Forget the peephole, there’s a growing market for video doorbells, where you can see on your phone who’s come calling – whether you are home or away. A recent entrant is the iseeBell – as they capitalize it – which must be hard-wired outside your door, something that actually makes it more useful, if slightly more difficult to install.
Let’s get to the install part first. The iseeBell comes with a mounting plate (with a built-in level!), a small screwdriver, a drill bit, screws, some extra wires and a power supply you can plug into a regular outlet. If you already have a wired door bell, you can use those wires to connect the iseeBell to power, but if you don’t have an already wired doorbell you’ll have to drill through a doorpost or other location and connect the supplied power brick (it has about an 8-foot cable) through the hole and plug into a hopefully nearby outlet.
You might consider having an electrician do this part if you’re not particularly handy, and the electrician might provide a hardwired power supply that stays out of sight.
Even if you have a wired doorbell, the power supply provided is a good idea, as you can setup the iseeBell indoors before you mount it.
Setup is not difficult after you download the iseeBell app for your Apple or Android phone and register an account. You’ll need to connect the video doorbell to your home Wi-Fi network – using the 2.4 GHz band only – and they make things easier by putting a QR code on the back of the doorbell (why setting it up inside first makes sense).
With the doorbell mounted and secured with a special screw, you’re all set. The iseeBell’s camera has a 185-degree view and automatic night vision. There’s motion detection and you can set its sensitivity, zones and schedule in the app, where you’ll be notified if anything sets the detector off – and here’s one of the good things about it being hardwired – you can view & record live video with just a tap of the screen, and not worry about battery life, as with some other video doorbells that are not wired in.
When someone “rings” the bell, you, of course, are also notified – pretty quickly I found – and have a choice to Answer or Decline – unlike some video doorbells, it waits for you to make a choice. Answering allows you to speak with the person at the door – which you can also do when motion is detected.
If you already have a door chime in your home, and it was previously hard-wired to your doorbell, iseeBell provides a way to make it still work, but the kit also comes with a small indoor chime (and nightlight) that you plug into any outlet & easily pair with the video doorbell, something other video doorbells don’t always provide. The iseeBell also has additional terminals to attach wires for an electric lock, so you can unlock the door from the app.
There’s no charge to see who’s at the door, and you can save still photos on your phone, but if you want to keep a record of videos, to need to subscribe to their cloud service at $2 a month or $20 for a year, which is slightly less than some other video doorbell cloud services.
You can have multiple iseeBell devices – if deliveries are made to your back door or you just want to be able to monitor around or in your home – and you can share the devices with other users.
One thing to remember – and this applies to all video doorbells – it must be in range of a good Wi-Fi signal or it won’t work.
Although I only did an “indoor” trial of the iseeBell – my front doorbell is not wired – the doorbell, camera and chime all performed as advertised, and it even came with printed setup & installation and app guides. Printed, remember those things?
The iseeBell kit is under $150 direct or at Amazon – including a free 30 days of cloud service. The current model is plastic, but weatherproof. A slightly more expensive stainless model is promised, as is compatibility with Alexa.
Here’s their promo video: