Canary Security ReviewBy - 12/14/2017
Canary is the maker of three home security cameras: Canary, View, and Flex. Canary was the first. Funded by an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign, it’s an indoor camera that can also monitor your home’s health.
HANDS-ON PERFORMANCE AND CAMERA SPECS
|Camera Specifications||Testing Results||Camera Specifications||Testing Results|
|Price:||$184.83||Pan, Tilt, Zoom:||Digital Only||Performs as Expected|
|Resolution / fps:||1080p / 30fps||Excellent||Live Streaming:||YES||Performs as Expected|
|Night Vision:||12 IR LEDS||Good picture quality, motion detection ability reduces after 10 feet.||Cloud Storage:||24 Hours Free, More For a Fee||Works|
|Viewing Angle:||147º||Performs as Expected||Local Storage:||Local Downloads and Video Sharing Only||Requires Membership|
|Motion Detection:||Unknown||Performs as Expected||Works with:||Wink, Canary Flex, Canary View, Google Home, Echo Show, Echo Spot, Fire TV||Tested Canary Flex and Google Home. Both work well.|
|Audio Detection:||NO||NO||Apps:||iOS, Android, Fire TV, and Web||App performs well, easy to use. Web App requires a Membership.|
|Two-Way Audio:||YES||Requires Membership||Supports Multiple Users/Cameras||Supports 5 Devices / Multiple Users||Tested 2 devices, 2 users. Works well.|
|Arm and Disarm:||Automatic||Performs as Expected||Special Features:||Monitors for changes in humidity, temperature, and air quality. Person Detection||Doesn’t work well. Delays and False Alarms.|
|Mount Options:||Stand Only||Works||Battery Backup:||NO||NO|
|BUY NOW:||BUY NOW|
How Canary Protects Your Home
Canary delivers a beautiful FHD video experience, offers night vision, and records sound and video. While Canary’s hardware is impressive, the software is equally as important in regards to home security. Currently, Canary supports an app for iOS, Apple Watch, Apple TV, Android, Fire TV, and Android Wear. If you’re a Wink owner, you can also use the Wink app to control limited features. Finally, Canary offers a web app but they only offer access to Members, more on that later.
From the Canary app, you can manage multiple home security features including motion, masking, modes, and more.
Motion, Masks, Learning, and a Siren
The primary way Canary protects your home is through the use of its motion sensor. Using data gathered from the Canary Community as a whole, Canary uses its learning sensor to get smarter over time. When you receive an alert, you have the option of tagging the event. When you tag an event, let’s say as a person, pet movement, sunlight, shadow, reflection, TV screen, etc., that data is sent back to Canary. Using data collected from all users, the camera gets smarter over time and learns to ignore false triggers.
This data has also allowed Canary to develop a new feature: person detection. For free, Canary alerts are now categorized as either motion alerts or person alerts.
The third way Canary reduces false alarms is through the use of masks. Masks are activity zones. If you find that your Canary camera isn’t learning to ignore your TV flicker, for example, you can draw a mask over the area. Canary will ignore any motion detected within the masked area.
Finally, Canary provides options for responding to motion events. First of all, it will alert you via a push notification. From the app, you can manually trigger the 90+ dB siren, place an emergency call to your local police department, or ignore the event. One thing that sets Canary apart from other solutions is that you can call your local police department or fire department no matter where you are.
Away, Home, and Night Mode
While smart motion detection is great, it can be a pain to arm your camera every time you leave home. Fortunately, Canary makes that easy through the use of modes: Away, Home, and Night.
Away mode is used when all members of your household are gone. When this happens, Canary will monitor for motion and send notifications if something is detected. Home Mode is used when at least one person is home. This mode is customizable, but only if you pay for a Canary Membership. Without a Membership, Home Mode provides two options: complete privacy or the option to live stream video. With a Membership, you can decide if Canary should record video but cease alerts or if it should swap to private mode (no recording, no alerts). Finally, Night Mode. Night Mode is accessible to all users, but like Home Mode, it’s only fully customizable with a Membership. While in this mode, users are home but want protection. For Night Mode to work, at least one user must be home, and you must set a schedule or swap to Night Mode manually. Scheduling is done using a nightly schedule. For example, you can have Canary swap to night mode at midnight and end at 6:00 AM. Like Home Mode, you have some control over Night Mode. You can decide if the camera should record video, record and send notifications, or if it should set to private.
