Lorex WiFi Video Doorbell review: Onboard storage is the lone bright spot on this budget-priced front-door guardian

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Lorex WiFi Video Doorbell review: Onboard storage is the lone bright spot on this budget-priced front-door guardian

Lorex is an old hand at building security cameras, and now it’s moving into the smart home market, with its 1080p Wi-Fi Video Doorbell (model number LNWDB1) being the first product to reach the market. With a $130 asking price, this device is clearly aimed at the budget end of the spectrum.

It doesn’t have much in the way of bells and whistles, but it does have onboard storage that eliminates the need for a subscription to store video clips in the cloud, and it performed reliably enough during my review. But this is a crowded market, and you’ll encounter several competitors that deliver more, including at least one that operates on battery power (Lorex’s device relies on low-voltage wiring).

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best video doorbells, where you’ll find reviews of competing products, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping.

An easy install

Lorex anticipates you’ll be replacing an existing wired doorbell that’s mounted on a flat wall (there are no wedge options for installation on slanted surfaces or to otherwise change the camera’s viewing angle), and I found the installation process to be straightforward and as expected. You’ll first attach a small chime kit to the wiring in your existing chime box to supply a stable source of power, and then remove your old doorbell and replace it with the new Lorex.

Once the new doorbell is wired up, you’ll use the Lorex Home app to connect the new doorbell to your Wi-Fi network. And that’s pretty much it. The 1080P camera provides a suitably clear, sharp image, and the night vision is good enough and with sufficient range to show off the general area it’s guarding. Lorex sets expectations in this regard for 33 feet, but 10 feet is more realistic based on my experience.

through the lens of the lorex video doorbell Jason D’Aprile

The Lorex WiFi Video Doorbell does capture well-defined 1080p video with its camera’s 160-degree field of view.

Lorex’s video doorbell of course offers motion detection, but its exceedingly basic. It will detect any motion that crosses the camera’s 160-degree field of view, with no ability whatsoever to determine what that movement is: Human, animal, or vehicle. You can define rudimentary motion-detection zones, and you can adjust the camera’s sensitivity to motion, but that’s about it.

One of this camera’s best features is the 16GB microSD card that comes with the camera. Many manufacturers build microSD card slots into their devices but leave it to you to provide the storage card needed to make use of it. Since the camera can store video locally, there is no need for a subscription service to store motion-activated recordings in the cloud.

Lorex Home app event log Jason D’Aprile / IDG

The Lorex’s video doorbell can be trigger happy when it comes to detecting motion, and you can’t program it to ignore animals or vehicles.

Should 16GB not be sufficient for your needs, you can upgrade up to a 64GB card. The downside to this approach will arise if an intruder has the forethought to steal the camera itself—no camera, no forensic evidence of a crime—so you’ll need to decide if the savings are worth the risk. There is no cloud storage option.

You can view a live camera feed through the Lorex Home app at any time, and you’ll receive a notification within a couple of seconds of a visitor pressing the doorbell button. You can then use the camera’s two-way audio feature to talk to that person. I experienced surprisingly little lag with this feature—less than I’ve experienced with some pricier video doorbells.

The verdict

With our current top pick in the wired video doorbell category—the Arlo Video Doorbell—selling for around $145 on Amazon at the time of this review, Lorex’s bare-bones device is hard to recommend. Its video quality is good enough, its two-way communication is better than many, and it has bona fide onboard storage. On the downside, it offers rudimentary motion-detection zones, below-average night vision, a narrower field of view (compared to the Arlo’s 180 degrees), and an MSRP price that’s only $20 lower than our current Editors’ Choice pick.

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