DoorBot allows you to see and talk with visitors from anywhere using your smartphone.
Have you ever missed a knock on the door or did not hear the doorbell ring because you’re in the backyard or down the street? What about answering the door to find out it’s a salesman trying to push you into buying what ever they have that day? It happens everyday and almost every homeowner will experience this in their lifetime. So what can you do to prevent this?
Today, I’d like to present you with DoorBot, an electronic audio and video doorbell that allows you to view and speak to the people at your door without having to ever open the door.
We first saw DoorBot on the ABC reality TV show Shark Tank. The presenters showed us just how home automation can really get cool. I watched DoorBot from that day forward and waited for the opportunity to review it. I immediately saw the potential in what DoorBot had to offer and was very excited to get my hards on one to try.
I hesitated on purchasing a DoorBot because of the horrible reviews I was seeing on Amazon about the DoorBot. After reading so many mixed reviews I came to the conclusion that the only way to truly know how well it worked was to test one out. Because I work with technology, I understand that there can be many reasons for something not to work perfectly right out of the box.
Once my DoorBot arrived, I pulled it out of the box and really checked out the device. It’s very well made and feels solid in my hands. It’s not real lightweight or cheap feeling at all. I went through the syncing process after downloading the iOS app to my iPhone and iPad. I then headed outside to get it installed in place of my old doorbell.
When you take your old doorbell off the exterior wall, you should see two wires – a red and white one. DoorBot makes it easy by telling you it doesn’t matter which terminal they are screwed into on the wall bracket. DoorBot is dual powered so you can choose to directly hardwire it to the existing doorbell wires or use the built in battery. I like to keep mine hardwired to keep from having to remove it when it needs charged.
My DoorBot came with a level that you can place on the bracket so you can make sure you mount the device perfectly straight. My DoorBot also came with all the tools needed to install it. The two bad things about the accessories included. First the screws that I got for mounting my DoorBot into the wood of my home stripped easily. Within the first few twists, the screws broke. Even though it was an inconvenience, that problem was a quick $1.99 fix at the hardware store. Second the screw driver provided was also very weak and stripped out, too. So, before starting the install, I would suggest hitting up your local hardware store to pickup new screws and a strong screw driver bit. After getting the bracket mounted and the wires screwed in, it was time to snap the DoorBot into place. The DoorBot pops on pretty easily and then you have a security screw that tightens up from the bottom to keep your DoorBot from being pulled off.
DoorBot’s big button makes it easy for guests to see where to ring the bell. The button’s ring becomes lighted when it’s pushed during the day or night. On Wi-Fi I get push notifications instantly and was able to connect and answer using the DoorBot. The video some times looks great and other times it’s a bit fuzzy. When first using it I could hear the person on the other side, but they could not hear me. After trying this a few times, I headed over to the support forums on DoorBot’s website and found that you need to check your iPhones Privacy under the Settings. Then, check to make sure DoorBot is allowed to use your phone’s Microphone. When you first use the DoorBot app, you are prompted to do this, but some people might ignore the prompt so going back into Settings is an easy fix for that issue.
In my case, the microphone privacy setting was not the issue so I called the 1-800 number provided with my DoorBot and was connected to a rep quickly. He was able to see my device once I gave him my information.
It turns out that my DoorBot was running an older firmware and needed to be updated. Jacob, my DoorBot representative, explained to me he would send over the packets I needed for my DoorBot’s firmware to update. He wanted to make sure I understood he would be sending me an email and to watch for it. It was a link to the support page and instructions for me to receive the update. After doing that, I read that you need to press the doorbell button on the DoorBot and when a call comes in via the app hit the end button at the top left corner. This enables the DoorBot to check for updates and the light around the button will flash for about three minutes while the update completes.
I did this and it worked, but the information I received from my representative Jacob was a bit different. In his instructions, I was told to take the DoorBot off and press the reset button and then do a full reset. I’m guessing this will also allow the update to be pushed through.
My reason for getting into this is to explain that my experience with DoorBot support was simple and non aggravating. They have great customer support. Not only was I able to chat with them over email, but I was also able to speak with them over the phone. He took his time and explained everything very well and made my whole updating process as simple as pie. This is something to remember when getting a device for home automation. Make sure the companies have phone support because going back and forth via email is not pleasant.
DoorBot is now sold at Staples and Amazon.com Compared to the competition, Doorbot lacks cool features, but unlike the competition I was able to get it working.
Now that it’s set-up it’s time to test the my new device and see if it’s all that I had hoped for. My DoorBot worked from my home Wi-Fi well. I was able to get the notification and speak with the person on the other side of my door easily. The video was a bit choppy at first, but levels out. I blame that on my Internet speed because a few minutes later, it was a great video feed. There is a few second delay when chatting with someone over the DoorBot and you can hear yourself after speaking. I think this is something that will improve with future software updates.
Now to move over to LTE…If I’m not on my home Wi-Fi, will I be able to respond and use the DoorBot to it’s full potential? Surprising enough I got better response from my DoorBot when answering from my iOS device using LTE then I did from my home Wi-Fi. I have 30mb Internet connection so I know the speed is not my problem.
Depending where the sun is during the day will depend on how well you can see the person on the other side of the camera, but at nighttime I can tell you two lights on the DoorBot turn on like two LED flashlights. For someone ringing the doorbell for the first time at night, it’s definitely going to startle them, but the video comes through quite well and I was able to make out who was standing at my door even with the low light of the moon.
The video after a month or so still seems to work, but is not super clear. It does the trick, but compared to something like DropCam, DoorBot’s video quality is seriously lacking. The audio still seems to be working, but cuts in and out every so often. With new technology there will always be hiccups and different things could be causing these slight video and audio issues. I have confidence that these issues will be worked out with software updates in the near future.
Lots of people come to my door throughout the week and most of them I wish I would’ve never answered the door for. DoorBot is going to save me from the hassle of the door-to-door salesman. Watch our video below to see how the DoorBot works for us. Checkout our video below.
More information visit GetDoorBot.com
I was one of original backers of the project on Christie Street. My experience with both the company and the product was not good. So bad in fact that I detailed it here:
I’m now in the process of writing about the SIP door phone that I installed to replace the Doorbot.
I understand how frustrating it can be. I had lots of problems with the Skybell before switching to Doorbot. I think the Doorbot still needs to grow but it’s working for me right now. How do you like the SIP door phone?
I had recieved Doorbot as a gift. Wanted to instill it, but I noticed by the reviews that this product is no longer available.
Any alternatives on how I can use this?