Smart doorbells come in all shapes and sizes. From small, innocuous buttons with tiny embedded cameras, to large units which boast an array of features and technology, they’re quickly becoming a mainstay of the smart home.
And they don’t come much smarter than Eufy’s Video Doorbell Dual. I’ve spent several weeks learning to live with it, and it’s been quite an interesting time.
Because it’s wireless and battery-powered, it’s very easy to set up. You mount one of two supplied base plates, either at an angle or looking straight out, and then you clip the doorbell unit to that. Unclipping it requires a small supplied tool and that’s how you charge it – by connecting it up to micro USB.
It’s a big old device, but that’s because it boasts two cameras, rather than the usual one. Most doorbells can see straight ahead to relay the face of whoever’s visiting, but the Video Doorbell Dual has a second small camera pointing downwards. And this is where it gets clever. Not only does this give it a wider field of view, it also means you can see the package that’s been left on your doorstep.
It gets cleverer than that, too. It has an intelligent system called Delivery Guard, which watches your package and it’ll let you know if someone is about to pinch it. All very cutting edge.
It works through a well-designed app, and it links up to your home WiFi through a base station, which plugs in inside your house and acts as a conventional chime. So unlike some smart doorbells, you don’t just rely on a smartphone notification, you get a loud, clear, customizable chime indoors.
And, of course, if you’re out when the doorbell rings, you can quickly connect to your device and see, hear and even speak to the visitor. In glorious 2K definition. The cameras are excellent.
And this is where some more clever tech steps in. You can “teach” the doorbell unit’s clever Artificial Intelligence system a series of faces. So although it can be set to notify you if there’s someone in your porch – whether or not they ring the bell – the movement sensor will be able to tell if it’s your wife, your neighbour, or even the local cat.
I found this could be hit and miss. Sunglasses can trick it, from time to time, for example. But when it works it’s very effective. I get a lot of deliveries from DPD and I’ve told the doorbell to recognize the DPD man. So now I get a customized notification if he walks up to the house. I can also track movements in and out. The app will tell me if my wife’s left the house or returned, for example. A bit creepy, perhaps, but it’s there if I ever need it.
It’s possible to set up preset messages for people who are hanging around. “Please leave it at the door”, it will tell the postie, if they realize I’m not in. Although there appears to be ways of correcting this, I often found I couldn’t stop it giving out its message while I was greeting a courier.
There’s lots of settings in the app, and lots of ways to customize it. I’m going to be honest, some work better than others. And it can sometimes take a while for live video feeds to load up after the doorbell goes off. When it works, the two-way communication feature is great, but when it takes a while (which might, to be honest, be more to do with my 4G connection than anything else) it’s a trifle pointless. Most couriers, including the guy who delivers my Amazon parcels, will have run off before I’ve had the time to exchange virtual pleasantries.
But this is where the Delivery Guard feature comes in. The doorbell keeps track of the parcel brilliantly, and I’ll know about it as soon as someone comes near to it.
One time I was on holiday and an unexpected box arrived. It was left on my doormat and I was able to text my neighbor to ask if he’d mind looking after it for a few days.
This is why Eufy’s dual camera setup is perhaps the best solution on the market. And why blind spots really are the Achilles heel of most devices.
I also like the battery life. Eufy claims six months from one charge, and they’re not far off. Even with the sensitivity turned right up. And I love the fact you’re not gooded into signing up to cloud storage. Everything’s saved to the indoor unit and you can back it up at your leisure.
So there are a few things to iron out. Most of it can be done by playing with the settings, and trust me there are a lot of settings. Some glitches might be solved in firmware updates, and it leaves you with a well-rounded package that works brilliantly.
Of course, it’s quite pricey. Currently for sale on the Eufy website for £229, it costs £50 more than the equivalent single-camera setup. But that does compare favorably in price to some of the premium rivals, and it could be a priceless addition to your home if it prevents a valuable parcel being stolen.
Overall, it’s hard not to give this a thorough recommendation. It’s easily one of the best video doorbells on the market.