A doorbell camera can be a handy thing, but you have to understand why you’d want one. Blurams has one on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo, and it’s a pretty good deal.
Blurams is selling it at $89, with a likely price of $149 after the funding campaign is done. In the scheme of video doorbells, it isn’t the most affordable, but it’s in that range.
What’s a video doorbell good for
A video doorbell does a few simple things:
- notifies you when there’s motion
- shows a preview on a phone quickly
- intercom with people at the doorbell
Those are the basics. Some of them do this in addition:
- notifies you when there’s a person approaching
- records footage to a cloud service
- lets you review footage and export it to a camera roll
- works with a voice assistant
That brings us to Blurams. Blurams is probably not the first name you think of in home camera systems. But they tick off a bunch of the boxes.
- works with Amazon Alexa, Google Home (and Siri Shortcuts, but we’ll get to that)
- motion and person notifications
- facial recognition (if you teach it faces to recognize)
- records to a subscription cloud service
- lets you review footage
- exports to camera roll
- intercom with people through speaker and mic at the doorbell
Inside the box
The Blurams doorbell comes with the doorbell itself, mounting hardware, an adhesive doublesided tape if you don’t wish to use screws, and a wireless chime. Installing it was pretty easy. There’s no modification required in the indoor chime, just at the front door.
What does Blurams get right
The cloud service works. The Google Home integration works. The Amazon Alexa skill integration works.
Users get free cloud storage for the past 72 hours, whether they buy the subscription or not. The subscription cost, if you need more than that, is either a 15-day loop at $5.99/mo, 15-day at $59.90/year, or a 60-day loop for $89.90/year. For many people, the 72 hours is probably going to be enough.
It’s possible to tap from a motion notification and go straight to the live video of the camera, with buttons to talk, or play a prerecorded message.
The wireless chime paired easily with the doorbell. Of the whole thing, this was the part that “just worked” without any thinking or trouble. The wireless chime has a number of tones in it, from music to the more traditional two-note ‘ding dong’.
Normally, I wouldn’t bother with the wireless chime, but it was necessary since the old school chime on the wall didn’t ring with Blurams. (It does with every other camera doorbell I’ve tried.) I even upgraded the doorbell transformer in the house to one that supplies 24vac at 40a. The Blurams charged wonderfully with that, but it didn’t have an impact on the tradtional doorbell chime working.
What was a little frustrating
If you open the app to check on the camera when there hasn’t been a motion notification to tap on from the lock screen of the phone, you have to open the app, tap on the camera, go to live, tap to activate.
If that sounds like a lot, it is. It makes more sense when you have multiple cameras from Blurams set up, but it still feels like there are extra steps.
Siri Shortcuts needs work
When you set up Amazon Alexa or Google Home, you have to have video devices that work with those assistants – an Amazon Show or FireTV, a Chromecast or Google Home with display.
You can’t just use your phone as the portal to those cameras. On a regular Amazon Echo speaker, ringing the doorbell does not play a chime, or even give a notification that someone was at the door. Ring doorbells do.
Siri Shortcuts lets you do some limited things. You can Play Video, Play Voice on Doorbell, or Turn on or off the camera. Each of these is a shortcut you have to create and then you can launch with Siri. This isn’t bad, but it is something you have to set up.
Creating this shortcut is annoying, and Turn on Camera didn’t actually work. The app doesn’t make it clear, but I guess that’s because the doorbell camera is not a camera you’d turn on or off like an indoor camera.
To create this shortcut, go to the Blurams app, copy the name you named the camera, paste that into the Shortcut, and then go back to the Blurams app, go to Settings, Technical Info, copy the Device ID, and paste that into the Shortcut.
If that sounds like a lot to ask of people, it kind of is. And it didn’t actually show the camera, which wasn’t very rewarding. It opens the app to the main view of the doorbell camera, but you have to tap Go Live and activate for it to actually play the video.
Creating the Play Video shortcut did work – sort of. Instead of giving an error message, it opened the Blurams app, but did not actually play any video from the camera. Again, this isn’t great.
Play Voice on Doorbell is perhaps the only useful shortcut here, but again: what is the voice recording you want to play to people? “No solicitors”? “Thank you” to delivery people? I don’t know.
Motion notifications are a lot
It is not possible to select an area of the camera view to pay attention to for motion notifications.
Instead, I get notifications for every passing car on the side street, not even in front of the house. I can turn them off, but then I only get notifications on facial recognition.
Field of view
The field of view is 160 degrees. That ought to be plenty, but I would prefer more fisheye to it – I want to see the porch so I’m able to see if a package has arrived. Other doorbell cameras are able to do this, but not Blurams.
Should you get one?
If you use Google Home and Chromecast? Sure. If you use Amazon Alexa and have a Fire TV or Echo Show? Yes. If you want to load up your home with additional Blurams cameras? Sounds good.
If you intend to use it with Siri Shortcuts… it’s rough. If you intend to have it as your only Blurams camera, it’s okay. But at $89, it’s a good value comparatively, and the rolling 72 hour storage is an excellent deal. Check out the indiegogo campaign if you’re interested.