July 27, 2020

Wisetechie reviews the $20 Kangaroo Security Doorbell

By WiseTechie

First things first, like all content on this site, this is not a paid review. I am not going to go gaga over the product because Kangaroo is paying me money or promoting me on their site. A number of so called news sites seem to be motivated by promises of free products. I paid for this one with my own pocket so rest assured this is a 100% genuine review. Even if someone gets a review unit, you can see if they routinely review free stuff or do they put their skin in the game.

Kangaroo Security

Incase you are unaware, Kangaroo security is the new kid on the block looking to disrupt the DIY home security space(think Simplisafe/Ring). Their devices are cheap, connect onto their Kangaroo network of devices and are backed by pretty spiffy chat support in my experience. They were also doing some crowdfunding campaigns and giving free units to their investors.

I live in a low crime area but even the Wisetechie couldn’t resist one of the deals and got onto the Kangaroo bandwagon. Their security system is already installed in my house, so when they came out with the $20 doorbell, it was a no brainer. I was already thinking of ordering the Ring doorbell for 5 times that price so I figured I didn’t have a lot to lose.

Appearance and Build Quality

The Kangaroo doorbell is mostly plastic and uses 2 AA batteries. Its impressive how this unit is able to run on just 2 AA batteries so there is definitely some decent engineering going on there. I had pre-ordered my unit so i got mine pretty early, however the 1st unit I got was a brick. Womp womp!

Support was really helpful as always and put in an order for another unit for me after trying to fix the brick device. Its been my Kangaroo journey, things just brick randomly but support ships a replacement almost as fast as things go wrong.

Due to the bricking incident, I would say the build quality is probably average. However who really cares about build quality right? This is a camera doorbell so lets see how it functions as a camera doorbell. 

Doorbell Pairing and Performance

Once I got the replacement (around a week later), pairing that unit and adding it to my Kangaroo family of products was a breeze with the app. It took around 30 seconds and the app takes you through the technicalities or pairing the device. It gives you best practices on placement and helps you test out the device. 

Now coming to the most important aspect of the device, the performance of the doorbell. There is a pretty noticeable delay between the bell being pressed and the siren unit chiming. Almost 5-6 seconds. This is very unlike any doorbell I have ever used. Kangaroo is gonna give me a Chime unit as well so we will see if that improves things but its pretty annoying to not hear the doorbell for so long.

The app is also super buggy, many times the bell would ring but the app would hang and not show the photo montage of the person at the door. In the below example, I waited for a good minute but the app didnt recover even after quitting and re-opening. Obviously not gonna wait for a minute before opening the door.

Video and Photo Capture

I think the proof of the pudding is in eating it so I will share a few photos here. I found the quality of the photos in the Kangaroo doorbell almost useless for any real purpose. The faces are impossible to recognize in day or night. Most often the doorbell just misses a delivery person or a visitor. It takes a few photos and stitches them together but i guess the delay is not calibrated to the camera. Since I live in an apartment that faces the street, all my images are terribly back-lit. In the below images it failed to capture my postman and an amazon delivery person either due to backlitness or the sensor firing off with a delay.








On a lighter note(get it, lighter note :D), the only thing the app is good at capturing is the garbage truck.

Verdict

At $20 its not terrible, however I would be reasonably surprised if this ever catches a porch pirate. Its probably a better deterrent than a good tool to capture photos visitors. I have a $65 camera at my front door which does a 100x better job at capturing visitors but i like having this doorbell as a cheap deterrent. The fact that it just works with my current home security is a plus.
2/5