In my ongoing quest to
open my house to hackers create the ultimate smarthome, I've added a new toy. A video doorbell!
Why? I've got a tall house and can't be bothered walking down several flights of stairs just to tell a peddler to piss off. And, when I'm away, it's nice to know where couriers are leaving my packages.
So, here's my review of the DophiGo DV-200. It was £40 on special offer.
One thing to note - this is an energy efficient unit. There's no PIR sensor or movement detector. It doesn't continually stream. It doesn't have 4K resolution. It's designed to run off one battery and be recharged a few times per year.
Comes with a (UK) plug in chime, doorbell, fixing kit. Button feels a little stiff. Not sure how obvious it is to a visitor.
But what's in the accessories box…?
Screws, rawlplugs, screwdriver, instructions, and a sticker.
What's the micro-USB cable for? We'll come on to that!
Oh! Cool! It has a QR code to download the app. That'll make setting things up much easier…
I've contacted the company, and they've now fixed it.
There's a micro-USB port on the back. It's there for charging.
Yeah, ideally it'd be USB-C, but it'll only be charged a few times per year. I plugged the unit into a Linux laptop and ran
lsusb - nothing showed up. The port's just for charging - firmware updates are done via the app.
There's a single battery in the back:
That's an 18650.
As well as screws and rawlplugs, there are also stickers which fit to the back of the unit.
The backing plate sticks to the door and the doorbell clips to the backing plate. There's a single screw at the bottom to prevent people nicking it. Not the most secure thing in the world but, hey, it's only forty quid.
All smarthome apps are crap. That's an undeniable truth. Dophigo's WowCam app is basically fine. It doesn't have the polish of a modern app, but it works.
It's quick too! You press the button, the unit and ringer sound, and a few seconds later your phone rings.
One down side, there's a permanent notification to keep the app awake.
Android really needs a better way to handle long-running background tasks.
The Dophigo proudly claims to have a 960p resolution. That's a bit optimistic! Downloaded video seems to be 640x480.
And, you know what? That's fine. It's good enough to see who is at the door. Here's my ugly mug caught on camera:
When someone rings the bell, a 10 second video clip is stored somewhere in the cloud - so if you miss a call, you can see who was there:
Our road is reasonably well lit, and the camera copes well at night. It doesn't have a powerful flashlight - again, to save battery - but it claims to have "military level infrared night vision".
It is impossible to create a sensible WiFi configuration for a smarthome. Luckily the device doesn't need a local network connection, just an Internet connection. So it is on a separate WiFi network. If it gets stolen, and if they can dump the flash memory, they'll find that my IoT network's password is
It only connects to 2.4GHz - fine for this sort of thing - and copes well with my router being quite far away and behind several doors.
I ran a quick
PORT STATE SERVICE 554/tcp open rtsp 687/tcp filtered asipregistry 1107/tcp filtered isoipsigport-2 4662/tcp filtered edonkey 9999/tcp filtered abyss
I wasn't able to connect to any of them without authentication - but I didn't try too hard. The app's connection to the cloud used SSL and was resistant to my MITM attacks.
The app makes it very clear what happens to your data.
It works! The audio quality isn't high-def, but it's good enough. The video isn't DVD quality, but it's good enough. The app isn't exactly a joy to use, but it's good enough.
There's no ongoing fees, unlike some other cameras, and it doesn't invade the privacy of your neighbours by going off every time someone walks down the street.
I paid £40 on special offer - and I reckon that's a bloody good price.