Swann SwannBuddy video doorbell review

The Swann SwannBuddy can catch porch pirates and side-step the cloud subscription fees; is it a Ring-beater?

Swann SwannBuddy review
(Image: © Adam Juniper/Digital Camera World)

Digital Camera World Verdict

So close to being the perfect video doorbell, especially for a DIY installer, but let down by laggy software which makes too little distinction between a doorbell and a security camera. That does make it a great choice if you’re looking to keep your budget under control, avoid extensive drilling, and get a discrete porch security camera in the bargain, but the software needs – and may yet get – more attention.


  • +

    Included chime makes setup easy

  • +

    Security-camera grade sensors

  • +

    Records to MicroSD

  • +

    Color night vision

  • +

    Built-in battery

  • +

    Video recorded even when wi-fi is down

  • +

    Accessible MicroSD recordings


  • -

    Live view grindingly slow to initiate

  • -

    App lacks distinction from security cameras

  • -

    Install still requires screwdriver

  • -

    Some missed frames in recorded clips

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Digital doorbells are growing in popularity, with the brand Ring (owned by Amazon) being the ‘Walkman’ of the market but others, including security brand Swann, turning their attention now too. 

The big internet brands have seemingly engineered a heavy reliance on their own cloud services for doorbells and security cameras, and even rely on Alexa-type devices for the chimes. By including an on-board MicroSD card, the SwannBuddy gives owners the chance to keep control of recordings made by their doorbell, even if they choose not to pay a subscription. At the same time the box includes a simple wireless chime, like many cheap push-button doorbell kits, making installation a straightforward process and again not dependent on being committed to a smart home assistant. 

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Adam Juniper
Managing Editor

With over 20 years of expertise as a tech journalist, Adam brings a wealth of knowledge across a vast number of product categories, including timelapse cameras, home security cameras, NVR cameras, photography books, webcams, 3D printers and 3D scanners, borescopes, radar detectors… and, above all, drones. 

Adam is our resident expert on all aspects of camera drones and drone photography, from buying guides on the best choices for aerial photographers of all ability levels to the latest rules and regulations on piloting drones. 

He is the author of a number of books including The Complete Guide to Drones, The Smart Smart Home Handbook, 101 Tips for DSLR Video and The Drone Pilot's Handbook