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Canary All in-One: Does It Have Everything You Need?

Published: Sep 08, 2016 at 08:00 UTC
canary all in one security camera1

There is no such thing as one-size-fits-all security device. And that rings true for professional companies such as ADT. Let’s keep it simple, shall we? If you want to purchase a security camera, it’s important that you consider your personal needs— present as well as future.

Having already rated the Piper NV as the best home security camera to replace a commercial system, Canary all-in-one may come across as worthless. But contrary to the popular belief, Canary perfectly complements any security system you already have in place.

Additionally, if you have a commercial system installed in your property, you may be aware of the fact that the monitoring station will not call the police in case your alarm goes off. YOU have to go home, see if there has been a break-in, and call the police yourself!  That is a pre-requisite put in place by police departments around the country.

Well, for most of us, leaving work to run home and see if someone has broken in is really not an option – not to mention it is extremely dangerous if you confront someone when you get there.

So, what’s the option?

A security camera that will live-stream what is happening in real time, allowing you to peak in and see if there’s a break-in, so you can call the police at the right moment.

Canary’s camera makes that possible.

What are the Top Features of Canary All-In-One?

Resolution:

The camera boasts 1080 pixel resolution, which is becoming standard for the best home security cameras – or at least the ones that we’ve ranked as the top five. That said, the 3.1 mp detail resolution is not quite as sharp as the Piper. Canary is known to update their product through Cloud at least once a month.

Indoor/Outdoor:

Canary’s product is designed only to work indoors and, unlike the Piper, opting to point the camera toward the front yard is barely feasible.

Field of View:

Canary, also, uses a fish-eye type lens with a viewing area of 147*. It affects how much area it will cover and how many cameras are required to capture every portion of an average size room.

Pan, Tilt, Zoom:

There is no pan or tilt mode—even when you use the web portal but you can zoom in to recorded video by logging into the portal. This is why camera placement becomes an essential element for capturing what is going on in a room.

If you place the camera on top of the refrigerator, for example, you won’t be able to see the floor because there is no tilt option. If you place it on a low shelf, on the other hand, such as the bottom level of a side-table, you probably won’t see faces but can be guaranteed of great shots of waists and feet.

Night Vision and Live Streaming:

canary all in one security camera3Assuming that nothing disrupts the camera from recording or live-streaming – and that it is placed in a good spot – Canary’s night vision quality and live-streaming capability puts it into the list of best surveillance cameras.

As you can see, the figures have a ghostly appearance but the face of one person does show enough detail, to be identified by police.

IR LEDs:

The IR LEDs – or infrared light-emitting diode – sends out wavelengths of light that are longer than normal daylight. Your eye won’t detect the difference but the camera will. The more IR LEDs are contained in the module, the better for the camera to utilize the light and pick up images accurately.

Canary has a 12-IR LED module— and that’s at the top end of all cameras on the market.

Two-Way Audio:

If you feel that you need two-way audio in your security set-up, Canary will disappoint you. But, if you have another source that covers that need, such as one of the help line sensors for seniors, you may not care much about that deficiency.

Canary has audio listening and recording microphone built-in so that sounds can be recorded and stored in Cloud.

Alarm/Siren:

Canary comes pre-fitted with an excellent alarm. It’s not quite as loud as the one that comes with Piper NV but it is loud enough to be heard at least 2 doors down, on an average street in the U.S.  The only way you can miss the alarm if you set it off remotely.

There is no option for it to automatically sound, which is useful if you are in Europe on extended vacation.

Built-In Back-up Battery:

Only two of the best home security cameras we reviewed had a back-up battery – Piper NV and Remocam. The Canary camera is plugged into a wall outlet and if the power goes out or the plug is removed, the camera dies.

So, choose a plug which can be fitted behind a furniture, that is both large enough to prevent snooping eyes from seeing it and difficult enough to move so that it cannot be unplugged easily by an intruder.

It should be said that most intruders do not spend a great deal of time trying to find a plug and most don’t even notice that there are cameras in a home – no matter how obvious.

Apparently, burglars are very focused on getting loot instead of finding security cameras – which may account for their choice in occupation (limited knowledge).

Cloud Storage:

canary-more-than-a-camera-4196-con-list-768x423-main-6Cloud storage is available for Canary. If that sounds like a strange way to say it, it is only because Canary has both ‘free’ and ‘premium’ options for storing data to Cloud.

