HomeKit doorbells are like unicorns. Mythical and make-believe, yet they still hold a place in our imagination. But what if they were real? HomeKit doorbells, not unicorns, that is. Turns out they do exist, and they’re as magical as any HomeKit enthusiast would expect. Especially if you’ve been waiting for years to get your hands on one.

Yobi B3 is the star of the HomeKit doorbell category. With an affordable price tag and a consumer-friendly design, Yobi is made to fill the massive gap left by Ring and other popular smart doorbells.

Update July 27, 2020: Yobi B3 is now widely available to customers including on Amazon. So how is it two months and one WWDC later? Yobi B3 is still the smart doorbell that I use (and there’s still no competition for HomeKit doorbells). Yobi B3 HomeKit Secure Video isn’t a thing yet, however, so patience may reward those who wait a while longer for a fully featured HomeKit doorbell. Still, it’s the best HomeKit-compatible, privacy-focused smart doorbell. HomeKit Secure Video and iOS 14 zones and contact recognition announcements on HomePod would knock it out of the park.

The basics

If you already have an existing traditional doorbell installed, the process of switching to Yobi is straightforward.

  • Yobi replaces your existing doorbell by your front door
  • It relies on your existing wiring and doorbell chime inside, no Power over Ethernet required
  • Yobi includes a power adapter that may need to attach to your doorbell chime inside (my 1993 doorbell did not require this)

Yobi provides good documentation for how to install the B3 in place of your old doorbell. If you’re not comfortable with basic electrical work or don’t have an existing doorbell in place, contact an electrician.

Like other smart doorbells I’ve tested, Yobi includes two viewing position adapters that optionally install between the B3 doorbell and the wall.

One adapter lets you angle the point-of-view of the smart doorbell camera up or down depending on position. The other adapter lets you angle the POV inward left or right.

The adapter is white and not black as I’d prefer, but that does mean you can paint it to color match your home’s exterior.

The app

Yobi B3 is created specifically to serve the market of smart home users who have waited years to take advantage of HomeKit’s doorbell category. For this reason, Yobi relies entirely on Apple’s Home app for setup and control.

For HomeKit enthusiasts like myself, this is a major plus. There’s no clunky app required to manage setup or control. Instead, Apple’s Home app is the interface for naming, assigning location, and interacting with Yobi B3.

This is great if HomeKit compatibility is your top priority like me. As Apple HomeKit improves with new features (like next month in iOS 14 beta), Yobi B3 will automatically adopt those new features in the Home app.

On the other hand, you won’t have the app-specific features that accessory makers can build in their own apps outside of HomeKit — but this is the HomeKit doorbell camera.

HomeKit Secure Video?

Yobi B3 works as a HomeKit video camera just like other compatible smart cameras. The added benefit of being a doorbell camera is that you can receive a snapshot notification and quick access to a live video feed in the Home app when someone rings your doorbell. (The doorbell itself chimes too when someone rings it.)

The Home app lets you easily watch and listen to your visitor, optionally talk through your device’s microphone so your visitor can hear you through the doorbell’s speaker, or turn out outside lights or unlock doors that have HomeKit accessories. The integration with other HomeKit accessories is excellent, and you can use HomeKit motion detection to receive alerts if any motion is detected.

There’s one major open question though. Will Yobi B3 work with HomeKit Secure Video? The product would be absolutely perfect with Apple’s new version of video features. HomeKit Secure Video lets you receive alerts based on different objects recognized like people, pets, and cars. This filtering can be important for cameras facing streets. Video clips are also recorded for viewing more than just live feeds as well.

The answer is maybe. Yobi is working with Apple to determine if the chip inside Yobi B3 will be able to support HomeKit Secure Video.

The feature requires a 200GB (for one camera) or 1TB (for up to five cameras) iCloud storage plan to work. If HomeKit Secure Video isn’t important to you, this shouldn’t be a factor in your buying decision. If your heart is set on HomeKit Secure Video support, perhaps let this play out a bit longer to see what happens.

Availability

Yobi B3 is a fairly priced HomeKit doorbell camera available for pre-order at $199 (Amazon). That’s in line with the price of many non-doorbell HomeKit cameras as well as non-HomeKit smart doorbells. The hardware is available in one color for now: the mix of black and gold finish seen here.

As a HomeKit video camera, not just a doorbell, Yobi B3 is compatible with Apple’s Home app including on the Mac and other HomeKit video apps including HomeCam for Apple Watch, iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV.

If you’re like me and you’ve been waiting ages for an affordable and friendly designed HomeKit doorbell to come to market, this is the model to check out.

Specs

Color Gold and black
Dimensions Height: 5.98″ (152mm)
Width: 2.44″ (62mm)
Depth: 2.05″ (52mm)
Weight 250g
Mounting Method Screws
Ports AC
CPU 600MHz
Memory 1GB
Resolution 1920 X 1080 (1080p)
Camera Lens: F2.2 aperture, 2.7mm focal lengthImage sensor: 1/2.7″ CMOS
Field of View Horizontal : 124°  Diagonal: 180°
Night Vision 4 IR LEDs (850nm)Illuminates up to 29.6 feet (9m)
Video H.264 encodingFrame rate: 1– 30 FPS
Audio Built-in speaker and microphoneTwo-way audio talk
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n 2.4GHz (Does not support 5GHz network) Supports WPA and WPA2 protocols
Connectivity Requirements Upload speed 2.0 Mbps
Integrations Apple Homekit
Operating Systems Supports iOS 10.3 or later
Operation Temperature -4℉– 140℉ / -20°C – 60 °C
Operation Humidity < 75% at 104℉ / 40°C
Weather Resistance Waterproof
In the Box 1 Video Doorbell B31 Quick Start Guide

Screws & extra parts

 

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