Review: EZVIZ DB1C

silencery

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The EZVIZ DB1 (and its variants) has been the doorbell of choice for most IP cam enthusiasts in the last few years owing to its quality, reasonable price, local streaming connectivity, flexibility, community support, and overall value. Two years after the introduction of the DB1, EZVIZ is first to market with the latest update to this popular doorbell, the DB1C. Thanks to the team at EZVIZ, they were able to send me a unit for testing in exchange for a fair and honest writeup. Let’s see how the new version stacks up!

Specifications
ModelEZVIZ DB1 (EZDB11B3)EZVIZ DB1C (EZDB1C1E2)
UPC842571118858810042430075
First seenAug 2018Jun 2020
Manufacturer PageEZVIZ - a global smart home security brandEZVIZ - a global smart home security brand
Image Sensor1/2.8" 3MP starlight sensor1/2.4" Progressive Scan CMOS
Spec Resolution15FPS @ 3MP15FPS @ 2.4MP
Actual Resolution1536x20481536 x 1536
Viewing angle105° Horizontal, 180° Vertical170° Vertical, 170° Horizontal
Lens2.2mm @ f2.42.1mm
WeatherproofIP65IP65
Onboard IR LEDYESYES
Motion DetectionPIRNo PIR. Software AI
CompresssionH.264H.264 + H.265
SD Card128GB max256GB max
POE, wifi optionalNo, but can be POE powered. DC12-24V (works, but not officially supported). 2.4GHz + 5GHz wifiNo, but can be POE powered. DC12-24V (works, but not officially supported). 2.4GHz + 5GHz wifi
Works with existing ChimesMech & ElectronicMech & Electronic
Wireless ChimeNot includedNot included. Works with optional chime
RSTP or ONVIF supportRTSPRTSP
ONVIF with laview firmwareNO ONVIF
Cloud DependentNO, but internet required for official app.NO, but internet required for official app.
Price~120-150USD99USD MSRP
API supportLimited via ONVIF on some modelsNone
SIP supportNONO
2 Way AudioIn appIn app
Case colorsWhite/Black (RCA) + Brown in some versions.White only
Angled install bracketsIncluded in Nelly's, LaView, EZVIZ, and RCA versions1 flat, 1 angled bracket included
Advanced config (Windows)iVMS-4200 VS or Batch Config TooliVMS-4200 VS or Batch Config Tool










This Rings a (Door)Bell!
(Installation, Build Quality, and Setup)

For anyone who has a DB1, the new DB1C will feel familiar, but the build quality of the updated model feels slightly improved. The body of the doorbell is made from high quality soft touch plastic with no creakiness and no noticeable defects. As of now, EZVIZ only includes one faceplate option (white), so the limited color choice may be a downside for some, but it’s likely possible to sand and paint the faceplate to match custom décor.

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Left: Side by side comparison of the DB1 and DB1C Right: Hope the simplified design means fewer smooshed doorbells

Although roughly similar in size to the DB1, the softer rounded edges on the DB1C give it an appearance of being more compact. The DB1C has a sleeker design to it, owing partly to the fact that it does not have an onboard PIR (passive infrared sensor). The onboard controls are now simplified into just two elements: camera and doorbell button, which will hopefully make it easier for distracted visitors to operate. With the old model, many homeowners encountered the problem of people confusing the PIR sensor for a button. As with the previous model, the doorbell button is surrounded by a backlit LED ring in order to help visibility. While you do have the choice of having the button remain lit or unlit, I do wish EZVIZ would let you also configure the color.

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Everything that comes in the kit

Users of the previous model will also find the installation process very familiar. The camera comes with a basic screwdriver with a phillips + torx bit, drill bit, mounting hardware, wire nuts, and fuse + power kit. In our case, it was a 10 minute job thanks to the wiring being in place already - so it was nearly a drop in replacement. Unfortunately, the mounting holes are closer together compared to the older DB1 (about 1/2”), so at least one new hole will have to be drilled.

Picture1.jpg
The old and new mount points are just a little different.

I run both my doorbells off 12VDC with relays to detect button presses, so I am unable to speak to the functional differences in the power kit.

Getting the doorbell connected to the network was a matter of opening the EZVIZ app, scanning the QR code on the doorbell or from the manual, and entering your wifi details when prompted. The DB1C supports both 2.4 and 5GHz networks. When connected to my network, the DB1C showed slightly stronger wifi signal strength when measured from my Unifi access point. The difference was only 2-6db, so I do not expect any functional difference.

