UNBOXED: Reviewing the Remo+ DoorCam Smart Door Camera
I’ve long wanted to find a way to test out some smart home technology that could upgrade the entryway to my home. The problem, though, has been the fact that the house I live in doesn’t have a doorbell, which means a lack of wiring or access to wiring that would make most smart doorbells possible. But, as it turns out, there are solutions available for suburban dwellers like myself who need a less-high-tech way to upgrade their front door.
That led me to remo+, a company we met during our CE Week 2018 show in June. The remo+ DoorCam, which was honored with a CE Week Best in Show award, was the type of solution that seemed to make sense for what I was aiming to accomplish. And, in the several weeks since the show, the DoorCam is more than living up to its title as one of the Best in Show.
First and foremost, I’ve never come across a piece of smart tech that was simpler to install than the DoorCam. The most stressful part of the installation process involved opening the package of D batteries that are required to power the DoorCam. Beyond that, all you have to do is download an app, secure the device over the top of your door, and follow the steps to get the thing hooked into your WiFi network.
And that’s it. You’ve got yourself a smart door camera.
From there, you’re looking at a totally app-driven experience, not unlike other connected devices that you have positioned throughout the rest of your home. The remo+ app experience is an intuitive one; the app itself is clean and well put together. They give you access to the perfect amount of settings, including naming your device, adjusting video quality, battery level monitoring, turning on/off night mode, giving device access to different users, and more.
You also get a running list of activity, and you can adjust the sensitivity of the motion detection. And this is where I had the only bit of frustration with the DoorCam. Sensitivity can be set to high, medium, or low. Having the DoorCam on low, predictably, reduced the amount of notifications. But it did so in a way that made me feel like I was missing some important happenings. But bumping the thing up to medium felt like an overabundance of notifications were hitting me—to the point where I nearly removed the app from my Apple Watch. It seems to me there should be a happy medium in there somewhere—or I just need to figure out how to physically adjust the thing to be more efficient.
Then there’s the Cloud functionality, which is less of an actual gripe against remo+ and more a statement towards my frugality as a consumer. The DoorCam has a free, no-Cloud option that works just fine. But remo+ gives new accounts access to a 30-day free trial to their Cloud, which is something of a gateway drug. By adding Cloud access, the DoorCam will record all activities and save those videos for you, it provides unlimited storage for up to 30 days, and you can manage those videos, download them, and share them. The no-Cloud-plan option still gives you the instant alerts and ability to Live View and two-way talk, but short of leaving the Live View open all the time, you’re going to miss out on those other events. The Cloud access runs you $3 per month or $30 for an entire year, and you can cancel at any time with no additional fee.
All in all, the DoorCam is a simple and savvy product that can help the lowest-of-tech users upgrade their front door for the digital age.