Over the past few years, the smart home has come to fruition, and it has been an exciting time. We have seen products that try to provide an all-in-one system, like the Piper, but they usually end up falling short in one or two ways. Another side of the spectrum has products that work within a larger ecosystem. Like products like Dropcams, Nest Thermostats, and smart door locks.
But one company that started with crowdfunding that has managed to check off all the box. I am talking about Canary, an all-in-one security system that was designed in New York, which is right beyond the river from NJ. Furthermore, they strive to offer a device that is easy to use and works in many different scenarios.
I have been testing Canary for a few weeks in my dorm room and here are my full thoughts.
Smart home technology is not always the easiest to setup. Devices can be a pain to hook into larger ecosystem, a key example of this is connecting something to Wink or SmartThings. Companies look Google, and Apple are trying to fix this, by making these solutions that pit all the connected devices into one application built into the operating system.
Canary works on its own, and they have done a solid job with the setup process. The box just contains the Canary itself, a wall plug, a micro USB to USB cable, and audio cable. From there you simply plug the Canary in and get the Canary application on your smartphone.
You can connect to the Canary via Bluetooth or by plugging the audio cable into the headphone jack on the device and your smartphone. I choose to go the Bluetooth route. From here the application walks you through getting the Canary on the network and gives you a brief introduction to the lifestyle.
It takes around 10-15 minutes, depending on the strength of the WiFi network. It also asks you to create an account for Canary and to set up push notifications.
Overall, Canary makes it homeowners simple to setup the device and to get it working.
Design and Hardware
Canary aims to fit in with any environment, and it has a unique design. It looks like a cannister made out of metal, with a glossy feature going down the front. The bottom has a glowing light which will let you know the status of the unit. For instance, if it glows white it is connected and working, but red means it might have lost connection.
But inside the canary is the technology and what makes it work. It features a 1080pHD camera with a 147 wide angle field of view. It does have night vision as well; you notice some red lasers kick on when it is dark. It can also detect motion with the in the feed. It has sensors for air quality, humidity, and temperature. Like most security systems it has a way to alert someone, and it has a 90-decibel siren built inside. The siren will not go off by its self; it needs to be triggered.
You can customize, via the application, if you want to get notifications when events are caused. From within the application, you can set off the siren, and it is deafening.
Canary also comes in your choice of black or white, but with either model the glossy portion on the front is black. It is a well-built product that does have some weight with it. I would have liked to see a larger power cable included in the packaging, though.
Canary really does make it easy to monitor a space; it works well with a dorm room, to say the least. I was worried at first about getting it connected to a college, but it connected fine at first and then a simple call to the support team got it working fully. All that was needed was the MAC address, and they are more than happy to provide it.
The application is designed quite simply, which is a good thing. The home screen of the application presents you with a blurred out image of what the camera last saw when your checked in. Swiping up from the bottom shows you with the timeline. This is where you can see when you set it to different modes or when activity triggered an alert. You can also sort through these alerts, but it is limited to away and bookmarked ones.
Under settings, you can change the sensitivity to motion and add other Canary’s to the same system. This is ideal if you plan to have more then canary in your home. I would say one works for an apartment or a dorm room, but for a house one near each entrance would be ideal.
Canary fits in with a normal lifestyle and being that it is integrated directly into an application, makes it easy to use. I will say that when Canary goes offline all you get is a push notification and it doesn’t take a video recording by default. I hope this gets updated in future patches as if somebody unplugs it you lose connectivity and visuals.
At $199 Canary provides an all-in-one security system that doesn’t have many problems. It is relative simple to setup, and there support team is eager to help. It saves clips for 24 hours automatically, and they have new monitoring plans beginning to roll out. And these plans move there offering on par with other services.
The design of the unit makes it easy to find an appropriate place in your house, room, or apartment. It also blends in and doesn’t necessarily look like a security camera. It would be nice if Canary can work something around saving the last video if it gets unplugged or gets offline. And a longer cord for power would be nice out of the box.
I will say that if you are going off to college or living in an apartment, Canary makes sense. And it might even make sense for some homeowners to get a two-pack at $279. But at $199 this is an ideal and straightforward security system for an apartment or for a student to take away with them to college.