As a Contributing Editor for PCMag, John Delaney has been testing and reviewing monitors, TVs, PCs, networking and smart home gear, and other assorted hardware and peripherals for almost 20 years. A 13-year veteran of PC Magazine's Labs (most recently as Director of Operations), John was responsible for the recruitment, training and management of t... See Full Bio
Any smart doorbell worth its salt is equipped with a video camera that sends an alert to your phone along with a live video stream when the doorbell button is pressed. Video is accessed via a mobile app that is also used to install the device, configure wireless settings, and set up alerts. You'll pay more for doorbells that offer features like 1080p video, motion detection, two-way audio that lets you speak with whoever is out there, and on-demand video streaming. To avoid false alerts from passing cars, high winds, and any critters you may have roaming around your property, look for a doorbell cam that offers customizable motion zones.
One of the capabilities that has been making its way into consumer-level video editing software is more-detailed color grading. Color wheels, curves, and histograms give editors control over the intensity of every shade. Related to this is support for LUTs (lookup tables), also known as CLUTs (color lookup tables). This staple of pro-level software lets you quickly change the look of a video to give it a specific mood. For example, think of the dark blue look of thriller movies like The Revenant. You can download LUTs for free from several sites or use those included with some video software to give your video a specific look. One well-known LUT type is the kind that can make a daytime scene look like it was shot at night.

World-Class Video Apps


Support for 4K video source content has become pretty standard in video editing software, but the support varies among the products. For example, some but not all of the applications can import Sony XAVC and XAVC-S formats, which are used by Sony's popular DSLRs, mirrorless cameras, camcorders, and professional video cameras. The same holds true for the H.265 High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) standard. Most of the applications here now can import and export HEVC, though there are still a few holdouts.
Other measures of performance include startup time and simple stability. Again, video editing is a taxing activity for any computer, involving many components. In the past, video editing programs took longer than most other apps to start up, and unexpected shutdowns were unfortunately common, even in top apps from top developers such as Adobe and Apple. The stability situation has greatly improved, but the complexity of the process, which increases as more powerful effects are added, means crashes will likely never be fully eliminated, and they often raise their ugly heads after a program update, as I found with the latest version of Pinnacle Studio.
As it turns out, OEMs and carriers have taken matters into their own hands for video chatting. Some carriers, including Verizon, T-Mobile, and others have video calling built into every phone sold by the carrier. You can quickly and easily video chat with anyone else on the service. Thus, someone with a Galaxy S7 on T-Mobile and someone with an LG V20 on T-Mobile can video call each other directly from the dialer app like you were making a phone call. They're a bit restrictive, but they tend to work pretty well when you can actually use them. We hope these options are expanded over time.
The app also comes with lots of sound effects and supports voice over layering. There’s also support for stickers, emojis, filters, effects, transitions, color correction, and more. One important feature of Inshot Video Editor is that it also allows you to rotate and flip videos which comes in really handy in certain specific scenarios. Overall, this is a really good video editing app. The only flaw of the app that I find annoying is that the free version runs ads. If you can handle that, you are going to enjoy using this one.

8-in-One Video Solution


As it turns out, OEMs and carriers have taken matters into their own hands for video chatting. Some carriers, including Verizon, T-Mobile, and others have video calling built into every phone sold by the carrier. You can quickly and easily video chat with anyone else on the service. Thus, someone with a Galaxy S7 on T-Mobile and someone with an LG V20 on T-Mobile can video call each other directly from the dialer app like you were making a phone call. They're a bit restrictive, but they tend to work pretty well when you can actually use them. We hope these options are expanded over time.

When choosing a smart doorbell you have to decide if you want a wireless device that runs on batteries or one that gets its power from low-voltage doorbell wiring. Naturally, a wireless doorbell is the easiest type to install, as it draws power from batteries rather than from your home's electric and doesn't require that you turn off power or mess with any wiring whatsoever. The downside to wireless doorbells is that their batteries tend to deplete batteries quickly depending on usage, lasting anywhere from two to six months. If you live in an area where the winters are cold you can expect to recharge or replace your batteries every couple of months, and run the risk of your doorbell shutting down at an inopportune time.
Video doorbells don't offer local storage for recorded video, so you'll have to subscribe to a cloud service in order to view your motion- and doorbell-triggered video clips. Expect to pay anywhere from $3 per month and up for a plan that gives you access to 30 or more days of video that you can download and share. If you want to view older footage, make sure you save your clips as they will be deleted after the allotted time is up.
Facebook Messenger is one of the most popular messaging apps on the planet. We know that a lot of people don't like the app. We agree that it still needs a lot of work. However, there are so many people that use Facebook that Facebook Messenger just makes sense. The video chat experience works relatively well. Since most of the people you know are on Facebook, it's easier to use this app than to convince everyone to join a new platform. Plus, the new ads rolling out aren't great. It's not perfect, but it's perhaps the most convenient of the video chat apps on this list. At least it's free.

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