Freelance Contributor, TechHiveFeb 27, 2023 3:00 am PST
Image: Brian Nadel/Foundry
At a glance
Easy to install and set up
Records video to local storage (no subscription)
Works with your existing doorbell chime (or you can add one)
Comprehensive app for monitoring and settings
Lacks Apple HomeKit or Matter compatibility
Not Compatible with Lorex’s own Smart Home Security Center console
Lots of video doorbells require you to sign up for a subscription if you want to record your visitors. Lorex preinstalls a 32GB microSD card for this purpose—or you can use one of its DVRs. But it depends on hardwired power, so you’ll need to install a transformer and pull wire if those elements aren’t already in place.
Price When Reviewed
Best Prices Today: Lorex 1080p Wired Video Doorbell (model B241AJD-E)
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The budget-priced Lorex 1080p Wired Video Doorbell is one of the few products in this price range that stores its video recordings locally. This delivers the twin benefits of enhancing your privacy—by not storing them in the cloud—and saving you money: by not requiring you to sign up for a subscription service to get recordings in the first place.
Quick to set up and use, this doorbell cam provides just enough video resolution—1920 x 1080 pixels—to identify your visitors, with a 270-degree field of view. It can show both a live stream and recorded video clips on the Lorex Home app for iOS and Android. There is no web portal for viewing the camera’s feed from a browser, but you can integrate this doorbell with the Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant ecosystems, so you can see what’s happening on your porch with a smart display. It falls short, however, in terms of compatibility with Apple HomeKit, Matter, and—surprisingly—Lorex’s own Smart Home Security Center.
Lorex 1080p Wired Video Doorbell design
This video doorbell has a dark gray, rounded vertical design that measures 5.1 x 1.8 x 0.9 inches (HxWxD), making it thinner, smaller, and less-intrusive than the Blink Video Doorbell, Wemo Smart Video Doorbell, and the Nooie Cam Doorbell. The doorbell camera’s lens is at the top, with a microphone and a backlit doorbell button below. There’s a speaker below that, and a surprisingly bright, motion-activated LED floodlight that illuminates the area beneath the doorbell (this can also be manually operated).
The Lorex 1080p Wired Video Doorbell is easy to mount, set up, and use—provided your home already has a transformer and 16V-24V AC wiring in place (12V-24V DC), or you bring that kind of power to it; there is no battery option here. The doorbell can also make use of your existing mechanical door chime, or you can purchase Lorex’s Wi-Fi Chimebox, which plugs into an AC outlet and offers a range of notification tones. The Chimebox is loud enough for a modest-sized home and sells for $50. Alternatively, you can buy the doorbell and the chime as a package for $120, saving you $10 compared to purchasing the components separately.
To view your visitors or recordings on the Lorex Home app, you’ll need to connect the doorbell to your 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network (5GHz networks are not supported; the Chimebox has the same restriction).
Installing the Lorex 1080p Video Doorbell
In addition to the doorbell, the kit includes connecting wires and caps, mounting screws and anchors, and three mounting plates: flat, angled right or left by 15 degrees, and tilted up or down by 5 degrees (these can’t be combined). Lorex also includes pin for removing the doorbell from its mounting plate and resetting its firmware to factory default.
I followed the eight-page set up booklet, but the company’s YouTube installation video was a big help in figuring out the installation sequence beforehand. After I turned the power off and removed the old mechanical doorbell button, I looped the wires through the mounting bracket’s large opening and screwed it in using the 5-degree adapter to compensate for mounting the doorbell camera on my home’s angled clapboard.
After I wired up the camera and firmly locked it into the mounting plate, I turned the juice back on. Using the Lorex Home app, I tapped the “+” in the upper right corner, selected Doorbell, and snapped the QR code on the box. It took about a minute for the software to recognize the camera and start the video feed.
Using the Lorex Home app
Video recordings are listed as thumbnail images in the Lorex Home app, and it’s easy to swipe through the list to find the one you’re interested in seeing. It worked as well while I was home on my own Wi-Fi network as it did when I was accessed the doorbell remotely, via the internet, from a hundred miles away.
The app offers the choice of portrait or landscape views—including in full-screen mode—and it’s a snap to take a screen shot of the live feed or to record a video clip. I was also able to turn the doorbell’s light on and off and use the two-way audio to ask who was at the door or tell a visitor “leave the package at the door.” A “quick response” feature plays pre-recorded greetings for visitors who ring the bell.
Tapping the app’s three-dot link in the upper right corner allowed me to change the camera’s name, turn notifications on or off, and program the camera’s motion detection to alert me only when people were in its field of view; there are no similar settings for pet or vehicle detection. There are five levels of motion sensitivity, and a “privacy mode” that disables video recording and notifications.
The preinstalled 32GB microSD card is sufficient for several weeks of recordings, but be aware that it automatically begins overwriting the oldest recordings when it fills up. You can replace this card with a new one with up to a maximum capacity of 256GB. Privacy is the most obvious benefit of such local storage: You don’t need to worry about a hacker gaining access to a server in the cloud that you have no control over. The most obvious trade-offs are limited capacity and if someone steals the doorbell, they also get the forensic evidence of the crime; plus, Lorex records the video without encryption.
The Lorex 1080p Wired Video Doorbell in the real world
Over several weeks of daily use, the Lorex 1080p Wired Video Doorbell stood up to punishment ranging from arctic temperatures, snow, rain, gale force winds, and leaf blowers. It always provided a vivid, sharp view of the world outside my front door, and it alerted whenever someone approached my door, regardless of whether I was in the kitchen or out of town.
There was a slight video delay, but the feed was always in focus with a field of view wide enough to take in the big picture without suffering from excessive barrel image distortion. I could zoom in on a detail by pinching the screen. The Lorex Home app is password protected, can require two-factor authentication, and it worked well with my Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphone’s fingerprint reader.
The Lorex 1080p Wired Video Doorbell includes a one-year warranty that can be extended to three years for a reasonable $7. It’s $80 price tag is higher than the $50 Blink Video Doorbell, which matches it on resolution but requires a $35 synchronization module to view video on demand.
If you’re comparing Lorex’s product to Ring’s lowest-priced doorbell, the $60 Ring Video Doorbell Wired, the most important distinction is live video streaming: To get that feature with Ring, you’ll need to sign up for a Ring Protect subscription plan, which costs $3.99 per month for a single Ring camera or $10 per month for an unlimited number of Ring cameras. That comes at no extra cost with Lorex’s product. All things considered, the Lorex 1080p Wired Video Doorbell is a strong value in budget-price doorbell cameras. Lorex has a broad ecosystem of compatible security cameras and hardware video storage solutions, and this camera’s compatibility with the Alexa and Google Assistant ecosystems increases its attraction. It’s a good home security product for anyone who hasn’t already invested in a competing product line.
Best Prices Today: Lorex 1080p Wired Video Doorbell (model B241AJD-E)