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HomeKit Doorbells: 9to5Mac review and roundup

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When Apple announced HomeKit Secure Video, one of the first products to be desired by customers was a doorbell. Ring doorbells had become very popular, but customers wanted an option that integrated nicely with HomeKit and Apple products and provided an end-to-end encryption option for recording. The idea that a smart doorbell would be able to show you who was at your front door before even opening it up seemed like something out of a science-fiction novel a few decades ago, but now, there are multiple products and platforms that offer this service. Today, I want to look at the current state of HomeKit doorbells, and what Apple should do to build out the category.

HomeKit Weekly is a series focused on smart home accessories, automation tips and tricks, and everything to do with Apple’s smart home framework.

Why HomeKit Secure Video doorbells?

HomeKit Secure Video doorbells are a great way to bring smart home tech into your home. With the ability to monitor your home while you’re away if you’re using a Home hub (Apple TV or HomePod mini), these devices can be incredibly useful for keeping an eye on things even when you aren’t physically present. If you’re heavy into the Apple ecosystem, it makes sense to use an option that’s tightly integrated within the rest of your smart home ecosystem. With custom scenes and automation, a HomeKit Secure Video doorbell is an upgrade that makes perfect sense.

Logitech Circle View – best native HomeKit doorbell

The Logitech Circle View is one of the top options for HomeKit Secure Video doorbells. Logitech is well known in the Apple ecosystem as one of the top device manufacturers. The Circle View is a great option if you’re looking for an all-in-one camera that can be used as a full security camera within HomeKit. It has two-way audio and night vision, so it can be used to check in on your house while you’re away or even provide a notification video of who’s at your front door from your Apple TV.

It features a best-in-class Logitech TrueView video with a 160° field of view, head-to-toe HD video, HDR, and color night vision up to 6 feet to capture every last detail. It’s a wired doorbell, and therefore it stays active 24/7 by connecting with your existing doorbell wiring. It also has a built-in motion sensor that allows you to receive alerts when someone approaches your door. It connects directly with HomeKit, so if you have other devices like lights or locks that are already connected via HomeKit, you can configure automation so they turn on when motion is detected. 

The Logitech Circle View works on either 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi or 5 GHz Wi-Fi.

Wemo Smart Video Doorbell

One of the most recent entrants into the HomeKit doorbell is Wemo’s Smart Video Doorbell. Wemo has been one of Apple’s HomeKit partners for as long as I can remember, and they’ve consistently released quality products. The wide field of view ensures you won’t miss a thing. With its fisheye lens effect, this security camera allows you to see edge-to-edge packages in front of your door. Based on manufacturer FOV data from early 2022 — it has the largest field of view currently available. Similar to the Logitech Circle View, the Wemo Smart Video doorbell works on both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi connections. It has night vision and motion sensors, so you can see who’s at the front door day or night. The Wemo Smart Video Doorbell is compatible with Apple’s HomeKit Secure Video so all recordings can be stored in iCloud if you have iCloud+.

Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell

The Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell features a modern design that works with existing wiring and chimes. It captures video in 1080p HD resolution, has a 140-degree field of view, includes two-way audio and infrared night vision – and it’s compatible with Amazon Alexa smart home devices, Google Assistant, and HomeKit. With the microSD card slot, you can store video footage for secure local storage or send it to your own cloud over FTP. The Netatmo Smart Video Doorbell doesn’t yet support HomeKit Secure Video. With its HomeKit compatibility, it can be used within HomeKit automation and scenes, but the footage won’t be in HomeKit.

Arlo Video Doorbell 

The Arlo Video HomeKit Doorbell offers a uniquely square viewing experience that feels natural when viewed on an iPhone. The wired doorbell provides great HD visuals at 1536 x 1536 resolution with HDR, and two-way audio allows you to speak with whomever is at the door. Because it’s a wired doorbell, it requires existing electrical wiring with voltage between 16V AC and 24V AC and a 10VA Transformer.

Keep in mind that HomeKit support requires an Arlo Smart Hub, but it does not allow you to record footage through a HomeKit Secure Video. 

Nest Doorbell – best HomeKit doorbell with a bridge for colors

Nest doorbells come in both wired and wireless options. They’re some of the best options on the market in terms of features and ease of use, but they don’t natively support HomeKit. While there is a lot to say in terms of Google and privacy, if Nest is the product you want, there is an option for connecting it to HomeKit: The Starling Home Hub. I’ve been using the hub for a few years now, and it’s the best way to get all your Google Nest devices into HomeKit. Recent software updates have even added the option to use HomeKit Secure Video. The following Nest camera models support iCloud recording with HomeKit Secure Video:

  • 2021 model Nest Cam (wired)
  • 2021 model Nest Cam (battery) when plugged into a power source
  • 2021 model Nest Cam with Floodlight

HomeKit Secure Video doorbell options are getting more diverse, but HomeKit doorbells lag behind

I want to love HomeKit Secure Video, but it’s a challenge with HomeKit doorbells. There are still only a handful of options that support HomeKit Secure Video. I love the idea of having footage stored in iCloud so it remains encrypted, but it’s limited in some ways. My biggest wishlist item would be for HomeKit Secure Video to support 24/7 continuous recording. Right now, it only records clips when motion is detected. While it normally gets the recording right, there are still times it’s slow to respond.

Overall, I think the most economical option right now is either the Logitech Circle View or use the Starling Home Hub to bridge over a Nest doorbell. Both options will serve you well long term.

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