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Eufy Security Video Doorbell review: The private option
Eufy Security has an entirely different pitch for its video doorbell: privacy. If you’re a bit less trusting and would rather not share an unending stream of video from your front porch with a faceless corporation, the Eufy Video Doorbell might be your best bet.
Find out why in Android Authority‘s Eufy Security Video Doorbell review.
Editor’s note: Today, July 6, Amazon is discounting the Eufy Security Wireless Video Doorbell down to $163.99. Check out the deal right here.
Eufy Security Video Doorbell review: A ‘Eu’-nique angle
Security for our homes is the primary reason we might buy a video doorbell. We use them to keep tabs on visitors, deliveries, and sometimes strangers lurking through the neighborhood late at night. But privacy is also part of the equation. We expect at least some degree of privacy with everything we do in the connected world. Some corporations are better at delivering on that promise than others. Ring, for example, got tripped up last year when ne’er-do-wells hijacked a little girl’s bedroom camera.
Eufy’s notion of privacy has to do with the ownership of video generated by the doorbell. Rather than upload and store everything in the cloud, Eufy’s video doorbell stores everything on a hard drive in your home. You quite literally maintain ownership of the video, as it never leaves your house. This may be appealing to those who would rather not send all that personal data to a random server where it might be analyzed.
Is that enough to sell a video doorbell? Here’s the scoop.
See also: What is a smart home?
How hard is the Eufy doorbell to set up?
One of the biggest advantages of battery-powered video doorbells is that you can stick them anywhere. You’re not beholden to using an existing perch next to the door where a wired doorbell might already be. The Eufy doorbell, thankfully, has both wired and battery options. Similar to the Arlo and the Ring, you need only a modicum of handyman skills to get the Eufy attached to the wall and streaming live video.
There is a curveball. That hard drive mentioned above? It’s included in the doorbell kit. It’s a combined hard drive/chime and is where all the video archives are kept.
Why is this a curveball? You need to plug it into an ethernet port on your home network. Many people rely 100% on Wi-Fi to keep things in their home connected. Not everyone has access to a spare ethernet hookup. I literally had one left in my house. If you don’t have access to ethernet, that’s a dealbreaker right there. Why this thing can’t use Wi-Fi is beyond me.
Eufy suggests you plug the hard drive in first, then download/install the app, and only after you’ve created an account bother with mounting the doorbell. I suggest you charge the doorbell first, as it takes six hours to charge fully. Then tackle the other stuff.
The kit includes a mounting plate, wedge, and all the screws you might need to install the doorbell outside your door. You’ll need to supply basic tools, such as a drill and screwdriver. The actual act of screwing the doorbell next to my door took less than 10 minutes.
How is the Eufy doorbell app?
Eufy’s app is free to download from the Google Play Store (or iTunes App Store) and requires you to set up an account to get started.
Much like the mobile apps from Ring and Arlo, the Eufy app walks you through the setup process hand-in-hand. It’s dead simple to follow the steps needed to get up and running, such as configuring Wi-Fi and getting the base and the bell to talk to one another.
Once you’ve done that, the app allows you to manage the two devices, quickly assess the health of your bell, and dive into settings. Basics such as video quality, motion zones, and notifications are a cinch to control.
It’s a fine app that gets the job done.
See also: Best smart home gadgets
How does the Eufy doorbell work?
Eufy follows the core video doorbell concept. Whenever someone presses the doorbell, they’ll be connected directly to your phone. The phone rings, the doorbell rings, and the base rings, acting as a default chime for your house. (Be sure to put the base somewhere you’ll hear it.)
Video is recorded in a wide-angle 4:3 window. It doesn’t quite cover my entire front stoop. For example, I couldn’t see packages left next to the front door. It did, however, provide for a decent view up and down the block on which I live. Video is captured at 2K resolution, which is plenty rich to see details without worrying about grain and noise in the video. Last, the video supports wide dynamic range for improved clarity in the shadows. I did, however, notice a slight delay while interacting with callers. That might be troublesome if you need to have a lengthy conversation.
The live video tool is particularly helpful. It’s dead simple to take snapshots, which are saved to your camera roll, or capture video, send a pre-canned voice message, and more. Everything about the user interface makes sense.
Eufy allows you to tweak the zones where motion will activate the bell. For example, you can choose to have only human motion activate the camera, and then adjust the sensitivity to be sure you don’t miss anything. I also like that Eufy offers modes for when you’re home and when you’re away, allows you to set geofences, and even set automated behaviors, such as triggering lights or secondary cameras when motion is detected at one.
All your video is saved in the base for safekeeping. You can access your video at any time, delete it, share it, move it around, and so on. Video is kept safe via 256-bit encryption. I appreciate this unique flexibility.
Bottom line, the Eufy video doorbell gets the job done.
How much do the Eufy doorbell plans cost?
$0. Yep. There’s no cost because there are no plans. The doorbell subscription plans offered by the likes of Arlo and Ring are to manage video storage. The Eufy stores all your video locally on the included hard drive. The company pitches its solution as a “one-time purchase” that doesn’t require yearly or monthly fees. Nice.
The only downside is that the hard drive is another thing sitting on your home network.
See also: Best smart security cameras
Eufy Security Video Doorbell review: Should you buy it?
Eufy did a fine job with its video doorbell. Ring may have the bigger name, and Arlo may offer higher-quality video, but these each require monthly plans that add to the cost of the purchase. Eufy includes a local video storage solution that also happens to help you maintain at least some control over your privacy. This is not common across the video doorbell market.
Setting the bell up, managing the software, and running the app are easy enough for anyone to handle. That is to say the app is feature rich, includes advanced tools, and allows for plenty of personalization.
At $199.99, the Eufy splits the difference in cost when compared to the Ring 3 Plus ($229.99) and the Arlo ($149.99). I think it’s a fair price for what the Eufy offers, and the privacy selling point is one worth considering.