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Smart doorbells can prevent stolen packages over the holidays--here's how

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

The holiday shopping season is in full swing, but before you checkout on your next order, there are a few steps you should take to keep your packages safe. You've probably heard the term "porch pirates" before--they steal packages from your doorstep before you ever get home. And since 56% of consumers plan to shop online this year, that's a lot of opportunity for theft. Thankfully, you can help safeguard your packages by using a smart doorbell. So, before you start ordering away (and even if you've already started shopping for the perfect gifts), here are seven ways that using a smart doorbell can keep your packages safe during the holiday season.

The best affordable smart doorbell we've ever tested is on sale--for now

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Our favorite affordable smart doorbell is on sale right now, and it's perfect for anyone looking for more peace of mind. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. Wish there was an easier way to see who's at your door without having to go to all the trouble of getting up and checking it out for yourself? Smart doorbells are the way to solve that problem, as they deliver handy alerts, video feed, and two-way audio in a way designed to really compliment your already tricked out smart home. Smart doorbells tend to be rather pricey (see our top pick, the Google Nest Hello Smart WiFi Video Doorbell, which retails for $229 at Walmart).


USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Want to keep an eye out for porch pirates? Or perhaps you're seeking a simpler way to see who is at your front door without having to get off the couch? Smart doorbells are still fairly new to the world of home security, and the market is becoming more and more saturated with options by the minute. This begs the question: How do you know which one is right for you and your home? I've been living with the Ring Video Doorbell Pro for about a year and a half now.

Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus review: It's good, but it's not new or improved enough to be the best


The third generation of Ring's doorbell camera comes in two distinct flavors: The $200 Ring Video Doorbell and the $230 Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus, reviewed here. The most notable features the extra $30 buys you are more sophisticated motion-detection zones, a four-second "pre-roll" that starts recording motion events before the doorbell sends you an alert, and a dual-band (2.4- and 5GHz) Wi-Fi adapter. If you're replacing an existing wired doorbell, this one can take advantage of that low-voltage power source, so you don't need to worry about recharging a battery. But the competition in this space is getting fierce, and unlike some other video doorbells we've reviewed lately, Ring hasn't increased video resolution beyond 1080p, and its new camera still has the 160-degree field of view of its predecessor. The battery-powered Eufy Security Wireless Video Doorbell, for example, is also limited to a 160-degree field of view, but it captures video at 2560x1920 resolution.

Ring Video Doorbell Pro vs. Nest Hello


The Google Nest Hello is a $229 hardwired smart video doorbell. It has HD live streaming, motion, sound and person alerts, night vision, two-way audio, automatic responses from Nest if you don't want to talk to whoever's at the door -- and a three-hour image history of any activity that took place. The Nest Hello doorbell works with Google Assistant on smart displays and has some Alexa capabilities too. If you level up with a Nest Aware subscription, starting at $5 per month, you get even more. The optional cloud service adds continuous recording and saves the footage for five, 10 or 30 days depending on the level you choose.