X-Sense Smart Video Doorbell VD2 review: Mundane looks, solid operation

The X-Sense Smart Video Doorbell VD2 is the budding smart home brand’s second porch-guardian effort (we never reviewed its earlier model). The VD2 is a capable if utilitarian offering that requires low-voltage wiring—there’s no battery option—but it otherwise has a solid feature set, including onboard storage. The rectangular device has a familiar design, all black save for a large, metallic silver button featuring a backlit bell icon, with a variety of mounting brackets included in the box. IP65 weatherproofing offers a solid level of protection, with all ports and slots covered by rubber flaps. (If you want to learn more about IP codes, read this other article on TechHive .) This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best video doorbells , where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product. The unit is designed to be powered either by an AC 8-24V doorbell transformer or a 5-30V USB-C power supply. X-Sense provides a stub cable (less than 2 feet) in the box, which is split at the opposite end with USB-A connector for a power supply or battery and—oddly enough—an RJ45 ethernet cable. The manual makes no mention of what you might use the ethernet connector for, but the doorbell is outfitted with a dual-band (2.4- and 5GHz) 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter. Navigation in the app works much like any smart video camera. Given the length of the cable, one would assume it’s designed to power the doorbell long enough for you to connect it to your Wi-Fi network before you mount the doorbell at its permanent location. The unit also has a small internal battery that provides a few minutes of backup power in the event of an outage. You’ll need to use an existing (wired) chime if you want an audible indication that the doorbell has been rung. The unit itself has an onboard chime, but you probably won’t hear it inside your home. Without a physical chime in the house, you’ll be limited to doorbell notifications on your phone. I added the VD2 by scanning a QR code on the back of the device. Setup was quick and without incident, and I was soon up and running in the Xsmartview app. (This is the same app that powers X-Sense cameras .) I was immediately impressed by how responsive the camera is. After a push notification is received from either detected motion (quite sensitive) or someone pressing the doorbell button, launching the app immediately revealed a live stream, with virtually no delay or buffering time. At maximum quality the camera offers 2560 x 1440 pixels of resolution; the lens captures a very wide-angle image that is 152 degrees horizontal by 81 degrees vertical. Operationally, the app is straightforward, working almost identically to the way it works with X-Sense security cameras. Clips—about 45 seconds long—can be saved on a microSD card (capacities up to 128GB are supported, but none are included). […]

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