Do you ever wonder who might be showing up at your door when you’re away? Perhaps you work across town, and you’re expecting a package; maybe you’re with friends in the backyard, and you don’t want to interrupt your relaxation, or you’ve wondered who’s been stealing your front porch decorations. If you had an iseeBell Video Doorbell, you’d know.
Some of the features that the iseeBell has going for it are that it is fairly inexpensive at $149.95 and that a yearly subscription to their 7-day cloud storage will only set you back $20; it also includes an indoor chime, which can be an extra $30 with other brands.
Included in the box are the iseeBell video doorbell, an indoor chime with detached wall plug, a power cable with wall plug, a wedge bracket, an iseeBell screwdriver, mounting screws and anchors, a window sticker, and a quick setup guide.
The iseeBell is meant to be mounted where an existing wired doorbell once resided. The iseeBell is composed of shiny black UV and weather-resistant (IP56) polycarbonate with a matte silver polycarbonate bezel. The iseeBell measures 3.3″ tall by 2.9″ wide by 0.87″ deep; it looks quite sleek and futuristic.
At the top of the iseeBell, there is a passive infrared LED to light things in the dark and then there is a speaker. The video camera is in the center; at the bottom, there is a doorbell button with a microphone to the side.
The iseeBell uses your home’s WiFi network to relay doorbell rings to the indoor chime, and it will also send notifications to your phone when pressed or when motion is detected. From your phone, you can speak with anyone who rings your bell, receive alerts, and you can receive snapshots of what’s going on when the motion sensor is tripped. Opting to pay for the cloud-recording subscription allows you to watch missed iseeBell calls or motion-tripped snapshots for the past 7 days.
If you don’t want to pay for a cloud-based subscription, the iseeBell will still work perfectly well. You’ll still get notifications, be able to accept and answer doorbell rings remotely, and pictures will still be taken when the motion sensor is tripped, the only gotcha is that you’ll have limited access to those pictures.
So, are you ready to install this thing?
iseeBell has a quick video tutorial showing the necessary steps …
Figuring that it would be simple enough, I opted to do the install on my friend Meredith’s front porch. She had a wired doorbell that wasn’t working, so we figured this would be a fancy upgrade.
Here’s how the installation process went …
First, we took a look at Meredith’s front door area. There was plenty of room to install the doorbell, as she had no trim pieces that might make it too tight. The one consideration was that her house was freshly stuccoed, and we were both too nervous to drill into the stucco until we were sure Meredith would like the iseeBell. That meant we’d be doing some modifications that weren’t in the quick start guide that involved double-stick Gorilla tape. I’ll get into that in a bit.
After figuring out which breaker box controlled her front porch (and switching it off so I didn’t accidentally electrocute myself), I used the included iseeBell screwdriver to remove Meredith’s old doorbell. There were three wires uncovered (red, yellow, and green), but the bottom green wire was actually tucked in, not being used. I pulled it out where I could see it, unsure if it might be needed later (it wasn’t).
Next, I had to peel back the rubber cover on the back of the doorbell; that’s where wires are ultimately going to attach.
According to the quick start guide, I’d be using the top two slots (1 & 2), and I would only need the two main wires in the doorbell. It doesn’t appear to matter which wire goes in which slot, as long as you are using the top two slots on the doorbell back.
Now’s the time to test the doorbell and make sure that everything is working properly before attaching it to the wires on the door. I used the included plug with two exposed wires, plugging them into slots 1 & 2 on the doorbell …
All good — the doorbell powered on and played a sound. Now I knew that if there were any issues once I used the doorbell wires on the iseeBell, that the issue would be with the wires themselves.
While I moved back to the front door area, Meredith started setting up her iseeBell account through the app. It was necessary to scan the barcode in the app with the camera on the front of the iseeBell to pair the two together.
As I mentioned, Meredith wanted to make sure she liked the doorbell before we screwed it in and marred her stucco. So what I did was use some double-sided Gorilla tape; I covered the back of the wedge bracket and used a utility knife to cut out the center and the bumps that line up with the back of the iseeBell.
