SwannBuddy 4K wireless video doorbell review

SwannBuddy 4K wireless video doorbell review

There’s no shortage of wireless video doorbell products available these days. The catch with most of the bigger ones is that you need to spring for an annual subscription if you want to get the most out of the product.

The SwannBuddy 4K Wireless video doorbell doesn’t require a subscription. There is an optional subscription service that will give you 60 days of cloud storage and more notifications, but it’s not required to take advantage of the camera.

But while it’s more versatile than something like the Ring Video Doorbell 4 out of the box, it doesn’t quite deliver the same level of performance. The audio in particular is weak, and the app is a bit slow to respond.

But with reasonable video quality, an affordable price and a bundled chime unit, the SwannBuddy 4K video doorbell isn’t a bad option.

The SwannBuddy 4K mounted on the wall

Design

The SwannBuddy 4K is function over form.

While Ring has largely kept the same design for its video doorbells since the first generation, and models like the Eufy E340 have opted for a sleek dual camera design, the SwannBuddy 4K is fairly basic.

The black and white plastic body doesn’t have the same refined look as the Ring or Eufy models I’ve tested. Its rounded edges and black and white plastic body look more budget than the price tag suggests.

Fortunately, the SwannBuddy is also one of the easiest models I’ve tested to install. In addition to the screw-mount bracket, it also comes with a high quality double-sided tape so it can be mounted easily on a window or glass panel.

There is a small anti-tamper screw on the bottom of the unit you need to use to prevent someone from pinching the doorbell, but that’s a standard feature in video doorbells these days.

The doorbell offers 4K video with a 165 degree vertical view, which means it can spot packages left at your doorstep. 

There’s a 6,500 mAh battery inside which can be charged via USB-C, or you can wire it up to existing doorbell wiring.

The doorbell offers an IP56 weatherproof rating, so it’ll survive a bit of wild weather. 

You get night vision recording, 2-way audio and motion detection, as you would expect. 

There’s also a 32 GB MicroSD card in the box that records footage locally. By default, you’ll get one day of cloud storage backup, though you can extend that to 60 days with a premium subscription.

The SwannBuddy 4K also comes with a bundled chime. It’s a compact unit that offers a 20-metre range, and can play six different doorbell chimes. I’d argue you won’t want to change from the standard ding-dong though because the sound gets super tedious.

The SwannBuddy 4K door chime

Performance

I set up the SwannBuddy next to the Ring Video Doorbell 4. Over the month or so of testing, I found the Ring was typically quicker to send a motion or doorbell press alert than the Swann, though the Swann model did come first on some occasions.

Video quality from the 4K camera is solid in daylight. The large vertical viewing angle makes it easy to spot packages on your doorstep when you’re browsing through the app.

Unfortunately, you won’t get notified of a package without the premium subscription, though.

At night, the night vision recording drops frames constantly, which results in blurry motion as people move around the doorbell itself. Compared to the quality of the Ring and Eufy models, the SwannBuddy really struggles with its night vision performance.

The other disappointment is the audio quality with 2-way audio. The camera’s speaker is okay, though fairly quiet for communicating through.

But the microphone is average at best. Listening to someone talk through the app has a tinny quality of an old transistor radio, and not at the same standard as other models.

App performance

The Swann Security app is designed as a one-stop shop for controlling Swann’s security products. It’s fairly easy to navigate, and gives you easy access to the settings of the SwannBuddy 4K camera.

However, it’s a couple of steps behind competitors in terms of its performance.

The worst example of this is accessing clips from a few days prior. The app indicates the clip is stored in the cloud, despite me not paying for the subscription. When I try to access it from the Playback tab, it tells me that the “clip is not ready to be played”. 

Instead of trying to access the locally stored version, it repeatedly attempts to access the cloud version that is likely no longer there because of my subscription level. 

Instead, to access the clip, I needed to access the camera, dive into local storage and find it that way.

It’s a poor experience, given that seeing recorded clips is one of the main reasons you would have a security doorbell.

SwannBuddy 4K and Ring Video Doorbell 4

Verdict

The SwannBuddy 4K video doorbell does its job. It will capture 4K video, and notify you when someone comes to your front door. It’s easy to install, and has a solid battery life, and a bundled chime, which is uncommon at the price.

But, its performance is not at the same level as Ring or Eufy’s models. Its biggest selling point is its local storage – something Eufy also offers – but its app makes it difficult to access those recordings.

It’s also a shame that features like package notifications require the additional subscription.

If you pick this up discounted, it might be worth it. I’d still recommend the Eufy E340 over this if you want local storage, or the Ring Video Doorbell 4 if you’re prepared to pay for the subscription, though. Both offer superior performance over this unit.

Buy the SwannBuddy 4K online

AU $299.00
17 July 2024 10:09 pm
× Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com (Amazon.in, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, etc) at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
1 new from AU $299.00

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Swann supplied the product for this review.

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