As a serial renter, I’d pretty much given up on the idea of ever having a video doorbell of my own. Save for moving into a fancy new condo that already has one, my options are extremely limited, but I’ve just seen a portable, Alexa- and Google Assistant-enabled version that might fit the bill.
Set to arrive in January for $280, the Portable Over-Door Camera comes from BodyGuardz, a company previously best known for its phone cases and screen protectors. That might change with its first line of portable smart devices.
I had the chance to check out a non-working prototype of the Portable Over-Door Camera at Pepcom in New York City, and it’s certainly intriguing. The beauty of it is that it installs in seconds without any tools, all thanks to its adjustable bracket that fits over the top of any door. I couldn’t see it in action, but BodyGuardz explained the process: Just charge up the month-long integrated battery, fit it over your door, and you’re done.
Inside your home, you’ll have a five-inch screen that will show who’s at your door. BodyGuardz didn’t share any details about the field of view, but presumably it will be just as wide as a Nest Hello or Ring Doorbell, so intruders won’t be able to hide from it. Indeed, you could even take it with you on a trip and install it on the door of your hotel room.
While the camera lacks an actual doorbell button, it does come armed with a pair of 1080p cameras, two motion sensors, and two microphones.
Compatible with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, the Wi-Fi-enabled Portable Over-Door Camera boasts mobile notifications that’ll alert you when it detects visitors, the ability to remotely chat with those waiting on your doorstep, and a 90dB alarm. The camera also features USB and cloud storage for video clips, no subscription required.
Portable 360-degree security camera
BodyGuardz also had a couple of other smart-home gadgets to show off, including a portable 360-degree security camera that (just like the Portable Over-Door Camera) comes with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant support. Slated to sell for $200 starting in January, the rechargeable (and aptly named) Portable 360 Security Camera looks a little like a Thermos, with a rotating top that’s equipped with a 1080p camera.
Just like the Portable Over-Door Camera, the Portable 360 Security Camera looks like a nifty choice for renters who’d rather not drill holes in their walls, or for travelers who want to keep an eye on their hotel rooms while they’re out. It comes with motion sensors, a night vision mode, two-way audio, USB and cloud storage, an alarm, and about three days of battery life.
Last but not least is the $100 Portable 5-in-1 Emergency Hub, a Wi-Fi- and Bluetooth-enabled gadget that plus into an AC outlet and combines a flashlight, a panic siren, a night light, a 5,000mAh power bank, and a weather radio.
As with the Portable Over-Door camera and the Portable 360 Security Camera, the Portable 5-in-1 Emergency Hub (I’m sensing a theme here) will land in January. We’ll have reviews of BodyGuardz’s new smart-home gadgets once we get our hands on them.
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.