DoorBot is essentially a standalone doorbell unit that also contains a camera, microphone and speaker encased in a single unit. It works with an app that you download onto your smartphone or tablet to allow you to see and communicate with anyone who rings the doorbell on DoorBot. The product website claims that even if you are thousands of miles away from your home, you can still communicate with the person on your doorstep, as DoorBot works through your home’s wifi network. It essentially turns your doorbell into a mini video-intercom system that works regardless of where you are.
Invented by James Siminoff, who has started and sold several tech companies already, DoorBot has been featured on the ABC TV show Shark Tank, attracting the attention of investors on the show. On the DoorBot website, Siminoff says he invented the device after he missed an important package delivery because he could not hear the doorbell in his workspace. A KickStarter campaign and TV appearance later and the DoorBot company, based in Santa Monica, CA, was created to manufacture and sell the product.
How DoorBot Works
DoorBot is a standalone doorbell with a camera, microphone and speaker that streams video over your wireless internet connection. When somebody comes to your door and presses the doorbell, it activates the camera and alerts you on your smartphone or tablet. You then log into the DoorBot app on your Android or Apple device and it shows you what the camera is seeing and allows you to communicate with the person. DoorBot is capable of alerting multiple devices at once and you can also have multiple DoorBots connected to the same device.
The DoorBot is a single unit device measuring 2.3 inches wide and 5.68 inches tall consisting of a perforated aluminum faceplate mounted on a frame of injection molded high density polymer. It’s easy to mount and comes with its own level and mounting screws, plus a proprietary mounting screw to prevent theft. (If your DoorBot is stolen, it will also be replaced free of charge by the company.) The camera, housed inside a plastic bubble, is also moveable, meaning you can position it to point any direction you want.
As for powering it, you can either hook it up to your home’s electrical system through the wires that ran your old doorbell, or use the rechargeable battery that comes with it, which is good for over 12 months of regular use.
DoorBot Pricing, Shipping & Return Policies
DoorBot sells for $199 per unit and has free shipping within the United States. (International shipping is $20 and will bring the total up to $219.)
It does not come with a money back guarantee, but, as previously mentioned, it will be replaced free of charge if it is stolen.
You can call 1-800-656-1918 if you have questions. The website also has an extensive list of FAQs.
The promotional video touts DoorBot as being perfect for second homes and vacation properties, as it lets you see who is at the doorstep even when you’re not there. It’s also compatible with Lockitron, another device the company sells. Lockitron can remotely unlock your door at the touch of a button, similar to Kevo. (Lockitron is not included if you order DoorBot.) DoorBot also reportedly records video of visitors who ring the doorbell so if you do happen to miss speaking with someone, you can view the video and see who it was. (This costs extra, however.)
There don’t seem to be any consumer reviews for the product online yet, but review websites tend to give it positive reviews, noting that it especially seems to make sense when paired with a remote door lock device like the Lockitron. One review site said the video and audio tends to lag in an environment where there is a lot of devices depending on the wifi, but that likely wouldn’t happen in a simple home.
The idea behind DoorBot is solid and if it works the way it is supposed to, it seems like it would be highly useful, particularly to those who have a second home to keep an eye on.
In my experience and opinion, The CEO of Doorbot is a con artist. Plain and simple, He will take your money. He will provide you with a product that doesn't work (my two units were dead after month). He will refuse to refund your DoorBot. He will replace the units with more broken units that don't function as advertised.
Doorbot is nothing more than digital snake oil. Doorbot has rebranded as Ring. Shiny new packaging, but who knows if it works. The Chief Inventor claims the company has learned a lot with version 2. Yet he isn't doing anything to appease people with defective first-generation units, aside from offering a discount.
Stay away. Unless you like being robbed.
I received a few days ago an invitation to buy doorbot's new product "ring".
The email was signed by the CEO James Siminoff , calling himself Jamie, and in a nutshell they apologizing for previous failed product DoorBot and are explaining the reason of rebranding their company. In the email they offered me, as an early adopter, to buy there new product for 99$ instead of 199$.
While I respect the technology, the solution and the concept I was willing to consider this. If ring is so much better as doorbot, for 99$, why not! What happened was a very frustrating ordering process as I was unable to place my order due to bugs in the ring website. The biggest problem was not only the bug in the website that would not allow me to place an order for Belgium but the support system that kept dropping and people that were not willing to help me nor contacting me back.
Frustrated, I believed the right approach was to send a friendly message to James (Jamie for the friends), to make him aware of this and asking him, the man who believes in his product, to the rescue. The email you can read below.
Clearly the response of Mr. Siminoff was not what I expected and so again he shows that he is willing to shove the ring through peoples throat while not caring about his customers. Good luck ring.com
Here's the email conversation:
On Sep 30, 2014, at 1:07 PM
Dear Mr Siminoff,
I hope this email finds you well and that you personal will take time to read and reply to it.
Since the beginning of the launch of Doorbot I have been a big fan and followed-up your product and company closely. Why? Because I truly believe in the concept and the spirit behind the product. Doorbot is unique and something we are waiting for.
You are right saying that Doorbot hasn't been easy. The product has a lot of hick-ups and fails to be the product it should have been. But the past is the past and we all need to move-on and look at the future. And it looks like you and your company is doing that. I am then also very excited to see that you rebranded, and launching a total new product and design keeping the core features of the old one. I thank you for your kind gesture to provide your new product at a discount price which I happily accept.
