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Smart Home

SimpliSafe launches a new video doorbell for $169

Available today at Best Buy, SimpliSafe's new doorbell plants a camera at your front door, and you don't need a SimpliSafe security system to use it.

SimpliSafe

SimpliSafe's popular install-it-yourself security system is getting a new key component today: The SimpliSafe Video Doorbell Pro. Available online and at Best Buy for $169, the new doorbell will work as part of a larger SimpliSafe setup, or on its own as a standalone device, no Simplisafe system needed.

Here's a quick summary of the key specs:

  • 1080p camera with HDR imaging
  • 162-degree field of view
  • Infrared night vision
  • Dual-sensor motion detection (heat signature and image classification)
  • Two-way audio connection via SimpliSafe app
  • Replaces wired doorbells ranging from 8V to 24V
  • Interchangeable face plates (obsidian, cloud and jade)
  • Cloud storage of recordings available for a minimum fee of $5 per month

SimpliSafe's new Video Doorbell Pro is designed to compete with Nest and Ring.

SimpliSafe

All of that compares pretty favorably to the Amazon-owned Ring Video Doorbell Pro ($249) and the Google-owned Nest Hello video doorbell ($229). Both of those alternatives offer 1080p video with a 160-degree field of view, as well as a similar set of features and integrations. 

One notable advantage for Nest: The ability to recognize faces, a feature we liked quite a bit when we tested the Hello out for ourselves. SimpliSafe's doorbell cam won't do that, but the company tells us that it will use  dual-sensor motion sensing that combines heat signature detection with "image classification" capable of detecting the human form. That second bit is expected to roll out via software update in the coming weeks -- SimpliSafe tells us that it'll help reduce false positives as far as alerts are concerned.

As for other features, SimpliSafe's HDR, "high dynamic range" imaging borrows from TV parlance to allow the camera to adjust to extremely bright conditions like direct sunlight. The feature also seems aimed at the Nest Hello, which offers the same thing. At any rate, it's a nice claim for a camera that you'll bolt to the front of your house, and one we'll be sure to test as soon as we wire one in at the CNET Smart Home.

Speaking of wiring, that's another point of note -- the Video Doorbell Pro doesn't come with a battery of its own, so it'll only replace wired doorbells ranging from 8V to 24V.

As said earlier, you can use SimpliSafe's Video Doorbell Pro on its own without a larger SimpliSafe setup, but if you've already got SimpliSafe's system in your home, the new doorbell cam will act like other SimpliSafe cameras and automatically record video any time one of your sensors detects unexpected activity. If you're an interactive monitoring subscriber, you can use those video clips for video alarm verification with your local first respondents.

The doorbell's arrival is the latest update in what's been a very busy year for SimpliSafe. The company kicked things off in January by giving the system a much-needed makeover at CES 2018. In April, the company announced compatibility with the popular August Smart Lock, followed by Alexa compatibility in May and Google Assistant compatibility in September. Oh, and in June, the company pulled in $1 billion worth of outside funding to help fuel its planned expansion into Canada and the UK.

We'll know a lot more about SimpliSafe's Video Doorbell Pro once we test the thing out -- keep an eye out for a full review in the coming weeks.