SkyBell HD Silver WiFi Video Doorbell
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SkyBell HD is a High-Definition, patented video doorbell connected to your home Wi-Fi that lets you see, hear, and speak to visitors at your door simply by using your smartphone or tablet - even if you're not at home. With a 1080p camera, full-color night vision, motion sensor and live alerts - SkyBell HD will conveniently give you peace of mind when answering the door without compromising your safety. And even when you don't answer, SkyBell HD will record video to your cloud account as soon as the button is pressed or motion is detected. So, you'll always know who's at your door.
Most helpful customer reviews
650 of 669 people found the following review helpful.
Be prepared to buy a new router too
By Jason H
Let me begin by stating that I have FINALLY got this thing working correctly after months of frustration. And I was the person that ultimately figured out a fix. I will share this with you momentarily.
(UPDATE 02/10/2017: It has come to my attention that this is a pretty wordy and long review. I'm sure not everyone is interested in, for instance, the things that I tried that didn’t work. Fair enough. For the convenience of those that would like to skip over those unnecessary details, after you read the sentence that begins with “The biggest issue I have had,” skip ahead to where you see ***SOLUTION***.)
(UPDATE 07/10/2017: For several weeks now, I have been mulling around upping my original 3 stars to 4 because it has been quite some time since my original frustrations of setting up this device and the several app enhancements have made it ever more functional since my initial purchase. However, recent circumstances have moved my rating the other way. The past several weeks my Skybell has been losing power with greater and greater frequency. If I barely touched it, it would power back on, at which point I could lightly rock and twist without it powering off, and then I would check it after 5 minutes and it would be out again. This weekend I set aside time to troubleshoot it. Frustration one, the cheap plastic mounting screw immediately stripped, so I had to remove it with needle nose pliers. A very tedious task. My assumption was that pollen, dirt, or corrosion was interfering with the connection and a simple brushing off would fix things. When I got the back off, however, the true issue was quickly identified. The battery, less than 18 months old, yet out of warranty, has swollen up and pushed the back out making a round bulge right in the center. To get it working I wrapped the power wires down several of the threads of the screws so they would stand out further when screwed back into place. I haven't lost power since doing this. I still give it two stars because it still functions. If it completely dies before it reaches 4 years old I will drop it down to 1 star. Clearly, with the battery already failing at less than 2 years in, these are not built to last. Photos of the back added.)
The daytime video on this thing is excellent and the color night vision is phenomenal.
Physical set up was a breeze. Our existing doorbell was mounted to the brick and mortar wall, and Skybell's bracket matched up perfectly with the existing holes, so no drilling. Had I needed to though, it comes with the proper drill bit to do so. I do have to ding them for the mounting screw. It is plastic and stripped almost immediately so I had to finish tightening it with some needle nose pliers. That was pretty difficult.
Here is a huge pro, and ultimately why I chose SkyBell over the competition. Once you buy your product they provide you with free video storage and unlimited free downloads. No subscription fees! Ring, among others, cost about the same and then you are stuck paying a subscription to be able to use your new expensive hardware.
The last pro I can think of is the product looks really good.
Easiest con to explain, is the speaker quality is mediocre. It gets the job done though.
SkyBell's top priority is iOS. When they add a new feature or fix iOS gets it quite a bit in advance. For example, the iOS app has had the ability to adjust the motion sensor for weeks and it still hasn't made it to Android. I couldn't even activate it on my phone (Moto X Pure 2015), I had to use a Galaxy S7 to sync it.
While we are on motion sensitivity, out of the box the motion sensor is way too sensitive. There website says if someone lingers by the door for 10 seconds before sending you a push notification. But as soon as we were stepping out of the door it would go off. Both our original and replacement unit had this issue. Also, the unit was picking up cars driving by on a road 50 feet away from our house or changes in lighting (shadows moving in the distance). After the first day of receiving 6 notifications in under an hour, we had to turn off one of the advertised features. Luckily, a few weeks later they added the ability to adjust the sensitivity and I just so happened to have an iPhone in a drawer, and I was able to use the iOS app to put it on low. Now we don't get any notifications from the motion sensor. Now that I think about it, I am actually concerned if it is working at all on low. We have packages delivered and such and I haven't had any notifications since making the adjustment. I see in other reviews apparently changing to low makes it as useless as high. Where with high you get constant notifications and low it is nearly impossible to trip the motion sensor. I haven't done further testing myself, but that seems to be holding true here given the activity I know has been in front of it recently.
