August halts shipping of View doorbell camera, offers customers refunds

Wi-Fi problems put the View on pause

August pulls View doorbells

Smart doorbell and lock maker August has announced it is halting shipping of its new August View doorbell camera, due to problems related to Wi-Fi connectivity.

As we noted in our review, the doorbell camera frequently disconnected from the Wi-Fi network, rendering it useless as a doorbell camera. August told us that it was using a new Wi-Fi chip in the View, specifically designed to run the battery-powered doorbell on low power until an event wakes it up.

Tested and rated: The best smart doorbells

But this chip appeared to be causing significant connectivity issues, regularly preventing the us from viewing a live feed through the camera. We hoped the problem would be a simple fix, but it seems it'll require more extensive work.

The company announced that it will put View on pause while it tries to fix the issue, but promises the doorbell will be on sale again in the near future. “While we remain excited to bring this product to more customers, we are aware of some performance challenges in specific user environments,” said the company’s CEO Jason Jonson in a blog post. “When you purchase an August product, you trust us with the most important parts of your life: your home and your family. We value your trust greatly and it is our top priority.”

The issue is particularly prevalent on mesh networks, something August was aware of and had been trying to resolve. “Potentially because the Wi-Fi chip in the doorbell is very new it will have a different behavior based on different Wi-Fi access points you may be using,” a company spokesperson told The Ambient at the time of testing. “Specifically, with mesh systems we think it switches access points, which lengthens the startup.”

Missing manual: Your guide to everything August

However, even on a non-mesh Wi-Fi network we encountered lengthy connection times and the doorbell would appear to drop offline regularly, although it would still record and store clips. User reviews on August’s own site are scathing regarding the performance of the software in the device. It's a shame because the View has plenty of great things going for it including the simple wire-free installation and attractive design. But without a solid Wi-Fi connection, these features are pretty worthless.

The company is asking existing customers to keep their units to help August improve the product as they “evaluate the user feedback, implement critical improvements, run further testing.” They will issue full refunds to those customers, as well as to any who don’t want to keep the doorbell.

You can apply for the refund here by 3 May 2019. Alternatively, you can return it the retail store you purchased it from and also get the refund.

We hope they can fix this soon - the battery-powered doorbell market is in dire need of some reliable options.


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