Canary Flex Camera Review— A Great Indoor/Outdoor Option?

If you’re looking for a weatherproof, wire-free security camera that can be used indoor and outdoor, you might want to check out the Canary Flex home security camera ($199).

How It Works

Right out of the box, Canary Flex is very easy to set up. The camera comes with an AC power adapter with 8-foot cable, 360-degree magnetic swivel base, and wall-mounting hardware.

The camera itself is a little more than 4″ tall and weighs about half a pound. In addition to the camera, I also tried out the Secure Mount from Canary ($30). This add-on to the camera attaches to any wall or surface, inside or out, which makes the camera more secure.

The setup process took about 10 minutes. You need a high-speed, Wi-Fi internet connection and a compatible device to run this camera. Canary Flex works with iPhone, Apple Watch, and Android phones. It can also partner with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Since the camera can be used plugged-in or wireless, I plugged it in while testing indoors, and went wireless when I tried the camera outside.

Canary prides itself on the AI-powered features it offers. One of these features is Person Detection, which is said to give you smarter alerts without the false alarms. It also enables the camera to know if you’re around, and auto-arming if you’re not. Plus, you know instantly when someone shows up at your home.

Canary Flex has a 116-degree viewing angle — not the widest angle on the market — it streams in 720p video but it’s capable of 1080p, and the camera’s night vision has a range of up to 25 feet. If you want to catch the smaller details, double-tap or pinch the screen to zoom in. The video quality is impressive and the nighttime images in black and white are also good (indoor). I was not impressed with the outdoor clips at night. 

The App

Since I previously reviewed the Canary All-In-One, the app was already on my phone. But if you’re new to Canary, downloading the app and setting up an account is easy.

Before I get into what the app can do, it’s important to note that the best features are only included with the subscription plan. If you want to maximize your use of the Canary Flex, get ready to shell out some money. 

The first screen you’ll see tells you the name of your camera (you name it), with a “Watch Live” button that takes you to a live stream of what is going on in your house or outdoors.

The app also shows the life of your battery, the strength of your internet connection, and a shield of armor icon that takes you to a screen where you can change the mode. Canary Flex has three modes: Away, Home, and Night.

At the bottom of the screen, there is a phone icon for emergency calls, which is an attractive feature when you’re away from home and get a notification that someone is in your house. There is also a microphone for two-way talk, but this feature is only available if you upgrade to the paid subscription plan.

If you swipe up (view timeline button), a timeline shows up with clips and details about the activity that has occurred. Each clip is a video, not just a still shot. Each event has a description of what occurred (i.e., “Person spotted in away mode” or “Sara set Canary to night mode”), plus a timestamp of when it happened. You have the option of using a bookmark icon to add the event to your library. In the bookmark library, you can view events that you have saved. 

When the camera senses and records an event, an alert is sent to your phone. Since you can control the modes, you have the ability to control the alerts. The Canary Flex will show you up to 24 hours of clips (30-seconds in length) on your timeline. Again, to access full videos you need to upgrade to the paid service.

The Service

The free basic experience includes the following features:

  • 24/7 live streaming
  • Access to video clips
  • One day of video history
  • Advanced detection (automatic arming and disarming, privacy mode, and smart notifications)
  • Activity zone masking (filter out activity that the camera should ignore)
  • One-touch access to first responders
  • One-year warranty

In addition to the standard/free features listed above, the Canary membership ($10 per month or $99 annual membership) also includes:

  • 30 days of full video history
  • Full-length videos (begins when motion is detected and lasts until motion ends) rather than just video clips (begin when motion is detected, but only lasts for up to 30 seconds)
  • Unlimited video downloads
  • Two-way Canary talk
  • Custom modes (configure recording and alerting when the system is disarmed, like in Home mode)
  • Web app access for desktop streaming
  • 2-year extended device warranty
  • Incident support

Testing Notes

The camera and app are relatively easy to use. I had the Canary Flex (camera and app) figured out in less than 30 minutes. When I had the camera outside, there was a delay to get to the live video feed. 

The Secure Mount was only used outdoors. When I tested the camera inside, I placed it on the Canary Flex magnetic base. Outdoor use was the most beneficial for my home. I wouldn’t buy this camera if I was only using it indoors, unless I was also willing to pay for the monthly subscription. 

There were some issues with connecting to the internet. If I placed the camera close to my router, the connection was solid. As soon as I moved outside, the connection started to fail. Several times the camera would go offline. Thankfully, it usually connected within five minutes of going offline. 

Who It Might Be Good For

  • Users looking for an indoor/outdoor waterproof camera
  • Users looking to connect directly to local emergency services for immediate response
  • Users looking for three modes of detection

Who It Might Not Be Good For

  • Users with a poor Wi-Fi connection
  • Users who don’t want to pay an additional fee each month for premium services
  • Users looking to monitor an extra-large space
  • Users who want more than 24 hours of video storage

Conclusion

The Canary Flex is a good security option overall, and it’s definitely worth a look for users seeking a versatile camera you can bring outside. But if you’re looking for something you’re only going to use in your house, there may be better options out there.

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