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The Blurams Smart Doorbell is the latest home security product in the company’s lineup to impress us with good quality at a reasonable price. The video doorbell continues this trend with great video, several advanced features, and a generous three-day library of video storage in the cloud at no additional cost.
Buyers should be aware, however, that this video doorbell’s $79 price tag is tied to a crowd-funding campaign—the final product is not expected to ship until December. Our rule for crowd-funding campaigns is that we’ll cover them only if the product is very close to shipping, and the manufacturer is able to provide a sample that will be reviewed as a shipping retail product. When this device ships, Bluram expects it will fetch $149.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best video doorbells, where you’ll find reviews of competing products, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.
Blurams’ doorbell is a bit chunkier than some competing models, but the size has been put to good use. It measures roughly 5.3 x 2.4 x 1.6 inches (HxWxD) and has a large black main panel containing the camera and sensor that’s surrounded by an illuminating ring. The ring glows red at night when it detects movement, which serves as both a warning and a big help for anyone coming to your door and looking for the bell. A large ring button takes up the lower portion of the doorbell.
The doorbell has a microphone and speaker and allows two-way talk with anyone that comes to the door.
Installing the Blurams Smart Doorbell
Getting the Blurams doorbell up was easy. The camera comes with a plastic mounting plate that is affixed to the wall via screws or a 3M sticky pad. The camera can be firmly attached to the mounting plate with a screw.
You’ll have the option to run the camera via its internal Lithium 18650 rechargeable battery or through a wired power supply. It’s compatible with the standard U.S. low-voltage doorbell wiring of 16-24 volts DC. I used the wired power supply during my evaluation.
If the battery is used, the unit needs to be removed from the plate for charging. You’ll need to bring it inside the house and charge it using a USB cable. The onboard Wi-Fi adapter connects to 2.4GHz networks only.
The doorbell also comes with a wireless chime unit that is intended to be used in the house to help alert occupants when someone presses the doorbell. That simply plugs into a wall outlet and it has 32 ring tones to choose from.
Using the Blurams Smart Doorbell
The image from the camera is great. It’s sharp, has good contrast, and colors are reproduced well. There’s enough detail to see what’s going on at the doorstep, and it does a good job of adjusting through the day as ambient lighting conditions change.
The Blurams has a privacy-zone feature. This is something that’s becoming more common on video doorbells, as it allows you to block out a portion of the video image where privacy might be a concern. If your neighbor’s home or yard is within the camera’s 160-degree field of view, the video inside the defined privacy zone will be distorted on playback.
Image capture is triggered by a passive infrared sensor that captures movement within the field of view or a button press on the doorbell. I found a delay of 1 to 2 seconds between movement and the start of recording, which is probably a product of having most of the camera normally shut down for power saving.
My biggest problem with the doorbell was that it was too sensitive. I wanted it to pick up people, cars, and bicycles in my driveway—the odd shot of a deer strolling by would be nice—but I didn’t need an update every time a squirrel decided to dash across the asphalt.
The app has a detection distance setting, supposedly between 1 and 3 meters, but when set in the middle, it was detecting movement much further away. Unfortunately, there doesn’t appear to be any way to adjust the sensitivity beyond the basic distance setting. This could be a problem, especially if your door faces a busy street.
The app includes facial recognition that I found worked quite well, both at day and night. When someone is recognized, the app even tells you in alerts who it has seen.
Coupled with the facial recognition, the doorbell can be programed to play a certain message, although that function isn’t part of Blurams’ app. You need to make an IFTTT (If This Then That) applet to have that work (IFTTT recently changed its policy limiting you to two applets unless you sign up for a paid subscription).
The Blurams app keeps a library of recorded clips, and they can be easily downloaded. A record button that works on live and recorded clips is another good feature. It allows users to, for example, record a few seconds of a much longer clip.
The Blurams doorbell is compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple’s Siri.
Users get free video storage of clips from the preceding 72 hours for the lifetime of the product, which is enough that most people probably won’t need an ongoing monthly subscription. That’s a big plus.
The Blurams video doorbell is available for preorder through Indiegogo. While we don’t usually recommend crowd-funding products, this is one that is advanced enough in development and production that there is little danger of the work never being finished or the final product being different from that promised. The doorbell is available at various early-bird discounts (the amount of cloud storage and number of doorbells purchased being the variables), starting at $79. That’s a good value if you’re not looking for a product that’s part of a much broader smart home ecosystem a la Ring, Nest, Arlo, and the like.
Martyn Williams produces technology news and product reviews in text and video for PC World, Macworld, and TechHive from his home outside Washington D.C.. He previously worked for IDG News Service as a correspondent in San Francisco and Tokyo and has reported on technology news from across Asia and Europe.