For the app setup (on Android), everything went smoothly and no problems to report. Once installed, the software walked me through the setup process in the EZVIZ app and prompted me to upgrade from the factory installed firmware (V5.3.0 build 200506) to the latest update (V5.3.0 build 201106). Once set, the app will let you tune sensitivity of onboard motion detection, choose if you want notifications on human or object detection, and scheduling. If you want to use the app to view recordings, you have the choice of either signing up for the EZVIZ cloud service or installing an onboard MicroSD card.

Picture2.jpg
The microSD slot moved to the side

For anyone using the SD card option, it should be noted the new design now lets you have access from the side of the doorbell by unscrewing two torx screws. Whether this is better or worse than the previous design remains to be seen, but I expect it should add convenience for most.

A note about operating temperature: One major concern for people using the old DB1 was the high operating temperature. Sadly, my IR temp gun decided to go on the fritz so I was not able to measure heat, but based on feel, the DB1C runs much cooler which is a plus for people concerned about longevity.

Connecting RTSP + ONVIF

My NVR of choice is Blue Iris, so RTSP connectivity is a must. Similar to the hardware setup, the software config was an easy drop-in replacement. In my case, all I had to do was clone the camera config from the previous DB1, change the IP address and password to the new DB1C, and Blue Iris picked up the audio and video streams right away (via RTSP). For both existing replacements and new camera setups, you will want to double-check your motion zones and triggers to match the new environment.

Substreams are supported on the DB1C with a resolution and framerate of 576x576 @ 15fps - great for BlueIris 5.2.7+ users

As with the EZVIZ variant of the original doorbell, the DB1C firmware does NOT support ONVIF protocol (despite other variants offering ONVIF compliance). I probed both the factory shipped firmware and the updated firmware for ONVIF with no results. It’s not clear what drove this decision (probably because there’s no PIR or perhaps for export compliance?). Anyone who feels they need ONVIF should be aware of this as this might be a dealbreaker for some. Hopefully a software update in the future will change this.

Picture This

Right away, you can tell there is an improvement in overall image quality from the DB1 to the DB1C. Where the DB1 always seemed to have some slight redness to the images which I could never quite tune out, the DB1C’s colors are more neutral and accurate. Both my older DB1 doorbells also exhibited softness in picture quality, especially around the edges, and the DB1C improves in this area as well.

AIFrontDB.20201204_111112413.4.jpg FrontDoorbell.20201204_111240778.jpg
Left: Original DB1 Right: DB1C in same install location

At 170°, the DB1C has 65° more horizontal viewing angle compared to the DB1. Quite impressive, since this allows you to see nearly wall to wall. Instead of a tall floor to ceiling portrait view, you get a square video with fisheye effect. The advantage of this unusual aspect ratio is you can see a wide horizontal range in addition to things on the floor, such as packages left on your doorstep. The best viewing angle will depend on your environment, but I expect this new setup probably fits a more diverse range of installations. Of course, the tradeoff to such a wide view is a lot of distortion, but it makes sense given that capturing more activity is a priority over visual accuracy for most doorbell cameras. As a general reminder, it's a good idea to get more than one camera to cover different angles for places you would like to secure.

FrontDoorbell.20201204_160128911.jpg 20201204_161524.jpg
Left: Natural DBC1 camera feed with fisheye. Right: In app DBC1 flattened (distorted) image

The EZVIZ app gives you the option to view the video as a flattened (albeit distorted) square, but as far as I know, there is no way to achieve this in RTSP clients. The curved diagonal line in the photo above is lens flare which is supposed to be a straight

The usable range (to identify faces) of the DB1C is about 2-10ft. Even with very close objects, the resolution is not high enough to allow you to read package labels on a doorstep, but you can at least see most important activity without problems. Getting supplemental cameras to cover a range of distances and angles is usually a good idea for any setup.

Low light performance is standard for a doorbell camera, which is to say it won’t be nearly as good as a standard turret or bullet camera with a large sensor. To avoid attracting insects, I typically avoid IR lighting if possible, but this doorbell must be used with at least onboard IR lighting or external lighting for nighttime situations.

As usual, white balance, picture settings, WDR and HLC configuration options are available via the Batch Config tool. Using desktop software to connect to the camera, you can adjust detailed image settings not available in the mobile app to better balance across various lighting environments. The out of the box framerate is 15fps and cannot be increased.

