Super easy to install for certain types of user. Revised edition!
Reviewed in the United States on 31 July 2020
Updated 8/1/2020 & 8/5/2020 - Also 8/31/2020
I read somewhere that SimpliSafe designed their doorbell to be a good basic Video Doorbell that would be super easy to self install and use. If you need/want advanced features, you want a different system. Or if you have a situation that lies outside their targeted customer, it gets a tiny bit more difficult to install. But in most cases, not by much.
Their target customer is a person who can use a screwdriver, who can drill a tiny hole in the exterior wall (if needed), who can find the main power switch for the doorbell at their powerbox/fusebox, who has a mechanical chime (not digital) already installed on their existing doorbell. OOPS! One other thing, be able to read and understand instructions! If you meet these criteria, your installation will likely be in 20 minutes or less.
I meet the above criteria, but I have a VERY low tolerance for poorly designed self install instructions. The whole self-install scenario went VERY smoothly for me.
Everything works as it should, except for one thing. I haven't tried to contact Simplisafe customer service yet to remediate, I literally just installed it and wanted to write about installation before I forget. Although I am extremely good looking for my age, I am old and forget stuff. I will update as time goes on.
* It connects to my Orbi, 2 node, mesh router
* The chime rings both at the mechanical chime and at the volume-controlled SS base station.
* A notice is sent to my phone.
* I can see who is at the door.
* It integrates quite well with my Simplisafe Security system.
* I can't get the audio to play when I press the talk button in my SimpliSafe phone software. (yet - more info later, when I have it) this will be a good test of the Simplisafe customer service!
* I have NOT yet tested the night time view.
For the most part, it does exactly what I want. The view is a super-wide angle, and while the image shows distortion, it's not as distorted, in my eyes, as much as some video doorbells. The camera control allows you to select 1080p, 720p, or 480p. The default is 720p the image quality is crisp and sharp, and not too laggy.
480p will be faster, and take up less room in storage, but will be significantly lower in image quality. 1080p will be slower, take up the most room in storage, but be significantly higher in image quality. I am comfortable with the quality and speed of 720p. It's a doorbell, not "Game of Thrones".
At this point, I would say I'm over the moon happy with the installation, but concerned a bit by the audio issue. I can't give it 5 stars yet, but I think 3 stars might be too harsh.
REVISED: Changed to 5 stars. In experimenting with this doorbell. I have discovered that the audio problems completely disappear at 480p, and the image quality on my Android phone, Android tablet, and 27 inch PC monitor at 480p is quite good. The video loads and runs a bit faster as well and I don't lose a connection People who have been having this sort of trouble would be advised to try the 480p before trying the tech support people.
The night time view is good and clear with the porch light either on or off, though having the porch light on is better.
I've been getting 3-4 false movement detected messages a day, but I haven't yet tried any sort of remediation on that yet. If it becomes problematic, I will report back.
Right now, I'm quite happy with the ease of installation, integration with the SimpliSafe security system, and with its overall operation. It isn't the most advanced video doorbell on the market, but it covers all the main functions I am looking for at a most reasonable price. The 480p dimension setting is adequate to the task.
I think for existing SimpliSafe users, this must be seriously considered, for others . . . mmm - it probably ought to be considered. There ARE going to be viable other options out there, some more advanced, some cheaper, but I think this hits the 'sweet spot' for a combination of features, quality, and affordability.
LAST REVISION, I promise: I resolved the 480p - 720p issue completely. I noticed that even though the Orbi mesh router wall node was only about 10 feet away from the doorbell on the other side of the wall. The doorbell app told me the signal was "weak". I had an additional outlet almost directly below the doorbell on the other side of the wall. I plugged the router node into that outlet, and the signal changed to "strong". This allows me to use the 720p screen dimension with no problem and full audio. If your signal is weak to the doorbell, your wall or door may be part of the transmission problem. In that case, you will need to consider moving your router closer to the doorbell. (Mesh router systems make that easy!)
For the false movement detected - The setup parameters in the app allow the user to prevent certain areas of the screen for being used for detection. I turned off that part of the screen that showed the road and sidewalk in front of the house and that stopped the false movement notifications, except for the odd child running across the lawn. and in our neighborhood, they are all odd.
LAST EVER REVISION 8/30/2020: I'm finding that the audio capability is the least useful feature of a video doorbell. I would say the single most important feature for me, has been the notification at my smartphone, and at my Samsung Smartwatch. That is extremely useful.
The video itself is useful somewhat if you need a record of who is at the front door. I suspect, however, Video's most value is in providing a record of whatever is happening in the front of the house during a break-in or other emergency situation.
Audio? Frankly, I haven't had a reason to use it. Delivery people drop a package at the door, ring the doorbell and head back to their truck. People coming to visit, need to have us greet them in person, and we rarely have door to door vendors in our neighborhood. It might be marginally useful to record audio in the above-mentioned emergency situation, but I have not needed to talk to someone remotely even while the doorbell is new, and I am looking for situations to do so.
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