To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

TP-Link Tapo D230S1 review: The best video doorbell without a subscription

Our Rating :
£99.99 from
Price when reviewed : £150
(inc VAT)

The TP-Link Tapo D230S1 works brilliantly and is reasonably priced – it’s our new favourite video doorbell


  • Can be used without a subscription
  • Packed with features
  • Loud chime included in box


  • Not compatible with mains power
  • Can’t connect to traditional chimes

The TP-Link Tapo D230S1 isn’t the sleekest of video doorbells but, if you’re looking for something that can work without a subscription, it deserves a place high up on your shortlist.

It’s packed with features, works very effectively and, what’s more, it’s reasonably priced. This is now our favourite video doorbell and dethrones the Eufy Video Doorbell S220, which has been our top pick for a couple of years.

TP-Link D230S1 review: What do you get for the money?

The TP-Link Tapo D230S1’s list price is £150 but, at the time of writing, it was on offer for £100. It’s decent value at £150, but a snip for a product this good at the discounted price.

For comparison, the Ring Video Doorbell Plus – our favourite Ring doorbell – will set you back £170 if you buy it with a chime. You’ll also have to pay a monthly subscription fee if you want to use it to its full potential, making it considerably more expensive than the TP-Link in the long run.

Despite the reasonable price, TP-Link includes everything you could possibly need. In the box is the doorbell unit itself, plus a plug-in chime and all the screws and wall plugs you’ll need to mount it on your door frame. TP-Link also supplies an angled, 15° wedge for corner mounting and a double-sided adhesive pad for sticking it to flat surfaces.

At this point I should point out that the Tapo D230S1 doesn’t offer the ability to connect to mains power, and it doesn’t support connection to traditional wired chimes. However, the supplied chime is loud enough that you’ll be able to hear it throughout most medium-sized houses, and you can add chimes fairly cheaply if you want to extend the doorbell elsewhere in your home.

The doorbell itself is quite a chunky thing and feels a little plasticky. It’s finished mostly in white plastic with a black front fascia and a large bell button that, like Henry Cavill’s chin, protrudes a little at the bottom. The camera is at the top, and below it is a horizontal LED strip that lights up when the doorbell is pressed or when motion is detected.

The camera captures video up to 2K in resolution at 15fps with a 160-degree diagonal field of view and it has two-way audio so you can communicate with visitors in real time. For night-time video capture you have two choices: there’s colour night vision thanks to that LED light, or it can record monochrome infrared footage if you prefer.

TP-Link Tapo D230S1 review: Is it easy to install?

It’s pretty straightforward to get going with the Tapo DS230S1 but the process is a little different to most video doorbells. You need to download and install the Tapo app first, but instead of then pairing the doorbell and adding the chime, it’s the other way around here.

That’s because the doorbell doesn’t connect directly to your wireless router via standard Wi-Fi. It uses a “Sub-GHz” RF connection to pair with the chime unit supplied in the box, which then connects to your router via Ethernet cable.

This means you’ll need a spare socket on your router to run the doorbell, and if you want to use the doorbell without a subscription, you’ll also need to find a spare microSD card. The slot on the side of the chime will take cards up to 512GB in capacity but that’s overkill; 32GB or 64GB should suffice.

Finally, you’ll need to set up the doorbell unit itself. Again, this is straightforward: simply add it by following the instructions in the app, mount the bracket to your door frame or a surface nearby and clip the doorbell in place. At this point you can set up motion zones to avoid false positives and to save battery life. Otherwise you’re pretty much good to go.

There’s much more to the Tapo D230S1 than just this, though. You can also set up smart detection for packages, humans, vehicles and animals, although the latter is currently in beta. You can add privacy zones, which block out portions of the frame entirely – useful if the camera points at a neighbour’s property. It might also be an idea to select a different ringtone for the chime, too – on mine, Jingle Bells was selected by default when I set it up.

READ NEXT: Best wireless doorbell 

Fortunately, that’s easy enough to do and there are more than enough ringtones to choose from, including the traditional ding-dong, which is the tone I usually go for. The chime itself goes extremely loud at maximum volume and, if you want to extend the reach of the doorbell even further, you can have it ring via your Amazon Echo or Google Home-compatible speakers. Alternatively, you can simply purchase a Tapo H100 IOT Hub for around £15.

TP-Link Tapo D230S1 review: What could it do better?

There isn’t much I would change about the TP-Link Tapo, but there is one irritation. Downloading clips from the chime’s storage is fiddlier than it needs to be. You have to first select the clip you want to download, play it back and then immediately tap a small onscreen icon to record it to the Downloads area. Only then can you share the clip to your photos album, email it or save it to local storage.

Another small gripe I have is that the Google Home announcements are rather verbose and there seems to be no way of turning off certain types of notification. As well as simply chiming when someone presses the doorbell, for instance, your Google Home-compatible speakers will also say “motion has been detected…” followed by “person detected…” in subsequent announcements, which could quickly get tiresome.

TP-Link Tapo D230S1 review: Verdict

It isn’t perfect, then, but the Tapo D230S1 ticks just about all of the boxes required of a modern smart video doorbell.

It works efficiently, image and audio quality is good and it can be used without a subscription. There’s a chime in the box and your chime can be extended with Google Home and Amazon Alexa-compatible speakers or the cheap and cheerful Tapo H100 Hub.

There is the odd feature here and there that it doesn’t offer. You can’t wire it up to the mains and it doesn’t support connections to traditional chime boxes. But these are small complaints. It’s otherwise a superb video doorbell and it takes over from the Eufy Video Doorbell S220 as our new favourite.

Read more