Security

Reviewing the August Smart Doorbell Camera – Is the Price Worth it?

(Last Updated On: August 30, 2016)

The August Doorbell Cam comes from the same company that offers the August Smart Lock, further cementing its hold in the home access market.

How does the August Doorbell Cam work?  Is it worth the $199 price tag?

Important Features

The August Doorbell Cam allows you to see who’s outside your front door even if you are not at home.  You get an alert on your smartphone when somebody rings the doorbell and it allows you to speak with whoever is at your front door using your smartphone.  Its features include:

  • Real-time monitoring, on demand. You can check out what’s happening by your front door at any moment by simply checking out the live video feed via your smartphone.
  • One-way camera. Even when you are talking to the person outside your door, they will not be able to see you.  The one-way HD camera, however, allows you to see them.  This is just perfect for your privacy!

  • Easy to install. You can use the wiring that you are already using for your current doorbell.  Everything else you need to mount the doorbell is included in the package.
  • HD camera. The August Doorbell Cam has a very high resolution at 1280 pixels by 960 pixels.  That means you get a very crisp video streamed to your smartphone.  This resolution is higher than the 720 pixels offered by most other doorbell cameras.
  • Two-way communication. When somebody pushes the doorbell, you will get an alert.  You can accept the call and you can view a live stream to see who’s at the door.  You can talk to the person using your phone as the doorbell has its own microphone and speaker.
  • Get a picture. The August Doorbell Cam snaps a photo every time somebody rings it.  This photo will then be included in the log of activities.

There are two colors for you to choose from: silver (see here) and dark gray (see here).

Configuring the Doorbell

Everything you need to know about setting up an account and configuring the doorbell is found on the app.  The mobile app would give you a step-by-step walkthrough on how to set up your account and how to configure your doorbell.

The August app

The main page of the app would give you a list of houses and related products that are installed.  Just click on your house name and you will be able to access not just the August Doorbell Cam but other August products that you have already installed.

Key Specs

BluetoothBluetooth v4.0 (Bluetooth Smart 5GHz)
Wifi2.4GHz 802.11 b/g/n
Required Power16-24VAC ~ 50-60Hz 0.2A
Dimensions2.9 inches square and 0.9 inches thick
Weight400 grams
Warranty1-year (limited)
The box includes1 August Doorbell Cam, Mounting Hardware, Getting Started Guide

The August Doorbell’s camera gives you a 1280 x 960 HD resolution and that is higher than most other Wi-Fi doorbells available in the market today, having only 720 pixels HD resolution.

The biggest draw for August Doorbell Cam, however, is the integration with other connected devices.  Apart from other products from August, it is also compatible with Apple HomeKit and Nest Cam.

Downsides

  1. Space Concerns: The August Doorbell Cam has a unique square shape.  While this is actually a selling point, it can also present two problems.  One is that it may not fit the space where you current doorbell might be.  For a smart doorbell that is supposed to replace your existing doorbell, the August Doorbell Cam is just very wide.  However, compared to other smart doorbells, it is not that much wide with most measuring more than two inches wide.
  2. Is it a Doorbell? Secondly, people might not recognize it for a doorbell.  Also, it does not work with intercom systems or digital chimes; it can only work with your mechanical chime.
  3. Plastic Connectors Aren’t Optimal: Additionally, while the setup is quite easy, there are some things that could be improved.  For one, you might have an easier time using electrical tape than the plastic connectors that are provided.  Plus, it is not easy to line up the face plate and base plate.
  4. No Video Trigger for Doorbell: The biggest downsides to August Doorbell Cam is that it does not have the other features that are currently available in similar smart doorbells.  For one, it can only give you a live stream video, allowing you to check on your house at certain times.  You cannot automatically record videos when somebody rings the doorbell.
  5. No Night Vision: It also does not have night vision, which means you would need to put it in places where there is light or it will be completely useless at night.
  6. No Motion Sensor: And lastly, it currently does not have motion sensors that would alert you when the camera detects movements by your front door.  The absence of these features, which would have made it a more attractive option, makes the August Doorbell Cam unsuitable to be used as a solely dedicated security camera.

August Doorbell Alternatives t0 Consider

The problem with August Doorbell Cam is that is it pretty much designed as a part of the system and as such it does not have a full set of features that most doorbell cameras have. 

It is good if you have the August Smart Lock and other products from the same company, but until it does roll out its motion sensor capability, you might want to check out SkyBell 2.0 (review here), Ring Video Doorbell (review here) and Doorbird.  All of which have motion detection abilities, plus night vision mode.

That being said, you might also find more features with the Skybell 2.0 and Ring Video Doorbell for roughly the same or even a lower price.

If you are impressed by the high resolution promised by August Doorbell Cam, then you can go for Doorbird D101, but you might be turned off the high price (check here for latest).

Promised Update

The good news is that the August Doorbell Cam has a motion sensor hardware included.  So all it takes is a software upgrade.  That means that they would roll out an update for the mobile app for you to be able to take advantage of this motion sensor.    That means that once the mobile app has been updated, you should be able to get an alert every time the doorbell senses movement near it.  The company also promised cloud-based recording, allowing you to get more than just a picture of your visitors, but a video recording of the interaction.  That means you can soon review the conversation.  Plus you should also expect to have more instant alerts.

The Final Ring

If you have the August Smart Lock, then this is the doorbell for you.  It would certainly extend the doorbell’s features by allowing you to remotely control your Smart Lock so that you can let visitors inside your house even when you’re not around.  That will also help you get peace of mind because you can see if your Smart Lock is unlocked or locked and it also alerts you when someone exits or enters your home using the same mobile app.

Plus, all of those potential integrations, along with the software updates that are being promised now, will surely make the August Doorbell Cam a good contender (if all goes according to plan).

On its own, the August Doorbell Cam is a good smart doorbell that works the way it should and gives you all the features and functionalities that most doorbell cameras have.  And while it does lack some of the features that customers have loved about other smart doorbells, it will soon have the ability to detect motion and take videos of anyone ringing your doorbell with a simple over-the-air update to the app.

About the author

Patrick Sinclair

Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn't have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!

2 Comments

  • I have been tormented by my August Doorbell since October (2016). The live connection seldom works. When someone approaches my doorbell I get a cell phone notification, but I cannot get the system to go “live” in time to talk with anyone. They are long gone before my system connects.

    I have worked with August, sending them data logs, readjusting power consumption, rebooting, adjusting sensitivity. I have done every upgrade they have proposed and still have an unreliable doorbell. I strongly suggest using the Nest Outdoor Camera. It works way better than August and does everything the August doorbell lists, and more.

    Oh, and just try calling August for support. You’ll be on hold forever. Do not buy this unit.

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