It is amazing how technology finds its way into our lives. Even those elements that seemingly require no upgrade, find new and cool ways to excite us. Who would have thought that a simple doorbell can be an integral part of your home defense? My son introduced me to Vivint Smart Home, a company that originally focused on perimeter/door and window security and morphed into a full Smart Home experience. In 2016 Vivint released their Doorbell Camera in competition with similar devices such as the Ring. My current doorbell sensor requires an outlet near the door to be powered or to have set wiring from an outlet (a wired doorbell). It then uses a wireless signal to the Control Panel (or mobile device) to alert you to motion, doorbell press etc. I like this system as it is part of my entire Vivint experience. However, if I did not have this setup, I would opt for a product like Zenith Notify Doorbell System, a standalone kit that you can install yourself.
The product arrives in a very attractive package, with everything you will need to get set up and running. This system differs from the Vivint system in power source. Instead of needing a wired outlet, this system is fully powered by a standard light socket. This requires no cutting, no screws, no advanced setup or technology knowledge. Simply plug in the light and voilà, you have a functional doorbell system. The Notifi main unit consists of a LED light that has a built-in motion sensor, speaker and microphone and attached Wi-Fi antennae and video camera. Included with the system is a wireless battery operated doorbell button and a chime that will need to be plugged into a standard AC outlet. Again, this is done wirelessly and without
The instruction booklet is very easy to read and understand. The manual covers the minimum system requirements, the description of all the included hardware and what you will need to complete the installation. Instead of technical wording, the manual uses illustrations that show the LED bulb and camera components. Additionally, it details the software, download information from IOS App store and Google Play store. I appreciate that the instructions are written in a very straightforward manner. This allows nearly anyone to follow them. Utilizing a very helpful step by step process, full installation took approximately fifteen minutes. The technology, development, and engineering that went into the power adapter and camera are quite impressive. If you have two lights at the front of your home, you can purchase an additional light (Model #: SL-3008–00).
Once the light is screwed into the standard light socket (Logo should face away from home), log into the Notifications account and select the name of your Notifi account. With the video feed playing, adjust the position of the camera to the viewing area in front of your door. You can attach the camera to your home using double sided tape or screws, further depicting the no cutting/damage process of the install. As a really cool aside, the camera image can be rotated 180 degrees utilizing the app. Inside your home, plug in the chime into any wall outlet. Open the push button and remove the battery tab, which prevents contact with the terminal. Press the push button and if the chime rings, mount the push button there. Find an ideal location for chime and push button and then install.
The lightbulb is listed as being a long life bulb and provides power to the camera. The bulb has a built-in speaker, to allow two-way communication. Additionally, you can adjust light levels using the application. The HD video camera is capable of 720p HD video and has a wide angle lens for full visualization of the space. The wireless push button is appropriately sized to fit your door frame. With the built-in motion detector, you can receive alerts to your smartphone and then get a good wide angle view. The camera has a built-in night mode, which will activate the light based on motion. You can record and stream the live HD video/audio. Despite all of these positives, there are a few limitations to the system. First, the camera requires constant power to operate. When the power is turned on for the device, it will require a sixty-second boot up period. Second, this system is not compatible with lights that have a dusk to dawn photocell systems, motion sensors, dimmers or timers. Lastly, since the system can be installed with double-sided tape and a standard light bulb socket, it is really amenable to theft. It would be nice if there were a way to dedicate the device to the owner so that if it were stolen, it would be inoperable by the person who took it. Or, perhaps the system requires a code printed on the indoor chime device to function.
The app is pretty straightforward. Along the bottom, you will notice a recorded video, still image, and talk icons. Press the button to talk to the person at your door. You can adjust light settings and camera settings through the cog icon along the top right. Adjust the on/off time for the light, adjust the brightness, adjust the motion sensor, adjust the speaker volume, adjust notifications, add multiple users. Through the basic app, you can do pretty much everything except push button triggered video record, motion triggered photo and video, and you only get 24 hours of recorded cloud storage vs the 30-day storage with the premium app. For $5 per month or $50 per year, you get these listed, extra features.
1. The manual was easy to read and follow.
2. Installation was very easy to. All you need is an exterior light with standard (Edison Screw Base) E26 base to install the power bulb into. Then simply mount the camera to the wall (screws or double sided tape). Then mount the doorbell button and plug doorbell chime into an interior outlet and lastly download whichever software you need for your phone.
3. App Software was easy to install, setup and use.
4. Daytime video is crisp and clear.
5. 100-degree wide angle lens covers entire porch.
6. Push button contains a standard A23 battery, with one year life.
1. Night time video is not very good, Vivint video is much clearer.
2. Must use paid service to get the full use of the unit.
3. The light and camera are easy to remove and steal.
I would give this a 4 out of 5 because of the service subscription requirement and the night time camera. Everything considered this is a good affordable camera system if you don’t have one. As I searched Amazon I found what appears to be the same Units with costs between $79 to $202. For me this would be a good accessory that could be added to my current system, it could be mounted for the protection of my rear door, garage or shop.
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