The biggest issue I have had with this unit, which literally took 2 months of exchanges with their support before I figured out a solution, was getting the video, yes the head line feature, to work. On demand and button pushes would sometimes take 30 seconds to 2 minutes for the video to start coming through and even then it would be just primary colors or video with static in large areas of the video or a black screen with little dots of light randomly spread out. Completely useless if trying to id a vandal or package thief or to have a conversation with whoever was there (because usually they weren't there but I couldn't tell since I couldn't see). I immediately went to their website, read through the FAQ, troubleshooting, and support info. I logged on my TP-Link Archer C5 changed the channel bandwidth to 20Mhz and checked everything else was as they suggested. No luck. I changed my Cat5 cables to Cat6. Nothing. I tried getting a extender and putting it in the outlet next to the window where SkyBell sat. Same issues. I had my cable company come out and hook up a cable port in the room closest to SkyBell. No improvement. I cleared all other devices off of the 2.4Ghz channel and only allowed SkyBell to use it. Nope. Firmware, all up-to-date. I did several speed test for Skybell's SSID and was consistently clocking over 3Mbps, well over double Skybell's requirement of 1.5Mbps. When I told support my results they actually said, well 5-6Mbps would be better. Really? Ok, called Internet provider and upped the speed. Now I'm getting just over 6Mbps. No improvement. Somewhere along the way they sent a replacement product and nothing got better.
Skybell's support is an absolute joke. They are very nice, but they repeatedly failed to fully read my emails. I would give them very detailed information like, I did a speed test, under these conditions, and here were my results. And they would reply something like, here's an idea, do a speed test, here's how to do it, and let me know the results. This happened repeatedly with various bits of information.
Finally, being at my wits end, I wrote them an email letting them know I couldn't wait for them to start selling their product through 3rd party vendors so I could start reviewing it (true to my word). I listed my previous experience, recapped the issues, and told them to quit trying to blame my settings, ISP, and acknowledge their product was not functioning properly. I received a phone call the next day apologizing for my experience. Again, I had to repeat myself constantly to the guy trying to make things better from having to repeat myself constantly. Even after correcting him several times that I have had only 2 units (the 1st and one replacement), at the end of the call he was still perplexed that I was having issues on my 3rd unit. He also kept saying things like I was the only person having issues with their product, still not owning the issue. Being at work, he said he was going to shoot an email to me with the details regarding his top tech guy who would be calling me either tonight or tomorrow. I sat at home all day Saturday waiting and never received the call. It turns out the guy was off those 2 days. Seems like an easy thing to check and an unacceptable error when you are trying to fix an upset customer's issue.
I finally get a call from the top guy and we run through pretty much the same info and same troubleshooting again. Side note, anytime I reset the device it would kind of work for about 24 hours before issues returned, so it made it hard to immediately let him know if anything changed right then.
He suggested that I get a Netgear router because he's noticed a lot of issues with TP-Links, mine was only 3 months old and had the latest (I know this is about to change) AC standard. But I did. I got the Netgear AC1750. No improvement. I would like to mention that I also have a Canary cam that happily worked in every configuration I had trying to get SkyBell to work. I emailed him back a week ago asking him to review the settings he wanted on this unit and he still hasn't contacted me.
I deduced that the primary thing that SkyBell needs to operate correctly is upload speed. It has to get the video to their server in order to record and relay that data to the requesting device. So I enabled QoS upload, ran the speed test to determine the value to use for speed cap, added a rule using SkyBell's MAC ID Address and gave it the highest priority. Since doing this, videos start on the app in under 2 seconds. My TP-LINK doesn't have a QoS setting, so it looks like I will be keeping the Netgear. I'm only in my first 48 hours since adding the QoS setting and issues have had a tendency to pop back up in a day or two. I will be sure to update my review if they do return.
(UPDATE #2 02/10/2017: Someone in the comments mentioned that my Netgear/QoS solution worked for them and shared that “All SkyBell MAC IDs start with "D0:C1:93".” I thought this may be helpful to anyone trying to do their own troubleshooting.)
One other issue I have noticed is if I try to launch Skybell through the notification popup that I get from a button press or motion detection, all I get is a black screen. But if I ignore the convenient popup and instead go to the app and launch it and then click watch live everything is fine. I have read several reviews of the 2.0 that had this same issue so I hope it is something they are aware of and attempting to fix.
Areas SkyBell needs to improve: Better trained customer support, better mounting screw, better speakers, hardware that plays nice with a broader range of routers and phones, and equal treatment of iOS and Android.
