SkyBell HD Tested

By Brian Rhodes, Published Jul 13, 2016, 09:10am EDT

The video doorbell is flooded with options, but sales have been strong for SkyBell, holding the #2 spot on Amazon against mega-funded Ring. Not only that, but it claims HD color video at night, more integration options, and even costs less.  

But does it live up to the claims?

** ****** ******** ***** ****** ** **** to **** ******* **** Pro.

** ********* ******* ** the **** ******** ******* ************** *********:

  • ***** *******
  • ***** *******
  • ****** *********
  • ***-***** ***********
  • *** ***********

Contrast - ******* ** **. **** ***

**** ********* ***** *** same **** ************* - video ******** *** *********, and **** ***** ***** resolution.  *******, ***** *** tests, *** *** ****** match ** *******. **** are *** ***** **** differences ** * ******:

***** ******* ****** '** color ***** ** *****', our ******* ***** **** is ******* *** ****** is *** **** *** has ** ** ******.  Moreover, ******* **'* *** is *** ********, *** unit *** **** ****** detection, *** ****** ********** on **** ******** ***** altogether.

Test *** ********

***** ******* ******* **'* operation, **** *** *** key ********:

  • **** *****: ***** *******'* ****** ******** ***** resolution, *** ***** ******* is **** *** *** reliable.  ** **** *****, video ***** *** **** type ** **** **** diminished ***** ******* ** the ***** ** *** being ******. ****** ***** established ** * ****** is *** * ***** either, ** ***** ****** timeouts **** ******.
  • ****** ***: ***** ******* ****** free **** *** **** iOS *** ******* *********, unlike **** ***** ** no *** ****** ****** to ****/******** *****, *** the *** **** *** offer ***** ******** ******** to *****, ******, ** fast-forward ******** *****.
  • ***** *******: ******* ** **** not ******* ***** **********, and ***** *********** **** strong *** ********, ** was ********* ** ***** on ************* **** ********** noise *******. 
  • ****** *********: ******* **** ******** three ***** ****** ********* settings **** ***** **** missing **** ********** ** alarming ** ******** ********** motion (**** ****** *******) alarms **** ** **-*******.
  • ** ***** ***-***** ***********: ******* ** ****** ***** in ***-***** ** *********** emitting *** *** ***** light **** *** *****.  However, **** ******* ** poor ****** *********** *** can ** * *******.

Big ***** *****

** *******, ***** ***** quality ** **** ** day, ***** ******* ** poor.  **** ** * dedicated, ****** * *** WiFi *******, **** **** 50% ** *******'* ***** clips ******* **** **** of ****, **** **********, smears, ** ******* ******** of *****.

*** ***** ***** ** a ******* ******* ** those ********:

*** ******* ***** ** connect ** *** ****** reliable. *** *** ***** hangs *** ******* ** a ***** ******, *** no **** ******* ** ever ******:

*** ********** ** ******** is ****, *** **** than 60% ** *** ******* included **** **** ** video **** ** ********** error.  ***** **** *** also ******** ******, ** happens ** * **** lower *********, ~all *****.

Daytime ******* *******

************, ******* ** ******* quality ***** ***** ****** than **** ***... **** it *******. ****'* *** ***** issue, ** ******* ** streaming ** *** ********.

*******, ** *** ******** images *****, ******* ******* HD ****** * **** crisp *** ****** ******* image **** *** **** equal:

******:

Skybell's ***** ********

******* ******** '***********' ** the **** ** ***** cancelling ** *** ***** intercom.  ***** ************* *** reliable *** ******, ** often *** ***** ***** with ********** ***** *** wind, ****** ************* *********.

****, ******* ** ******** the *** **** ** 'press *** ****' *** 'Talk' ****** ** ***** to *****, *********** ********* in ************** *****, ***** Ring *** ** **-*********** and ******** ** **** like ***** * ********* versus * ******-*******.

Motion **********

* *** ************ *** SkyBell *** *** ***** basic ****** ********* ******* - ***, ******, ** high.  ******* *** **** to '***' ******** ** no ****** ***** ********, while ******* ** '******' or ******* ******** ** many ***** ***** ****** of *******, ******* *****, or **** ****** ** the **********.

** ******** ** **** Pro **** ****** ********* motion ********* *****, ******* is **** ******.

Product ********

********** ******* ** ** ~3 **** ******** ******, uncommonly ****** ** ***** doorbells ** ***** ******** units. **** ************ ** mostly *******, **** * plastic ******** ******* **** anchors ** * ****:

Hardwired *****

**** **** ***, ******* HD **** **** ** hardwired ** * ******** transformer *** **** *** feature ******* *****. *******, unlike **** ***, ******* HD **** *** ******* any ************ ** *** transformer **** *** ** overall ** ****** ******* because ** ****.

