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This HomeKit Secure Video doorbell is the epitome of an Apple smart home device. Let’s take a closer look at the just announced Belkin Wemo Smart Video Doorbell.
Revealed at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Belkin has continued its push into HomeKit-first accessories.
The Belkin Wemo Smart Video Doorbell is 4.9 inches long and 1.7 inches wide. Many have wondered how thick the doorbell is, and it is slightly thicker than its closest competitor, the Logitech Circle View Wired Doorbell. The Wemo is 1.4 inches deep, while the Logitech is 1.1 inches. Using the angled wedge plate extends it to 2.1 inches, which is on the thick side.
It has a 4MP sensor that captures 1200×1600 video with a 178-degree field of view. It works exclusively with Apple HomeKit and supports HomeKit Secure Video, meaning all cloud recordings are stored securely in iCloud.
Like most HomeKit doorbells, it connects via Wi-Fi and supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz connections. The doorbell also includes infrared enhanced night vision for low light, motion detection and two-way communication.
Belkin Wemo Smart Video Doorbell Review – Setup
Most people will have no problem installing the Wemo doorbell. The doorbell can only be connected with a single pair of wires, which should not be a problem for even the most novice users. That said, if you’re hesitating or buying this as a gift, Belkin does offer a professionally installed version through OnTech – for a $99 fee, of course.
Connecting to your gong takes a little more tinkering, but in total we got our setup down in less than 15 minutes.
If this is your first smart doorbell, you may need to use the included drill bit to drill pilot holes in your door frame. The Wemo doorbell is slightly larger than a typical doorbell button and will not fit into existing holes.
Remove your existing doorbell or video doorbell while the power is off. We then used a Phillips screwdriver to secure the two wires into the mounting plate. With the wires connected, we then screwed the plate to the wall.
The screws are long, which makes them safer to install than the half-inch screws used on other devices. Optionally, you can install the wedge mount, which angles the camera and fits left or right.
Two spring pins are located on the front of the plate and are pressed into two contacts on the back of the doorbell. Slide the doorbell over the pin at the top and tighten the screw at the bottom.
The doorbell is held in place with a Torx screw rather than a Philips, which helps strengthen security. If you don’t have Torx drivers handy, one is included.
Once the installation is complete, it’s time to go to the HomeKit setup.
Belkin Wemo Smart Video Doorbell – HomeKit Support
A sticker with your unique HomeKit pairing code is affixed to the back of the camera, which is easily accessible but inconvenient during the setup process. You can connect the camera to a micro USB cable and pair it before completing the installation, or you can install it and scan the code on the back pages of the installation manual.
A modal dialogue sequence walks you through the basics of adding a new HomeKit accessory. Name your accessory, assign it a location in your home, and choose when your camera will record, stream, or set as private. You can also control who in your home has access to these streams or recordings.
Then you can turn facial recognition on or off and set access control.
The last few steps in the setup involve choosing your bell preferences and enabling all the automations HomeKit suggests.
At this point, the camera is mostly good to go. Diving into the features a bit can help you tailor the experience to your needs.
For example, HomeKit lets you set custom activity zones. Without activity zones, any movement will trigger the camera. Every car driving down the road sends an unnecessary warning to our phone. By setting activity zones limited to our driveway and porch, we only get the notifications we want.
You can also set notifications to be filtered based on the type of activity. You can filter to only allow notifications from vehicles, people, animals, packages, or any combination of the lot. This will keep you from getting hit with notification fatigue and start ignoring incoming alerts.
Other benefits of HomeKit include rich notifications that can stream a live feed from your door, notifications on your Apple TV, and a bell that will ring on your designated HomePods or HomePod minis.
We have a HomeKit wall switch that controls our porch lights for our setup. That allows us to create an automation routine where the porch light comes on when the Wemo Smart Video Doorbell detects movement.
Any doubts we have are more with HomeKit than the doorbell itself. Apple’s interface for perusing video clips is a little bland, and there’s still no way to quickly change a camera’s privacy mode with a scene or Siri.
Firmware updates can now at least be done through the Home app, with Belkin being the first to take advantage.
Belkin Wemo Smart Video Doorbell – Video Quality
The video quality captured by the doorbell is almost as important as the deep integration with HomeKit. As mentioned, this camera captures 1200 by 1600 video. This is tailored for display on mobile by being larger than it is wide.
The 178-degree field of view is also quite large. We see both the brickwork to the left of our doorbell and our door. We can see the doormat and the top of the jamb. There is no way anyone could approach the door without being seen.
Belkin touts HDR deeply in its specs list, but the background was just blown out. Compared to the Arlo doorbell camera, the Belkin Wemo lost some detail and contrast in the sun-filled driveway versus our shaded porch.
How this works out for you differs. If you face south, the sun can be a problem during parts of the day. You may have to play with the mounting angles to get it just right.
HomeKit limits the video recording resolution of cameras. With luck, max resolution will get a boost in future updates to iCloud. However, we need new hardware to support higher resolutions.
Should You Buy the Belkin Wemo Smart Video Doorbell?
As it stands, if you want the best HomeKit video doorbell, Wemo is what you’re looking for. There are only a handful of video doorbells on the market that currently take full advantage of HomeKit by supporting HomeKit Secure Video.
You can choose between the Logitech Circle View, the Robin ProLine, the Robin ProLine Compact or the mostly vaporware Yobi B3. If you’re tired of just vanilla HomeKit support, you can opt for the Netatmo Secure Video Doorbell or the Arlo Wired Video Doorbell.
Its closest competitor is the Logitech Circle View. Still, Wemo has two advantages in its wider field of view and the ability to manually perform firmware updates in the Home app. So if we choose between the two, we have to give it to the Belkin Wemo Smart Video Doorbell.
We appreciate how easy installing the Wemo doorbell was, and the HomeKit support is top notch. HomeKit remains the biggest problem in the doorbell category, and Apple has periodically addressed it in iOS updates.
As it stands, if you want the best smart video doorbell to work with HomeKit today, Wemo should be your choice. Tomorrow is a different story, as the category has yet to fully mature.
Belkin Wemo Smart Video Doorbell Pros
- Support for Apple HomeKit and works with HomeKit Secure Video
- Motion and doorbell notifications on Apple TV
- Chime on HomePod and HomePod mini
- Ultra-wide 178-degree field of view
- Supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi unlike many smart home devices
- Infrared night vision
- No additional subscription needed outside of iCloud
Belkin Wemo Smart Video Doorbell Cons
- With the wedge it is very thick
- Does not support Alexa or Google Assistant – however your mileage may vary if this is truly a scam
- No wireless version available with HomeKit
HDR is bland
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Where to buy
You can pre-order the Belkin Wemo Smart Video Doorbell now from Belkin’s website for $249. Shipping is expected to begin in February or March.