You can see the videos below for a comparison between the old and new models. All videos are exported from Blue Iris off the RTSP feed in 100% quality, original resolution, and no bitrate limit

Smart Camera or Dumbbell?

Of course, a doorbell camera would be worthless if the actual doorbell part didn’t work well. Over the course of several days, I tested out the DB1C to see if it would reliably notify mobile users someone was ringing the doorbell. 19 out of 20 times, it worked as expected. I didn’t have time to check in more detail, but I suspect the one time the “doorbell ringing” notification didn’t come through may have had to do with my phone’s battery saving features (My phone misses some app notifications from time to time).

When pressed, the doorbell itself makes a sound which is quite shrill and unpleasant to my ears, similar to the DB1. Presently, the external doorbell sound on the DB1C cannot be disabled, but perhaps this option will be added in future updates as we saw with EZVIZ’s previous model.

I was able to successfully get two way communication going on doorbell press through the EZVIZ app. As expected though, it’s rather dependent on the quality of the internet connection on the mobile client. In three instances, I was in spotty cell coverage, and the connection quality suffered or dropped completely. I did not have any doorbell communication problems over local wifi.

Nothing is PIRfect

One of the biggest changes between the old and new model is the omission of the onboard passive infrared sensor (PIR – the same kind found in alarm motion detectors). Why does this matter? Complex differences in environments can make accurate motion detection rather difficult, so PIRs on cameras are the first line of defense between accurate detection and getting flooded with “boy cried wolf” false positives. By using PIRs to detect heat sources, cameras try to identify the difference between an actual human as opposed to a tree just blowing in the background. PIRs aren’t perfect however, as they can be often be tricked by things like moving cars, animals, or extreme temperatures in outdoor conditions.

These days, many camera manufacturers are heading in the direction of using AI software to provide better accuracy, and the DB1C follows this trend with their “AI Powered Person Detection.” As far as I can tell from info provided by EZVIZ, the person detection happens locally onboard the camera.

The DB1C gives you two choices for motion notifications: 1) Image Change Detection and 2) Human Shape Detection. After verifying the Image Change option worked as expected, I set the camera to Human Shape Detection since most people typically just want to know if someone is at the door.

From there, if you are not using an NVR, you can view videos in the app, provided you are either subscribed to the EZVIZ cloud storage service (extra fee required) or you may record to your own microSD card. I popped in a 32GB microSD card I had lying around and formatted it without problems. EZVIZ’s spec sheet claims cards up to 256GB are supported, which by my calculations, should give you at least 2 weeks of 24/7 storage at H265 compression with medium settings. For some reason, the app would occasionally report “video playback failed” when reviewing footage stored on the microSD card, but it would at least work fine if retried – annoying..

Picture3.jpg Picture4.jpg
Tuning in-app settings on the camera helped lower false positives

To test the DB1Cs AI human detection capability, I set the stream in Blue Iris to record 24/7 over the course of three days. I then compared the footage to check if the DB1C had any false positives or missed notifications.

The first day with the DB1C installed using factory settings, we had 24 out of 31 false positive notifications. On review, we saw the DB1C’s AI “human” detection was very accurate, but overly sensitive, notifying us of people walking down our street from 30-50 ft away. After spending time in the app or Batch Config to change the sensitivity to the lowest setting and adjusting areas of interest, the false positives fell to 5 out of 19 by the second day, the majority coming at night. By the third day, with further tuning, the accuracy rate improved: 3 false positives out of 19. In our case, reducing the motion detection area was the most effective adjustment.

EDIT 12/22: Several users in this thread are reporting that human detection is not working well for them (many false positives) in their various environments. Will try to keep this information updated for accuracy.

The good news is there were no missed alerts. All events of actual people were properly recorded. Overall, the Person Detection feature is nice, but there is still room for improvement for reliability and ease of use. Since I use Blue Iris to trigger notifications, I don’t plan to rely on onboard AI detection, but it’s nice the option is there. If EZVIZ ever did bring ONVIF event capability to the DB1C, AI detection would be useful for NVR users to trigger recordings, similar to mainline Hikvision and Dahua cameras.

Closing Bells

As the model number indicates, the DB1C is an evolutionary change from its predecessor. It doesn’t introduce any huge jumps in improvements. Instead, it refines a popular design which was pretty good to begin with.

For people looking for a new doorbell, the DB1C is a great choice, especially given the improvements in image quality, easy RTSP connectivity with Blue Iris or other platforms, and wide viewing angle.

