It seems like everyone is making a video doorbell at this point, well today I am going to talk about the Skybell HD. Skybell has been around for a while now and does not seem to get much love and from what I can see does not do much in the way of advertising. Recently the Nest Hello has been all over advertising and the Ring Video Doorbell has had a strong advertising presence for some time now but not Skybell. In any case the Skybell HD is certainly in the video doorbell game so let’s look at it.
Unlike the Ring Video Doorbell, the Skybell HD must be hardwired to a compatible doorbell system. Some may say that because the Skybell HD must be hardwired then you are limiting the customer base and while that may be slightly true, I look at it from the other end and think that the decision to not make the Skybell HD battery powered made for a smaller device than the Ring Video Doorbell.
Installation of the Skybell HD is pretty simple, remove your existing doorbell (which will have two wires connected to it) and connect those wires to the mounting plate of the Skybell HD. Sounds simple but there are a few things to note, first the mounting plate for the Skybell HD is where your existing doorbell wires will connect and I hate these terminals, I have installed many Skybell HD‘s and have fought with every one of them. The other thing to note is that if you have a digital doorbell chime you will need a separate digital doorbell adapter to make the Skybell HD work properly with it. With the physical installation done the next thing you will want to do it get the app set up.
Setting up the app is simple, simply download it from your App Store, create an account and you are ready to connect your Skybell HD. Connecting the Skybell HD to your network is done much like just about any other Wi-Fi device, the Skybell HD broadcasts its own SSID which you connect too and then use the app to give the Skybell HD your network credentials. Not a lot of surprises here. Now while we are talking about the app, the Skybell app is very pretty and I feel in this aspect Skybell is leaps and bounds above Ring. The other thing that sets Skybell apart from Ring is the free cloud storage for video, Ring really needs to offer something here.
Now the most important part of any connected device for me is what systems does it work with? Well Skybell is certainly no slouch in the partnership department, with partners like Amazon (we will see what will happen here with Amazon’s acquisition of Ring) Nest, (again not sure what will happen here with the release of the Nest Hello) IFTTT, SmartThings and Alarm.com. Now being a SmartThings user I had to see what the integration is like and I have to say it is pretty good and again better than the Ring integration with SmartThings. I love that I can record video or take still photos from inside of the SmartThings app and they will save locally on my mobile device. The big difference however in terms of partnerships is Alarm.com, they have a huge presence in the Home Security space (and are working on getting into home automation) and offering integration between your Skybell HD and Alarm.com could be huge if marketed properly to existing Alarm.com customers.
Now what I do not like about the Skybell HD, well I hate the shape of it. Why is it a big ugly circle that will never look right on my house? I guess however this is subjective as I am sure people complain about the Ring Video Doorbell. What I dislike the most about the Skybell HD is just how cheap it feels. To me it feels like something that was made by Fisher Price and not something made by an electronics company. It is this cheap feel and really the lack of using any quality materials in the fit and finish department that really turn me away from the Skybell HD.
At the end of the day the Skybell HD is a pretty good option for video doorbells, unless you can not get over the cheap feel of the product like I can’t.
Anyone out there using the Skybell HD? Let me know in the comments below.
I am passionate about the IoT and connected devices. Using connectivity to automate our lives will empower civilization to achieve greatness.