Doorbells Become the Eyes and Ears of the Smart Home

When someone is at your door, you don’t know who they are until you check the peephole, or a pricey security system. If you’re not at home, you may never know.

But what if your doorbell could talk? Two gadgets have turned the humble doorbell, little changed since the Victorian era, into a digital doorman.

Press the Ring or Skybell doorbells, and they’ll still set off a chime in the house, but then also alert your phone with a live video feed of who is at your door. When someone prowls around the door without pressing the bell, they’ll show you video of that, too. No rewiring is required, since most existing doorbells already have power.

Think of these $200 doorbells as home-monitoring systems and two-way intercoms for the smartphone era. After testing them both, they’re among the few smart-home gadgets I would actually buy and use.

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