Nighttime ********* ****

**** ** ******* **'* strongest ****** ** ***** HD ***** ** *** light.  *** *** **** is ************ ** *********** a *******, ** *** doorbell **** ****** ***** into * ***** ***** illuminator, ******** ******* ***** into *** ***** ** enhance *** ***-**, *** only ******:

*******, ****** *** ****** and *********** *** ******* can ** **** **** arrangement.  *** ** ******* monochromatic ****** **** **** Pro **** *** **** here. If ***** **** *** option ** **** ** a ***** ***** *****, overall ***** ******* **** be ******** ** *******'* 'color **' *******.

Free ***** ******* *** *** ****

****** **** *****, ******* charges ******* ***** *** cloud *********. ***** **** charges $* *** ***** for ** ****, ******* stores * **** *** no ****.

******* ******* ****** *** only ** ******** ** downloaded *** *** ***, unlike ****'* ****** *** portal *** ************.

Tech ******* ********, *** *********

****** ***** *** *** test, ** ********* ******* tech ******* *** *****, and *** **** *** promptly ********.  *******, *** technician ******* *** ***** was *** ********* *** only **** ***** ******* to *** **** ****** installation ******, *** ***** not ****** ********* ***** power *** ** ****** settings **** ***** ******** performance.

*** **** ******* ******** was *******'* ***-*** *&* tab ********* ** ******* info *****.  ***** ***** basic, *** ******** ******* a ********** *** ****-******* set ** **** **** about *************** ******:

Our **************: ***** *******

***** *** ***** ** flaws *** ****, ***** a ****** *** ******** SkyBell ** ** **** point.  **** ******* ** new ****** *** ********, we **** **-******* *******, but *** *** ***** are ****** ** ******** options **** **** *** for *** **** ** reliable ******** *** ****** low ***** ***********.

Comments (8)

However, the technician working our issue was non technical and only knew basic answers to the most common installation issues...

BR: Can I see the live video feed even if the visitor doesn't press the button?

TS: Umm, I think as long as your Voltage is set to 120/1130v AC, or 220/230/240v and your AC Transformer is 8-36v AC and 8-15 VA, you should be good to go!

BR: Actually, try one more down on the left side.

TS: Thanks! Yes, SkyBell is the only video doorbell with a motion sensor which will activate...

Agree
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Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

I just installed an "August" unit for a friend. The analog door bell would not ring properly as it created a severe voltage drop! I had to up the voltage from 16vac to 24vac. Then the app indicated that the wifi signal was too low. We installed a wifi extender and the signal level came up a bit but the app still indicated a low signal strength. When the button was pushed the app had a 30 to 45 second delay in notifying there was a call - I am not sure that was due to the wifi or internet. My friend was not impressed and took it back to exchange with a Ring unit. It installed just as easy. We took the wifi extender off and tested it just to see if it would work with the existing wifi in the house. When the button was pushed calls came in within seconds. Video quality was very good, and there was a slight audio delay. They are quite happy with it.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

I bought it off Groupon ($119) to test on my new house but wish I would have seen this review prior to purchase although it does say free returns. I'll give my own review once I install next month. Hopefully they iron out some issues by then.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

That's helpful Paul. Thanks and I look forward to seeing it.

On the issue of free returns - SkyBell does list a $30 restocking fee when you buy direct, which is a point of anger that many have on online reviews.

However, this may be different under the terms of the Groupon deal.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Brian, nice review. Alarm.com is selling this unit as an add on to their video line. We don't do a large amount of home systems but our existing customers have been asking about this unit. We have ordered a few in and I have been burning one at my house for about a month now. While I haven't noticed any major limitations to it's IR due to our extremely bright LED street lights I have noticed the issues with the video like you indicate in your review even after having installed a AP on level below the SkyBell. We are giving a few units to some customers (friends of ours) and they will be able to give me more real world feedback to see if it is worth selling them to other customers.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

Vivint sells a unit made for them by Vivotek. I tried to buy to test but they will not sell in the US.

Agree
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Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

I put one of these up yesterday on my house. People keep asking us about doorbells and I figured it was time to look into it.I do not have many of the same issues you have experianced other than poor motion and sometimes it's slow to connect. I noticed that my iphone 6S has poor preformance compaired to my ipad pro and my wifes iphone 6. I am wondering what phone you were using, app version and firmware version. Curious to know if things are improving or if they've just got some real app issues.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny

I tested a SkyBell HD, using the iOS app v 3.0.0 on an iPhone 6 Plus running iOS v9.3.1.

Since this test, several things have been updated, including the SkyBell app and iOS.

Agree
Disagree
Informative
Unhelpful
Funny
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