Remo had an innovative take on front-door surveillance with its over-the-door DoorCam, so we were intrigued to find out how the company would approach the more conventional video doorbell. The RemoBell S is a pretty good camera that delivers much higher resolution than the original Ring Video Doorbell for the same price: $99. But Remo needs to do a lot of work on its companion app before we can give this product a strong recommendation. Most video doorbells that deliver 1080p video resolution cost twice as much as the RemoBell S (the original Ring is limited to 720p), but you'll need existing doorbell wiring to power this one (the Ring can operate either on a battery or with low-voltage wiring). The RemoBell S's camera has a 180-degree field of view, and as with the other products in this class, an onboard mic and speaker so you can engage in two-way conversations with visitors to your door.
Arbor's Instant Video Doorbell is a decent first product, injecting a bit of competition into a market dominated by Ring. It has some advantages over its more famous competitor and is especially interesting if your home lacks doorbell wiring, but the system needs a more work if it's to really impress. Its manufacturer makes some bold claims about the product, saying it's "the world's most advanced," "has the best and fastest picture," the "most reliable WiFi connection on the market" and that users will get "no false alarms with Arbor's superior motion detector." I found none of that to be true. The last claim is particularly foolhardy as no video doorbell or smart security camera I've tested has been completely free of false alarms.
This post was done in partnership with Wirecutter. When readers choose to buy Wirecutter's independently chosen editorial picks, Wirecutter and Engadget may earn affiliate commission. If you want to see who's on the other side of your door without having to get up and look yourself, then the Ring Video Doorbell 2 is the best choice for most everyone. It lets you screen (and record) visitors and keep an eye out for package deliveries. Motion and ring alerts to a smartphone are typically fast, audio and 1080p video are clear, and the Ring 2 can be powered by either standard doorbell wiring or a removable rechargeable battery. The Ring Video Doorbell 2 performs like a cross between a modestly aggressive guard dog and a trusty digital butler. In addition to notifying you--audibly and via smartphone--of activity, it records all motion events to the cloud, letting you view those recordings (as well as live video) on your phone or computer any time. It's also compatible with a good number of smart-home devices, platforms, and monitored security systems. Though video recording and storage require a subscription, the $30 annual fee (a mere 8¢ per day) for 60 days of unlimited video storage is downright cheap compared with the competition. We like the Ring Video Doorbell Pro for all the reasons we like the Ring 2. Additionally, it has a much slimmer and sleeker design that will fit in more doorframes and includes the option for customized motion-detection zones.
Far from a convenient power source and your router, your home's front porch can be tricky terrain for installing a Wi-Fi security camera. Alternative solutions, such as video doorbells and peephole cameras, simplify the logistics of front-door surveillance. The Remo Doorcam offers yet another alternative: This camera hangs from the top of your door, detects visitors and alerts you to their presence, lets you speak with them without opening the door, and records everything in 720p resolution.
If the idea of asking Alexa or Google to turn on and off your lights appeals to you, and you're not doing it already, the holidays could be a great time to finally get to it. "Competition is growing and prices are dropping which makes now the best time to make your home," smart, says YouTuber Steve Siems, who has a channel called "Steve Does," devoted to smart home reviews and installation. He suggests starting small, with a connected speaker, then adding smart switches and bulbs before venturing further with doorbells and other products. "See what you like and what you need more of," he says. "No need to buy 10 smart plugs then realize you only need three for what you want to do. By the time you use the other seven plugs, something newer, better, and cheaper will be out."