Unfortunately I am unable to place an order as I encounter already the first hick-up on the your cart process in the website. When I was about to check-out I had to enter a state which was all USA states while my country was set to Belgium. I made use of your chat support and spoke with August. After a short chat, the chat was interrupted by the system or the support engineer. A second attempt kept dropping the chat system with James. I could not complete my order and be one of your first adopters.
I truly hope these hick-ups will not reflect in your new product and that you can sort my issue personally out for me. If you can do this for me and your new product is successful I will not only make positive advertising but I will personally send you one of our best beers in the world.
With kind regards,
On 03 Oct 2014, at 07:04, James wrote:
It will be good. You will like the ring. Jamie
On Oct 2, 2014, at 10:41 PM, Jochem wrote: No I will not. Because your order and support system doesn't work! Jochem
On 03 Oct 2014, at 07:43, James wrote: Ok well we can all have our opinions I guess. Jamie.
On 03 Oct 2014, at 07:52, Jochem wrote: Well read my email below than you would have understand Jochem
Looked great and cool hardware, but did NOT deliver at all
As a early adopter, you expect some reliability issues to be ironed out. But this was the worst, they built a pretty good hardware (externally) but the software was not up to scratch, was unreliable, horrible echo when it worked. and no picture and huge delays other times. There was no support afterwards. Just check out the reviews. They changed the name of the company to ring to disassociate with all the bad press of doorbot.
What spurred me to write this was that after the slap in the face with a horrible product. I get a email saying "hey we have a new product, did you want to buy it?!" Talk about adding salt to the wound. Maybe the new product will be better (one hopes) but I will never buy anything from this company again. Not because the product sucked, but they don't deliver on their promise and just simply ignore it and disappear starting a new company with a new name, talk about dodgy.
It was promising but it never worked properly. NO or Late response. There was a half screen so you couldn't see who was there. I never installed it because it didn't work. Now they are starting a new line. Ring. All the bad comments are gone about the doorbot. Its a scam!
Tread carefully Great concept that did not work for me
I have just received an email from the Doorbot people announcing the introduction of RING (www.ring.com) at a discounted price which appears to be a replacement for Doorbot. I originally ordered two Doorbots and as far as I can see it is unlikely that RING will work either. The basic problem is the amount of video and audio data that needs to be processed.
I have an iPhone5 and I find it hard to believe that the Doorbot ever worked satisfactorily on this device. The time needed to process video data means your visitor will need lots of patience before getting an answer.
I do not read anything on their site that says how they resolved that problem. So please "tread carefully".
Worked at first, but then...
Initial setup required me to update my Android OS: Not a big deal, but wasn't obvious.
Worked fine for 3 months (my video and sound always worked fine) but afterward, the battery was completely depleted (supposed to last 12+ months).
Unit appears to be stuck in a repeating "reset/on" state while plugged directly into power. As such, device refuses to recharge.
Looks like I may have wasted my money here. That's too bad because it worked like a champ for me for 3 months.
I should have known that this product was too good to be true. The idea is great, but the product is not ready for the market! It took several days to get it downloaded onto my iPad and a couple more days to get the app onto my husband's iPhone due to the fact that the online instructions are skimpy at best. I was able to get help 2 times at Customer Service. So tonight I ring the doorbell and it doesn't notify either of us! Forget about the sound (if the video works); it is non-existent! I intend to return the DoorBot for a refund.
Good marketing, terrible product
I have no other word for it, it's a piece of junk. I can't use this, it's not working most of the time, not to mention how bad the video quality is, when it's working. Good marketing, terrible product.
Such a good idea, great design nice packing. Unfortunately it does not work at all! No bell, no video, no video. Promised updates yet still not available after 8 months.
Looked great on the website, doesn't work at all as promised
The idea sounded great and a perfect solution for two of my issues:
- When I am at the back of the house (office), I can't hear the doorbell and all those wireless extender things do not always pass on the signal (experienced that). A push notification to my phone would fix that.
- When I am not at home and deliveries are made, I can instruct the courier, depending on the package, where to leave it.
It started with the setup: I unboxed it, started configuring my network and the first weird thing occured: it showed to SSID's with the exact same name. That's stupid since it's a seamless roaming wireless system, so it should just connect to the best available access point.
Anyway, I managed to connect it and I tried it out. The doorbell is at most 2 meters away from the (closest) Access Point, an Ubiquit AP-PRO, which is a decent AP.
When pressing the doorbell, it took way too long (sometimes up to 6 seconds) for the push notification to
come in. Furthermore, once picking up, the picture looks horrible, stuttering etc. I did a couple of tests at home from my office, where my wireless network is able to get a 160 Mbps internet connection and the test person was really unable to understand what I was saying.
On top of all that, when pressing the doorbell it makes the most stupid sound, which cannot be altered, e.g. by uploading a MP3/WAV/...
Also, after wiring it and putting the elektricity on, the chime started buzzing. I have understood that could be solved with a specific chime they have tested, which can be bought on Amazon, and doesn't ship to Belgium. Also, how the hell does it sound, I buy a chime at a store, not at a webshop - unless there is a sample sound file.
I will now try to get things resolved with support, and if it doesn't get resolved, I will certainly ask for a refund.
Tried DoorBot and "Extended Range DoorBot" without sucess
I was one of the early supporters of the project via Christie Street. Our DoorBot delivered in early December 2013. From the start it was problematic. It would not stay on your network. I took steps to improve our Wifi, to no avail.
The company admitted an RF design issue and swapped out the original device for an Extended Range model that had a small external antenna. This improved the situation somewhat, at least enough to allow me to evaluate the behavior of the client apps.
In the end I took the device out of service, replacing it with a SIP door phone that integrates without home & office phones