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Security Cameras

Smart security cameras target apartment dwellers at CES 2019

There's a new trend in home security -- smart home cameras that replace your door's peephole.

Ring's Door View Cam replaces your door's peephole.

Megan Wollerton/CNET

While wandering around the show floor at CES 2019 I noticed something new in smart home security -- cameras that replace your door's peephole, or hang over the top of your door (if you don't have a peephole).

Ring's Door View Cam and the Brinno Duo Smart Peephole DoorCam replace your door's peephole, while the Remo+ DoorCam 2 hangs over the top of your door. 

The idea, of course, is that you don't have to deal with electrical wiring or damaging your doorframe with a power tool. Anyone can buy these devices, but it makes the most sense for folks living in apartments and any other rental properties with cranky landlords who have rules about installing devices. Let's take a closer look at the Ring, Brinno and Remo+ buzzers.

Smart doorbells for smart apartments

The Door View Cam by Ring costs $199. It will hit stores "later this year," according to Ring, and they're designed to work with other Ring products. Ring also introduced its Smart Lighting products at CES. 

I got to spend some time with this camera on the show floor. The doorbell is simply mounted to the peephole instead of on the doorframe. On the inside of the door you can still look through the peephole, but you can also get alerts on your phone whenever someone rings the bell or if activity is detected within range of the camera's motion sensor. 

Here's a list of the Door View Cam's core features:

  • 1080p HD resolution
  • Motion detection
  • Microphone and speaker
  • Rechargeable battery
  • Night vision
remo-ces-2019-1

The Remo+ DoorCam 2 hangs over the door.

Angela Lang/CNET

The Brinno Duo is fairly similar to Ring's Door View Cam, but it isn't a doorbell. Because of that, it's more discreet than the Ring model. From the front, the Duo still looks sort of like a regular ol' peephole, but it's a camera keeping an eye on things. 

Rather than recording a video clip when the motion detector senses activity, Brinno's camera simply takes a picture. Images are saved to an SD card so you don't have to pay for cloud storage. 

Like the Brinno Duo, the Remo+ DoorCam 2 is more security camera than smart doorbell. Rather than replacing a peephole, the DoorCam 2 is designed to drape over the top of your door. It runs on three D batteries and monitors what's happening outside your front door.

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More to come

These aren't the first doorbells and cameras like this that we've seen. Ezviz, Remo+ and Yale have announced similar products in the past. I saw the Ezviz Lookout Smart Door Viewer at CES last year -- it's a front-door-mounted camera with facial recognition, but appears to have a more involved installation than the Ring, Brinno and Remo+ cameras I've seen this year. 

Remo+ had a previous-gen DoorCam that looks similar to its version 2.0. And we wrote about the Yale Look door-mounted-cam back in 2016, but have yet to see it out in the world. 

But this is the most I've ever seen at one tech conference and I anticipate seeing more in the future as smart home companies look to apartments, condos and other multifamily housing for security solutions with minimal installation and damage.

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