My favorite mode is auto home away a.k.a geofencing. This option is available for both free and paid users. To use geofencing, you first set your home address within the app to create a geofence radius around your home. Anytime your phone exits the area, the camera arms. When you arrive home, it disarms. And yes, it works even if you have multiple users. In this case, it arms when your home is empty and disarms when at least one person arrives home.
HomeHealth + Google Home
Using the app for iOS or Android, you will have access to HomeHealth. You can view this information from your home screen or tap to view your home’s temperature, humidity, and air quality graphed over time. What’s “air quality?” Indoor air quality is the measure of contaminants in the air. Canary can detect isobutane, hydrogen, methane, ethanol, carbon monoxide, and cooking odors and notify you if one of these measures falls outside of your set range.
If you are a Google Home owner, you can also use your Google Home device to gather more information using your Canary Camera. Instead of accessing temperature, humidity, and air quality data from the mobile app, you can ask Google to do it for you. For example, you can say, “Hey Google, ask Canary for the air quality in The Bedroom.”
Wink + Canary + Alexa
Finally, Canary doesn’t work alone. From the Wink App, you can trigger Canary’s modes. You cannot view live video, recorded events, your activity feed, or HomeHealth data.
If you are an Echo user, you can attach your Canary camera to any Alexa-enabled device with a screen: Echo Show, Echo Spot, Fire TV. Using your voice, you can request that the device show a live feed from your camera.
Cloud Storage and Memberships
In addition to supporting Wink, Alexa, and Google Home, you can tie multiple Canary devices to one account. You can have multiple indoor cameras or a combination of indoor cameras and the indoor/outdoor Canary Flex. The benefit being more “eyes” to watch your home. The downside is that you’re capped at five cameras per location unless you’re willing to pay a monthly fee.
Canary offers 24 hours of video history per camera for free. However, for free, you are limited to 30-second video clips, not full-length clips.
If you want more than four cameras per account, more storage, or longer clips, you’ll need a Canary Membership. A Canary Membership provides 30 days of video history and unlimited data and downloads for $9.99/month. This fee covers up to five cameras. If you have more, the rate increases by $4.99/month/camera.
In addition to cloud storage, Membership provides access to Incident Support, two-way audio, full-length video clips, Mode Customization, the Canary web app, video downloads, social sharing, a 2-year extended device warranty, and Safety Button. Safety Button is actually the same as Noonlight, formally SafeTrek. From the app, you can press and hold the button whenever you want a little backup. If you release the button, they will call you to see if you’re okay. If you’re not or if you don’t answer, they will call for help.
What is incident support?
According to Canary, “Incident Support: In the event of a qualifying incident, we’ll (Canary) provide you with a dedicated agent to help retrieve video evidence and assist through a home theft event.”
How many megapixels does the camera have?
Canary’s camera has 3.1 megapixels, and the video uses H.264 compression.
Have you tried to get the home insurance discount using Canary?
Yes, and it’s true. However, my provider didn’t offer a discount percentage because I’m already at my maximum discount cap. Canary has confirmed eligibility for State Farm®, Liberty Mutual Insurance®, and Allstate®. State Farm customers with a Canary device may qualify for an insurance discount up to 7%.
Does Canary have their own server?
They use AWS.
What do you think of Canary Flex?
You can view my review here. I prefer the indoor Canary over Flex.
FINAL RECOMMENDATION, AND GOTCHAS
Canary was my favorite indoor home security camera for years, but that’s changed. They’ve continued to chip away at their free plan removing full-length video recordings, video downloads, reducing free storage, charging for two-way audio, and even mode customization. As their pricing model is so dynamic, it makes it hard to recommend Canary. However, though not perfect, it is still a good security camera. It’s simple, easy to use, and the picture quality is excellent. I love that it arms and disarms itself. I don’t have to think about it, and that’s exactly how home security should work.
Some things to know: Canary doesn’t have battery backup, it lacks local storage, and though it offers free cloud storage, 24 hours of event clips may not be enough for someone who isn’t home a lot.
My Canary camera was provided for testing more than two years ago. I purchased Canary Flex on my own.
Last Updated 12/14/2017
Person Detection Coming Soon and Membership Pricing Changes. Removal of Social Sharing
Read Previous Updates
11/17/2017 Canary no longer charges for night mode.
10/04/2017 Now charging for custom modes and night modes.
08/01/2017 Updated with information on Canary’s new two-way audio option and web portal. They also changed what it includes for free vs. with a Membership.