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Lifewire / Erika Rawes
Versatile installation options
Includes power supply and chime
Impressively wide viewing angle
Poor picture quality
Even with its low price, the VueBell’s poor video and audio quality make it less than desirable.
Good video doorbells come in prices ranging from under $100 to upwards of $300, and Netvue’s VueBell Video Doorbell is on the lower end of that range. The VueBell doesn’t have the most impressive spec list, but it’s supposed to provide reliable security for your front porch, and allow you to easily communicate with visitors without having to open the door. Netvue also provides cloud services subscriptions where you can add on motion recording, continuous recording, and ring alerts. I tested the VueBell alongside five other video doorbells to find out whether it’s a solid budget option or just a cheaply made piece of smart tech.
The VueBell has a unique look. Instead of having that rectangular or oblong shape, it’s square shaped, and it’s proportionally thicker than most video doorbells. It measures 3.1 inches tall, 3.1 inches wide, and 1.14 inches in thickness. It doesn’t have the sleek and modern look you see in other doorbells like the Nest Hello or Eufy video doorbell. If you didn’t know it was a smart device, you may even mistake it for some sort of 80s tech. It has an old-school camera vibe—it’s boxy with a matte silver and black color scheme, and a PIR sensor in the upper right hand corner that resembles a camera flash.
The VueBell looks more attractive once it’s installed, as it doesn’t protrude too far outward, and it’s small enough to quietly sit unnoticed. However, the doorbell button is not a physical button, but rather a bright blue LED touch light in the shape of a bell. The bell shape looks clumsy and whimsical, as opposed to techie and modern.
Ease of installation is one area where the VueBell shines. The power requirements aren’t too high, and you have flexibility in terms of how you get power to the doorbell. You can swap out an old wired doorbell, connect the VueBell to an existing alarm control using the AUX 12VDC power, use a standard CCTV power supply, or you can power the VueBell using a standard 12 to 24 AC power wall adapter. The package even includes a power adapter, so you can get the VueBell up and running without existing doorbell wires and without having to purchase a separate adapter. It also includes a battery-operated chime, mounting plate, and more than enough screws to mount the unit. Everything you need is right in the box.
Once you’ve powered the unit, the app walks you through setup. If you use the included power supply, you can have the VueBell set up in less than 30 minutes. But, if you’re replacing a wired doorbell, it’ll take a bit longer to remove your old doorbell, connect together the wires, etc.
The VueBell didn’t immediately connect to Wi-Fi, and it took multiple attempts before I was finally able to get the doorbell connected. Fortunately, the connection remained stable once it established a connection, but I hadn’t experienced connectivity issues like that with other video doorbells.
The VueBell is a $99 device, so I didn’t expect the same level of features I’d get from a higher tier doorbell like the Ring Pro or Nest Hello, but I was surprised to see such a minimal feature set. The doorbell is only IP53 weather-resistant, which means it has partial dust protection and protection from water spraying up to 60 degrees from vertical. Most video doorbells have at least a “4” moisture resistance rating.
The VueBell provides a few features like two-way talk, motion detection, a surprisingly wide-angle view (185 degrees horizontal), and Alexa compatibility. But even some of the more basic features require a subscription to Netvue’s cloud services. Netvue offers three different service subscriptions: a 14-day playback 24/7 video recording subscription for around $7 monthly, a motion video recording plan for around $2 per month, and a ring alert plan for around $2 per month. The subscriptions are slightly more affordable if you subscribe on an annual basis.
The power requirements aren’t too high, and you have flexibility in terms of how you get power to the doorbell.
Most of the other doorbells I’ve encountered provide more features than the Vuebell. You don’t get stuff like custom alerts, geofencing, or motion video recording without a subscription. Without the cloud services, the VueBell is basically just a camera feed and two-way talking device. However, there are additional connections on the back of the doorbell where you can connect an electric strike lock and unlock your door via the companion app. This requires additional setup, and you’d likely be better off purchasing a smart lock and managing your smart devices in the Alexa app.
The VueBell has a camera that’s slightly larger than 1/3 of an inch with a 2MP color sensor. It takes up to 720p video at 30 frames per second. The picture quality is poor for the most part. It takes a second to get into focus, and I noticed a bit of pixelating that clears up a second or two after you open the live feed. But, even after the video settles, it’s still grainy.
The camera automatically switches between day and night vision, and it does so with impressive efficiency. The VueBell has really good sensors—better than I’ve seen on some of the more expensive doorbells.
You can use the VueBell app as the companion app, but you can also use the NetVue app. But, neither app is all that user friendly or intuitive. I would even go as far as to call the apps sloppy. The doorbell settings menu looks like a child’s scratch project, and the icons on the bottom direct you to various (and mostly unrelated) items for sale, information, and surveys.
The VueBell sells for $99, and I can see why. Although it comes with a lot in the package (power supply, chime, etc.), the unit has lower video quality than many modern doorbells, and it lacks a lot of the bells and whistles you get with $200 plus doorbells. You can add on some additional features via cloud services, and signing up for every service would cost you around $11 per month. Even with all of the cloud services, however, you're not going to get a smart doorbell in the same league as the Google Nest Hello or Arlo Video Doorbell.
Most of the other doorbells I’ve encountered provide more features than the Vuebell.
I’ve seen the VueBell on sale for as cheap as $30, so keep in mind that pricing varies widely depending on where and when you shop for the device.
The VueBell is similar to the IseeBell in some respects, but the IseeBell is better than the VueBell in most areas. They’re both small, square video doorbells, they both come with a chime and power supply, and they even connect to the same companion apps. But, the IseeBell has better encryption, a better picture, clearer audio, and better weather resistance. If you’re looking for a super cheap video doorbell, you’re better off going with the IseeBell than the VueBell.
Underperforms in a lot of key areas.
The VueBell works, it just doesn’t work well, and most people would be happier with a different option.