SkyBell HD Video Doorbell Review

Founded in 2013, SkyBell Technologies has 63 patents issues and an additional 39 patents pending- pretty good for a five year old company! SkyBell’s entire focus is on its video doorbells, which allow someone to speak to and see whoever’s at their door- even before they push the doorbell button. I ordered the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell and I’m ready to see what’s in store.

In this review, I’ll go over the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell’s design, features, functionality, convenience, and finally, the SkyBell app. Let’s get started!

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SkyBell HD
SkyBell HD

From -40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, the SkyBell HD video doorbell can handle even the toughest weather conditions. 

SkyBell HD Pros and Cons

Let’s make sure you’re reading the right review before I go too far into detail.

The best qualities about the SkyBell HD are its temperature range of -40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, its 1080p HD video display, and free cloud and local storage. 

But I’m not loving the SkyBell HD’s lack of person detection, smart platform integrations, and poorly-rated app. 

SkyBell HD Video Doorbell Design

skybell-hd-video-doorbell-review
SkyBell HD Video Doorbell. Photo provided by SkyBell.

SkyBell’s HD Video Doorbell is a round silver circle with three additional circles on its face- the actual doorbell button, a small white protrusion, and the purple-toned camera. Like all SkyBell cameras, the brand name is written on the bell in an alarming lime green, which clashes with the purple of the camera.

I’m not loving the round shape of the doorbell, nor its colors. It looks like part of a P.A system in an early 2000s elementary school more than it does a doorbell. All in all, the aesthetics leave something to be desired.

But surfaces aside, the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell is waterproof and can work in temperatures from 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit. The doorbell will be hard-wired into your house, but it comes with a backup battery which will allow it to work for a few minutes if your power goes out. The camera records when it senses motion for 35 seconds or longer if you answer your notification. Finally, the video doorbell connects through Wi-Fi, so make sure you have a strong internet connection.

SkyBell HD Video Doorbell Features

Aside from the doorbell itself, you’re buying the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell  mainly for its video camera. In this section I’ll tell you about the camera’s technical specifications, along with my own personal experience. I also want to tell you about a few cool features of the doorbell under the subsection “Extras”.

Video

Wouldn’t it be crazy if a video doorbell called SkyBell HD didn’t have HD vision? Thankfully, SkyBell HD lives up to its name. It has 1080p HD video display, a nice field of view of 120 degrees, and a field of zoom of five times. All impressive!

Audio

The camera has two-way audio which will allow you to speak to whoever’s on your welcome mat. Most people don’t know that the first thing robbers do to see if you’re home is ring your doorbell. If no one answers, the coast is clear. However, with two-way audio, you can pretend to be home even when you’re not- just talk into the SkyBell app! It’s a simple solution that could make a real difference for your home’s security.

Night Vision

The SkyBell HD Video Doorbell has color night vision, and while initially, that might sound better than black and white, I much prefer infrared night vision. Why? With a bright white light, the person you’re recording will be aware of the camera,and could take steps to afford its gaze. In contrast, infrared night vision is completely invisible to the naked eye. Your perp (or whoever you’re recording) will have no idea they’re being filmed.

Storage

SkyBell gives you local storage and cloud storage for a week- no subscription required. I love that both cloud and local storage are available as you can backup your footage two ways, ensuring that you won’t lose it.

Smart Platform Integration

Unfortunately, the SkyBell HD does not integrate with any smart home platforms like Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, or Apple HomeKit. However, their website says that partnerships are in the works so you’ll be able to vocally command your video doorbell at some point, hopefully in the near future.

Artificial Intelligence

what-is-person-detection
Person Detection

Another negative point of the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell is its lack of artificial intelligence capabilities. While some cameras can tell people from pets, cars, and other non-human moving objects, this video doorbell cannot. What does this mean for you? Well, you’ll probably receive a lot of irrelevant notifications from things you don’t care about- a car driving by, a dog running across your lawn, etc. Hopefully SkyBell can add person detection and even facial recognition in the future, as it will lead to smarter, more specific notifications.

Extras

SkyBell gives you some cool customizations with your video doorbell. One, you can silence the doorbell’s chime so it won’t wake someone up (an ideal setting for new parents). Second, you can take screenshots of your livestream, which could help catch a perp or capture a cute moment. Finally, if your SkyBell HD Video Doorbell is stolen, SkyBell will replace it for free! That’s a pretty good deal.

Installing the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell

To install the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell, you’ll need a power drill, a wire stripper, and a Digital Doorbell Adapter. This isn’t something you can do yourself, so you’ll want professional installation.

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SkyBell HD
SkyBell HD
SkyBell HD

From -40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, the SkyBell HD video doorbell can handle even the toughest weather conditions. 

The SkyBell App

skybell-app-review
The SkyBell App. Photo provided by SkyBell.

Let’s talk about the SkyBell app. It’s where you’ll access and control your video doorbell on the go, so I’m going to talk about its features and customer reviews.

Features

From the SkyBell app, you can livestream footage, take screenshots, review event history, speak to visitors, receive notifications, share access to guests, and adjust your settings.

Reviews

According to SkyBells customers, the app does not live up to its features. It only has a 2.9 rating from the Google Play store and a 2.2 rating from the Apple Store. Many people complained that the camera was not picking up motion and that customer support was extremely hard to reach. Definitely a bit of a red flag.

Recap of the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell

Looking for the perfect video doorbell can feel a little like The Princess and the Frog. With a plethora of choices, how can you be sure that the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell is right for you?

You may want to purchase the SkyBell HD Video Doorbell if you’re into the following:

  • Waterproof and can work in temperatures from 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit
  • 1080p HD video display
  • Field of view of 120 degrees
  • Field of zoom of five times
  • Two-way audio
  • Free local and cloud storage
  • Ability to silence chime
  • Can screenshot livestream
  • Lifetime theft replacement guarantee 

However, you may want to steer clear if any of the following are deal breakers:

  • Unattractive aesthetic 
  • Must be hard-wired and installed professionally 
  • Installation required power drill, wire stripper, and a Digital Doorbell Adapter
  • Color night vision from a bright white light 
  • No smart platform integrations
  • No artificial intelligence capabilities
  • Poor app reviews

Feel free to let us know if you have any additional questions or comments. Until next time!

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner

Gabe Turner is an attorney and journalist with a passion for home tech and secure, efficient living. Since graduating from NYU Law, he has maintained a paradoxical existence of trying to live life adventurously while remaining staunchly risk-averse. He is torn by the dual desires of wanting to only be in Brooklyn writing about housing policy and smart home tech and aspiring to visit his friends scattered across the globe. Gabe believes that stable, safe communities are the cornerstone to a vibrant and healthy society, and it is this passion that brought him to contribute to Security Baron.

2 thoughts on “SkyBell HD Video Doorbell Review”

  1. The Skybell worked for months. Then I came home and the bell was blinking Red/Blue. I contacted technical support. The rep. seemed to be reading from a script. He say’s the blinking red/blue alternating lights means you have a power outage. I ask what kind of power outage? My whole house has electricity working. He repeats the same thing again like a robot. I ask for the issue to be escalated because he obviously had no other solutions. He say’s I will escalate the call. The call is disconnected. I guess I’ll have to look for another bell and toss this piece of junk in the trash.

    • Yikes, I’m sorry to hear that! Bad customer support is very frustrating and unfortunately commonplace for a lot of these companies…we are working on a “Best Video Doorbells of 2019” article now, so look out for that.

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