Tech review: The Eufy Video Doorbell packs a ton of features, including local storage and a wireless chime, for a very affordable priceThe Dallas Morning News — By Jim Rossman The Dallas Morning News
Sept. 10-- (Note: The Eufy Video Doorbell was on sale for $119.99 when this story was written. It was changed on Sunday to reflect the regular retail price of $159.99.)
We've all seen videos of porch pirates stealing packages. Most of those are captured from video doorbells, which have become more and more popular.
I've had a video doorbell for a few years, and when my parents saw mine, they had to have one for their house, too.
It's job to try the new things, so I recently took the Ring Pro off my front door and installed the Eufy my Video Doorbell ($159.99 at eufylife.com). Eufy is made by Anker, which makes great charging banks, USB chargers and cables (anker.com).
The Eufy Video Doorbell looks very much like the Ring Pro it replaced, but there are some big differences.
Unlike a battery-powered doorbell, the Eufy requires existing powered doorbell wires to work.
The Eufy doorbell works with 16- to 24-volt AC wiring. If your doorbell wiring isn't right, you'll see a red light to indicate that the voltage is too low.
You'll also be bypassing your home's doorbell chime, but you'll replace it with an external wireless chime that Eufy includes in the box.
The Eufy doorbell includes an angled mounting bracket so you can mount the doorbell to get a better view of visitors to your front door.
Other doorbell manufacturers charge extra for external chimes and angled mounting brackets. Kudos to Eufy for including everything you need in the box.
WHAT IT OFFERS
The Eufy Video Doorbell captures 2K video (2,560 x 1,920 pixels), and it also has high dynamic range and distortion correction for the 160-degree ultra-wide-angle lens.
Eufy's doorbell does not continuously record. It records 30-second clips based on motion. In fact, the recording begins as soon as it detects motion, even if the person doesn't ring the bell.
When the bell detects motion, you can get a push message with a snapshot of the person's face. This worked well on my phone and on my Apple Watch.
Touch the notification on your phone, and you'll open the clip.
There's night vision for seeing in the dark, and you can set up your own motion zone to limit false motion alerts. If your doorbell can see the street (like mine), you can define where you'd like the doorbell to watch and adjust the motion zone to not include the street.
The doorbell has four gigabytes of onboard storage. There is no cloud storage option. All your videos are encrypted (AES-256) and can only be played through the secure app on your phone or tablet.
The clips are retrieved from the doorbell and played back on the app with very little lag.
No cloud storage means there is no ongoing cost. Eufy says the onboard storage should be enough to store 30 clips per day for 30 days before the oldest clips are overwritten.
The doorbell has a speaker and a microphone, so you can speak with people at your door even if you are thousands of miles away.
There are also prerecorded messages you can play, such as "Excuse me, can I help you?" and "Please leave it at the door."
You can also record a quick response and play it with the touch of a button.
If you're having a party, with lots of in and out activity, you can set the motion alerts to snooze for a set period.
The Eufy Video Doorbell can also work with your Google Home or Amazon Alexa if they have a video screen.
I loaded the Eufy Security skill on my Echo Spot and now I can say, "Alexa, show me the doorbell," and the video appears on the screen.
Getting the Eufy Video Doorbell installed is not complicated, but if you are not comfortable with wiring, you might want to use an electrician.
First, you'll turn off the breaker to cut power to your doorbell.
Remove your existing doorbell to expose the two power wires. Screw the included bracket to the door molding, attach the power wires to the two screws on the back of the doorbell and snap it into place on the bracket.
You'll need to find your doorbell chime, remove the cover and locate the screw terminals. You'll be connecting an included jumper wire to the screws labeled TRANS and FRONT. This bypasses the inside doorbell chime, which is necessary to provide steady current to the video doorbell. Your existing doorbell chime will no longer work, which is why Eufy includes a new chime that you can plug into the wall anywhere in your home.
You'll download the Eufy Security app from your phone's app store and follow the instructions to get the doorbell connected to your home's Wi-Fi network.
I had it up and running in about 15 minutes.
I'd been a pretty happy Ring doorbell user for the last few years, but there have been times when I just couldn't make a connection to a person on my front porch ringing the bell.
It was getting frustrating.
When I installed the Eufy Video Doorbell, it seemed to have a more solid connection.
When the doorbell rang, answering it and speaking to the person took less than 10 seconds.
One thing to note: When talking through my phone to the person at the door, I was told that the first word or two of my message was often clipped, so it sounded as if I was starting mid-sentence. I learned to press the microphone button and wait a second or two before talking.
Overall, I'm quite pleased with the Eufy Video Doorbell. It does everything I need it to do, which is to notify me of visitors to my porch, let me speak to them if I like and record what they are doing.
The fact that there is no ongoing cost is great as well. So far, I have not missed cloud storage, as the Eufy's local storage has worked perfectly.
Pros: Solid connection and great video quality. Chime and accessories are included. No subscription fee.
Cons: Sound can be clipped when you're talking through the phone to the doorbell.
Bottom line: Does everything you need it to do for less money than the competition.
ABOUT THE WRITER
Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(c)2019 The Dallas Morning News
Visit The Dallas Morning News at www.dallasnews.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.