Security cameras have been booming as a consumer retail product in recent years, but there’s another at home device that’s been bubbling away with innovation too – the Doorbell.
When you think smart doorbells most people will think of the Ring Video doorbell which has resulted in some epic video capture, so on the back of that success there’s about to be a huge swell in doorbell innovation.
At my home I’ve been testing the new Arlo Doorbell – something rather different.
What’s good: Easy to setup, lightning fast connection when someone rings the doorbell, great quality audio, simple integration with Arlo system, Front Door Voicemail!
What you need to know: You need an Arlo Base station, It’s Audio only, Video comes from separate Arlo cameras, Its quiet – you need the add-on “Chime”
What could be better: App reliability, an included charm
This device is aimed at changing our approach to the doorbell. It’s extremely feature rich given the price and that’s not to be glossed over.
Operating on normal AA batteries, it’s a breeze to setup – though it does need an Arlo Base Station which means you need to have existing Arlo Cameras, this really is an “accessory” to an Arlo camera system.
But any Arlo camera owner would know that the door is a key area you’re monitoring – and many might have been tempted by the Ring Video Doorbell.
The big difference, and the huge advantage that the Arlo Audio Doorbell has is speed. When someone presses that doorbell, your phone rings. Not a normal phone call, it’s a VOIP phone call via the Arlo App.
App wise, I’d like there to be another option other than Answer or Decline – answer connects you to the visitor, decline sends the doorbell into an “Away” mode where a user is asked to leave a message by pressing the bell again.
As someone who is often away, while my wife is home, I’ve had many occasions where my phone is ringing but my wife has answered the door in person. Simple, but perhaps pop up a preview for me, or give me the option to “dismiss” without sending a voice message to the Doorbell.
I also feel like there were times the app just wasn’t ringing on my phone. Having tried it on several devices, I reached the conclusion that it was about background operation – if I hadn’t use the Arlo app in a few days or a week, perhaps it was no longer running in the background and thus the calls didn’t come through.
That’s easily overcome by just using your Arlo system more!
You do need an Arlo system – with no base station the Arlo Audio Doorbell doesn’t work. I would also argue that without the Arlo Chime it’s not as affective either. The Chime was just $99 and it means we get a solid loud doorbell sound inside the house.
That means this is a $228 system that works for existing Arlo camera system owners.
When you answer the doorbell you have the immediate option to initiate one of your Arlo cameras – this is ideal because unlike a Doorbell with a camera built in – which is just looking OUT, the Arlo Camera at your front door might see your whole Porch – allowing you to tell someone where to leave an item and check that they are.
The speed at which the call comes through is staggering, the audio quality is excellent and lag free – exactly fixing two of the key issues with a Video Doorbell.
The Bottom Line
The Arlo Audio Doorbell is a perfect add-on for anyone with an existing Arlo camera system.
If you don’t have an Arlo camera system, I think there are better stand alone Doorbells to consider, but once you start getting smart home devices, you’re going to start thinking cameras – so perhaps kick it off with some Arlo cameras and the Doorbell? Perhaps your retailer might do you a deal?
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.