Your doorbell rings. You peer out the peephole or out of a side window and see a stranger standing there – stocky, ominous, and downright creepy. You’d rather not open the door to find out what they want. Another knock startles you back to focus. Your dog goes wild and begins barking incessantly. You see the dark silhouette of someone trying to peer through the window.
What are they going to do? Are they going to walk away? What do they want? Will they try to get in? Are they just trying to sell something?
These may sound like the paranoid ramblings of a serious shut-in, but you can’t deny that you’ve probably had a similar experience in your life. When someone comes to your door uninvited you have two choices: open it and find out what they want, making yourself vulnerable in the process, or ignore them and hope they go away sooner rather than later.
Of course, if you’re not even home you’ll never know what that person was up to. Did they try to steal one of your decorations? Are they responsible for breaking your yard sign? Did they leave something by your door that got blown away?
The answer, to all of these problems, is a smart video doorbell like the Zmodo Greet.
It is one of many fantastic smart video doorbells that allow you to keep an eye on your home and front door, even when you’re not there. I used this doorbell to find out how it compares to others on the market.
Disclosure: Zmodo graciously provided us with a unit for the purpose of this review.
What Is the Zmodo Greet?
The Zmodo Greet is a smart video doorbell, that you can access remotely from a smartphone.
First things first, what is the Zmodo Greet in a nutshell, and what can it do?
You know what a doorbell is, don’t you? Well, the Zmodo Greet is just like any other doorbell, with a few major exceptions. Yes, it still functions as a doorbell, so when someone comes to your door, they press a button to ring a chime.
But the Greet also includes a 720p HD camera built-in, which can immediately open a live feed to your front door or entryway. You can then use it to either spy – yes, spy – on whoever is at your door or communicate with them directly.
For instance, if it’s a package courier, you can let them know you’re not home. An added benefit of having a smart home setup is if you also have a smart lock, you could potentially open the door for the courier so they can put the package inside. No more fears about your expensive mail-order products being stolen by a neighbor or stranger.
With the live view, you can see everything happening at your front door even when you’re not home.
Back to the doorbell, however. It also includes motion detection sensors to let you know when someone walks up to your door. This is especially useful if you’re not home – like on vacation – and someone is creeping around your home or yard. You can either communicate with them or call the local authorities to do a check.
There was once a burglar roaming my local neighborhood. He broke into a home down the street via front window, while the homeowners were sleeping. That same suspect was stalking the neighborhood late at night. I was able to capture a shot of him on my smart doorbell and had he made his way to my front door he would have been in for a surprise.
Nothing of note happened while I was reviewing the Zmodo Greet, which is good, because it means I live in a relatively safe area.
Now I’ll be perfectly honest, that entire scenario is scary as hell regardless. But knowing I had a smart security product available to protect my home, and my family, makes me feel so much better. So, I guess you could say, you’ll also get the added benefit of personal security and convenience from the Greet.
Enough Nonsense, Where’s the Review?
Now that you get the gist, we’ll move on to the actual review. Keep in mind, since most smart doorbells are similar I’m going to touch on the things that Greet does best. Make no mistake about it, this is a top-notch device.
Zmodo App Photos
Infrared LED Night Vision
Automatic night vision is great when you need to see what’s going on in the evenings and early hours of the morning.
The Zmodo Greet does include automatic night vision, which means when there’s little to no light available – like at night – you can still see what’s going on. This is extremely important for a security device that might capture someone doing something they’re not supposed to, like trying to kick in your front door. It is certainly efficient and reliable enough that captured video can used as evidence in the event something happens.
Coupled with the motion sensors, you’ll be able to know if that person left your home through the front door too. So, if and when you do get home and it’s wide open, you have a better idea of what to expect.
It Has 8GB of Onboard Storage
8GB local storage out of the box is nice, real nice.
Unlike most smart doorbells, the Zmodo Greet includes internal storage. That means you can save video clips right on the device. Most of the time, comparable models shoot this data into the cloud and require a subscription. That would mean, if you get something like the Ring video doorbell, and want to save a particular video feed for reference later, you would have to pony up the cash for a premium subscription. That is not the case with the Greet, and that is certainly a welcome feature.
