving the SkyBell HD’s lack of person detection, smart platform integrations, and poorly-rated app.
SkyBell HD Video Doorbell Design
SkyBell’s HD Video Doorbell is a round silver circle with three additional circles on its face- the actual doorbell button, a small white protrusion, and the purple-toned camera. Like all SkyBell cameras, the brand name is written on the bell in an alarming lime green, which clashes with the purple of the camera.
I’m not loving the round shape of the doorbell, nor its colors. It looks like part of a P.A system in an early 2000s elementary school more than it does a doorbell. All in all, the aesthetics leave something to be desired.
But surfaces aside, the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell is waterproof and can work in temperatures from 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The doorbell will be hard-wired into your house, but it comes with a backup battery which will allow it to work for a few minutes if your power goes out. The camera records when it senses motion for 35 seconds or longer if you answer your notification. Finally, the video doorbell connects through Wi-Fi, so make sure you have a strong internet connection.
SkyBell HD Video Doorbell Features
Aside from the doorbell itself, you’re buying the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell mainly for its video camera. In this section, I’ll tell you about the camera’s technical specifications, along with my own personal experience. I also want to tell you about a few cool features of the doorbell under the subsection “Extras”.
Wouldn’t it be crazy if a video doorbell called SkyBell HD didn’t have HD vision? Thankfully, SkyBell HD lives up to its name. It has 1080p HD video display, a nice field of view of 120 degrees, and a field of zoom of five times. All impressive!
The camera has two-way audio which will allow you to speak to whoever’s on your welcome mat. Most people don’t know that the first thing robbers do to see if you’re home is ring your doorbell. If no one answers, the coast is clear. However, with two-way audio, you can pretend to be home even when you’re not- just talk into the SkyBell app! It’s a simple solution that could make a real difference for your home’s security.
The SkyBell HD Video Doorbell has color night vision, and while initially, that might sound better than black and white, I much prefer infrared night vision. Why? With a bright white light, the person you’re recording will be aware of the camera, and could take steps to afford its gaze. In contrast, infrared night vision is completely invisible to the naked eye. Your perp (or whoever you’re recording) will have no idea they’re being filmed.
SkyBell gives you local storage and cloud storage for a week- no subscription required. I love that both cloud and local storage are available as you can backup your footage two ways, ensuring that you won’t lose it.
Smart Platform Integration
Unfortunately, the SkyBell HD does not integrate with any smart home platforms like Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Apple HomeKit. However, their website says that partnerships are in the works so you’ll be able to vocally command your video doorbell at some point, hopefully in the near future.
Another negative point of the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell is its lack of artificial intelligence capabilities. While some cameras can tell people from pets, cars, and other non-human moving objects, this video doorbell cannot. What does this mean for you? Well, you’ll probably receive a lot of irrelevant notifications from things you don’t care about- a car driving by, a dog running across your lawn, etc. Hopefully, SkyBell can add person detection and even facial recognition in the future, as it will lead to smarter, more specific notifications.
SkyBell gives you some cool customizations with your video doorbell. One, you can silence the doorbell’s chime so it won’t wake someone up (an ideal setting for new parents). Second, you can take screenshots of your livestream, which could help catch a perp or capture a cute moment. Finally, if your SkyBell HD Video Doorbell is stolen, SkyBell will replace it for free! That’s a pretty good deal.
Installing the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell
To install the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell, you’ll need a power drill, a wire stripper, and a Digital Doorbell Adapter. This isn’t something you can do yourself, so you’ll want professional installation.
The SkyBell App
Let’s talk about the SkyBell app. It’s where you’ll access and control your video doorbell on the go, so I’m going to talk about its features and customer reviews.
From the SkyBell app, you can livestream footage, take screenshots, review event history, speak to visitors, receive notifications, share access to guests, and adjust your settings.
According to SkyBell’s customers, the app does not live up to its features. It only has a 2.9 rating from the Google Play store and a 2.2 rating from the Apple Store. Many people complained that the camera was not picking up motion and that customer support was extremely hard to reach. Definitely a bit of a red flag.
Recap of the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell
Looking for the perfect video doorbell can feel a little like The Princess and the Frog. With a plethora of choices, how can you be sure that the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell is right for you?
You may want to purchase the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell if you’re into the following:
- Waterproof and can work in temperatures from 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit
- 1080p HD video display
- Field of view of 120 degrees
- Field of zoom of five times
- Two-way audio
- Free local and cloud storage
- Ability to silence the chime
- Can screenshot livestream
- Lifetime theft replacement guarantee
However, you may want to steer clear if any of the following are deal breakers:
- Unattractive aesthetic
- Must be hard-wired and installed professionally
- Installation required power drill, wire stripper, and a Digital Doorbell Adapter
- Color night vision from a bright white light
- No smart platform integrations
- No artificial intelligence capabilities
- Poor app reviews
Is there a monthly fee for SkyBell?
Does SkyBell need to be hardwired?
The SkyBell HD video doorbell needs to be hardwired, although it has a small battery for backup. However, the SkyBell Slim Line is wireless with a battery life of three to five years.
Is SkyBell better than Ring?
Ring video doorbells are better than the SkyBell video doorbells in terms of smart platform integrations, night vision, the app and pricing.