There are a number of home surveillance cameras available on the market, and as a tech reviewer, I am often invited to review these. The only one which has worked well for me, with minimal effort, is the Philips inSight, which I have in my living room. This allows me to view live footage, but nothing more. Quality is also mediocre at best. I have recently purchased a Canary “all-in-one” home security device. In short, this is a camera from which live footage can be viewed, as well as a history of footage, along with a plethora of additional features. It is these other features which make this probably one of the best home security cameras available to consumers today. Here are my thoughts.
From the very unboxing, I knew that this was going to be a high quality product. Reviews have been generally positive, and the ease of setting up the Canary has been well documented. Included in the box is the Canary itself, UK wall plug, USB to Micro USB cable, connection cable, instructions and some stickers. The Canary is very well designed and looks so discreet, you may be forgiven for not noticing that it is a camera. As it is (almost) completely wireless, you have a lot more choice for placement options. I set mine up in my home study, neatly on my desk. It only requires power from a USB device, and I connected mine to a USB hub, although a wall plug is also included. The bottom of the device gives out a soft light blue/white LED light to show that it is on.
SET-UP / FUNCTIONALITY
Setting up the Canary was a very straight forward process. I simply downloaded the official app from the app store (iOS) onto my phone, and followed the on-screen instructions. This involved connecting to my home wifi network. I also needed to briefly physically connect the Canary to my iPhone using the supplied cable (basically a 3.5mm headphone jack). Once set-up, everything was operational. The app is very nicely designed, simple to use, and allows me to view my home office from anywhere in the world! I did notice that there is around 8 seconds of lag with live viewing, and I believe that this is because the Canary servers are located in the US. I am not entirely sure how this makes a difference, but this is what I have read.
The app itself features a timeline, allowing the user to view footage from the past 12 hours. This is with the ‘free’ plan, but you can upgrade to a paid plan which will allow for more hours (up to 30 days) and unlimited downloads, whereas free plan has a limited number of downloads. Also note, you can connect the Canary directly through an ethernet connection, although the wireless option has been flawless for me.
What sets the Canary apart from other home monitoring devices are a number of unique features. The Canary connects to your phone via bluetooth, and can detect when you are at home and when you leave.
Notifications: When you leave the house, the Canary can arm itself to ‘away’ mode’. This means that if it detects movement, you will receive a notification allowing you to view what is going on at home. Sound quality is also decent.
Siren: The Canary features a 90dB alarm, which the user can activate if they see any suspicious activity. The emergency services number is also located within the app, so you can quickly dial it, if required. The alarm is much louder than a smoke alarm, and surprisingly loud from such a small device, but not like my ADT alarm.
Temperature / humidity: This is another unique feature, which I probably won’t use much, but is good to check once in a while. A carbon-monoxide sensor built-in would have been a welcome addition, with the ability to see your atmospheric levels in some sort of graph.
Multiple devices: You can connect up to four Canary devices in a single home.
-Discreet and good aesthetics
-Very easy to set-up
-Good quality HD footage
-Wide viewing angle
-Good night vision
-Only records up to 12 hours worth of footage (with the free plan)
-Around 8 seconds of lag with live viewing
-Cannot send voice message back through the device (as with Philips inSight)
-Price may put some people off (£159 rrp)
To summarise, I personally love the Canary. Yes, it is one of the more dearly priced home cameras on the market, but also one of the most well designed, simple to use and aesthetically pleasing. The Canary would look great in any home, and the extra features really do set it apart. Ideal not only for home security, but also monitoring y our children/pets, too. If you want quality, be prepared to fork-out for the premium. I think investing in your home security is a wise-move, and there is no price you can put on a sound piece of mind. Allowing me to view live footage of my home whilst I am away, and replay footage is a huge advantage, and one I am happy to pay for.