Photos: Installed on wall (looking good), day time on demand video, night time video so you can see color night vision (no porch light is on), and one where you can see just how dark it is on my front porch before starting the night vision video (top part of the picture with the watch live button in it).
215 of 224 people found the following review helpful.
Skybell HD vs Ring
First off, I had the Ring Door Bell (non pro) prior to this. I have recently been seeing some negative reviews about this product and it's complexity of installation. The truth is, it installs the same way as every other doorbell with a camera in it. The Ring Pro and August doorbells need the existing 2 wires from your old doorbell. The Ring Doorbell (non pro) has the option to not be connected to a power source because it has an internal battery. I had the experience of having the Ring Doorbell wired and not wired, and of course, wired always offered the best experience due to convenience of not recharging the unit as well as more responsive with motion detection and chime response.
From reading reviews in the past, the regular Skybell non HD was a miss due to many shortcomings with hardware and software. I did some research online prior to switching due to many advantages over the Ring, including the cost benefit of not paying $3 per month on cloud service. The Skybell HD does not require you to purchase a subscription based cloud service, however it only saves the last 7 days of recording. You do have the ability to save the recordings. It is all free, which made the biggest aspect of switching over to the Skybell HD.
Installation is similar to the Ring Doorbell I had. All I did was remove the old Ring and hooked up the mounting plate and installed the Skybell HD with mounting screw at the bottom. It took me only 10 minutes to install this. The hardest part was probably drilling 2 holes in the stucco for the mounting plate. The software setup was easier than the Ring doorbell. Setup requires you to connect to the Skybell HD wifi and setup an account, probably another 2 minutes. Software integration was actually easier on the Skybell due to not having to put your personal information such as address and credit card information.
Overall, very positive. I would say the Ring non pro has a better motion detection in terms of sensitivity, it would pick up trees moving and cars passing by. The Skybell HD, even with its most sensitive setting, would only notify me 3-5 times a day of those false detection. It will however, pick up people coming in to door just like the Ring doorbell, but as for picking up moving objects in the far background it would sometimes trigger but not as sensitive as Ring. I think this is a personal preference, they will both have no issue detecting who comes to the door. But I would rather choose the Skybell HD for not having as many false alarms.
Comparing the saved images from both Ring and Skybell HD. Hands down, the Skybell HD is a lot better in terms of resolution, color and exposure. Some reviews online even prefer the Skybell HD in image quality over the Ring Pro. Daylight and nightime video quality knocks it out of the park. You also have the option to select video quality to 480p, 720p, 1080p right from the app, which will benefit those who have limited wifi signal. I would have to say this is probably the second best feature of this doorbell after the free cloud storage.
+ No monthly fees, free cloud storage, free on demand viewing
+ Image Quality, smooth video recording
+ 480p/720p/1080p video quality selection for those who have low wifi signal
+ Live stream and talk
+ change LED color, volume of outdoor chime, sound of outdoor chime
+ turn on/off motion detection/sensitivity
+ App is reliable and constantly being updated
+ Price to features/performance value
+ Integration with Nest/Alexa etc..
- Motion detection not as good as the competition
- Cloud recording auto delete in 7 days but you CAN save the videos.
I think this is the only way they are able to afford a free cloud storage service and I think this business model will trump paid cloud subscription over time when people realize. Who wants to pay $30 a year for a doorbell camera when you can have it for free?
Reading reviews from earlier times, the hardware and software have come a long way and I would have to say this is one of the best purchases I've made in a while. If you are on the fence between this and Ring Doorbell (non pro), this would be the better choice. If this or the Ring Pro, I would still choose this, even though the motion detection is not as good because it will save $30 a year for the next X amount of years.
So far I have been very pleased with this product. It's not perfect but what motion detection unit is? There are way too many variables which can fool the camera. However, I only set the notification when the doorbell is pressed. This became one of the must-haves for a homeowner like me.
No monthly fees rock, 7-day cloud recording is still enough, and still surviving the 100F+ heat. Skybell has now improved its motion detection. I had a family member buy one of these and was complaining because of the poor motion detection and possibly wanting to return the unit. I told him to wait for the firmware update because the unit will automatically update its firmware as long as the wifi connection is solid. And now he really likes it. Give this unit a chance to update to the new firmware before making a judgement. You may have to contact Skybell to confirm that you have the latest firmware.
289 of 308 people found the following review helpful.
Everything you need to know and more!
I have been using this product for 4 months now (installed in December 2015) and have been using it successfully for months. I do not usually write such lengthy reviews but I have summarized my experience at the top and then broken it down further below for those that are on the fence about this product or those that are looking for more information.
