Product Doorbird D101 smart doorbell
Price From £349
DOORBIRD IS a smart doorbell designed in Germany and available in a variety of configurations. It’s an excellent example of a product, but it does present a number of problems, not least of all how you actually review a doorbell.
As a result, we’d been living with the Doorbird D101 for several months before being able to form a good understanding of the product’s strengths and limitations. It’s certainly the most advanced product of its type, but it comes at a cost.
The first thing to say is that this is not a product for the faint hearted. Setting it up requires soldering, waterproof junction boxes, trunking and drilling before you even turn it on. In addition, the company recommends using Power over Ethernet which will involve buying separate equipment for your home network. However, our network environment allowed us to set it up on WiFi without fuss.
Don’t be too put off by all this. If you’re considering a smart doorbell, this is almost certainly what you’ll be up against, regardless of brand. But it’s not ‘plug and play’. You’ll also need to get hold of an actual doorbell, or plumb your existing one into Doorbird in order to get a ‘ding dong’ in the house.
Once all this is done, assuming you’re not planning to make any integrations with other Doorbird products, or those of external partners (of which more later), you are ready to set up your phone.
The Doorbird app is available for iOS and Android, although a simple web interface is available using HTML5. Logging-in to it requires a complex username and password that come with a barcode to make it a little less daunting to get started.
You set up the connection between Doorbird and your home network with the app. This is pretty straight forward and an insistent German woman tells you in reassuringly aggressive tones that the connection has been successful.
Let’s take a moment to look at the design options for Doorbird. Our review unit is the D101, which is made of reinforced polycarbonate with a stainless steel faceplate and button. It has an HD camera with an infrared sensor, below which is a microphone/speaker grille and the stainless steel button where the magic happens.
Other editions include a stainless steel version that fits flush to a wall, where you hide the gubbins by carving your wall up, which actually makes for a neater solution. There’s even a version with a letter box, flush or mounted on a pole near your front gate.
They are unquestionably attractive products, but they are not minimalist and have an industrial, German feel to them that would seem a little odd if there are roses around your door.
Next: Performance, connections and conclusions
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