One camera that’s attracting a lot of attention in the home security world is the Canary All-in-One. This indoor security system combines convenience and portability with an attractive camera that has no complicated mounting system or hardware to deal with. The Canary All-in-One also includes a siren, emergency response options, and home-health monitoring.
How It Works
Right out of the box, the Canary All-in-One wireless camera ($169) is very easy to set up, with no mounting or extra parts, and no tools required. All you need is a counter space or shelf. The camera itself is 6″ tall and weighs less than one pound.
The process took me about 10 minutes to unwrap the camera, set it up, and begin viewing live video on my phone. The software updates took the longest. I chose to have location access turned on so that the camera can sense when I’m coming and going. But if location services are a concern for you, there are options during the entire set-up process that allow you to choose whether or not you want your location identified.
You need a high-speed, Wi-Fi internet connection and a compatible device to run this camera. You can also plug in via Ethernet, and Canary is good to go. The Canary All-in-One works with iOS and Android, and offers Apple Watch compatibility, as well.
Canary prides itself on the smart features it offers by always learning and adapting to the user. It adjusts to your preferences, knows if you’re around — auto-arming the system if you’re not — and it understands the difference between ordinary and unusual activity in your home. Another bonus if you upgrade to the membership option is having access to two-way Canary Talk. This allows you to have real-time conversations with anyone at home.
It’s easy to see the different modes of the camera by way of the LED light on the bottom of the camera. A white light will appear when Canary records motion or someone is watching live. It’s off when set to private.
After testing three locations, I settled on using it to monitor our main living space. Since the Canary does not obviously look like a camera, it can easily be placed on a counter without any attention being drawn to it. The camera has a 147-degree viewing angle, a 3x zoom, and 12 infrared LEDs that provide night vision with a range of up to 25 feet.
I downloaded the app on an iPhone 8. It was easy to register and set up an account. Once the app was downloaded, the Wi-Fi connection was enabled (it’s important to note that you do need a strong wireless connection), and the camera was turned on, I went immediately to the home page.
The app is intuitive. The first screen you 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. At the bottom of the screen, you have access to sound the siren and place an emergency call, which is an important feature when you’re away from home and get a notification that someone is in your house.
A unique feature of the Canary All-in-One is the ability to monitor air quality, humidity levels, and temperature in your home — you will receive alerts to your phone if conditions become abnormal. At first, I didn’t think this would be an important feature, but I quickly found myself opening the app just to check out the conditions in my house. The temperature readings were consistently within one to two degrees from my thermostat.
The free basic experience that comes with the app includes the following features:
- 24/7 watch live
- 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
While these features can be enough to start monitoring the security of your home, I found that the free service was too limited. It’s worth considering upping to the membership option, for $10 per month (there’s also a $99 annual membership). It’s important to note that this fee is for one device only.
In addition to the standard/free features listed above, the Canary 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
The Canary has three modes: Away, Home, and Night.
When you’re home, notifications and privacy preferences are customizable. You can choose to continue recording when the camera senses movement while you’re home — without sending notifications — or you can put the camera in privacy mode, which turns the camera and microphone off completely.
In Night mode, you can schedule the camera to notify you when motion is detected while you sleep. You can also schedule Canary to switch into and out of night mode at specific times. Night mode will only activate when at least one member is home.
My favorite feature of the Canary is the auto-mode switching. The camera can detect when you come and go and automatically switch modes. Geofencing is used to arm the camera when you leave the perimeter of your home and disarms when you return. This feature kicks in when the last person registered to the system leaves the house. When motion is detected, Canary records HD video and audio and sends it to your phone, with a mobile alert.
The video quality is impressive and the night time images — which have a night vision range of up to 25 feet — are also good. The night images are black and white, but still very clear. The camera has sharp 1080p video. If you want to catch the smaller details, you can double-tap or pinch the screen to zoom in.
While in the app, you can click on the “View Timeline” button and the app will take you to a listing of your activity for the day. You can review recent video events, watch saved videos, keep track of member activity, and monitor mode changes.
Each event has a description of what occurred (i.e., “Canary entered home mode” or “Sara arrived Home”), 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.
Canary says the app and camera work best when everyone who lives together is connected to it. That way you can share access with your family members via the app and everyone who lives in the home who has the app installed will receive messages and can take action if needed.
The camera stores the last 12 hours of footage continuously to a cloud for free, but if you want more, you need to upgrade to the subscription service. One month will run you $10 or you can pay $99 for the year. If you want the best protection, you have to pay for the premium subscription.
The camera and app are relatively easy to use. I had the Canary All-in-One (camera and app) figured out in less than 30 minutes. If you want to monitor several places in your home, you will obviously need to buy more than one camera. It’s possible to have up to four cameras on your network.
The 90-decibel alarm that can be activated remotely to ward off any intruders is actually quite loud. I may have even had a little fun scaring my kids when I was away from the house. It’s a feature that can come in handy if they’re doing something they shouldn’t be doing.
Who It Might Be Good For
- Users looking for easy set-up with no installation
- Users looking to connect directly to local emergency services for immediate response
- Users who don’t want to worry about arming a system before leaving the house
- Users looking for a camera that has a built-in 90-decibel siren
Who It Might Not Be Good For
- Users with a poor Wi-Fi connection
- Users looking to mount the camera on a wall
- Users that don’t want Canary monitoring their location (the app and camera are not as effective without location services on)
- Users looking to monitor an extra-large space
The Canary All-in-One camera has a lot to offer users who are looking for an easy-to-use indoor security camera. The advanced app features home health monitoring features, clear video footage and good sound quality, and Canary’s camera lens covers a rather large area, which makes this product a top option for many.
However, if you think your camera should automatically come with all of the app features that maximize the quality of the footage and effectiveness of the system, the Canary All-in-One might not be the right choice for you.