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August View review: August smart doorbell has an easy-breezy install

Here's a look at how August's View compares to other smart buzzers:

Comparing smart doorbells

August View Doorbell Camera Ring Video Doorbell 2 Ring Video Doorbell Pro Nest Hello Video Doorbell
Price $230 $199 $249 $229
Color finish Black, red, white, blue, brass, satin nickel, midnight gray, bronze Satin nickel, venetian (both finishes included with purchase) Satin nickel, venetian, satin black, pearl white White and black
Power source Removable, rechargeable battery Hardwired or removable, rechargeable battery Hardwired Hardwired
Resolution 1,920x1,440 pixels 1,920x1,080 pixels 1,920x1,080 pixels 1,600x1,200 pixels
Field of view No information 160 degrees 160 degrees 160 degrees
Live streaming Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cloud storage Yes, free basic plan, plus 15-day storage for $3 per month and 30-day storage for $5 per month Yes, 60-day storage for $3 per month Yes, 60-day storage for $3 per month Yes, free 3-hour image history; continuous recording starting at $5 per month
Local storage No No No No
Mobile app Android and iPhone Android and iPhone Android and iPhone Android and iPhone
Web app No Yes Yes Yes
Night vision Yes Yes Yes Yes
Alerts Motion Motion Motion Motion, person, facial recognition (with Nest Aware)
Activity zones No Yes Yes Yes (with Nest Aware)
Dimensions (HxWxD) 5.2 x 1.8 x 1.3 inches 5.1 x 2.5 x 1.1 inches 4.5 x 1.9 x 0.8 inches 4.6 x 1.7 x 1.0 inches
Third-party integrations Alexa; Google Assistant; Nest Alexa; IFTTT; Wink Alexa; IFTTT; Wink Alexa; Google Assistant; Nest
Operating temperature range -4 to 122 degrees F -5 to 120 degrees F -5 to 120 degrees F 14 to 104 degrees F

The View is priced the same as the Nest Hello, but is a very different product. The View is battery-powered compared to the Hello's hardwired installation. The View also offers free 24-hour access to saved video clips, whereas Nest requires a subscription to its Nest Aware cloud service for that functionality. 

The View has a wide variety of swappable face plates, too, if you want to mix up the color finish of your doorbell. 

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The app regularly says: "Connecting to your August View, please be patient, this takes about 15 seconds," which is frustrating when you want to see your live feed ASAP.

Screenshot by Megan Wollerton/CNET

August's doorbell is most similar to the Ring Video Doorbell 2 since that model is also battery-powered. The Ring model, however, can be hardwired -- or powered via battery. While the Ring doorbell is less expensive up front, you have to pay $3 per month for access to Ring's cloud storage service to view any saved video clips. 

The View will work with Alexa and Google Assistant at launch, but it did not work for me while using the beta app for testing. Once online, you'll be able to get announcements that someone's at the door on your Alexa or Google Assistant-enabled smart speaker.

Overall, the View performed pretty well. The live feed was clear and the two-way audio was easy to hear, although I could hear my voice echo through my phone on a delay after talking to CNET video producer Chris Monroe on the other end. 

There was one main issue. An awkward message that appeared when I clicked on the "watch live" button in the app. It read: "Connecting to your August View, please be patient, this takes about 15 seconds."

The message didn't pop up every time, but even so, I typically experienced at least a 10-second wait between selecting "watch live" and actually seeing the feed. Because of this, I regularly missed the motion activity that made me click on the live feed in the first place. 

I didn't experience similar lag issues with the other buzzers I've tested, including the battery-powered Ring Video Doorbell 2.

The verdict

August's $230 View Doorbell Camera is a big improvement over the August's Doorbell Cam Pro. Its rectangular shape makes it look more like a doorbell and makes it easier to fit on a standard doorframe. Factor in the rechargeable battery, and you have a decent doorbell that looks nice and is easy to install and use. 

The live feed's prolonged boot-up period makes it harder to recommend, though. Yes, the delay is there to help preserve battery life, but it's frustrating to get a motion alert and then experience a long wait time to actually see the live feed. The free 24-hour video clips save the View from its annoying lag time (slightly), since you can still review things even if you missed them in action.

Even so, waiting so long to view a live feed is a significant drawback. The August View is still worth considering if you're in the market for a decent battery-powered buzzer. But also take a look at the Ring Video Doorbell 2; it didn't have the same lag time, but you have to pay for cloud storage to access any saved footage. 

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