SkyBell Version 2 – Smart Doorbell
A little over a year ago we bought and installed one of the first SkyBell smart doorbells and reviewed it here on AppMyHome. Over the past year it has served us pretty well and the app reliability and performance have steadily improved. Over the holidays, the SkyBell saved us a lot of hassle when we were able to chat with a delivery guy remotely to let him know we weren’t home, otherwise the package would have been returned to sender.
Recently SkyBell released their 2.0 model with many improvements so we decided it would be worth upgrading. Since we just received it and installed it, it is too early to tell how much better it will be, but here are the improvements we have noticed so far.
The Skybell 2.0 has much more attractive packaging and presentation. It looks like it will fit well on any retailers’ shelf.
The installation was simple for us since we were replacing the old SkyBell where it was mounted to our stucco outside the door. Last year we had already figured out how to take out the old doorbell and wire it properly.
What was different this year was charging and connecting the SkyBell to our wi-fi network and app. The SkyBell needs to charge for about 10 minutes. At first we didn’t realize this and thought something was wrong, but after we read the directions we realized why it was flashing slowly and were able to proceed to connect it.
Setting up the app
To set up our new SkyBell, we simply opened up the app on one of our phones and added our new SkyBell by scanning a QR code. This was much easier than typing in the really long activation key. We had already been running the latest version of the SkyBell app so no other changes were necessary.
One thing we would like to see in the future is the ability to have multiple users attached to the same SkyBell with their own accounts. Right now we can install the SkyBell app on as many phones as we want, but we are sharing the same account name and login. It works fine, but seems a little insecure.
One thing that has us a bit concerned is that when we turned off our wi-fi to install some other devices, the SkyBell lost its connection to our router and we needed to cycle the power to the SkyBell in order to restore it. While we were able to fix this, we hope that this won’t be a problem if the wi-fi goes out when we are not home.
SkyBell 2.0 Performance
Our new SkyBell performs just as well as our other SkyBell. When someone rings the doorbell, or even just comes near the door with the motion sensor, the Skybell notfies us through the app on our phones. When we first started using our SkyBell last year, the process was painfully slow, but the latency has improved significantly and the notifications seem to be coming through with enough time to take action and communicate with the person who has rung the bell. It is hard to tell if there is any speed difference from SkyBell 1.0 to 2.0.
From what we have read in the press, SkyBell is one of the first home devices that has been working to integrate with Apple’s HomeKit. We aren’t sure exactly what that will mean but we suspect that it will make answering our SkyBell on our iPhones even faster.
The construction of the new SkyBell is a big improvement over the 1.0 version. The first SkyBell was cheap plastic and did not feel very solid at all. Our new SkyBell feels a lot more substantial and matches our home’s other finishes in Oil Rubbed Bronze. It looks and feels like a much nicer product.
Most importantly, the camera in the SkyBell 2.0 is much, much better. The 1.0 version felt like a really old webcam. This one has much clearer resolution and with its wide angle lens, captures a much larger area in our doorway. We have seen some of SkyBell’s competitors with better resolution cameras, but they are also a bit more expensive and much physically larger devices. For us it feels like this camera is more than adequate for the purpose.
SkyBell 2.0 is a solid upgrade and feels like a smart home device that is ready for anyone to use and install. We continue to be pleased with the continuous improvements and upgrades to the app and the device. One thing we are hoping to see soon is the ability to snap and send a photo when someone rings the bell or trips the motion sensor – then we would be able to see who came to our door when we miss the notification. Also, it will be interesting to see if the Skybell starts to integrate with other systems and devices in our home.