Eufy Video Doorbell review - no monthly subscription

in STEMGeekslast year

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My doorbell has been acting up for a while, the buttons outside no longer worked reliably, the plastic is cracked and water keeps getting into them, and when the bell is used the chime sometimes starts to smell and overheat.

I've wanted a video doorbell for a while but I refuse to pay a monthly fee. Ring the major producer of video doorbells, now owned by Amazon, has worked closely with local law enforcement to get copies of videos from individual homes.

A good example is this article Police can keep Ring camera video forever and share with whomever they’d like. Ring (Amazon) has partnered with over 400 Police Stations to gain access to these cameras from al over the United States.

Eufy offers the best commercial solution available that does not have a subscription or cloud storage forced on its users. The base station includes a 16GB Memory module to allow for thousands of interactions to be stored locally. When you view the camera from the app, you connect directly to the device rather than a cloud service provider.

I picked up this doorbell for $159.99 at a local electronics store and did the installation ourselves. You can use your existing chime or the chime that is included with the base station. Because I wanted to remove the old chime that was acting up, I am using the base station and the phone app for notification.

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The newest version of the doorbell includes a battery and can be used wired or as a stand-alone battery install. If you use it wired (like I am) it will trickle charge the battery and if you use it without the home wiring you will get 6 months out of a charge. If you use motion detection and some other features like putting the device in security mode (detects more rapidly and records everything) it will use even more battery and likely last far less time.

Installation is really simple, plug the base station into the wall and into your router or switch and configure the app. Installing the actual doorbell is simply mounting the plate and connecting two wires or use it completely wireless. It is far easier to have two people so one can monitor the app to make sure you get the correct angle of view. I had to use the included 45-degree tilt plate to make sure it has a good view of the front door.

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The device acts as a doorbell which notifies you immediately via a chime and push notification where you can monitor the video or have two-way audio communication with the visitor.

You can also turn on motion detection which will automatically record and notify you of any activity in view. It has built-in AI that detects humans and avoids false positives that appear to work extremely well in my experience. You can also adjust the activation areas to further minimize false positives (I haven't had any).

The default mode is to only record doorbell rings, but I would recommend turning on security optimized mode that enables motion detection and a full recording of all events not eliminated by the AI.

The camera advertises 2K resolution, and I have found it to be pretty clear from reasonable distances.

You can buy additional doorbells and share the same base station if you have other doors in your house. We have three doors but I only have it installed on the front door right now. I am thinking about putting it on the wall between our two garage doors as we use the garage doors when there is a lot of snow and avoid the front walkway. So even though it isn't really a door, it would be handy to have a video doorbell there. You can also buy additional base stations and have them chime in multiple rooms.

You can also purchase indoor and outdoor cameras and hook them to the same base station. You can also hook it up to Alexa or HomeKit.

After using the device for a couple of weeks, I really like it. It works well, I have had not had any false positives during this time.

My favorite thing is my son uses it a lot to leave me video messages.

My least favorite thing is the delay from when someone shows up and I get the push notification and then load the video feed. The delay is only 2-3 seconds but at that point, the visitor is at the door waiting. It doesn't seem like a lot but it feels like an eternity. I understand they are working on making it faster and have done some improvements in the past (so I hear), but it could be better. I never owned a Ring device and don't know how well that does but it is really my only complaint. It still works really well but could be faster to respond.

I wish you could upgrade the memory in the base station but it appears to be fixed and is the same size as the outdoor camera packages. If you already have the doorbell package, you can just purchase camera add-ons to add security cameras.

Not having a subscription and sharing private video with third parties was critical to me. I was going to build my own solution with a Raspberry Pi but there is no way I could build something so compact and easy to use. I do want to look to see if I can somehow get the feed fed into a centralized camera monitoring station. I suspect it is not possible with the doorbell though.

All images are from the Eufy Security product page


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The trend of trying to make everything a SaaS business with a monthly subscription is ridiculous.

They build the cheapest HSV (Homekit Secure Video) products I believe. I have a couple of Logitech Circles, planning to extend it with EufyCams these days.

 last year 

I remember your post about the HSV, I want to check that out.

Considering I consolidate all my appliances on Homekit, that was my way to go, but regarding the privacy I think HSV is one of the best solutions in the market at the moment.

sounds great. good for security.

They make great products. I have two of their outdoor security cameras and the Roomba type thing. Tons of Anker products as well, including USB solar panels and a massive battery that can charge my iPad Pro twice! I fold the solar panel out to charge the battery in the early mornings and can usually charge it to 100% in a day and a half.

 last year 

I got the 32000mAh Anker battery I use for emergencies when we lose power or for when we are not home. Probably similar size as the one you have. I'm not a fan of solar as it usually is incredibly slow. To charge that battery pack the solar mat must be huge.

This is the one I use, @themarkymark. On a sunny day, it charges almost as fast as it would plugged in to the wall of my house. It takes a day and a half, typically, but the battery I have is 26800mAh and takes a day to charge even indoors.

No monthly fees is very appealing. It's what stopped me getting one before. I might get this just to see what type of animal is attacking my milk in the morning!

 last year 

You can turn off AI detection so it doesn't focus only on humans. That should work for what you are trying to do. You can also check into it at any point, but with motion detection, it should pick it up on the first day or two.

Night vision on it is pretty good.

That sounds very handy indeed. I'm off to check the UK cost!

 last year 

Make sure you get the one with the Homestation 2 that looks like the box above, they have one that plugs into an oulet only and it isn't the latest version.

Good call, I was looking there and see a few types. I meant to say, my friend has a ring doorbell and it has a similar lag when activated like you mentioned above so I don't think it's a minus for the eufy one either.

Door bell? Yes, I love the way it is being made even everyone can enjoy more at their doorstep.

I love huge battery for this maybe 30000MAp

I am put off by monthly fees as I'm already paying for a load of other services and this is just a doorbell. I see some offer free cloud storage for a few days, which should be enough. I also considered a Pi solution, but that could be hassle to maintain. Can the Eufy sound a chime on a Google Home device?

This review mentions the cheaper RemoBell, but it's actually more expensive than the Eufy in the UK. That offers free 3 day cloud storage.

I just want something to keep an eye on the cars and let me deal with deliveries when I'm out.

 last year 

With Cloud Storage usually comes with sharing with third parties.
I wanted to avoid that after seeing what is going on with Ring.

I wish there was a way to get a raw feed from the camera or automatically move to my own off-site storage.

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Please be aware of this user (@themarkymark). The user have been kicked off other social platforms and are harassing other users by continually downvoting them. The user control and use @buildawhale Account (An old voting bot) for this too.

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