Doorbell cameras are almost a suburban right of passage. Walk down any street in Highlands Ranch, Castle Rock or Thorton and you’ll spot a bunch of traditional doorbells replaced with those fancy camera-equipped doorbells. Ring, Arlo, Google, Skybell and others offer these devices that connect via WiFi and usually cost $100 or more. A new company offering a simpler doorbell camera that doesn’t need to be wired in, runs on battery power for a year and is more affordable than almost any other option out there. I took the Kangaroo video doorbell camera for a test.
The Kangaroo doorbell looks like most other doorbell cameras. It’s made of plastic but feels pretty durable and has decent amount of weight to it thanks to the 3 AA batteries inside. It has a large doorbell button near the bottom and a small camera on the top. The Kangaroom logo is smack dab in the middle.
There are 2 ways to mount the Kangaroo doorbell camera. You can use the included double-sided adhesive or use screws to create a more permanent attachment. Personally, I’d go for the screws as the tape might hold but could make it easy for someone to steal the doorbell. The nice thing is, there are no wires to connect. Unless other doorbell cameras that use the power from your existing doorbell wires, the Kangaroo runs on those AA batteries for up to a year. This is perfect for older homes that don’t have updated low voltage wiring, apartments or people who simply want to put the doorbell in a new location.
Kangaroo did a fantastic job of making the setup process as easy as possible. Load the app, pull the tab from the doorbell (to activate the batteries) and following the prompts to connect it to your WiFi network. That’s it, that’s all! It really was super simple and I had the doorbell up and running in just a few minutes.
What makes the Kangaroo different from other doorbell cameras and allows it to run for 1 year on 3 AA batteries is that instead of shooting full-on HD video, it captures motion and visitors with tiny MP4 videos that essentially look like animated gifs. The resolution isn’t great (480×640) and you’re only getting a handful of frames per capture. Here’s a doorbell video I saved directly from the Kangaroo.
High-quality HD video it is not. It’s a tiny little snippet that is enough to let you know who is at your front door.
The Kangaroo doorbell camera literally just came out, in June. The software seems polished, the hardware is simple but solid. I did find a few bugs when I tested the Kangaroo. When someone ran the doorbell and I tapped the notification on my Android phone it took me to the app but showed a white square instead of the video. When I jumped back to the activity tab it showed a “preparing video” icon instead of the video. Hopefully this is just a quirk that’ll get ironed out soon. When seeing who is at the front door you don’t really have time to wait for a video to load.
The camera includes free service that stores those clips in the cloud for 24 hours. That should be sufficient for most people. Additional features and storage that are especially useful if you use some of Kangaroo’s other security devices is $99 per year.
If you’re looking for a home security doorbell to capture high-quality video of people on your porch and in your neighborhood, this isn’t it. If you just want simple, quick notifications when someone is on your front porch, the Kangaroo doorbell camera is perfect. In fact it’s a great compliment for someone who already has an Arlo or similar security camera mounted somewhere else on the front of their home. Best of all, it’s priced at a crazy affordable price. $20 for the Kangaroo doorbell and a chime that plugs into any power outlet. You won’t find a doorbell camera with this quality and this polished of an app for that price. Best of all, no wires needed. People living in apartments finally have an inexpensive option that they can easily stick to their front door.
The Kangaroo with chime is available for pre-order right now via the Kangaroo website and will ship later this month for just $20.