Although they might lack the elegance of their predecessors, smart doorbells are spreading like wildfire. They offer the internet connected home not only a usefully placed security camera, but the means to ensure good behavior from the ever-growing army of couriers we depend upon.
Pressures on couriers to get moving means they don’t like to wait for doorbells. Pressures of all kinds prevent us from being home when every delivery occurs. In many cases parcels are left on the door and these are especially tempting for so-called ‘porch pirates.’
A camera is a deterrent and evidence is always useful (especially if you’re taking on a skeptical retailer), but most smart doorbell cameras face a compromise when it comes to the step; a fish-eye lens compromises resolution and quality, but a sharper image will likely crop the step where parcels are left. Eufy’s solution is two cameras – one for each direction. Is it the answer for you?
Camera resolution: 2560x1920 (main) + 1600 x 1200 (step)
Camera field of view: 160˚ + 120˚
Camera battery: 6 months
Camera weather protection: IP65
Camera two-way audio: Yes
Storage: 16GB EMMC
We tested the battery version and opted to install it without wires. It can also easily be attached to existing wiring of 16-24v, covering UK and US standards. In either case installation is made painless thanks to back plates which need only be screw mounted to the wall; there is both a flat one and an angled one (which works either way up). Once placed, the doorbell snaps onto it.
You’ll also need to connect the base station to a free ethernet socket on your router and to the main power. As well as a power jack and Ethernet socket, a USB socket lets you charge the doorbell here.
Once connected (and the doorbell charged), you simply need to follow a few on-screen instructions to get them working; the Eufy app pulls these off with elegance – the only irritation was that the Eufy HomeBase 3 we had already doesn’t yet recognize the doorbell – this is coming via software update soon, we’re told.
Build and handling
The doorbell unit is fashioned of robust glossy plastic which looks good, though the sheer size of it is somewhat surprising; even bigger than other smart doorbells at 165 x 55 x 29mm (6.5 x 2.2 x 1.1 in). It’s also so shiny you’ll likely need to wipe it after a few visitors press the button, but on the other hand no one missed it! It also includes LED lights for the downward-facing package camera so the AI has a fair chance even in the dark – they’re activated by the motion sensor.
Accessing the doorbell to charge the battery is achieved using an included tool similar to a SIM-card tray tool; it unclips the unit from the wall mount so you can take it away and charge it.
Unlike the weighty doorbell unit, the elegant base unit felt (as it is) largely hollow. It has grey feet which provide ventilation, gorgeous matt-white sides and a gloss-white top. Inside is 16GB EMMC storage; it might not sound a lot but is room for weeks of clips (the storage cannot be expanded).
The addition of an extra box on our network didn’t seem to be an issue, and the latency between button push and alert was broadly comparable with others doorbells we’ve tested – not the best, not the worst. You certainly wouldn’t want to have an extended conversation using the speaker & mic, but you can tell someone where to leave a package.
Image quality was stand out. The camera did a good job of daylight and nighttime, with the only slight exception being the step camera and that was probably our fault for not using the angled mount so the exposure had to cope with light on the wall.
The AI – which, remember, you’re not paying for in a subscription but getting in the box – seemed to do a decent job of spotting humans and animals. That said our doormat did seem to trigger the package alert, so there is room for improvement. The built-in chime means it’s preferable to place the HomeBase box somewhere you can hear, but the position of your network points might restrict you and you can also use Alexa or Assistant devices as chimes and displays.
Above: Sample video clip shows bases well covered.
This doorbell’s main marketing point, the dual cameras, certainly perform to expectations, comfortably providing better video than single camera alternatives (and the one other dual camera device out there).
Building around a Eufy HomeBase 2 should probably also be something of a selling point since the Eufy Secure app is capable of handling more devices using the subscription-free AI and storage at the cost of just one network socket. It also means that a failed internet connection won’t stop the device recording, while the encryption puts you in charge of your clips (other doorbell companies have been known to share with law enforcement without asking specifically)
Although we’d like a slightly more svelte design (and, in fairness there is a non-battery version), and it’s a shame there is no HomeKit compatibility, this is one of the best smart doorbells we’ve tested. It’s certainly at the steeper end, price wise, but if you want the smart features the subscription charges will soon put one-lens competitors total costs past the Eufy’s initial cost.
Other useful buying guides:
The best body cameras for personal security