This is the back of the iseeBell with its wall bracket attached. You’ll note that I haven’t yet put the gray rubber wire cover back on.
Next, I put the gray rubber cover back on the wall bracket and then took the wedge bracket (with the Gorilla tape attached) and pressed it into the back of the iseeBell’s wall bracket. Everything fit together perfectly, and Meredith will still be able to use the screw holes if she decides to permanently mount the doorbell.
Next, I used two of the included wires and attached them to the 1 & 2 slots on the back of the iseeBell. The raw ends of the wires poked right through the gray rubber.
Here’s what it looks like; you can see the raw wire edges ready to be joined to the doorbell’s wires that were already in place.
After twisting the four wires together in pairs, I attached the mounts to the wall with more Gorilla tape. Again, once Meredith is brave enough to drill into the stucco, she’ll have no problem using the permanent mounting holes.
The iseeBell video doorbell slips onto the mount, and a small screw secures the iseeBell to the wall bracket; all that was left to do was to see if it worked. Meredith switched the breaker back on, and …
I guess that’s why her prior doorbell didn’t work. Oops. A quick call was put into Clark Electric (if you live in the Concho Valley area, I can’t recommend Roy highly enough). A couple of days later, Roy came out and discovered that there was a short in Meredith’s wiring. After fixing that … I got a test from Meredith telling me that everything was up and working properly!
A quick call was put into Clark Electric (if you live in the Concho Valley area, I can’t recommend Roy highly enough). A couple of days later, Roy came out and discovered that there was a short in Meredith’s wiring. After fixing that, I got a text from Meredith telling me that everything was up and working properly. I also knew this, because I had started getting notifications on my phone.
Roy actually got the indoor chime working while I wasn’t there; evidently, it was a quick and easy pair.
The indoor chime also functions as a nightlight; bonus!
If there had been no issues with Meredith’s wiring, my installation would have worked properly. You should know that I am not super handy — the only other electrical projects I’ve ever tacked were installing a new light fixture in our hallway and a Lutron dimmer to control it — so if you are new to doing things like this, don’t worry! You can do it! Really!
So let’s talk about the app. Through it, you can add more doorbells (Meredith is talking about getting one for her side door since that’s the one most friends use). You can open the app at any time to see what is going on in front of your home (with audio).
As you may have guessed, Meredith was kind enough to sign me into her account on the app so I could get pics for this review. I had to laugh because I was out-of-town when I got a text from Meredith telling me that there was a strange man in her yard! She was just messing with me, of course — it was her husband. 😉
Because Meredith gave me access to her iseeBell account, I had plenty of opportunities to see how the video doorbell did at night and during the day.
During the day pictures are generally excellent, and the 185º wide-angle lens gives a great idea of what’s going on, on her street.
Anytime motion is detected or the bell is rung, you get a pop-up notification on your iOS or Android device.
And from within the app, you can see what’s happened at your video doorbell for the past 7 days by scrolling through the pictures under the top, current one.
… assuming you’ve paid for the inexpensive cloud storage option, of course.
If you haven’t paid for the service and you try to access past pictures, you’ll see this …
If you have a wired doorbell and you want to move into the 21st century with a connected video doorbell, the iseeBell is a great option. I like that you don’t have to get the cloud storage, but if you opt-in, it is inexpensive. It’s easy to give other family members (or friends) access to your account if more than one person needs to see who’s at the door, and it’s easy to add more doorbells to your account. For $149.95 including the indoor chime, I think it’s a great deal! Meredith must think so, too; she’s permanently installed the iseeBell, and she has upgraded to add cloud storage; she’s also said she’s going to buy one for her side door and her back door!
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: No need to pay for any extras —set the doorbell up, and there are no extra charges unless you want 7-day cloud storage; Easy to install with clear instructions (if I could do it, you can, too!); Daytime pictures are very clear; Most of the time night pictures are clear as well; included indoor chime also functions as a nightlight; The iseeBell comes with an 18-month warranty on parts
What Needs Improvement: Some nighttime pictures will be washed out, but this problem isn’t unique to iseeBell