I originally gained interest in finding a quality "smart" doorbell following a string of package thefts and strange dudes loitering in our community. I truly value the ability to see exactly what is going on in front of my house, to be able to verify if a package was delivered, and to be notified if someone is lingering at my front door. For these reasons and more I have been researching and comparing "smart doorbell" products since the first models hit the market a few years back. Our household has been through a SkyBell original, SkyBell 2.0, Ring, and now the SkyBell HD (I plan to stick with this one). The first two (2) iterations of the SkyBell product were just so so. They had lots of potential but did not quite deliver. SkyBell HD on the other hand is a dramatic improvement and is still getting better. From the time this HD product hit the market there have already been updates to both the firmware and mobile application. These updates have improved functionality and reliability of the product itself and the new SkyBell HD application made it incredibly easy to interact with the product via multiple smartphone devices. Photo quality was drastically improved too (true HD quality) even with such a wide angle lens and colors are truly sharp regardless of night or day.
The SkyBell HD app is a completely new app (separate download in app store) from the past models and is lightyears ahead and finally a “modern” app that works. We no longer worry about package thefts! Since installing the new HD model, I have had numerous conversations with neighbors through the SkyBell HD and I have even been able to tell solicitors to go away from my desk at work miles and miles away! Even better, I have been able to notify my neighbors when packages are delivered so they can pick them up while I am out of town. I love my SkyBell HD! I highly recommend this product. More detailed review below.
First off, this device is sleek, nice looking, and ROCK SOLID. The connectivity and wireless range on it is great when compared to previous and competitor models. I did not feel worried about breaking it during install because when you hold the device you can tell it is manufactured well with durable materials. In the past, all other doorbells to this point felt dinky and plastic (not to mention that most were ugly). As for the WiFi connection, this works great. You will need to use a 2.4Ghz WiFi which makes total sense because the signal has to get through exterior walls to the doorbell (5Ghz doesn’t travel as far or through walls as well). I originally had issues with connectivity but this was resolved when I changed my own set up a bit. The device glows a nice LED color right on the button itself and on the top. For those of you who love to change the look of things, this LED color is fully customizable via the SkyBell HD app so the kiddos in the family like to make it match the current holiday!
The picture and audio quality on this device far surpasses anything else I have used/tested. The camera is 1080p which compared to past generations of the SkyBell and the Ring HD, this product is so much better. The closest runner up would be the 720p Ring. The picture itself is very impressive, I have showed friends and co-workers my porch from the app and they have been blown away. You can even pinch zoom while watching the video. If the WiFi signal degrades, the picture quality seems to scale in my experience (this normally happens when my toddler gets hold of the router antenna, which is a quick fix haha). As far as audio quality, I have never had any issue understanding anyone at the door using this device. Each SkyBell in the app has the ability to control speaker volume in case you find that it is too loud or if you live in close proximity to other neighbors, it is easy to decrease. I was skeptical that the picture was 180 degrees but it really does hit the entire porch from wall to wall, it is amazing the angle this little device captures. As far as night vision, this is some of the best night vision video I have seen, it is in fact in full color and you never have to adjust the camera for day vs night, it just handles it all automatically.
I have installed two of these devices to date, one of my home and now one on a family members home. One was on stucco and the other on uneven decorative stone. Both were mechanical chimes, not digital door chimes. Let me first say I have had my fair share of frustrations and setups with DIY projects all over my house INCLUDING past SkyBell and Ring doorbells. FINALLY, this install was straightforward and fast! If you have a mechanical doorbell like me you should have just two wires going to your doorbell. The instructions are straightforward from SkyBell, however in short you just kill the breaker, hook the two wires to the base plate (genius improvement as previously you had to wire to the device and then mount it to the mount and it was a pain, now the device isn’t involved until the very end at all) and then mount your mount to the wall. I have used a combination of screws and glue for these installs. SkyBell provides a nice drill bit in the box if you would like to drill two holes into the house. For my stucco installation I did use two holes, however I chose to use my own masonry bit on my stucco just to be safe. The install was straightforward and completed in under 5 minutes. For the 2nd installation I did I was on some decorative uneven stone and this was quite the challenge as it would be for any doorbell installation. I went down and got some quickrete patching material from Home Depot and filled in the grout and made a nice circle the size and shape of the SkyBell provided base. I was able to get one screw hole drilled using the SkyBell provided drill bit (worked fine), however I had to use glue for the other side. I recommend Loctite Outdoor Adhesive, it dry’s fast and clear and worked PERFECT. I have to say with only 1 screw in and the glue this device was not going anywhere.
