Over the past few years, there has been a tremendous upsurge in the adoption of smart home devices. Users seem to be finding value in home automation products, and the convenience that these devices offer appears to be the driving force behind some users evangelizing others to hop on to the smart home train. As a result of which, a lot of the IoT startups have ascended to heights. And of late, there has been a rise in the companies that are making IoT products.
One such company is ZunRoof, which is a home-tech startup that started with its solar rooftop business back in 2016, and then later — a few months back — went on to foray into the IoT space with the launch of eight new products under the Zunpulse brand. Most of these products are essentially the smart equivalents of the regular ones and aim to simplify the user experience. Of these, the one we are reviewing today is the Zunpulse Smart Doorbell, which is a Wi-Fi-enabled wireless doorbell with smart features like motion detection and two-way communication. We have been testing this smart video doorbell for some time now, and here’s our review of the same.
Design and Build
The Zunpulse Smart Doorbell comes in a rectangular form factor and is available in two colorways: white and black. Our review unit has a black hue, which, combined with the matte finish on the body, gives the doorbell a sleek and stealthy appearance. Since the Zunpulse offering is limited to the Indian market, there are not a lot of worthy opponents to draw comparisons. But to give you an idea, the Zunpulse doorbell falls somewhere along the lines of Xiaomi’s Zero Smart Doorbell: it uses a plastic material in its construction, and the overall build is slightly on the thicker side, which prevents the bell from sitting flush on the wall.
Upfront, the doorbell features an HD camera, housed within a circular module along with a light sensor and a passive infrared (PIR) motion sensor. Both these sensors look out your front door to recognize if there is a visitor at the doorstep. That way, you get a notification every time people arrive at your door or when there is a movement in front of the doorbell. In addition to holding a camera and two sensors, this module also has a microphone, which enables the two-way talk feature on the doorbell.
Unlike the overall finish of the doorbell, the (camera and sensor) module has a fiber coating on top, which we feel is highly prone to scratching and might attract plenty of micro scratches over time. The fiber on our unit got numerous scratches during the testing phase. Moving along, right below that massive module, you get a push-button with an LED light on its circumference to indicate the different phases of the connection status. On the other hand, the button has two functions. First, it works as the main switch to ring the doorbell, and second, it allows you to power on/off the bell itself.
Lastly, at the bottom, you get the speakers, which serve two purposes: offer feedback to the visitor when they ring the bell, and most importantly, make two-way communication possible on the device.
Hardware and Installation
On its backside, the Zunpulse Smart Doorbell has a mounting plate attached to it. This plate is what allows you to mount the doorbell on a wall. And so, when you install the bell for the first time, you need to detach the mounting plate from the back of the doorbell. To do this, gently slide out the front unit in the upward direction. Once the two parts are separated, you get access to a few essential elements on the doorbell, such as the reset button, the micro-USB port, and the battery compartment. However, the battery compartment is still not accessible and protected behind a plate. This plate is held together in place with a screw, which you need to unscrew to remove the plate. [You can use the screwdriver that comes bundled in the box to unscrew the battery plate screw.]
The smart doorbell runs on two batteries. These batteries are rechargeable, which means when they run out of power, you can charge them by plugging the bell directly into a power outlet via the micro-USB port. Unfortunately, though, the company does not bundle a USB cable with the bell, so you have to resort to using your own. According to the company, you can expect a battery life of around 7-8 days on these batteries, after which you need to charge them to be able to continue using the bell. However, if you need to avoid the hassle of recharging the batteries over-and-over, the company recommends connecting the doorbell directly to a power source.
The Zunpulse Smart Doorbell comes with a microSD card slot buried under the back panel, which supports cards with a maximum of 32GB storage. So in case you want to maintain a record of all the entries on the device, you can do so by adding a memory card to your device. For this, you need to, first, remove the lid on the battery compartment and then take out the batteries. Once that’s done, locate the microSD card slot: it is present on the top portion of the bell, right in the center of the two batteries. Now, insert the card into the slot: while you do that, make sure you are inserting it in the correct orientation. After that’s done, put the batteries in and install its lid with the screw.
The main unit of the doorbell — which we have been talking about all this while — sits on your front door. Its purpose is to help you monitor who arrives at your doorstep and at the same time to enable you to talk with them without having to reach the door. Besides the main unit, on the backend (inside the house), sits a second unit, which is an essential component and makes the doorbell unit complete. It is basically a chime that rings when a visitor hits the ring/power button on the main unit, so you get the traditional ‘bell alert’ inside the house. This unit has a speaker on top, along with three buttons on its left: one to increase/decrease sound level and the other two to change the tune, which you can use to configure the chime to suit your preference. In our time with the doorbell, we found the volume levels to be adequately loud to be audible across different rooms.
Talking about the installation process, you get all the instructions on the getting started manual that comes within the box. But, to make things simpler, here’s a quick rundown of the steps.
1. Download the Zunpulse app on your mobile phone and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the registration process. [The app is available on both Android and iOS.]
2. Remove the lid on the battery compartment and install the two batteries. Make sure the terminals on the battery and the battery pit (on the device) are aligned. And, screw the plate back.
3. Attach a micro-USB cable to the port (on the back of the bell) and connect it to a power source.
4. Press and hold the power button (on the doorbell) to turn it on.
5. Once the LED on the bell starts blinking red, open the Zunpulse app on your phone, tap on the Add Device button, and select Doorbell from the list of devices.
