Home security is incredibly important to us, so it is of no wonder that we are now starting to heavily invest in small home security systems to monitor your pets or your belongings. With monitoring devices becoming smarter and smaller, with readily available smart phone apps, it is now easier then ever to keep an eye on your home without breaking the bank.
The Canary is not the first smart home security system I’ve taken a look at, but it is by far the most impressive in terms of features, such as the full HD camera, built in siren, environment sensors and more. It was easy to setup although the 3.5mm cable could be annoying if you lose it, or don’t have one to hand – in fact, Canary have recently released an update, which now adds a new feature to connect it without the cable. The app itself is great; it’s easy to use with intuitive controls and all of the relevant information is clearly displayed. Unlike other cameras, the camera is controlled through the app in its entirety, meaning you don’t have a web interface.
At £159.99 the Canary is priced very competitively considering its features, however if you want to fully benefit from the camera, you have to pay for a plan. From £49.99 annually, the premium plans provide you with longer recording storage and unlimited downloads. The free plan, which stores recordings up to 12 hours, I find totally useless for me as by the time I’ve checked my phone for notifications, or I am out for a lot of the day, I either have very little time to check it out, or I have ran out of downloads (free version only includes 3 a month!). To get the most out of it, you actually have to pay for it and I believe by limiting the storage for the free plan, Canary are pretty much forcing you to upgrade your plan – something I disagree with. Due to the high quality video, Canary do recommend that you have an upload speed of 1 Mbps, which could be an issue for many, as most standard broadband packages have less then this.
Whilst I think the app itself is great, it would be good to include the option of setting temperature, humidity and air quality alarms, so you know if it is getting too hot/damp in the room. Being able to set a sound notification/alarm for when the Canary is triggered, would also be very useful.
Compared to other smart home security systems, such as the HomeMonitor HD camera I checked out in the past, the Canary certainly does win hands down in terms of features and usability, however it’s the approach that Canary have taken to force you into paying for a monthly plan, which lets it down. The app is great, although it could do with an audible alarm and a few other options to trigger alerts, but other than this, I cannot fault it. The ability for the camera to disarm when you are in the area is great touch and something very useful, as you no longer have to rely on “armed” schedules like with other cameras. I love the design of the Canary, and its features, however I believe by increasing the free plan to include say, 24 or 48 hours of storage would make the Canary a real winner.
- Feature rich
- Great design
- Intuitive app
- Intelligent learning
- No web interface
- Forces you to use paid plans
- High bandwidth requirements
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