It's tough to choose a good security camera nowadays. Hundreds of brands are releasing their own and almost all of them offer a similar featureset. What I look for, personally, is integration with other smart home systems — namely Google Home — and whether or not a monthly fee is required to get the basic features. For those two reasons, the Logi Circle 2 has been on my watchlist for a long time, and its temptation is getting harder to resist with these two discounts. Read More
Gather 'round for some happy news, Arlo owners. If you've been envious of Nest's integration with Google Home and Assistant, the wait might be drawing to a close. Arlo has a landing page where it's promising that the Google Assistant integration is "coming soon" for its connected security cameras.
The entire page is very light on details and all we know is that you'll be able to stream any of your cameras by saying, "Ok Google, show me camera_name on tv/chromecast_name." That's the same thing you can do with Nest and Logi right now, and it requires a Chromecast connected to a TV or an Android TV set-top box to work. Read More
You know what users like even less than a company that takes features away from them? It's a company that doesn't seem to make up its own mind about what it wants and doesn't want to offer them.
The story of Canary goes like this: the company made a nice connected security camera that I actually loved. In September of 2016, Canary changed its plans to introduce Membership, but caused an uproar because it forced all paid users into a $9.99 plan and took away the cheaper but good-enough-for-most-users $4.99 option (initial plans screenshot), and it also changed the free plan from 12hrs/camera to 24hrs total, divided on all the cams you had: 24hrs for 1 = double, 12hrs for 2 = same as before, 8hrs for 3 = bad, and it only gets worse from there. Read More
In her review, Rita called the Blink indoor home security camera "an interesting proposition that falters in execution." In spite of its shortcomings, one of the Blink's virtues was its battery life. Both the original Blink and the outdoors-ready Blink XT run on two AA lithium batteries, with two years of battery life under normal use. Now Blink is doubling down on that strength without hampering its cameras by enabling three video recording modes: Saver, Standard, and Best. Read More
If you're looking for a way to secure your home or small business or if you already have an Arlo system in place and want to expand it, there's a nice deal over on Amazon for a 2-pack of the Arlo Q 1080p cameras.
These are AC-powered security cams with 130deg wide-angle lenses, night vision, motion detection and activity zones, optional 24/7 recording, 7 days of free storage (upgradable), 2-way audio. They're not weather-proof and can't work without power, so you will be limited a little in where you place them, but they should do the job indoors. The cams can be scheduled to arm and disarm, but if you want more flexibility over their control, you can integrate them with SmartThings, Wink, IFTTT, Stringify, and Telguard. Read More
Connected cameras are everywhere nowadays. From Dropcam and Nest, to Canary, Logi, Arlo, Blink, Piper, a lot of companies are trying to make a great security camera for indoor and outdoor — and maybe business — use, but they all rely on their own proprietary software and lock you into their ecosystems and apps. Amcrest is part of a different breed of cams that cater more to the DIY crowd. Read More
Blink, the company that makes affordable and portable home security cameras (see my full review), has been on a bit of a roll over the past few months. First, it added Alexa support to arm and disarm the system and inquire about the latest recorded videos, then it announced an outdoor camera, the Blink XT, with weather-proofing, 1080p video, and an IR night vision sensor. Now it's releasing a whole host of upgrades and gear to complement its system.
To begin, Blink's Sync Module, the one that connects to your WiFi and serves as the central hub for all the small wireless cameras, has an upgraded version with 4G Cellular support and battery backup so your system remains up and accessible even when WiFi is down and there's no power. Read More
Blink has an interesting proposition as a connected security system: one sync module that plugs into MicroUSB for power but connects to your network over WiFi, and 1 to 10 completely wireless cameras that you can place anywhere without worrying about power or connection cables. They only get triggered by motion and record short clips (max. 60sec) then go back to idling. When I reviewed the system last week, I found the idea promising but complained about the slow app and the missing hardware features: no weatherproofing and no night vision were big deal-breakers for me, and the 720p resolution was limited too. Read More
I recently reviewed Canary's home security and connected camera system and was pleasantly impressed by most of its features, especially the auto-arm/disarm based on geofence. Now the Canary app is receiving an update to add a couple of interesting features for Android users.
First up is a new Android Wear app that lets you monitor your cameras right from your wrist if you have a smartwatch. I've tested it today and it seems to do the essentials rather well, letting me see my location stats (temperature, humidity, and air quality), tap and hold on the mode icon to switch to Home, Away, Privacy, or Night, and scroll to view a thumbnail of the last recorded event. Read More
When I first heard about the Blink security cameras, I was immediately impressed and intrigued. Having tried both the Piper and Canary in my pharmacy, to more or less mitigated results, the Blink seemed like the perfect solution.
Piper (full review) suffers from one major flaw: the camera doesn't turn itself back on after a power failure if the back-up battery is empty (and since we have lots of blackouts here in Lebanon, I got tired of buying new batteries every two or three weeks). It also doesn't have a native scheduled arm/disarm feature; I really shouldn't have to manually arm and disarm my cameras when a simple time-based schedule is easy to implement. Read More