On the other hand, for those who already have the previous model DB1, it’s not as clear of a decision. While the incrementally better picture quality and onboard AI detection are welcome improvements, it comes at the loss of ONVIF connectivity. EZVIZ has indicated they omitted ONVIF for now because this product is targeted for typical households, which is understandable, but they may include it in future updates. For me personally, if future models included ONVIF and POE connectivity, it would be a no-brainer upgrade.

Either way, the affordable (current) street price of $70 or even the standard MSRP of $99 is a great value for the quality, especially when compared against other choices on the market from Ring or Nest.

Thanks!!
Extra thanks to @fleece for getting the original thread going, @David L for creating the 101 to organize all the crazy info, and ALL the HUGE number of contributors there (too many to name!)
Special thanks to EZVIZ and their team for sending the review sample.
 
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silencery

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Sample Videos
Blue Iris export settings: 100% quality, original resolution, no bitrate limit. The vimeo player defaults to low resolution settings. Change player settings below to view original resolution.

DB1C Daytime with WDR on



Original DB1 with WDR on



(nighttime samples to be posted later)
 
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Sphinxicus

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Thanks for taking the time writing a great review. Your video with the DB1C has no sound but the DB1 did have sound. Does the DB1C not record sound via the rtsp stream?

Really hope they alow you to mute/change volume of the doorbell ring on the unit with a firmware update
 

silencery

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Your video with the DB1C has no sound but the DB1 did have sound. Does the DB1C not record sound via the rtsp stream?
Oops! My mistake. Forgot to turn on sound on the export. Video re-uploaded. Thanks for catching that.
I don't have a way to objectively measure this, but it appears to me the new doorbell picks up more sound.
 

Sphinxicus

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Oops! My mistake. Forgot to turn on sound on the export. Video re-uploaded. Thanks for catching that.
I don't have a way to objectively measure this, but it appears to me the new doorbell picks up more sound.
Hard to tell from the two vids posted since that leaf blower is making a right racket and the doorbell mic is probably knocking the gain down to stop it distorting. Wheras the new doorbell is dealing with a much lower baseline noise so is picking up the footsteps great.

Have to say im more impressed than i thought i would be. I thought the lack of PIR would be a killer for false positives. Looking forward to the night footage!
 

TechBill

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nice review ... post some night shot when you get a chance to ..

Thanks for sharing
 

David L

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Great Review, wow I wish I could put together a review like yours. I vote for you to become a Contributor!!! @Mike
 

silencery

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Hard to tell from the two vids posted since that leaf blower is making a right racket and the doorbell mic is probably knocking the gain down to stop it distorting. Wheras the new doorbell is dealing with a much lower baseline noise so is picking up the footsteps great.
Yeah, sorry, I wasn't clear. The leaf blower video is definitely a poor example for sound quality. I didn't mention this in the review, but after using the DB1C for a few days, it SEEMS the mic picks up more sound compared to the old model. Just wish I had a way to measure that
 

David L

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As far as ONVIF support, hopefully we will see some Rebrands of this Doorbell like we did for the previous version of this Hikvision Doorbell and they will turn on ONVIF support.
 

bcre3306

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So if you were going to be purchasing one if you didn't have either one, which one would you go with? To be clear it's going to be hooked to a NVR.
 

silencery

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I suppose it comes down to several factors (compatibility with your existing setup, viewing angles, etc):

For me personally, it would come down to if I needed ONVIF or not. If I know for sure I don't care about ONVIF, I'd get the new one. In fact, even if I already have one, it's affordable enough to make me consider upgrading just for kicks
 

flynreelow

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nice review.. looks great.

any issues with blue iris with disconnecting, etc?

what about motion notification speed?
 

silencery

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I forgot to mention: some people probably want to know about alexa and Google connectivity. I didn't have a chance to check that, but I did notice the DB1C showed up in my list of devices in the alexa app.
 

silencery

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nice review.. looks great.

any issues with blue iris with disconnecting, etc?

what about motion notification speed?
No connectivity issues for me, but our place has a mesh network which comprehensively covers the property. One access point is 10ft away, ceiling mounted. Uptime has been 100%

That said, I don't have much info on wifi performance aside from RSSI measured off my access points (it was about the same). My best guess is it will be about the same as previous model.
 

silencery

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Oh, awesome! Your FCC-fu is much better than mine.

Good find on the firmware too! Was wondering about ways to preserve them. Did you guess the path? The directory isn't openly listing
 
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