Questions To Ask Before Backing Zmodo’s Snap Pro CameraBy - 08/07/2018
It’s nice when manufacturers listen to their customers, which is why I tip my hat to Zmodo for creating Snap Pro, a security camera built with user-requested features in mind. According to Zmodo’s research, their customers want their cameras to check the following boxes:
- Easy to use
Can Snap Pro Offer It All?
Disclaimer: Before we start with the review, I want to make it clear that everything we know about Snap Pro is based on the information provided by Zmodo and not based on its actual performance. Snap Pro is still in a pre-order stage. You should note that claims made by manufacturers don’t always match the performance of their products.
Is It Small?
The final Snap Pro prototype measures 2.83″ (height) x 1.45″ (width) x 2.67″ (depth). For reference, it’s about the size of a full deck of cards. So yes, it’s small and also odd-looking when compared to most security cameras.
Is It Beautiful?
As the saying goes, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” so I’ll you be the judge as to whether or not Zmodo Snap Pro is a beauty queen, but if you’re asking if it’s an eyesore, it’s not. Snap Pro is small, white, and sleek.
Is It Wireless?
Snap Pro is wireless. And not only is it Wi-Fi-enabled, but it’s also battery-powered. Snap Pro comes with a rechargeable battery that, according to Zmodo, can last for up to 5 to 6 months under normal use which is defined as 15 motion events per day. If you push usage up to 30 motion events per day, they estimate that Snap Pro will last 3 months. Recorded clips are 10-seconds in length.
Is It Modular?
Technically Snap Pro is NOT modular. You can’t take it apart to replace components, which is typically what we think of when we think “modular design.” However, Zmodo has a different definition. They define modular as being easy to move, what we might think of as “mobile.” The camera is mobile. You can move it around your house, be it indoors or outdoors. It’s also easy to install, thanks to the included adjustable wall mount, and it’s weatherproof (IP54).
Is It Wide-Angle?
Snap Pro’s wide-angle lens captures a 180° field of view. So yes, it’s a wide-angle camera, even more so than high-end battery-powered cameras like Arlo Pro 2 (130° FOV).
Is It Easy To Use?
According to Zmodo, Snap Pro is easy to install and set up. Like Arlo, it requires a hub. But unlike Arlo, Snap Pro’s hub plugs directly into any standard power outlet and does not require Ethernet.
As far as using the camera, Snap Pro, like most of Zmodo’s cameras, connects to two apps: the Zmodo app (rating: 2.6 on Play Store, 2.3 on App Store) and the third-party meShare app (rating: 2.7 on Play Store, 2.9 on App Store). Weirdly, Zmodo favors the meShare app for Snap Pro, probably because it has a better interface and features. But it’s unclear whether the meShare app offers cloud storage for Snap Pro or not. If it doesn’t, you might have to use both apps (Zmodo for recording and meShare for live monitoring) or choose the less intuitive Zmodo app. The final verdict here is TBD.
Is It Secure?
Snap Pro uses bank-level encryption (AES 256-bit) and TLS. Also, both the Zmodo and meShare apps use US-based servers, so no video data should be sent to foreign servers.
Finally, Is It Affordable?
The actual retail price of Snap Pro is yet to be announced, but you can pre-order it for as low as $68 for the 1-camera pack (hub included) or $112 for the 2-camera pack (hub included). It also comes with 7 days of free cloud storage, so it is possible to use the camera without paying a monthly subscription fee. Of course, premium cloud storage plans will also be available.
Is It Good Enough?
So far, we’ve seen that Snap Pro conforms with what most Zmodo customers want their security cameras to be. But there’s one more question that needs to be asked, “Can it perform as a security camera?”
How’s The Video Quality?
We know Snap Pro has a 180° wide-angle lens. We also know that Snap Pro’s video quality is FHD 1080p and that it offers IR night vision with a range of up to 20 feet. While those aren’t groundbreaking features, they are all qualities found in most good security cameras. Regarding video quality, Snap Pro has the right ingredients.
What Are Snap Pro’s Security Features?
To determine if Snap Pro is good enough for use as a security camera, it’s vital that we look into its security features, or rather, it’s ONLY security feature: motion detection using a built-in PIR motion sensor.
According to a demo video of Snap Pro paired with the meShare app (see above), the motion detection feature is affected by modes. You can swap between Home, Away, Sleep, or custom modes. If you have multiple cameras, you can customize how you want each camera to react when set to different modes. For example, you can program your indoor Snap Pro cameras to turn off motion detection while in Sleep Mode but leave the feature turned on for your outdoor Snap Pros.
When Snap Pro detects motion, it’s configured to send an alert to your smartphone (via the Zmodo or meShare app, depending on what you’re using). It’s also programmed to record a short event clip to the cloud (via the Zmodo App only). The default clip length is 10 seconds, but you can increase or decrease the clip length based on your needs. However, to conserve battery power, Zmodo recommends setting the clip length to a lower setting if the camera is in a high-traffic area, especially as Snap Pro doesn’t offer features that reduce false alarms (motion zones, face detection, facial recognition). On the bright side, Zmodo brags that unlike most battery-powered cameras, Snap Pro can wake up to capture motion in less than 5 seconds.
Does It Integrate With Other Security/Automation Products?
Good security cameras also have the ability to integrate with other security and smart home products. Unfortunately for Snap Pro, it has limited integrations. For now, Snap Pro only integrates with other Zmodo cameras and security accessories in that you can monitor them using the same app. It doesn’t, unfortunately, have any special correlation with the other Zmodo cameras. Zmodo’s security sensors can’t trigger Snap Pro to record, and the Zmodo cameras can’t group record.
The only bit of good news for those who are looking for smart home integrations is that Zmodo is currently working on an Alexa integration. They haven’t shared information about the Skill yet, but they’re confident it will be ready before Snap Pro starts shipping.
Does Snap Pro Have Our Seal Of Approval?
On paper, Snap Pro seems like a decent camera. It’s wireless and battery-powered, it can live indoors or outdoors, it has a wide field of view, it captures high-resolution videos, and it offers free cloud storage. It’s also a part of a large family of security cameras and has a future friendship with Alexa. However, it’s hard to give Snap Pro our seal of approval. It’s not yet ready to ship, and as mentioned earlier, it’s not uncommon for camera manufacturers to underdeliver on their promises. The bottom line is that I’m not completely writing off Zmodo Snap Pro, but I’m not giving it my seal of approval.
If you decide to move forward, please remember that pre-ordering and backing crowdfunding campaigns come with risks, so choose wisely.
To learn more about Snap Pro, you can head over the official campaign page at Kickstarter.com where a pledge of $68.00 or more will snag a camera and a hub.
Photo Credit: Zmodo