Canary home security camera tall on some features but short on others

Canary home security camera

I was really excited when I got the chance to test out the Canary home security camera in my home, especially since I haven’t played around with any new home security cameras in my house for a couple of years.

The Canary is packed full of features not found on traditional security cameras. The biggest feature to me is the wide angle (147 degrees) that the camera covers. When positioned just right in your house, the Canary’s camera can cover a lot of territory.

The Canary also monitors environmental factors in your home like air quality, temperature and humidity. This is extremely useful if you are worried about your air conditioner going out in the summer or your heater going out in the winter when you’re not home for long periods of time.

Finally, the Canary offers varying levels of cloud storage for your video events. At the free level, you can save up to five video clips in the cloud. On the high end you can save up to 250 video clips for $39.99/month. There’s also two middle-of-the-road packages for $9.99/month and $19.99/month and a $10/month add-on for call center monitoring.

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There are more features than just these but, for the purposes of this review, I am going to include them separately in the what I liked and what I didn’t like sections below.

What I liked

After using the Canary for nearly a month, here’s what I found I liked the most. I really liked the wide angle lens and the fact that I could see two rooms in my house with a single camera. I also liked that the video is full color HD-quality and includes high-quality audio. Viewing your camera feed at night is no problem either with the Canary’s ability to auto-switch to night vision.

My second favorite feature is the environmental monitors. One of my biggest fears when leaving my home for a week or more is that I’m going to come back home to find the heater or air conditioner went out while I was gone. It’s very comforting to be able to check in a couple of times a day to make sure all is well with my home’s temperature.

My third favorite feature is the ability to set off a 90+ dB siren in your home to scare away an intruder you may be watching on your camera feed. Sure you can call the police but they still may take a few minutes to get to your house. Hopefully the alarm will scare them away before they take anything from your house and discourage them from ever returning.

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This last feature is tricky because I loved that the Canary had the feature but I didn’t like how it worked when I tried to use it. I’m referring to a feature that can automatically arm and disarm the Canary based on a user’s location. So for example, I set the Canary to disarm itself when I am home and arm itself automatically when I leave. You can actually set up rules like this for every family member in your house such that the Canary only arms itself after the last person in your house leaves and re-arms itself when the first person in your family gets home. Sounds great in concept but, even with just my location in the equation, I found that the Canary often didn’t arm and disarm like it was supposed to.

As a fallback to this problem, the Canary does offer the ability through the free Canary app to put the camera in Privacy mode which basically turns off the camera.

What I didn’t like

A few things I didn’t like about the Canary. I really disliked that I couldn’t remotely pan or tilt the camera with the Canary app. I know this is deemed unnecessary because of the wide angle field of view but there were times I really would have liked to move the camera to catch something just outside of the field of view.

I also struggled a bit during the setup of the Canary. As part of the setup process, you need to connect a yellow-looking audio cable between the Canary and your smartphone’s (with the Canary app installed) headphone jack. I guess at this point, the Canary and your smartphone exchange some sort of secret handshake to make sure no one else can view your video feed. Great concept and I like how it’s done. It just didn’t work for me the first few tries. I ended up having to Google a solution which simply involved rebooting both the Canary and my smartphone.

The motion detection was another sore spot for me, probably because it worked too well. When activated, I often received 15-20 motion detections per day that, to the best of my knowledge, were due to changes in the outside light peering into my house and not something moving in view of the camera. The Canary automatically records video when the motion is detected and most of the time these videos just revealed weird flashes of light in my house. I eventually turned the motion detection off since these false positives were making me a nervous wreck every time the motion detection notifications showed up on my phone while I was away from the house.

Finally, I think the Canary’s price is a little steep. Right now, it retails for around $250. I think that’s a little steep since I had most of the features of the Canary, minus the environmental monitoring, with my sub-$100 Foscam camera.

SEE ALSO: How to watch your house while you’re away for under $100


There’s no doubt the Canary is an excellent camera. If you have no need to remotely pan or tilt the camera and you can cover the area you want to cover with one (or more) Canary cameras, the Canary is an excellent choice. It might even be worth it solely for the environmental monitoring.

Then again, if you’re on a tight budget, there are other options that you can look into that will give you a good subset of the features of the Canary for a lot less money.

Note: The Canary in this review was provided to me by Verizon Wireless and can be purchased at your local Verizon Wireless store or at