Since I rebooted Operation Gadget, I have promoted video doorbells that fully support HomeKit Secure Video (HKSV). They are an important security measure for a Smart Home in the Apple ecosystem.
This is because the dominant video doorbells in the market are made by Ring, a subsidiary of Amazon.com. I discuss the problems with Ring’s security practices in Why Home Automation in the Apple Ecosystem? and Were Ring Customers Victimized by a Ransomware Gang?
Three video doorbells that fully support HomeKit Secure Video are on sale in the United States right now:
- Logitech Circle View Doorbell debuted in December 2020. It was the first HKSV video doorbell, which somewhat explains the difficulty that early customers had with getting all of the features working. I explain the history in The Circle View Doorbell’s Stunning Improvement. My family and I installed it and it’s running at our house. This doorbell is rock solid and really shows off the integration of HomeKit Secure Video doorbells into the Apple Home.
- Wemo Smart Video Doorbell is the main competing video doorbell that fully supports HKSV. The Wemo Smart Video Doorbell has a slightly wider field of view than the Logitech Circle View. The other main differentiator is dual-band WiFi support. This makes it slightly more flexible than the Logitech Circle View Doorbell. But in many homes, the 5 GHz WiFi band doesn’t reliably penetrate the exterior walls. If the doorbell is mounted outside, it may be far easier to keep the Wemo Smart Video Doorbell on the 2.4 GHz WiFi band.
- Aqara Video Doorbell G4 is the newest HomeKit Secure Video doorbell on the market. The Aqara Video Doorbell G4 is unique because it can function either as a battery-powered or wired video doorbell. This provides more options for getting a doorbell working without potentially complex wiring changes inside your home. Two of the more unique features of the Aqara Video Doorbell G4 are that you must install and plug in the chime module, because the chime module functions as a hub that makes the doorbell connect to HomeKit. Second, the camera produces 1080p video with a 16:9 ratio. This means that the camera has difficulty seeing packages that are placed on the ground. But the camera offers a wider field of view than other doorbells like the Logitech Circle View.
I think all of these video doorbells are well suited to replacing an old, wired doorbell with a ringer box inside the foyer of your home. And because they are HKSV-compatible, they are more secure than almost any product you can buy from Ring.