DIY security is a hot topic item in the tech space these days. One of the companies that have been at the forefront of that movement has been Simplisafe. The company prides itself on the complete system you can set up in minutes and has recently added the Video Doorbell Pro to its lineup.
Simplisafe was kind enough to send me the new Video Doorbell Pro for the last few weeks and I’m going to share my experience with this full review.
The Simplisafe Doorbell Pro doesn’t set the world ablaze with a radical design. But that’s OK, and honestly, there’s only so much you can do here. You get an elongated rectangular device with rounded edges that immediately reminds you of well… a doorbell.
At the top, you have a camera capable of 1080p HD recording with a 162-degree field of view. The lens has pan and zoom to help capture this wider viewing angle. Just below that is a motion sensor with IR night vision as well.
The small pinhole towards the middle is a two-way microphone. This allows you to have a conversation with anyone that comes to the door even when not at home. This has already come in handy for me to “sign” for a package that arrived while I wasn’t in the house.
The bottom of the Simplisafe Doorbell Pro is, well… the doorbell. This a large chrome button surrounded by an LED ring. This ring illuminates when pressed and the press of the button rings your existing bell while immediately initiating an app notification.
Setup and the app
The setup of the Simplisafe Video Doorbell Pro is pretty painless. You have start with safety. Find your appropriate breaker to cut power to your existing doorbell. You will then remove the mounting screws of your current system.
After destruction has taken place we can now move forward with our new fancy gadget Doorbell Pro. I’d suggest using the back bracket with the new power terminal to make sure your existing screw holes match the alignment. Mine was slightly different and I had to make an alternative pilot drill hole for the top screw.
Then, you need to run the two wires from your old bell through the keyhole-shaped opening. These will need to go up, and behind, the terminal screws to then be secured with a Philips head screwdriver. Now use the included mounting screws to secure to your exterior wall at the top and bottom of the Simplisafte Doorbell bracket.
One more note, if you have a doorbell currently installed in a corner or uneven surface like siding, don’t worry. Simplisafe thought about these scenarios and includes a wedge in the box to mount at an angle to give you a more stable view. I personally didn’t have to use this accessory but it’s nice to see it in the box.
Once the Simplisafe Vido Doorbell Pro is secured, you then take the outside casing and slide it over the base, and press down to snap into place. Now, you should restore power and test the unit.
If successful, you should give your Doorbell around 90 seconds to properly power up. Then you can test to make sure your doorbell chime works when pressing the large, silver button on the Simplisafe. If you chime works as intended you can secured the base and front plate as the final hardware step with the include super-tiny hex screw in the packaging into the very bottom of the Doorbell Pro.
Completing the setup and connecting to your Simplisafe system is all handled through the app. Here you’ll go through the normal steps of a connected device: add a camera, enter your WiFi credentials, and give it a name or location.
But my favorite part of this is Simplisafe uses the Doorbell Pro’s camera to scan a QR code on your phone to link it to your app. This is a nice feature to both verify the account information and whether the Doorbell’s video system works.
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The app experience is pretty comparable to most video apps after setup. You get a dedicated tab at the bottom of the Simplisafe app along with the last history preview at the bottom of your Overview main page.
Notifications are also fairly normal. When the Simplisafe Video Doorbell Pro detects movement, it starts recording and sends an instant notification to your devices via the app. You then are dropped directly into the live video feed by tapping the notification.
I did have a complaint and one hiccup while using the app. First, I think any Android app revolving around video should offer a thumbnail view in the notification. It’s a quick, glanceable way to see just how important the need is at the door. Is it my normal Amazon package that can wait or is my mom standing in the rain waiting for me to let her inside?
And that leads to my main issue. Simplisafe either has a connection issue in tunneling the app to the live stream, or the WiFi radio is very inconsistent. About every 8th time I try to open a notification or manually check the live video I get the below message.
I’ll close this section of the review on the positive that you don’t have to be a Simplisafe subscriber to use the Video Doorbell Pro. The device and app can both be used without an existing Simplisafe security system or monitoring plan.
Despite a couple of hiccups, I’m impressed with the video quality, app notifications, and ease of setup with the Simplisafe Video Doorbell Pro. The quality is as good if not better than other security cameras I currently have installed.
If you are already a Simplisafe customer, then this is the doorbell camera for you. I can’t imagine adding another app and ecosystem with better results. And you can opt into if something triggers your alarm to allow the monitoring system to confirm a physical threat via the video feed.
Even if you’re not a Simplisafe user, I think the Video Doorbell Plus warrants a look. At $170 it’s competitively priced with similar options. Add that to a quick installation process, and good looking device and Simplisafe has a winner with the Video Doorbell Plus.