6. Now, select a Wi-Fi network to connect the doorbell to and enter the password for the same.
7. A QR code should now appear on the app. Place the bell right in front of your phone to allow it to read this QR code.
Once the bell reads the QR code, it is connected and ready to use. Besides, if things go awry, it has a reset button on the back to reset the bell back to its default state.
As already mentioned, the Zunpulse Smart Doorbell is a wireless doorbell, which means it does not require wires to function — neither for power nor for connectivity. Instead, the power part is handled with two batteries, whereas the connectivity element relies on a Wi-Fi connection — one that uses the 2.4GHz band. In our testing, we found the connectivity on the doorbell to be slightly janky at first, which was likely a range issue — possibly due to the distance between the access point and the front door. For, when we connected it to an access point that was closer to the main unit, we did not encounter any connection problems moving forward. And as a result of that, the notifications also came in instantly, unlike with the other access point.
Talking about the camera, the doorbell sports a 720p (HD) camera that offers a 166-degree field-of-view. The viewpoint provided here is pretty wide, and it manages to cover a large area in its view. We found the quality of the camera output to be pretty decent: it improves when there is enough lighting in the surroundings and starts deteriorating as it gets darker. Further, in a pitch-dark setting, the camera begins to struggle even more, and the quality of the live feed goes for a toss.
As already mentioned, the doorbell employs sensors to alert you when someone arrives at the door. And to add to the convenience, it sends the captured image of the visitor right onto the companion app. So, if you do not wish to take the door, you can choose to talk to the person on your phone via the Zunpulse app. This proves to be very useful when you are not at home and have a visitor, as you can now use the two-way talk feature to communicate with them remotely. During our time testing out the device, the calling experience was fine for the most part, and so was the voice quality on either end. However, we did sometimes run into an issue where the app could not establish a call — when the visitor rang the bell — in the first attempt and required us to restart it and try using the feature again. Talking about audio clarity, we did experience some noticeable reverb on call at our end. This is somewhat likely because the app routes the call via the onboard speakers on the phone (and not the earpiece). Similarly, another gripe we have with the doorbell is that sometimes the app takes noticeably longer to establish a call or show the live feed.
When it comes to determining movement, ie. sensing people as they pass by in front of the doorbell, which is another useful feature of the Zunpulse Smart Doorbell, the onboard sensors work absolutely fine. And depending on the motion detection sensitivity you have set for your doorbell, they pick up movement accordingly, and you get an image capture of the same on the companion app.
The Zunpulse app is a must-have to be able to use the Zunpulse Smart Doorbell. It is available on both Android and iOS devices and helps you with the setup and operation of the doorbell. In a nutshell, the app is a portal for you to access all the features and functionalities that the Zunpulse Smart Doorbell offers. Or, for that matter, any other Zunpulse product that you have.
Once you have set up the doorbell using the app, it appears under your profile. You can then click on the device anytime (from anywhere — even outside your house) to view the live feed. Moreover, you can also get a timeline of all the previous events and can even save screen captures locally on your device. Similarly, a few other functionalities it allows you to perform include turning on/off the sound, capturing a live screenshot, making a call, sharing the device with other family members, and adjusting the motion detector sensitivity. Moreover, the app also provides the ability to update the firmware of the doorbell. We tried to find the functionality on the app, but couldn’t locate it. Upon asking the company, we were informed that the app provides a push notification whenever there is a new firmware update.
What’s more, since the doorbell runs on rechargeable batteries, the app also notifies you when the battery runs out of power. That way, you can charge it before it completely shuts down. However, we would say that the iOS version of the app is more stable and smooth than its Android counterpart. Since, unlike the iOS version of the app, which allowed us to perform all the operations in a smooth and quick manner, the Android app ran into a lot of hiccups, and at times, it even crashed during calls and while turning on the live feed. However, that said, those issues can be resolved via an update, so that shouldn’t be a major deterrent in case you decide to buy the doorbell.
Zunpulse Smart Doorbell: Verdict
The Zunpulse Smart Doorbell carries a price tag of Rs 5990. And for that price, you get a reasonably good offering that actually offers some smart functionalities. So, besides functioning as a regular doorbell, the smart doorbell boasts of some useful features that aim to give you a smart home experience. Of these features, one of the most helpful ones is push notifications, which are, essentially, alerts delivered right onto your phone (via the Zunpulse app) whenever there is a visitor at your place. Similarly, there is the two-way talk feature that is kind of an extension to the push notifications feature and adds to the convenience by enabling you to talk to the visitor without having to reach the door.
While those features definitely bring mode functionality and simplify your experience to a certain degree, the fact that you get a completely wireless experience — free of any wirings for both connectivity and power — makes the Zunpulse Smart Doorbell even more appealing.
So, if you are looking to buy a smart doorbell, and you have a budget of around Rs 6000, the Zunpulse Smart Doorbell is a valuable option to consider.
Reliable motion detection
Camera and sensor module prone to scratches
Unsatisfactory night vision performance
Only 32GB card supported
|Design & Build||
|Hardware & Installation||
The Zunpulse Smart Doorbell is a wireless doorbell that comes with a 720p camera, motion detection, and night vision at an affordable price point. But is it worth your money? Check out our review to find out.