The device automatically stores video and photos of all interactions and alerts for up to 24-hours. If you didn’t have the chance to open a live feed and see who was ringing the doorbell – or lurking on your front step – you can pull up the video stored locally and give it a watch. You’d be surprised how many times I find a stray cat chilling in the shade of my front entryway. They always trip the motion alerts when I’m not home too.
Leave Voice Messages While You’re Away
You can leave voice messages for visitors in case you can’t get to your phone in time.
When someone rings your doorbell, the mobile app will show you a notification almost right away. This gives you the option to answer the call and open up a live video feed. Thanks to two-way communication support you can speak directly to your visitor. However, if you are indisposed and cannot get to your phone in time – or just don’t want to – the Greet will also play a recorded message, just like an answering machine.
It works exactly like an answering machine, and you can set up to five different recordings to play. When someone rings the bell, you simply select which recording you want them to hear and you’re done. You can also decline a direct chat if you want to get their ugly mug off your phone screen, like the one you see above.
Wide-Angle Lens for a Great View
It has a 155-degree wide-angle lens that provides a clear view of your front entryway or door.
Most comparable models are static. That is, they provide a live view but cannot be adjusted or moved. Now, some of the competition does allow you to zoom a bit, but that’s not the same as what the Greet offers. What makes it so special, you ask? The wide-angle lens allows for panning so you can actually adjust the camera to see more of the general area. Now, this isn’t such a benefit if you have a closed in entryway like I do. But if the front of your house is exposed, it would effectively allow you to see the entire street or surrounding area. It’s that great.
In my case, I can still pan the camera and zoom to get a better look at the entryway. With comparable doorbells, I had trouble seeing someone after they rang the doorbell and stood directly in front of my door, because it’s out of view. With the Zmodo Greet, however, I can pan the camera and keep an eye on them still. It’s great.
Easy to Install
It’s super easy to install and setup.
I have experience installing smart doorbells, so naturally, you’d expect it to be easy for me. Admittedly, that’s not the case. With comparable models, I still have difficulty especially getting them mounted and hooked up to the proper wires. The Zmodo Greet, however, was super, super easy to install. I’d wager anyone can do it, even folks that don’t have a tech background.
It comes with everything you need, including a concrete or stucco-ready drill bit. That’s important, because you’ll be drilling holes in the wall or frame of your door to hook up the Greet. For the most part, you’ll want to place it right in the same spot where your old doorbell was.
To add to that, it’s really easy to get this bad boy synced up with your local Wi-Fi network too and pair it with your mobile device through the app. I would even go so far as to say the experience is seamless. After you let the doorbell charge for about thirty-minutes from the initial install, you can sync it up in minutes. Just connect to the local doorbells WiFi and the Zmodo app will walk you through the process.
And so, we come to the question you’ve all been waiting for. Should you buy the Zmodo Greet or not?
If you don’t already have a smart doorbell or smart hub then absolutely, I say yes! I have to admit I was disappointed that the Greet is not compatible with Wink, as that’s the hub I use with the rest of my smart products. That’s just a minor annoyance, however, and it won’t apply to everyone.
The mobile app is still great, responsive, and designed well. Someone that wasn’t already invested in a smart home system would feel right at home and have no problems with the setup.
There are a few things missing here, compared to the competition. There are no cloud storage options if that’s something you desire. No Wink or smart hub support, and no additional third-party integrations. In fact, I even had a tough time finding support for IFTTT, because it’s just not there (unless I missed something, in which case please feel free to say so in the comments).
- Reasonable price
- Motion detection alerts
- Wide-Angle Lens Provides an Excellent Viewing Area
- Automatic Infrared LED Night Vision
- Mobile App for iOS and Android
- Two-Way Audio with Option to Record Voice Messages (Away)
- Multiple User Support with Easy Organization and Management Options
- Local Storage: 8GB
- AES 256-bit Data Encryption
- No Optional Cloud Storage Support
- Not the Most Attractive, But Not the Ugliest Either
- No Smart Hub Support Through Nest or Wink
- No Lifetime Protection Guarantee
All in, the Zmodo Greet is an excellent device, more importantly it would be the ideal smart video doorbell for just about anyone, so long as you’re not already invested in the technology. Just keep in mind, going forward, you may not be able to sync up any smart home hubs you buy and install. If that doesn’t bother you then, by all means, go for it! This is a solid buy and its very reliable.
Do you have a Zmodo greet? Let us know what you think about it in the comments below!