Connected devices are starting to seriously grow in popularity, and for good reason. Not only can they be extremely helpful for day-to-day tasks, but they can also help keep you and your belongings safe. Sure, network security cameras have been around for a while, but they generally take far too long to set up, are frustrating to try and use, and don’t like something you would want in your house.

Canary aims to fix all that. The cylindrical security camera is aimed at being as easy to set up and use as possible, and is cloud-only, meaning that the footage or live feeds can be accessed from your mobile device. Actually, it can only be accessed from the smartphone – there currently isn’t a web interface for setting up the camera or for accessing the feed.

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In The Box and Setup

In the box can be found the device itself, a USB cable for power, a USB wall plug, and a yellow cable that looks like an audio cable, and is used to send signals to the device and set it up.

Upon plugging in the device, users have to download the app, and are asked a few simple questions about where the device is being used and about the user. After this, the user has to plug in the yellow cable to the Canary itself and into the smartphone through the headphone jack, which is how the app communicates with the Canary and sets it up on the user’s network. It’s actually an extremely intuitive way to set up the device. Assuming you got the password right (I had to enter and re-enter mine three times before it actually worked), the device will connect to your home network and you will be able to access the feed from your phone.

Canary Works Like A Smart Device

Screenshot_20160326-142507Canary really is a smart device, and uses data from your smartphone to change how it acts. For example, Canary has three modes. The first is “Armed,” which basically means that it’s recording motion-activated video and will give you mobile alerts when something happens. The second is “Disarmed,” which records motion-activated video, but won’t bother with the notifications. Last but not least is “Privacy,” and this does not record any video, and is what you would use when you’re at home, for example.

While you can control the three modes manually, they can also be controlled automatically using. The app includes an option for “Auto-mode switching.” What this means is that when you’re home, Canary will switch itself off. When you leave the house, it will arm itself. According to the app, this feature works better when the user has Wi-Fi on on their smartphone, and this certainly seemed to be the case for me. I generally keep Wi-Fi off on my phone because I have been grandfathered in to an unlimited data plan and don’t need to waste battery power by my device searching for Wi-Fi networks, and even hours after I got home Canary would remain armed, alerting me of movement at my house, which was, of course, me.

Apart from this, as mentioned, the device also has the ability to detect the temperature, humidity, and “air quality.” These metrics can also be graphed so you can see how they’ve changed over the past few days.

Security Is The Main Feature

Screenshot_20160326-142425The security features of the device are obviously most important, and they really are great. The camera itself is a wide-lens camera, and I was skeptical that it would be able to capture the whole room, something that it does with ease. It also has night-vision, so that users can still see what’s going on in their apartment or house even when it’s dark.

Of course, the device doesn’t just capture what’s going on, but can also help in the event of a break-in or something else. Canary is equipped with a siren (a very loud one at that), and can even be used as a way to talk with whoever is in the room, having a microphone to record the other person, and a speaker to play your voice with.

Motion detection is an important part of how the device works. Instead of having to mess around with recording schedules, when armed the device will just automatically record whenever it detects motion.

Recordings are displayed on a feed within the app, and are dated and can be tagged to be quickly findable later on. This is a helpful feature, and it’s small details like this that make Canary a great device.

Conclusions

Canary is an excellent tool for someone who wants to keep their belongings safe inside their apartment. The device best serves as a camera for the foyer or front room of a house, rather than something that you would put in each room, but you can certainly do that too, if you so desire. It also has a free plan, which offers 12 hours of recorded video history, 3 video downloads, and 5 video bookmarks, per month. Other plans range from $4.99 per month to $29.99 per month, offering different levels of history and downloads per month.

I have two main issues with Canary, and while small, they are important to note. Canary is a little finicky when it comes to using the the auto-switching mode while not connected to Wi-Fi. To be fair, the app does warn the user of this. My other major issue is the fact that there is no web interface. Both of these issues are things that could be fixed, and they are also both very small problems.

Overall, I would highly recommend Canary. The device can be extremely helpful for keeping an eye on your house when you’re out of the house, and is inexpensive. Not only that, but it looks great. It’s well designed, easy-to-use, and works great. Canary is available to purchase from the Canary website as well as on Amazon.

Have you tried Canary or would you consider purchasing it?  Let us know your thoughts below or by starting a new discussion in the PCMech Forums.