Keeping your home and family safe is a basic instinct for most of us. We want our home to be as safe as possible and we want the things we’ve worked hard to acquire to be protected. Most importantly, we want our loved ones to be safe. Finally, we want this security to work when we are at home or on the go.
Fortunately, Wi-Fi technology has made protecting our homes and loved ones much easier. The days of installing cumbersome security alarms with expensive wired sensors are long gone. With the wireless network, we can install security cameras around the house so that if someone breaks in, there is off-site video recording and the proper authorities are notified immediately.
The first thing you need to know when buying a security camera system like the Canary Pro I review here is that without a monthly subscription, these devices aren’t very useful. If you don’t want to pay for a subscription, you can buy a cheaper Wi-Fi camera with a memory card slot that can record video of any intruder and hopefully ping your smartphone to make you find out that someone has broken in.
The alternative is to opt for a deluxe system like the Canary Pro. This sleek looking security camera has a sleek cylindrical format and is available in black or white finishes. It looks a bit like a small flower vase. The Canary Pro features a 1080P video camera providing a super wide 147 degree viewing angle that can cover most of a room. The device connects to a home network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. It feels well made and won’t stick out like a sore thumb when placed on a mantel or shelf.
Setting up the Canary Pro was a bit of a difficult experience as I had to create a Canary account and register the camera. The Canaries website was misbehaving, but I attribute this to an internet issue. I tried again the next day and the process seemed straightforward.
You can have multiple Canary cameras on a home network, but the subscription is charged per device. The Canary Pro includes a motion sensor and has an AI algorithm that Canary claims can detect the difference between humans and pets. I didn’t get a chance to try the feature because my cat just refused to cooperate.
The Canary smartphone app is used to control the Canary Pro and uses the phone’s location feature to detect when you are home. The app can be configured to disarm the camera when not needed, and when you go out it can switch the Canary Pro to away mode, then the camera is effectively armed and ready.
The Canary Pro is powered by a universal voltage adapter that uses a micro USB cable. There is no battery backup offered, so if power is lost at home, the camera will stop working until power is restored. The device can monitor the air quality in the home as well as temperature and humidity levels.
Home health data is stored in the cloud and can be a useful long-term record of your home’s living environment. There’s even a feature to trigger a notification if the temperature, humidity or air quality goes outside of preset parameters. This could be useful for installation in an elderly relative’s home, so you get a notification when the temperature drops or rises too much.
In addition to Home and Away modes, the Canary Pro also has a Night mode. The three modes can also be changed to suit the user’s preference or the system can simply be set to Auto which then activates the camera based on the user’s location. The only flaw I can see with the system is that if you were to leave your smartphone at home, the Canary Pro wouldn’t activate.
When motion is detected, the camera begins recording and uploads a color HD video stream to Canary’s servers. Motion also triggers a notification on your smartphone to let you know motion has been detected. Canary’s Premium service stores video clips online for up to 30 days so you can go back and check it out from anywhere in the world.
In addition to video recording, there is a Live View mode accessible at any time. This can be useful for monitoring a child and there’s even a two-way talk function so you can talk through the Canary’s built-in speaker and still be able to hear the person in the room. I have noticed a certain amount of background interference with high volume levels, but I am assured by Canary tech support that this issue, which is caused by interference from the Wi-Fi chip, has been resolved on the latest Canary Pro models.
In addition to monitoring capability, which can be customized with ignore animal mode and activity zone masking, the Canary Pro also has a panic mode. If you are ever unlucky enough to find yourself threatened in your own home, the Noonlight emergency response feature will alert the police. The camera also has a 90dB alarm that can be triggered and will hopefully scare away intruders or alert neighbors that there is a problem. Noonlight mode is only available with Canary’s Premium cloud storage plan, which costs $99 per year. Finally, if you’re a smart home type, the Canary Pro can integrate with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
Verdict: The image quality of the Canary Pro camera is very good and there is also a night vision mode. The viewing angle is extremely wide and an entire room can be covered with just one camera. Motion detection works well and it’s useful to be able to access the Live View feature from anywhere in the world. If you have a pet at home, you can use this feature to monitor it and even reassure it by talking to it when you’re at work. The system works well and although it can be used without subscribing to the Premium subscription, the usefulness of the Canary Pro is limited. There are cheaper security cameras with local memory card storage, as well as other security cameras like Amazon’s Ring, which offer cheaper subscription services. The beauty of the Canary system is that it is a “set it and forget it” system. The security camera works even when you are sleeping or away from home. The premium subscription is worth it, especially the Noonlight panic feature and first responder notification. One Canary Pro is enough for most small apartments or homes, but you can add additional cameras if needed.
Price and availability: Canary Pro camera $169 / £159 / €169. Canary Pro with Premium Membership: $12.99 (without camera). Canary Pro and one year Premium subscription £238 / €268. Monthly Premium subscription if you buy Canary Pro: £79 / €99 per year.
More information: www.canary.is
- Camera: 1080p HD video camera 147 degree wide angle lens.
- Features: Automatic night vision and motion detection.
- Audio: built-in microphone and speaker.
- Alarm: 90+ dB siren.
- Home health: temperature, humidity and air quality sensors.
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) and Ethernet, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
- Power supply: 100-240V power supply
- Security and Storage: AES 256-bit data encryption, encrypted cloud storage, secure web transfer (SSL/TLS).
- Dimensions: 15cm (height) and 7.6cm in diameter.
- Requirements: Minimum 1 Mbps internet connection and iPhone or Android device.