Once the mount is secure and the wires are attached, you just lock the device onto the mount and put one screw into the bottom. For those of you who had experience with the older SkyBell models like me and hated the insanely small annoying screw under the bottom, this has been addressed and is finally nice and easy to install.
Setup with the app was much faster and worked the FIRST time in both cases. I would say the longest part is the 5 or so minutes it has to charge the internal battery, after that it only takes a minute or two to get it all setup and configured. The LED lights are extremely helpful in knowing what the device is doing during setup along the way. It comes with a little card showing all the possible light combinations in the box.
My SkyBell HD has been through the rainy season and I can tell you now that the water had no effect on my device, seems great no matter what the weather was. Occasionally a very windy day will trigger the motion on the SkyBell if the tree in front of my camera is really moving, but it is unusual.
Regarding motion detection I have many comments on this but I will try to keep it on point. I have reached out to SkyBell a couple times on this for assistance and they have been awesome to explain how the motion detection works and why I have experienced certain things happening. My SkyBell device sits in a location that will not be able to see the person until they are practically right on top of it which makes things very tricky for motion detection compared to a standard porch where it can see someone approaching. The SkyBell works by detecting motion the first time, and then if it detects a second trip of the motion within X number of seconds it triggers the alert. Therefore, my front porch has the issue of people only being on my porch for a matter of seconds and being gone. Originally when I got the device I was only capturing anyone walking near it in a slow fashion and taking their time, however if someone was being fast such as the UPS man, it would often be triggered right at the time the person was leaving and I would just see someone exiting the frame. Since I started using the device in December, they have added “Motion Sensitivity” to the app (low, medium, high) and this has helped, however I still am hoping for being able to customize the amount of time between activities to warrant triggering a motion activity. I have been told this might be coming soon, *fingers crossed*!!! I understand SkyBell not wanting to drive people nuts with motion alerts, and the fact my front porch is not the usual case for the average customer has caused me to be understanding and have to admit they have been great about updating the app and responding to questions. Overall I feel like the motion detection is almost perfect, is a lot better than day 1 for sure, and I am rooting for them to get it to be a 10/10 soon! Also to clarify, when motion detection happens, it stores it automatically in the cloud for FREE and you can go play it back later!
Loving the cloud storage for FREE, it captures Button Presses, Motion Detection, On Demand (When you watch it live on your own whim), and 3rd party triggers such as IFTTT or Alexa (Echo). It seems to hold a really decent amount of clips and how old they are doesn’t seem to matter, it is more based on how many activities you have saved it seems. I have seen some fall-off the bottom of the list after I had quite a large number on there. It is very easy though to download the clip to your device and store it forever. When it is something I want to keep I just save it then I don’t have to worry about it being erased with time. To be honest most videos you will not have a need to store to your device unless it is something suspicious or you want to be funny and send friends/family videos of themselves! Also just a note that downloading it does not remove it from their cloud, it will still stay and you can continue to download on other devices, etc.
IFTTT – I have hooked this up with my Nest Protect and Alexa channels. It works exactly as advertised. You can record video, change the color of the LED, and turn on and off the chime with Alexa.
Echo – This is a recent addition that I am loving and am using mostly in place of IFTTT. We have a small toddler at home who still takes naps and the ability to ask Alexa to tell SkyBell to turn on quiet mode (turn off bell) is such a great feature. No more little signs on the front door saying “Baby Sleeping”, just tell Alexa and the doorbell is off while your child sleeps in peace. Love it! Wish list item: Ability to turn on and off motion detection from Alexa! This would be nice for the times you are out working near the porch with plants, etc. and don’t want to keep tripping the motion. Hopefully we see that soon.
Nest – Have a nest account linked but I do not have the Nest Cam. It seems at this time the integration is specifically with the Nest cameras. If you have them you can have the motion from one trigger the other. Seems useful in concept, but I cannot speak to how well this works. As of now I just have my Nest Protect linked via IFTTT in case of a smoke alarm I can have it record video.
I have reached out to SkyBell a few times for feature requests/asking how things work. I have been impressed thus far with their support and response time. Furthermore App updates (that is what most of us really care about anyway), their team has been great about providing an update every few weeks to my phone. These have supported new features and improvements; so far I have been impressed with the rate of content delivery. I was also told once by customer support that my firmware was updated and it seems that happens directly with the device without you even knowing it! Great stuff!
I will continue to update in the future if I have more to report!