The Swann Smart Video Doorbell lets you know 24/7 who is knocking at your front door. It also records incidents and can help deter unwanted callers.
The Swann Smart Video Doorbell is a 720p video camera, PIR motion detection, Infrared night light and two-way audio all linked to
Before we get into the review it is a D-I-Y, Wi-Fi, App enabled all-in-one doorbell/camera/chime kit available from most major retailers and hardware stores for $199.95.
I won’t compare it with more complex and expensive Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Apple Home Kit hybrid doorbell and security camera setups like Arlo, Nest and Ring because these are far more expensive and part of an overall security system.
The Swann Smart Video Doorbell’s USP is simpleness versus complexness!
The Doorbell/Camera/PIR/IR hardware
Let’s look at a few of the specifications and what they mean
It is a 720p HD camera with a viewing angle of 112°. It provides reasonable ‘dash cam’ like
It records to an 8GB internal fixed SD card that is good for a typical month of use before recycling the space. If you want to save an incident you can download it to your smartphone. It can take up to 10 seconds to start recording especially if you enable battery saving mode – we don’t recommend that.
A passive infrared detector will detect heat and movement up to five metres away. You can vary this distance to reduce false positives that may be from movement like trees blowing in the wind or cars on the street.
Infrared vision in mono is up to 4 metres but, all you need is about half of that. It activates when PIR is set off and when light falls below about 100 lumens.
It enables reasonably lag-free two-way talk although that does depend on Wi-Fi signal strength.
It has a 5,000mAh battery that should give two months typical use. Recharging is via micro-USB 5V/2A (supply your charger). Charging takes up to four hours. We tested using a 5V/2.1A charger and it took 2 hours. Or you may be lucky and be able to use the existing doorbell button power if it’s from 16-24VAC/1A but you may need a sparky to tell you that.
The separate ‘computer mouse-sized’ chime runs off two AA batteries and pairs via Wi-Fi 2.4Ghz to the Doorbell that can be up to 20M away. You can have up to five of these if you need more coverage.
This is all housed in an IP65 waterproof case that attached securely to a mounting plate. A small Allen key removes the camera for occasional recharging.
The App – SwannBuzz
Remember that your smartphone is the window to the doorbell’s camera. Sure, you could cast that to a TV screen but at this time it is not voice assistant enabled. Swann does have some “SafeBySwann’ devices that are voice assistant enabled.
- Download the app
- Create a login and password using a verified email (no video data is stored in the cloud so this mainly prevent hijacking)
- Pair the doorbell by establishing a Home Wi-Fi connection. You can also pair multiple bells for front and back door etc
- Name the device e.g. front door
- That is it apart from pressing a button on the chime to pair it as well
In practice if the front door is no more than about 20-30 metres from your router it should pair with enough Wi-Fi signal to stream 720p video. If the signal strength is too low, you can use a Wi-Fi extender (extra cost) or reduce the video stream to 480p (it still records in 720p).
The app knows if someone presses the doorbell or it is a PIR event. It notifies you wherever you are.
If it is a doorbell ring you get a video feed (delay is a few seconds) and the options to tap to talk or mute, or record the video (15-second clips) or still. You can also use this screen to review clips on the SD card.
We found audio fairly clear with an 80% Wi-Fi signal.
The app also
- Can pair with multiple phones (family members)
- Monitors battery life
- Enables 480p streaming if Wi-Fi signal is not strong enough (still records in 720p)
- Adjusts PIR interval
- Adjusts for lighting conditions (auto setting was best) but if your doorway is always in low light it can compensate
- Set clip times from 15 to 60 seconds (longer uses more battery)
GadgetGuy’s take: Simpleness wins over complexity any time!
The Swann Video Doorbell is so simple you can whip down to Bunnings and install it all before morning tea. It does not need a sparky, nor a geek to set it up as so many of the voice assistant enabled products do.
We could not test the two-month battery claim but judging by the daily app readout this past two weeks I estimate more like four-to-six weeks rather than eight.
The Swann Smart Video Doorbell It has done several things.
First, we know who is at the front door. Second, we know when someone has walked past our front door (handy to know who is using the Airbnb apartment below us) and finally it has allowed us to answer the door anywhere we have mobile broadband (which is handy when you have two homes).
Yes, I would like integration with OK Google and a smart door lock but that is a little costly for Joe and Jane Average (Ring Video Doorbell Pro and Chime is $399 and a smart door lock is over $300 – both need fixed wiring).
We have noted some international reviews complaining about Wi-Fi dropout. We did not experience that, but our reference router is a D-Link AC5300 with eight antennas. Distance to the front door is under 10 metres.
We have also seen some complaints about battery life. It is worth exploring 240V to 16-24VAC power (also used by Ring) especially if you are replacing an existing system. In our case the doorbell uses 6V DC so while we could use the wiring it would have cost about $20 for a transformer and around $150 for a sparky’s time to crawl up in the ceiling to replace it.
Look if it does not work for you at least in Australian you can take it back to the retailer. But remember any other better solution will be two to three times the price.
Typically $199 but Bunnings has a special at $159 – grab it.