It goes something like this:

  • Free Cloud Storage = 12 hours of storage and a maximum of 3 downloadable video clips
  • Premium Plan Options all include unlimited downloadable video:
  1. $4.99 per month or $49 per year – 2 days of storage plus 25 bookmarked events
  2. $9.99 per month or $99 per year – 7 days of storage plus 100 bookmarked events
  3. $29.99 per month or $299 per year – 30 days of storage plus unlimited bookmarked events

Let’s take a close look at that ‘free’ option.

If you leave at 7 a.m. to drop kids at school, leave time for traffic, stop for a coffee to-go, park in the designated parking area at work and start working between 8 and 9 a.m., you have just used up to two of the free hours before you start work.

Let’s assume you work an 8-hour day. Now, 10 of those hours are used up.

You stay at work for an extra 15-minutes to finish some task, retrieve your car, stop at the grocery store or quick stop to pick something up, pick up the kids from day care or from their friend’s house and leaving time for end-of-day traffic, you return home at 7:30 p.m. – at the earliest.

And by the time you arrive, your Cloud storage for the day is used up.

Let’s say that 15-minutes after you left for work the next morning, someone broke into your house.

That information and imagery will no longer be available for viewing.  Plus, since you have to sign-in to your account via web portal when you get an alert, you may or may not be able to access your account while at work.

The company has given this more thought than we have and knows that the 12-hours is insufficient for most people today. It’s no accident that the premium services start right after that.

About this ‘bookmarking’ thing: when you bookmark an event that you may want to download or review when you get home later, it remains stored in the Cloud forever.

Local Storage:

The only way to have local storage is to download a bookmark to your computer and send it to your phone. Canary does not have a downloadable device to send it to your smartphone directly.

How To Set-Up Canary All In One?

You need any form of internet connection – broadband, Ethernet or WiFi and an electrical outlet. On paper, it seems to be a no-brainer.

In actuality, we found it confusing and, in spite of the fact that we had set up and tested about 20 other devices, we still thought it was just us.

According to the instructions, you power up the Canary, plug it into your smartphone and enter your information.  Plug it into your smartphone? That’s the phrase that caught us off guard.

But, according to one verified owner:

Canary camera customer review

Several Canary owners complained that the camera did not recognize their phones. They had to use their iPad or another Android tablet to get the set-up going.

What is advertised to take 10-minutes to get going, actually takes about five aggravating hours in real life.

In essence, you want to set up your Canary on your day off so you have enough time to complete the process.

Pet and Temperature Sensors:

canary all in one security camera4First of all, there is no setting option to allow for pets moving around the home so you can count on getting an alert every time the cat rolls over or the dog goes for a drink of water.

Heaven help you if you have a dog that barks at the wind!

According to the company, their Home health sensors will detect “carbon monoxide, methane, ethanol, cigarette smoke, and cooking odors”.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t differentiate one from the other in the graph report.

It doesn’t tell you why or what is causing air quality to go from normal to abnormal to very abnormal.

 The other problem with this device is that the sensors are overly sensitive. For instance, if you place the camera anywhere near other electronic equipment or heaters or ashtrays or in the kitchen, the readings will be either higher or lower than the graph shows, making it an unreliable tool.

Setting Options:

There is only one setting available: geofencing.  Geofencing identifies your home and associates it with your smartphone.

 When you leave your house with your phone on you, and once you get outside the fence, the camera automatically is armed and begins monitoring for motions.

When you return home and are inside that same fence line, it automatically disarms the camera and stops recording.

The downside of this automation is that if you don’t take the phone or tablet that is registered with Canary when you run to the store, the system will not be armed.

Notification Options:

canary all in one security camera5Canary notifies you about every little thing that occurs, when it occurs.  If you are annoyed by notifications about when you left home, when your pet jumped on the couch, when the postman rang the doorbell and when the neighbor’s kid honked the car horn repeatedly, it is easy for you to miss something that is truly important.

Customer Service:

When Canary first came on the market, the customer service was horrible. However, it has vastly improved and is now on par with the team support over at Piper!

Good work, guys!

What Canary All-in-One Will Not Do?

Currently, there is no plan to add two-way audio, smoke detectors or sync the product up with more than Wink and Echo for home automated technology.

Yay or Nay?

If you don’t need all the bells and whistles and only want an additional camera that you can personally monitor when your security service takes an hour to let you know that there has been an intrusion, the Canary may just be the answer for you.

 

Comparison Chart for the Top 4 Models

Canary All in One Security Camera

Canary all in one security camera

 
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