3 smart doorbells tested

When the smart doorbell was first introduced, consumers and journalists wondered en masse what its use was. We now see these doorbells more and more 'in the wild'. From experience we can say that we have not missed a package since we have such a doorbell. We test three smart doorbells!

The fact that the smart doorbell has become more known and used more often helps enormously in overcoming the obstacles. When a postman rang your doorbell two years ago – with your smart doorbell – and you indicated through the loudspeaker that you were not at home, the answer was certain: how can you talk to me now? By now most people know how the concept works, and it is a super handy way to tell a postman to put the package in the shed, or to decide not to open the door when someone is at the door who you don't know (or don't feel like).

No more rest

What you need to realize is that a smart doorbell can add quite a bit to your digital stress if you don't set it up properly. A notification in the middle of the night that movement has been detected in your front yard will not make you happy. You could turn off motion detection, but that is precisely one of the advantages: 24 hour surveillance. Therefore, make sure that if you buy a doorbell with motion detection, that you take the time to set this up properly.

Test justification

We subject every doorbell to an extensive inspection, including image quality, storage, mounting and available functions. We constantly keep in mind: what do we actually want from a smart doorbell and see how the tested doorbell fits in with that. We actively used each bell for two weeks to see how it performs in daily use.

Smartwares DIC-23216 Wi-Fi doorbell

The Smartwares DIC-23216 is the cheapest (and most unknown) bell, but it is by definition not inferior to the competition. The camera has a wider viewing angle of 180 degrees. The resolution is slightly lower with 720p than with the competition, although Smartwares also sells a 1080p variant. However, the latter only works on mains voltage, while it is nice that with the DIC-23216 you can choose between mains or battery. Assembly is a breeze and all supplies are included, although we would have liked to have seen a wedge supplied to place the camera in a corner.

The installation was a bit messy, but it works and after about ten minutes we could get started. The image quality is excellent and the viewing angle so large that we were even in the picture in the door frame. Still, we would have liked a wedge, as the wall sticks out next to our bell and blocks the view. The quality of the sound is fine, although there is a lot of background noise. Smartwares, unlike the other bubbles, suppresses the Fisheye effect. Nice, but in all honesty we just want to see who's at the door. It's great that the images can be saved on an SD card or on Dropbox for free. The option to take a picture at the touch of a button is also nice. However, we did not experience the interface of this doorbell as pleasant. The manufacturer has really done its best, but the interface just doesn't feel that mature. We also miss the opportunity to influence zones. It is rightly a fine smart doorbell, but not the very best.

Smartwares Wi-Fi doorbell

Price

€ 159,-

Website

www.smartwares.eu 8 Score 80

  • Pros
  • Attractively priced
  • Free cloud storage
  • Wide viewing angle
  • Negatives
  • Interface not pleasant
  • Messy installation
  • No adjustable activity zones

Google Nest Hello

We have good experiences with Nest products, but we also know that they are sometimes a bit difficult to install. In that respect, the Nest Hello fits exactly into this product line, because without electronics knowledge you probably cannot avoid an installer. And that quietly adds 100 euros to the cost (there is a good chance that you will need a new bell transformer). Once the installation is done, the Nest Hello is a fantastic device. The image quality is perfect, with the occasional hiccup, but that is more due to the WiFi connection. The sound is very clear and background noise is suppressed. The option to send pre-programmed replies is very useful, such as 'We'll be right there!'. The motion detection works well, although we often notice that the person we want to see is just not there in the snapshots. You can solve this with a paid Nest Aware subscription, because then video images are recorded. You also get extra functions, such as the possibility of facial recognition ('Aunt Annie is at the door') and setting activity zones.

We regret that we have to pay extra for the activity zones, because we consider that part of a standard function of a smart bell.

The interface works nicely and the doorbell contains all kinds of useful extras, such as switching on automatically when you leave the house based on your location. We would have liked a little more control over bell sounds.

Google Nest Hello

Price

€ 279,-

Website

www.nest.com 9 Score 90

  • Pros
  • Sublime picture and sound
  • Pre-programmed answers
  • Optional facial recognition (with subscription)
  • Negatives
  • Installation requires a technician
  • Pretty pricey
  • Paying for options

Ring Video Doorbell 2

The quality of the Nest Hello and the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is extremely close to each other. The doorbells can be roughly the same, the difference is mainly in the details. A plus of the Ring is that you can choose whether you want to connect via the mains or use the battery. The Ring also offers an option for an external receiver (i.e. a bell that you hear inside), but does not include this as standard. You need this if you want to hear the bell inside and not just want a sound on your smartphone, although you can also connect the Ring to some existing gongs. Incidentally, the Ring + receiver is still cheaper than the Nest.

If you decide to use the Ring 2 via the mains, you don't have to do this very hard: you can simply connect the device to the two wires of your existing doorbell. If you opt for the battery, we will give you an important tip: keep the supplied screwdriver! The battery of the Ring 2 is in fact a lot easier to replace than that of the first model (and ideal: you will receive an email when the battery needs to be charged), but the doorbell can only be opened with the special screwdriver. You can also easily charge the battery via the USB port.

The Ring's resolution is higher than the Nest's, but in all honesty, it doesn't really make much of a difference. What does make the difference is that with the Ring, after a small adjustment in the app, we saw exactly what we wanted to see from every event without taking out an extra subscription. You can also set the activity zones and sensitivity without having to pay extra for it, and that makes us happy. To store images for longer than a day, a cloud subscription of 50 euros per year is required.

The interface is really very well put together and is so intuitive that we left the manual in the box. The installation process is simple, even if you want to use the doorbell via the power network, and that means that you really have your doorbell up and running within a few minutes.

Ring Video Doorbell 2

Price

€ 199,-

Website

www.ring.com 9 Score 90

  • Pros
  • Wonderfully easy installation
  • Choose between battery or mains power
  • Setting activity zones is free
  • Negatives
  • Cloud storage pricey
  • Receiver not included (but note price difference)
  • Feels a bit cheaper than the Nest Hello

It's just a doorbell, isn't it?

In this test we will of course go seriously into all kinds of things, but let's not forget: it is and remains of course only a doorbell. The video features are useful, but the resolution is only really captivating when you want to identify a potential burglar… and all these doorbells can do that. In the end, it all comes down to avoiding missing out on people you don't want to miss out on, and all these doorbells are great at that. For that reason, we did not include design in this test. Great that your bell looks super sleek, but after a week you forget it's there.

Conclusion

It somehow feels unfair that the Smartwares doorbell did not come out as the best in the test. Affordable, free storage, a button for instant withdrawal: the ingredients are all there. Only it just feels a little less good than the other two.

The Nest Hello and the Ring 2 are basically the same doorbells in terms of functionality. Don't get hung up on resolution, night vision and so on, they're both good devices. The Ring 2 gives you the option to adjust the ringtone sound via your smartphone, but the Nest could fix that with one update (come on Google). The big difference lies in the things that we consider important for the consumer: you can install the Ring 2 as a layman, it has the best interface and offers you more options without immediately waving a subscription. The doorbell also costs a lot less. All this together really makes the difference for us. If you already have Nest devices at home, things are immediately different, because the Hello naturally fits into that network without any problems.

Below you will find all test results at a glance:

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