Whether you’re a smart home security pro or just learning about it for the first time, it can be hard to decide which video doorbell is right for you. What features are industry standards, and what features are merely bonuses? I’m here to help you out.
In this review I write about the SkyBell Slim Line Video Doorbell. While it’s no longer available on the SkyBell website, it is available through Amazon and with the purchases of Brinks and Link Interactive security systems. At less than $170, the Slim Line lands pretty much in the middle of the pack as far as pricing goes. But does its value justify its price?
I’m going to talk about the doorbell’s design, features, how well it works, how convenient it was to set up, and finally, the mobile app you’ll use to control it. Let’s begin the SkyBell Slim Line review now!
See and speak to whoever's at your doorstep in 720p HD from the Alarm.com app.
SkyBell Slim Line Video Doorbell Pros and Cons
Right off the bat, I want to make sure we’re on the same page about the SkyBell Slim Line Video Doorbell’s pros and cons.
Among its best features are its temperature range of -40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, its battery which has a life of three to five years, and its 180 degree field of view.
Among its worst? The SkyBell Slim Line Video Doorbell has 720p HD video, not quite meeting industry standards. It also lacks infrared night vision, person detection, and any smart platform integrations.
SkyBell Slim Line Video Doorbell Design
Do I find the SkyBell Slim Line attractive? Sadly, no. It’s a long, skinny rectangle with rounded edges and a shiny black camera at the top. The camera lens itself has a purple color, which is a bit odd. Towards the middle of the camera is the button to actually activate the doorbell, which has SkyBell written in an alarming (no pun intended) lime green. I don’t like that the face of the camera is dark gray- it would have been nicer to have everything black. Plus, I find the green of the button jarring, and it probably won’t look good with most houses. With the purple of the camera, the video doorbell is giving me major Barney the purple dinosaur vibes. I do realize, however, that not everyone is as superficial as me. If aesthetics aren’t important to you, then feel free to ignore this paragraph.
Let’s talk numbers. The Slim Line Video Doorbell works in temperatures from -40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, a huge range. The doorbell is wireless and has a battery life of three to five years, which is pretty long. It either records when it detects motion, when the doorbell button is pressed, or whenever you demand it to through your mobile app.
Keep in mind that the connection between your phone and your video doorbell is based on Wi-Fi, so it’s only as dependable as your home internet connection.
SkyBell Slim Line Video Doorbell Features
Design aside, let’s talk about what the Slim Line can do, and what it can’t.
The doorbell’s camera has a fantastic field of view of 180 degrees- the widest angle possible. However, that is where the video quality ends. The camera only shoots in 720p HD, which is inferior to the industry standard of 1080p HD. Plus, it can’t zoom in at all, so your footage may not be as detailed as you’d like.
Fortunately, the video doorbell does have two-way audio allowing you to speak to your visitors. Two-way audio is a standard for video doorbells, so I’m not surprised the Slim Line includes it.
While the SkyBell Slim Line can show you what’s happening at night in full color, it’s important to keep in mind that whoever’s being recorded will be very much aware of the camera. With infrared, in contrast, the person will be completely left in the dark (pun intended this time). While the footage you get is black and white, to me it’s more important to remain inconspicuous.
You’ll access your footage through the Alarm.com app, discussed in more detail below. Automatically, 1000 motion-activated clips will upload to the cloud and will remain there for a month. In that time, you can download the clips to a local hard drive or have them emailed to you. For an additional $5 a month, you’ll receive an additional 5,000 clips. I love the flexibility of having both cloud and local storage, so kudos to Alarm.com for providing both.
Smart Platform Integrations
The SkyBell Slim Line will not work with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant, so if you wanted to use voice commands, I’d look elsewhere.
Unfortunately, the Slim Line’s camera does not have any artificial intelligence capabilities. When it comes to cameras, artificial intelligence usually refers to either person detection or facial recognition. Without A.I, you’ll receive a lot of irrelevant notifications- whenever a car drives by, whenever a squirrel runs across your lawn, and even notifications from shadows. The camera can only tell you when it detects movement, but it can’t go any further as to what moved or who it was.
Installing the SkyBell Slim Line Video Doorbell
To install the SkyBell Slim Line Video Doorbell, you’ll first need a paid subscription with Alarm.com. Like I said before, security systems like Brinks and Link Interactive offer this doorbell and its Alarm.com subscription, so you may already have it and not be aware of it. Aside from the subscription, you’ll also need a SkyBell Digital Doorbell Adapter for your existing doorbell.
You can either have your Slim Line Video Doorbell professionally installed or do it yourself.
The Alarm.com App
This is where things might have gotten a little confusing for you. Why SkyBell does have its own mobile app, this only works for their current cameras, the SkyBell and SkyBell HD. With the Slim Line, you’ll use the Alarm.com app. Let’s talk about what you can do on the app and what customers think of it.
Through the Alarm.com app, you’ll be able to livestream footage from your doorbell camera, speak to your visitors, make the camera record, view your old footage, and turn off the camera if you want.
In a rare turn of events, the SkyBell Slim Line Video Doorbell received a 4.4 rating from both the Apple and the Google Play stores! As the majority of the app’s reviews were five stars, it clearly works pretty well. However, when I looked at the reviews mentioning the video doorbell specifically, many people said there was a huge delay between the doorbell and their mobile notifications.
“The app worked great when our system was first installed. No though, theres is such a delay in the doorbell notification that when my phone alerts me the person has already left,”
wrote Stephanie Bentz in a three-star review. Although this delay is a huge problem, I’m glad to see that Alarm.com has responded to every negative review offering support.
See and speak to whoever's at your doorstep in 720p HD from the Alarm.com app.
Recap of the SkyBell Slim Line Video Doorbell
I know I’ve thrown a lot of information your way, so let’s recap.
The pros of the SkyBell Slim Line Video Doorbell are as follows:
- Wireless setup
- Battery life of three to five years
- Works in temperatures from -40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit
- Field of view of 180 degrees
- Two-way audio
- Good app ratings
- Cloud and local storage
While its cons include:
- Unattractive design
- Wi-Fi connection with no other backup
- 720p HD video display
- No zoom feature
- Night vision from a bright white light
- No artificial intelligence features
- Requires paid subscription with Alarm.com and SkyBell Digital Doorbell Adapter along with an existing doorbell
Leave any additional questions or comments below. Thanks for reading! For more great options, check out the best video doorbells of 2020.
How much is SkyBell?
The SkyBell Slim Line Doorbell Camera costs $169.99.
Which is better, Ring or SkyBell?
Ring video doorbells are better than the SkyBell video doorbells in terms of smart platform integrations, night vision, the app and pricing.
Does SkyBell charge a monthly fee?
The SkyBell Slim Line Doorbell requires a subscription through Alarm.com. However, the SkyBell HD comes with a week of free cloud storage.