Tis the season for people to start buying video doorbells and Wi-Fi-connected cameras for their homes. I've written in the past about Ring, who has an app for Windows 10 (though it's far from feature parity with iOS and Android these days), but recent events have caused me to look for alternatives.
Here's why I'm giving Eufy a fair shake at being my new video doorbell (and possibly more).
Bottom line: The Eufy Video Doorbell is a fantastic low priced alternative to the bigger brands. This camera offers crisp, high-resolution video, fast response, customization, and best of all, does not require a subscription, making this one of the best on the market.
Slow and faulty
Ring is excellent, but not perfect
My main problem was a failure with the hardware design of the Ring Video Doorbell Pro, which I reviewed two years ago. In the last few months, condensation started building up on the inside lens with no way for me to clean or fix it. This defect ruins the image quality and begins to render the security function of the doorbell moot.
To their credit, Ring's support was very responsive after I tweeted about it. The company is offering a free replacement, and I couldn't be happier with how they handled the situation. If you're going all-in with Ring, I can say their support is excellent.
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But other issues with Ring are not uncommon. The app can be slow to connect to the camera is a common theme. Sometimes you get that notification, click it, and you must wait upwards of 30 seconds before something comes through. It's also not my network. I test the latest routers, and right now, I'm using the jaw-dropping TP-Link Archer AX11000.
There are also general privacy concerns like the ones reported in The Intercept about Amazon employees linking into feeds and their recent story on "watch lists". There's also the recent coziness with local police for warrant-less surveillance.
These issues have given me pause, and it's worth considering the pros and cons of going with a company like Ring or Google-owned Nest for your home security solutions.
Speed, features, and cheaper
Eufy video doorbell to the rescue
The Eufy video doorbell launched over the summer. I had never heard of them until two days ago (they're a sub-brand of the Chinese company Anker, who make mobile charging accessories). When browsing our sister site Thrifter, I came across their doorbell being on sale and went down the rabbit hole of reviews, including one on iMore.
But even with the replacement doorbell Ring is sending me, I'll likely stick with the Eufy, which I have now been using for the last two days. Here's why:
- No subscription: Eufy doorbell has 4GB of built-in storage, which is about 30 days of recordings. All video is local and can be saved on your iOS or Android phones for sharing or archiving. Your footage never leaves your network.
- Cheaper: Retail price of Eufy is $160, while Ring Video Doorbell Pro is $250. Black Friday sale prices are $108 and $180, respectively.
- Faster: My feed is live within one second of clicking the button. It's astonishingly quick with no buffering or connection issues.
- Voice responses: While there is a two-way microphone like Ring, Eufy also has canned voice responses like "We'll be right there" or "Please leave it at the door." You can even record your own for regular use.
- Better camera: The Eufy camera has a 2K HDR camera versus the full HD one of the Ring Pro. It also has a "camera distortion" fix that removes the curved edges and a wider angle of view that lets me see my steps (for packages).
- Included wedge: Eufy includes an angled wedge so that you can have the camera point at an angle instead of straight out.
- Modes: You can have different modes of operation for home, away, disarmed, schedule, or custom.
- Better notifications: Notifications arrive with a snapshot of the event. If a person is detected, facial recognition technology clips just the face making notifications much more useful and informative. These images even show up on my Apple Watch, which is incredible.
- AI: Eufy has an AI chip built-in that can recognize faces, thereby alerting when you strangers approach versus a family member. This tech also prevents a car or movement from a blowing bag from setting off motion detection.
- Included Chime: Eufy doesn't take over your existing doorbell chime, but they do include a plug-in one (more can be added) that works very well. Volume levels are controlled on the device, and the pairing worked flawlessly.
It's for all these reasons that I'm finding Eufy a better choice so far. The quality of the image, how quick it is to connect, the ease of adding family members to the account, and the easy setup make it easy to recommend. (I would like to see 2FA though added for account security).
I'll spend the next few months — especially as winter and snow hits — to see how Eufy holds up, but everything about it I find better than Ring. Currently, I still have Ring for my home security system, including some outdoor cameras, but I may switch to Eufy's outdoor cameras as well if all goes well.
An affordable alternative
Ready to make the switch?
The Eufy Video Doorbell is a fantastic low priced alternative to the bigger brands. This camera offers crisp, high-resolution video, fast response, customization, and best of all, does not require a subscription, making this one of the best on the market.
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