Should You Back Panasonic HomeHawk FLOOR?By - 02/24/2019
Panasonic, the maker of HomeHawk FLOOR, is betting that the biggest concern people currently have with home security cameras is that they look like security cameras. I think they missed the mark.
What is HomeHawk?
HomeHawk FLOOR is one part home security camera, one part smart light. However, unlike Sengled that combines a camera and a smart bulb or even Ring Spotlight which combines a camera and a spotlight, Panasonic has shoved a home security camera into a floor lamp.
The floor lamp ships in black and includes three poles: 2 feet, 4 feet, and 6 feet. Embedded into the lamp you will find an LED light, a camera, a microphone, and a speaker.
More About The Camera, Motion Detection, and Storage
HomeHawk FLOOR is not Panasonic’s first HomeHawk product. They have others. FLOOR will share the same app and compatibilities as their current lineup but differs slightly in specs and hardware.
The camera lens, built into the head of the lamp, offers a high vantage point backed by a 140-degree field of view. It has a FHD 1080p resolution which is adjustable down to HD or even VGA if needed. It records at 30 frames per second, offers colored night vision, and a motion sensor.
The motion sensor is the camera’s only security-focused sensor. When motion is detected, it will start capturing footage. The event footage plus a two second pre-recording will be saved to the lamp’s microSD card.
The number of events you can store to the card will depend on the size of the card you choose. The camera can support up to a 128GB card. Panasonic claims that this size card can hold up to 145 hours of FHD video with the frame rate set to 25. As far as clip length, the camera will record as long as motion continues with a maximum recording time of 15 minutes.
When motion is detected, an alert will also be sent to your phone. The lamp includes access to a smartphone app for Android and iOS. As mentioned above, it is the same HomeHawk app used by Panasonic’s other HomeHawk cameras.
From the app, you can watch recorded events, stream live, or use the lamps built-in speaker and microphone to trigger two-way audio. Two-way audio is presented walkie-talkie style where you will press the button on the mobile app to talk and release to listen.
(Local storage is the only option for HomeHawk at this time; there is no mention of cloud storage.)
More About the Smart Light
The light built into the floor lamp offers up to 600 lumens at 2700Ks. You can turn the light on and off using the lamp itself, but you can also use the app. From the app, you can dim the light, control it, and even create a schedule. Panasonic also plans to add voice control so that you can use your voice to command your smart light.
Current Panasonic HomeHawk products work with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Using your screened Alexa device or Google Assistant, you can say, “Show me the front door camera,” to pull up a live feed. While there is no official word on HomeHawk FLOOR’s specific compatibility with voice assistants, I think it’s safe to assume that the integration will work the same as other HomeHawk cameras.
It’s important to remember that the LED light is built into the lamp itself. It is not replaceable. While the light should last an approximate seven years, you will be out of luck if for whatever reason the bulb breaks or stops working. If this happens, Panasonic shares that you will need to purchase a new HomeHawk FLOOR.
In addition to the features listed above, FLOOR includes three bonus features.
First, the lamp offers battery backup. It requires AC power (120V AC, 60Hz) and Wi-Fi access but it also includes a built-in battery. It uses eight AA batteries which can keep the lamp charged during a power outage for up to 1.5 hours. Of course, the actual time will vary greatly depending on usage and lamp settings.
Second, FLOOR offers a privacy mode. The lamp doesn’t have a physical privacy shutter to cover to lens; rather you can turn privacy mode on and off using your smartphone.
Finally, the app enables geofencing. Geofencing has three sub-features. First, you can set the lamp’s camera to record motion when you are gone and set it to privacy mode when you’re home. Second, geofencing can control the smart light. For example, you might want the lights to turn on when you’re home and off when you’re gone. Third, geofencing can be tied to motion notifications. For example, you might want the camera to continue recording motion when you’re home, but you might not want notifications.
Panasonic’s sole purpose in launching the HomeHawk FLOOR was to address the needs of those who felt that security cameras looked too much like security cameras. While HomeHawk FLOOR looks like a lamp and not a camera, the attractiveness of the lamp is subjective. I also don’t feel as though Panasonic addressed the complaints I hear most often regarding security cameras including their tendency to send too many false alarms.
Beyond looking different, Panasonic has failed to offer anything new. The lamp doesn’t have any sensors beyond motion and there is no mention of features aimed at reducing false alarms including motion zones, adjustable motion sensitivity, and person detection. I know their other HomeHawk cameras include motion detection areas, so it’s possible that they will bring this feature to FLOOR but even then, that’s not enough to make the camera “different.”
In short, I have four primary concerns. First, as already mentioned, the camera lacks a way to filter for intelligent notifications. Second, the light bulb is not a replaceable part. If you break it, you will need to buy a new device. Third, current HomeHawk products have poor reviews. The KX-HNC800B sits at 2.5 stars on Panasonic’s website. The KX-HN7003W has a 1-star rating. On Amazon, the HomeHawk by PANASONIC Indoor Home Monitoring has 3.5 stars, but FakeSpot has graded the reviews a D, meaning that the actual product score is probably closer to that found on Panasonic’s site. Fourth, the HomeHawk app is not well rated. On iTunes, it holds 2.3 stars and on Google Play 2.3 stars.
For now, I’m calling HomeHawk FLOOR a pass.
Should all go well, Panasonic expects to start shipping to backers in May of 2019. Currently, they have a working prototype but have yet to move to the manufacturing stage. If you want to ignore my advice, you can purchase one HomeHawk for $199.00 which is 28% off the estimated MSRP of $279.00. You can learn more about HomeHawk on Indiegogo.com.
Photo Credit: Indiegogo