Maximus Answer DualCam Video DoorbellBy - 01/07/2019
Last year, I replaced my back porch light with the Maximus Smart Security Light. Maximus is a home security company that sells several products that combine the concepts of smart lighting and security cameras. At CES 2019, they unveiled two new products including an upgraded version of the Camera Porch Light and the “first smart doorbell to include dual-cameras.”
What Makes Answer DualCam Video Doorbell Different?
There are three things that differentiate Maximus Answer DualCam Video Doorbell a.k.a Answer from other video doorbells: Dual Cameras, Response Options, and Computer Vision.
1. Dual Cameras
Answer has two cameras. The top camera offers a 1080p resolution with a 180° field of view backed by HDR. HDR is the magic that allows security cameras to balance out the light and dark in an image to produce a balanced result. The bottom camera is an HD camera. Both cameras offer colored night vision using six high-powered infrared LEDs.
The purpose of the dual camera configuration is to allow users a full view. In the words of Maximus CEO, Mark Honeycut, “Answer accomplishes that and more by allowing homeowners to view footage of packages on the ground, in addition to faces and full-length bodies.”
I currently use Nest Hello video doorbell. It uses a non-standard aspect ratio to achieve a similar goal. In the picture below, you can see both the roof of my porch and the floor. So is Maximus really providing something different? I’m going with yes.
Answer provides even greater coverage up and down. In the picture below, it’s clear that Answer’s bottom camera has a more extreme angle than Nest’s camera, allowing for a straight view of everything on the floor.
It’s also important to point out that when viewing video within the app, the images from the two cameras are sewn together. However, if you download them, they are unpaired.
2. Built-In Response Options
If the camera happens to detect an event, you have a few options for responding. First, you can sound the 100dB siren. Second, you can call 9-1-1 from the app. Third, you can use two-way audio. If someone rings your doorbell, your existing doorbell will chime and you can respond using the same options. Answer will work with both digital and analog chimes.
Back to audio, Answer has a “music-quality, forward-facing speaker” and Echo Cancellation. Echo Cancellation provides true two-way audio. Where previous Maximus cameras required that you press to talk and release to listen, Answer will let you do both when two-way audio is activated.
If you don’t feel like talking, you can use the doorbell’s built-in response options, which happen to be the same options offered by the Smart Porch Light. Some of the Greetings change seasonally (Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, Halloween, etc.), others can be accessed year ’round.
- Video Voicemail
- Barking Dog
- I’m Busy Right Now
- Can I Help You
- Sorry, Not Interested
In addition to old favorites, Maximus is promising to release custom greetings. You can record whatever you want, and your doorbell will respond using your voice and your message.
3. Computer Vision
The final differentiator is computer vision. Answer monitors for motion, but it doesn’t use a motion detector, it uses computer vision. The Ambarella chip that lives inside the doorbell powers the intelligence. Maximus hopes to use the camera’s power to eventually bring forward person recognition. As it stands, the doorbell has person detection, but you have to pay to access it.
Free and Paid Features
Some of Answer’s features are free, some are not. For free, you can live stream. It will also monitor for events and send a push notification to your phone. iOS users will have access to rich notifications for free. If you press and hold the notification, you can view a GIF and also respond to the event by playing one of the Greetings mentioned above or by snoozing the alert. This is all possible without opening the app.
Answer shares the same paid plans as the Maximus Smart Security Light. You can compare free and paid features using the chart below.
|No Plan||Essential Security||Peace of Mind||Absolute Control|
|Number of Supported Cameras||Unlimited||1||Up to 4||Up to 8|
|Video History||Last 2 Hours||Last 7 Days||Last 14 Days||Last 30 Days|
|Pre-Recorded Messages/Automated Greetings|
|Unlimited Downloads||3 Downloads/Month|
|Lifetime Theft Protection|
|Event Detection||Classic Smart Detection||Person/Car Detection, Areas of Interest, and More Coming Soon||Person/Car Detection, Areas of Interest, and More Coming Soon||Person/Car Detection, Areas of Interest, and More Coming Soon|
|Rich Notifications||iOS Only||iOS Only||iOS Only||iOS Only|
|Other||Quick 9-1-1 Access, In-App Sound Alarm||Quick 9-1-1 Access, In-App Sound Alarm, 5% Discount on Purchases||Quick 9-1-1 Access, In-App Sound alarm, 10% Discount on Purchases||Quick 9-1-1 Access, In-App Sound alarm, 15% Discount on Purchases|
|Buy From Amazon|
|Buy From Costco|
Working With Others and Final Thoughts
The doorbell uses the same app as other Maximus cameras but unfortunately, does not integrate with them. For example, if your doorbell detects an event, you can’t tell it to turn your porch light on. It does work with a couple of third-party devices including Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
The Maximus Answer DualCam Video Doorbell will sell for $199. The doorbell ships with a chime connector, 15-degree wedge, and an installation guide. It measures 4.5 x 1.8 x 1.6 and works on both 2.4 and 5GHz networks.
In addition to selling on maximuslighting.com, you should be able to pick one up from Home Depot or Costco soon.
A New Smart Light
In addition to launching Answer, Maximus also launched a new Camera Porch Light at CES. The new Porch Light has an upgraded field of view (155° vs. 115°), upgraded resolution (1080p vs. 720p), an improved PIR motion sensor with a greater detection angle (pictured above), a quick connect install base and the same Echo Cancellation technology offered by Answer.