The Hombli Smart Doorbell 2 is a new video doorbell that you can operate with an app and other home automation. Is it a better buy than comparably priced video doorbells? Techzle will find out in this review.
Hombli Smart Doorbell 2
price € 130, –
Wireless 802.11b / g / n (2.4 GHz)
Field of view 140 degrees
Storage options Micro SD card (max. 128 GB, not included) or cloud storage (3.49 euros per month)
8 Score 80
- Wireless and wired to use
- Simple installation
- Smart home integrations and chime
- Motion detection does not yet recognize zones
- Cloud storage only keeps images for seven days
- Overexposed image on sunny days
- (Yet?) No signal amplifier for sale
More than 500,000 Dutch households have a smart video doorbell, research agency Multiscope reported last year. If you are also considering such a bell, you can choose from models from well-known and lesser-known brands. Prices also vary widely. The Dutch Hombli is one of the providers of smart video doorbells and recently launched the Smart Doorbell 2. I tested the 130 euro bell in combination with the gong (25 euro, sold separately).
Appearance, installation and chime
What is immediately noticeable: the video doorbell is a lot bigger than a regular doorbell. The camera is clearly visible, just like the round push button. It lights up when you press it. I think the video doorbell looks sleek and fine.
The installation of the bell is very simple, even easier than I expected. Charge the bell via the micro USB port, install the Hombli app and create an account. When the battery of the bell is full, register it in the app within a few minutes and you can go to the front door. You can connect the bell to your existing wiring or use it wirelessly. I opted for the latter and therefore installed the electronic gong that Hombli sells separately for 25 euros. Plug it in, connect it to the bell within a minute and you’re done. Then I hung the bell outside.
You can do this by screwing it to the wall or in the frame or by sticking it with the 3M sticker. The included corner holder gives the bell an oblique viewing angle and is optional. I pasted the bell, without corner holder. After two weeks in various weather conditions, it is still well secured. Although the bell is attached to the holder via a small screw, a malicious person can take the entire bell with a bit more brutal force. An anti-theft alarm will warn you in such a situation.
Last year we tested 8 smart smart home products from Hombli.
Smart possibilities tested
When the bell hangs, you can use it immediately. It is weather resistant and has space for a micro SD card slot. You can put a micro-SD card of up to 128 GB in the bell so that it stores the video fragments locally. An alternative is to pay for Hombli’s cloud storage, more on that later. Without one of these options, the bell does not store video images and you can therefore only watch live. When someone rings the doorbell, your smartphone rings and the screen switches on. You can see who is at the door and can decline or accept the call. Visitors will not notice the rejection. If you accept the call, you can talk in the app, after which your voice will be heard from the loudspeaker of the bell. That speaker is decent. When the visitor talks back, you will hear this from your smartphone.
The video quality of the Smart Doorbell 2 is good. Thanks to the full HD camera, the images look sharp and infrareds help to display a clear image in the dark. On a sunny day I do notice that the camera has difficulty with the exposure. In the screenshot below (center) you can see this in the overexposed sky and my dark face. A more expensive bubble shoots clearer images, but I suspect the Hombli bubble is good enough for a lot of people.
The bell and app respond quickly, provided you have a good (2.4 GHz) Internet connection have. In my office the range at the front door is apparently less good, which can be explained because the bell is far away from the router. In the Hombli app I see a signal strength of fifty percent. In practice, this means that the gong rings immediately and the app five seconds later. Moreover, the video connection is not always stable. I don’t blame the bell, but it does reveal a point of interest. A special signal amplifier for the bell would have been handy, but is missing from the range. Some competitors, including Ring, do sell such a signal amplifier with a built-in chime.
The rechargeable battery in the Smart Doorbell 2 lasts about four months with ten triggers per day with ten to thirteen seconds of video, according to Hombli. With fewer events, the battery can last up to six months. After two weeks of use – with less than ten triggers per day – my bell shows a battery percentage of ninety percent. This would result in a battery life of five months. Fine, but it does mean that you have to charge the bell several times a year.
Additional functions in the app
The Hombli app is clear and works properly. It is worth noting that the video doorbell can use its camera to detect movements. In such a case, you will receive a notification on your smartphone. So you can use the bell as a security camera. While that is useful, the function does not fully stand out. The motion detection can be switched on and off, but does not support a zone. As soon as someone walks through the screen, you will receive a notification. But because the bell has a wide field of view, you can also see people walking a house away. I don’t need to mention that. I only want to be notified as soon as someone is in my garden (or in my case: in front of my office). When calling from Ring, among others, you can create special zones for this, but that function is missing in the Hombli app. That’s why I turned off motion detection and now only get a notification when someone rings the bell. This provides more rest and a longer battery life.
As mentioned, the bubble does not save your images by default. This is important to know if you want to see them again later. You have to put a micro SD card in the bell for local storage or pay for cloud storage. That costs 3.49 euros per month or 35 euros per year and then you can view the images for up to seven days. Fine, but still quite short. At Ring and Google this is (also paid) for example thirty days. In the Hombli app you can link the doorbell to Amazon Alexa (does not speak Dutch, so not so interesting) and the Google Assistant. If you have a Google Nest Hub, the bell can show its image on the screen.
Conclusion: Want to buy Hombli Smart Doorbell 2?
The Hombli Smart Doorbell 2 is a 130 euro video doorbell that leaves a good impression. The no-nonsense design with wireless or wired installation makes the bell suitable for almost all homes and the battery will last for months. The image quality is good, although on sunny days you will notice a difference in quality with a more expensive video bubble. Hombli’s app offers a lot of features, but can improve the bell’s motion detection. And while cloud storage is a good option, the review period is remarkably short. Local storage on a micro-SD card is therefore a nice alternative.
Interesting alternatives are the Ring Video Doorbell 2 (99 euros), Eufy by Anker Video Doorbell (multiple models) and bells from Arlo and Ezviz. Also read our extensive test of 6 smart video doorbells from February 2021.