The idea of a smart board doorbell is not exactly appealing to me. I know that they sound somewhat useful. I’ve heard people say that they love it. However, it is one thing that I have never ever felt the need to pay the price for, or at least the high price that some of these retail at.
Dophigo contacted me to share a cheaper alternative. Whilst Yes, this is cheaper, it is also still relatively expensive. Whenever you consider that this is just a doorbell. The principle of a doorbell is for a visitor to summon the occupants of a building to the front door so that they may gain entrance or interact with the inhabitants of the house. Adding smart technology into the hardware will allow the inhabitants to screen arrivals, for security or for logging of who and when.
Using a smart doorbell seems like a possibility for a breach of privacy. It’s a little scary given that there are cameras involved, cloud storage and it requires an internet connection and a power supply in order to operate. These last few things were one of the main reasons why I never took a real interest in pursuing a smart doorbell. However, Dophigo’s price point was enough that I thought, that’s okay, I’ll give it a go.
It wasn’t until I was out shopping one day that I realized the brilliance of a smart doorbell, standing in Sainsburys. My phone began to ring, I looked at my phone and it was a simple phone interface that allowed me to answer the call or hang up. It took a moment for me to connect the dots in the head that this was my doorbell, and I answered the call and spoke to a courier who had arrived at the front door to drop off a package for me.
I was able to tell the courier that I wasn’t able to come to the door right now and that he could leave the package in my porch. He did so, closed the door and walked away. I saw the courier, I watched him put it in and then I saw him walk away from the house. At this very moment, I realized that the smart doorbell was one of my favorite gadgets.
Now my Sainsburys success was an ideal scenario. There have been ups and downs with the usability of the smart doorbell. On occasions, I have been sitting in my living room and someone has knocked on the door. I have got out of my chair somewhat annoyed that the person did not press the doorbell, however, checking the up the next day I realized that they did press doorbell and that there’s a photograph of them attempting to gain my attention by using this bit of technology. I am not sure why I did not receive a notification as my phone was sitting right beside me. My theory is that my wife’s phone rang and she might have rejected the prompt thinking that I would deal with it.
So looking around the device. The left, right and top are featureless. On the bottom is the loudspeaker that is perfectly acceptable for the broadcast of both the automated female voice and the connection to your mobile phone for you speak.
As you can see from the image, the plastic is fairly soft, I dropped the camera the when I was walking out to the porch. There were a couple of visible dents it the unit.
The front has a large black circle in the middle of which is a small camera. The black area is quite reflective and helps people feel a little uneasy that they are being filmed.
Below this is a small hole for a microphone and a clearly indicative button for activating the doorbell.
The whole unit is quite sizable, much bigger than I had expected it, the Amazon listing shows 8 cm long, 6.5 wide and 5.5cm deep, my ruler suggests it might be 13.5cm long x 6.5cm wide and 4cm deep. Also, the outer casing really is not terribly attractive, whilst this could be considered a problem if also means there is less chance of someone ripping it off a making off with it, a problem that the Ring and Nest options are suffering.
Around the back are a Reset button and a MicroUSB charging slot. I have had the doorbell installed for over three weeks and the battery is showing 90% from the initial charge. My wife operates a business from home and the doorbell would see quite a bit of traffic, more than an average house. Nest to these is a door for a standard 18650 Lithium Cell. Easy to find and charge, so you can buy a spare easily. There is an alarm on your phone once the battery needs to be charged
Under the doorbell is the mount. This can be screwed into place or stuck depending on how permanent you want it to be. I have stuck this to the PVC surround of my porch door. It’s a very strong adhesive, I hope there will be no making the day I come to remove it. However, I feel this will be a long time in the future.
The image quality is advertised as 960P HD Video from a 1.3 MP HD sensor. The quality is okay, not amazing, however, it is a doorbell. It is more likely you will have to answer this over a 3G or 4G connection and therefore a little less quality will probably make for a smoother experience.
The Dophigo operates on 2.4GHz WiFi only. Initially, I had trouble getting my Virgin Media router to detect the Dophigo and I had to set up a guest mode session for it to work. However, the next day I tried again and it worked fine, there must have been an update to the app or firmware.
Then there is a app, an impressively evolving app that packs a lot of functionality. There is a lot to explore. Firstly you can share access with family members, or if you were to install on an elderly parents door then you can ensure they secure. You can add a second doorbell and switch between the sources, browsing callers, photos, times and videos of callers.
A Smart doorbell can work with a home assistant and currently the Dophigo functions with Alexa, the home assistant I do not have so I have not been able to test this out. I have asked and the Google Assistant is not planned for this model, unfortunately, however, the next one should have this included. There are a few other beta features that Dophigo are rolling out and you can test them if you feel inclined.
You can see and download the last three days video in the cloud. This can be a little limiting, however, there is no cost for the cloud storage. You can download media as it is created and stored locally, however, you have to do this manually.
Over the last number of months I have felt more confident about the security of my house. The Dophigo is a deterrent for burglars, insurance that couriers have attempted a delivery and a barrier against time wasters. I’m very pleased with the Dophigo and am now looking to upgrade so that my Google Assistant can get in on the game.
You can purchase the for £79.99 from Amazon here. Currently, at this time of writing, there is a 5% discount voucher valid until 31 Jan 2019.