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Lifewire / Erika Rawes
Wide viewing angle
Includes power supply and chime
Mediocre picture quality
For its $120 retail price, the iseeBell isn’t worth buying over an older Ring or a slightly more expensive Arlo, but it’s worth a look at its sale price of around $50.
We purchased the iseeBell Video Doorbell so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
Video doorbells allow you to keep a watchful eye on your front porch and speak to visitors without answering the door, and the iseeBell is one of the more affordable options available. Although it doesn’t give you some of the bells and whistles you’d get with a more expensive doorbell from a name brand, the iseeBell is supposed to be a basic but reliable offering. I tested the iseeBell to see how it performs compared to some of the more well-known brands on the market.
The iseeBell has a smaller profile than many of its competitors, measuring 2.9 inches wide, 3.0 tall, and 0.9 inches in thickness. It’s a square box with rounded edges and a gloss black and silver color scheme. The iseeBell includes a chime that plugs into a wall outlet. The chime is small and inconspicuous, so you can connect it to a wall outlet, and it won’t be any more noticeable than a plug-in air freshener.
The iseeBell doesn’t have a physical doorbell button, but rather an illuminated music note that blinks blue. When a visitor touches the music note, the doorbell plays a ding-dong sound, and you hear a tune play on the plug-in chime as well (or on your wired chime if you connect the doorbell to an existing chime). The iseeBell is IP54 weather-resistant, so it has some protection from dust, debris, and water splashes.
The iseeBell’s installation process is easier than some of the other wired doorbells I’ve tested. The power requirements are relatively liberal (9-24V AC/ DC), so you have a bit of flexibility. You should be able to replace most wired doorbells with the iseeBell. Alternately, it comes with a power adapter and plug-in chime, so you can use the iseeBell without replacing your existing doorbell.
Even if you plan on installing the doorbell using your existing doorbell wiring, the instructions suggest doing an indoor test setup first, where you connect the doorbell using the included power supply. Once you’ve powered on the unit, the app walks you through setup. Keep in mind the doorbell needs a strong wireless signal, so if you don’t have a clear 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network with at least 1.5Mbps upload speed in the range of where you want to install the doorbell, you may need to invest in a Wi-Fi extender.
When someone rings the doorbell, the doorbell makes a chime sound, the indoor chime rings, and the app sends you an alert indicating you have a ring call. When you click on the alert, the app will ask if you want to answer or ignore the call. If you choose to answer, you can see and speak to the person at the door. You can hear the person on the other end pretty clearly, but if you’re too close to the doorbell with the app opened on your device, you’ll start to hear a piercing (feedback loop) sound.
The app has pre-prepared options you can choose from (like “sorry, I can’t talk right now” or “I’m on my way”).
You can refuse the doorbell call and leave a message for the person on the other end. The app has pre-prepared options you can choose from (like “sorry, I can’t talk right now” or “I’m on my way”). You can adjust the indoor chime by changing the volume, and selecting between different tones (like Fur Elise, a basic ding-dong tone, or several others).
The iseeBell has a generic feature set, but it has cloud service subscriptions that provide some additional benefits. Out of the box, the doorbell has features like two-way talk, motion detection, and live video feed, but it doesn’t have advanced features like package or person detection. You can use the device remotely, and it can even be used from another continent, a nice feature for those who travel.
One downside to the iseeBell is that some of the features require a subscription. The iseeBell offers three different cloud service subscriptions. It has a continuous cloud video recording plan, where you can access 14 days of 24/7 playback for $7 monthly. You can also opt for a motion video recording plan for $2 per month or a ring alert plan for $2 per month. The subscriptions are slightly more affordable if you subscribe on an annual basis.
On the back of the iseeBell, you’ll find additional power connections labeled as “unlock.” You can use these to connect an electronic strike lock and unlock your door via the app. For security, the iseeBell has 256-bit encryption, instead of 128-bit like you see on most video doorbells.
The iseeBell has a 1.3 mm camera with a 2-megapixel color sensor. Its video resolution is 1280x720 at up to 30 frames per second. The iseeBell doesn’t have as vivid a picture as a higher-priced doorbell like the Arlo video doorbell or Nest Hello, but the picture is clear enough for you to see what’s happening on your porch. It has a 185-degree field of view, which is actually better than a lot of pricier doorbells on the market. The night vision kicks in automatically in low light or dark. It has a built-in photodiode and 850nm 14um infrared LEDs, so the night vision image is well illuminated. But, it’s not as crisp and clear as it could be.
You can connect the doorbell via the iseeBell app, which is pretty basic and isn’t exactly user friendly. I tested the iseeBell alongside another video doorbell called the VueBell, which is made by NetVue. Surprisingly, the iseeBell connected to three different companion apps— the iseeBell app, the NetVue app, and the VueBell app. The iseeBell doesn’t advertise that it’s made by NetVue, but the company seems to manage its companion application. Each of the apps were strikingly similar, with similar main screens, menus, and navigation.
The doorbell has features like two-way talk, motion detection, live video feed, but it doesn’t have advanced features like package or person detection.
The iseeBell retails for $120, which is too much for what's on offer here. However, the iseeBell has been on the market for a while, so you can find it at most retailers for significantly less. I’ve seen it at several retailers for a much more reasonable $50.
The VueBell is similar to the iseeBell in some ways. They’re both square-shaped video doorbells that include a chime and power supply. The VueBell can even connect to the same companion app as the iseeBell. However, the iseeBell gets a lot more right than the Vuebell. The iseeBell has a cleaner picture, clearer two-way audio, better security, and a better weather resistance rating.
A decent video doorbell for those who don’t want to spend a lot of cash.
If you go in with the knowledge that the iseeBell isn’t going to have the same quality and features as a $200 doorbell, you’ll probably be happy with the device.
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