Aqara Smart Video Doorbell G4 review: a Jack of all trades is a master of none

The Jack of all trades is a master of none, but oftentimes better than a master of one.

Aqara Smart Video Doorbell G4
4 out of 5 stars
  • pro
    Smart home compatible
  • pro
    Two-way talk and video
  • pro
    Affordable price
Hannah Geremia
Nov 20, 2023
Icon Time To Read5 min read

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You probably haven't heard of the brand Aqara before. After all, it does sound like it should be a brand of bottled water. Just because Aqara is relatively unknown, that doesn't mean it should be overlooked. The Aqara Smart Home Doorbell G4 is a feature-packed doorbell for a competitive price. 

It's a Jack of all trades and a master of none. It's not revolutionary, but it does what it says on the tin – which is impressive considering the price, and the fact it doesn't need a hub or home base. It's also HomeKit compatible, which for smart doorbells, is a feature you'll find few and far between. Even though the setup can be tricky if you don’t know your way around smart home gadgets, it's smooth sailing once everything is connected.

pro Local AI face recognition
pro 7-day free cloud storage
pro Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Apple HomeKit, and Google Home
pro Renter-friendly design
con Installation can be tricky
con Records in 1080p with no HDR

Aqara Smart Video Doorbell G4 price

Smart doorbell

Price is accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.

What we love most about the Aqara Smart Video Doorbell G4 is that it's affordable. It doesn't need a hub, home base, or a subscription to reach its full potential, unlike other brands on the market (I’m looking at you, Ring). All it needs is some light assembly and you're good to go. It's not the cheapest doorbell on the market, but the fact that it's HomeKit compatible and there are no extra purchases you need to make is worth their weight in gold.

You can pay extra for cloud or SD card storage if you really need it, or you can keep the costs down and stick with free local storage.

The Aqara Smart Video Doorbell G4 retails for $189 on Amazon and comes in two (albeit almost identical) colours shadow grey and black.

What's in the box?
  • Aqara Smart Video Doorbell G4
  • Chime repeater
  • USB-C charging cable
  • 6 x AA batteries
  • Wall bracket
  • Plastic anchors, screwdriver and screws for mounting
  • Instruction manual

Aqara Smart Video Doorbell G4 setup

Admittedly, I’m not as adept at setting up technology as I’d like to be. I can follow instructions and troubleshoot (thanks YouTube), but sometimes the initial setup can leave me thinking ‘I did everything right, why isn't it working?’. Especially with pieces of technology that have so many parts.

At face value, there’s not much to the doorbell itself. There's the main module, which stores the camera and a huge button that rings the chimer. The instructions did not allude to a tiny button that, upon fiddling with it, opens up so you can unscrew the back portion of the doorbell. It wasn't until I searched for additional instructions online that I found help on unscrewing the doorbell to insert the batteries because my smooth brain couldn’t figure out how to open it.

After that ordeal, I went to mount it on my front door. It was all smooth sailing until I had to connect it to the app. The doorbell kept telling me it was connected, but it was radio silent once the button was pressed. After days of putting it off, I finally knuckled down and got to troubleshooting. A step-by-step YouTube video explained that I incorrectly installed the doorbell chime – something the instructions didn't explain. 

If you know your way around smart technology or doorbells, the installation will likely be as seamless as it’s meant to be. But if you’re a simpleton like me and have never used a smart doorbell before, you may find it a bit frustrating to set up. But never fear, YouTube is your best friend during trying times like these.

One thing I did love about the installation was how renter-friendly it is. Whether you’re living in an apartment, townhouse, or home, you can choose between using the screws, the bracket and screws, or the adhesive. The screws and tools come included, and the adhesive is already stuck on. All you need to do is peel off the backing!

Aqara Smart Video Doorbell G4 features and performance

Like many smart home integrated devices, the Aqara Smart Doorbell G4 allows you to program automations. If there's an unknown person at the door, you’ll get an alert sent straight to your phone. They don't even have to press the doorbell. It uses IFTT technology to trigger an action when motion is detected, for example. So when somebody approaches the door or presses the doorbell, you can set it to play a pre-recorded message like ‘I’ll be right there!’ or ‘Leave the premises now or feel the wrath of this home's incomprehensible horrors’ if you’re into a more ominous vibe. 

The two-way talk feature is great if you’re expecting a package and you’re not home when the postie drops by – you can speak to them directly through the doorbell, or even direct them where to leave it.

When using the two-way talk you can also change the pitch of your voice to resemble a robot, or even an uncle – which I’d argue is more threatening than a robot. Jokes aside, you probably won’t use this feature unless you’re in a unique situation where you need to scare away an attacker or a more than pushy neighbour, but it’s still fun to play around with. 

The doorbell already also comes with an anti-tamper alarm, but if you have a cloud subscription, the 6 seconds before your doorbell is tampered with will automatically be recorded and uploaded to the cloud. 

The doorbell has a 1080p sensor and no HDR (high dynamic range), and you can absolutely tell in the app. While you might not care about the absence of HDR if your front porch brings in a lot of natural light, if the doorbell is surrounded by shade, it might fall short and fail to recognise any faces at your window. This is because cameras or doorbells with HDR automatically pick up the slack and fill in light to create a clearer, more detailed version of your home. 

Because of this, I found it performed better with night vision than on a sunny day and was quite slow detecting faces in the daylight.

Any recorded videos go straight to your camera roll, or if you install a microSD for extra storage, it will go to your doorbell gallery. The SD is housed in the chime repeater and can store up to 512GB.

The doorbell can recognise faces with AI, and to my shock, recognised my face from a dimly lit, unflattering photo taken prior. Any notification-based automations can take about 5-10 seconds to show up once the unknown face is detected.  A 'visitor record' of all the people known and unknown, can also be viewed in the app, along with a 10-second video of the visitor once they press your doorbell (stored locally). Pretty handy to have in case they try any funny business. 

While this feature is impressive, I found it inconsistent. When disconnected from my home Wi-Fi network, I would still receive a notification that there was an unknown face at the door, but no video would appear in the app. 

Final word

The Aqara Smart Video Doorbell G4 is a Jack of all trades and master of none. While its performance isn't outstanding and the camera isn't crystal clear, it does what it says on the tin. It doesn't have any revolutionary features but is competent in what it can do for your home security.

It can be well integrated with your smart home, and will not burn a hole in your pocket like other smart doorbells.

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time of publish and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on the retailer’s website at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. SafeWise Australia utilises paid affiliate links.
Hannah Geremia
Written by
Hannah Geremia
Hannah has had over six years of experience in researching, writing, and editing quality content. She loves gaming, dancing, and animals, and can usually be found under a weighted blanket with a cup of coffee and a book.

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