The ADT Blue Doorbell Camera ($199.99) is a Wi-Fi-enabled video doorbell that you can use independently with a mobile app or as part of a full-blown LifeShield Home Security System. It’s relatively easy to install as long as you don’t mind working with electrical wiring, and it delivered solid image quality in testing. It supports IFTTT applets and Amazon Alexa voice commands, but it won’t stream video to Echo devices, nor does it support Apple HomeKit or Google Assistant. More importantly, we were unable to get face recognition to work correctly in our tests. It holds some appeal for ADT users who want to control all of their security devices under one app, but our Editors’ Choice, the $99 RemoBell S, is much more affordable and offers more third-party compatibility.
Design and Features
At 4.9 by 1.7 by 1.4 inches (HWD), the Blue Doorbell Camera is a bit bulkier than the Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro (4.6 by 1.5 by 1.3 inches) and just a tad thicker than the Eufy Video Doorbell (4.8 by 1.7 by 0.9 inches). Its weatherproof housing sports the same pearl gray finish as the Blue Indoor and Outdoor cameras and contains a microphone and speaker, a motion sensor, and a doorbell button. Behind a rubber gasket on the back panel are a mini USB port and an on/off switch. The doorbell comes with a mounting plate and gasket, mounting hardware, a drill bit, a chime power kit, and a quick start guide.
The camera captures video at 1080p, has a 180-degree diagonal field of view, and uses a small array of infrared LEDs for black-and-white night vision. By way of comparison, the Vivint Doorbell Camera Pro also has a 180-degree field of view, but it has a higher resolution and captures video at a 1:1 ratio that allows you to see more of your doorstep area.
The Blue doorbell connects to your home network via a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi radio and will send push alerts and emails when the doorbell button is pressed and when it detects motion. It will also record video of each event and store it in the cloud for 24 hours. If you require a longer video history, you can pay $2.99 per month for up to 60 days of storage.
As with its siblings, the Blue Doorbell Camera uses face recognition technology to identify visitors and offers support for Amazon Alexa voice commands and IFTTT applets. You can have Alexa execute Routines that include the doorbell, but you can’t stream video from the doorbell to an Echo device. Moreover, the doorbell doesn’t currently support Google Assistant voice commands, nor does work with Apple’s HomeKit platform, but it integrates seamlessly with LifeShield home security systems.
The doorbell uses the same Android and iOS app as the Blue Indoor and Outdoor cameras. It opens to a home screen that displays the local weather and panels for each installed camera. Here you’ll also find thumbnails of recently recorded event videos and a button that takes you to a screen with thumbnails for event-triggered video recordings. Tap any thumbnail to view the video, delete it, or download it.
At the bottom of the home screen is a Crime Watch map that displays recent criminal events in your area identified by markers for assault, robbery, and other crimes. Tap a marker to see what type of crime occurred and where. To view live video, tap the camera panel. To view it in full-screen mode, turn your phone sideways.
Back at the home screen, tap the two bars in the upper left corner to access the main menu where you can adjust profile settings, edit Wi-Fi settings, create motion activity zones, enable notifications, and change doorbell ring settings. Here you can also adjust motion sensitivity settings, enable People mode to reduce false alerts, add photos to your face recognition library, and adjust picture settings including brightness and contrast levels.
Installation and Performance
Installing the Blue Doorbell Camera is relatively easy, but if you’re not comfortable working with electrical wiring (even low-voltage wiring), find someone who is. I turned off the circuit breaker that supplies power to my doorbell, removed the old doorbell, and connected the two wires to the two terminals on the back of the new mounting plate. I attached the plate to the siding on my house using the included mounting hardware, flipped the on/off switch to on, snapped the doorbell into place, and restored power to the circuit.
I already had the Blue mobile app installed from a previous review, but if this is your first ADT Blue device, you’ll have to download the app and create an account. I tapped the three-bar icon in the upper left corner of the opening screen, tapped Devices, and then tapped the plus icon in the upper right corner to add a new device. I then tapped Cameras, selected HD Video Doorbell from the list, and tapped Get Started. I gave the doorbell a name, answered a few questions (such as if my doorbell is wired and what type of chime I have), and scrolled through the next couple of screens that show you how to uninstall your existing doorbell and install the new one. I entered my network SSID and password when prompted, pointed the QR code on my phone toward the doorbell camera, and waited a few seconds for the chime that confirmed a successful pairing with my network. I tapped finish, waited close to one minute for a firmware update, and the installation was complete.
The Blue Doorbell Camera provided solid 1080p video in testing. Daytime video showed excellent color quality and provided a wide horizontal view of my doorstep and yard with minimal distortion. Black-and-white night video appeared sharp, with good contrast and crisp image detail. Motion detection worked well for the most part: I received push alerts and email notifications immediately when motion was detected and when the doorbell button was pressed, and placing the motion setting on People helped eliminate alerts from passing cars.
I created an IFTTT applet to have a Philips Hue light turn on when the doorbell rang and it worked perfectly. I also had no trouble making the doorbell work with Alexa Routines. Two-way audio came through loud and clear on both ends.
As we saw with the Blue Indoor and Outdoor cameras, face recognition was problematic. At first I was unable to import any pictures into the Face Recognition Library. I tried using the Take A New Picture option in the app, but it repeatedly told me that the photo didn’t meet quality standards. I also tried using photos from my iPhone’s photo library, including one that I used for a passport photo, and they too were rejected. It turns out that the issue was on the ADT server side, and when it was eventually resolved I was finally able to enter pictures into the face database. Unfortunately, the problems didn’t end there.
I wasn’t receiving any recognized or unrecognized face email or push alerts. After much back and forth with ADT technicians, I was sent a new doorbell unit that actually provided face alerts, but failed to recognize my face despite it being in the face library. Moreover, the unrecognized face push alerts were unable to play video; instead there was a panel that said Unable To Display Media At This Time. However, video did accompany the email alerts.
Although the ADT Blue Doorbell Camera delivers sharp daytime and nighttime video and is relatively easy to install, its face recognition performance is subpar. It was unable to recognize my face in my tests, and entering photos into the face library was problematic. On the plus side, Alexa voice commands worked well, as did IFTTT applets and Alexa Routines. Ultimately, this doorbell will appeal to those who already own a LifeShield home security system, but our Editors’ Choice, the RemoBell S, will save you $100 and offers Google Assistant support.
ADT Blue Doorbell Camera Specs
|Integration||Amazon Alexa, IFTTT|
|Field of View||180 degrees|
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