Known for its wallet-friendly smart sensors and alarms, Kangaroo is jumping into a new home security category: doorbells: The company’s upcoming Doorbell Camera might be the least expensive smart doorbell we’ve ever laid eyes on. That said, Kangaroo had to cut some key features to achieve the Doorbell Camera’s $20 price tag—starting with video recording.
Slated to ship later this month, the Doorbell Camera captures a GIF-like photo stitch your doorstep, which it sends to your phone via push notification when a visitor presses the button, or if the doorbell detects motion.
While the clips of stitched-together images should be clear enough to let you identify faces and get a general idea of what’s happening on your doorstep, you shouldn’t expect the pristine 1080p images you’ll see from pricier video doorbells.
The Doorbell Camera supports night vision thanks to a pair of infrared LEDs, but the doorbell’s relatively limited 60-degree field of view is considerably narrower than competing (and again, pricier) models that offer FOVs in the 180-degree range.
For now, there’s no people detection, which means the doorbell’s motion sensor could be triggered by cars, pets, and other random motion events. I’m told, however, that people detection will be coming sometime “this summer,” along with support for customizable motion-detection zones. Other missing features include two-way audio and the ability to view a live stream of your doorstep.
The Doorbell Camera is slated to come bundled with the new Kangaroo Chime, although the chime won’t ship until a few weeks after the Doorbell Camera makes its debut. A Kangaroo rep said that those who order the Doorbell Camera early will get the Kangaroo Chime for free once it’s available.
You can also pair the Doorbell Camera with the $70 Kangaroo Siren + Keypad, with the siren designed to sound when a visitor presses the doorbell button. Kangaroo says it’ll offer a new $79 Security Kit bundle that includes the Doorbell Camera, the Siren + Keypad, a pair of motion and entry sensors, and a yard sign.
The weather-resistant Doorbell Camera features both screw and peel-and-stick mounting, and it’s powered by a trio of AAA batteries that should last up to 18 months.
The Doorbell Camera boasts both Alexa and Google Assistant integration, but only if you sign up for Kangaroo’s Complete home monitoring service, which offers 30 days of cloud storage, 24/7 home monitoring, and other benefits. The Complete plan costs $10 a month or $99 a year, although if you pony up for the annual option, Kangaroo will give you its $79 Security Kit bundle (the one that includes the Doorbell Camera) for free.
So yes, we’re talking limited functionality here, but as a Kangaroo rep told me, the Doorbell Camera’s features have been “distilled down to [the] most essential functions” in order to hit that $20 price point. We’ll let you know if it’s worth it once we spend time with a review unit.
Updated shortly after publication to change the name of the product to the Kangaroo Doorbell Camera (it was called the Photo Doorbell in initial press materials). Kangaroo also changed the Doorbell Camera’s pricing scheme following its initial press briefing: it will now come bundled with the new Kangaroo Chime for $20, not $25.
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Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices. You can follow Ben on Twitter.