Canary Pro Is The Ultimate “Set Up And Forget” Home Security Camera

Tech Industry

Keeping your home and family protected is a basic instinct in most of us. We want our home to be safe as possible and we want the things we have worked hard to acquire to be protected. More importantly, we want our loved ones to be safe and secure. Finally, we want this security to work when we are at home or away.

Fortunately, Wi-Fi technology has made protecting our homes and loved ones a lot easier. The days of installing cumbersome security alarms with expensive wired sensors are long gone. With wireless networking, we can set up security cameras around the home so that if someone does intrude, there’s an off-site video recording and the relevant authorities are informed straight away.

The first thing you need to know when buying a security camera system like Canary Pro that I am reviewing here is that without a monthly subscription, these devices are not much use. If you don’t want to pay for a subscription, then you could buy a cheaper Wi-Fi camera with a memory card slot that can record video of any intruders and hopefully ping you on your smartphone to let you know someone has broken in.

The alternative is to opt for a deluxe system like the Canary Pro. This stylish-looking security camera has an elegant cylinder format and is available in black or white finishes. It looks a little like a small flower vase. The Canary Pro has a 1080P video camera offering a super-wide 147-degree angle of view that can cover most of a room. The device connects to a home network over Wi-Fi or Ethernet. It feels well-made and won’t stick out like a sore thumb when placed on a mantelpiece or bookshelf.

Setting up the Canary Pro was a slightly fraught experience as I had to create a Canary account and register the camera. The Canary website was misbehaving, but I put that down to an Internet glitch. I tried again the next day and the process appeared to be straightforward.

You can have multiple Canary cameras on a home network, but the subscription is charged on a per-device basis. The Canary Pro includes a movement sensor and has an AI algorithm that Canary says can detect the difference between humans and pets. I didn’t get the chance to try the feature as my cat simply refused to cooperate.

The Canary smartphone app is used to control the Canary Pro and uses the phone’s location function to detect when you’re at home. The app can be set to disarm the camera when it’s not needed and, when you go out, it can switch the Canary Pro to Away Mode and then the camera is effectively armed and ready.

The Canary Pro is powered by a universal voltage adapter that uses a Micro USB cable. There’s no battery backup on offer so if power is cut to the home, the camera will stop working until power is restored. The device can monitor air quality in the home alongside temperature and humidity levels.

The home health data is stored in the cloud and can build into a useful long-term record of your home’s living environment. There’s even a function to trigger a notification if the temperature, humidity or air quality moves outside preset parameters. This could be useful for installing in an elderly relative’s home, so you get a notification when the temperature drops or increases too much.

As well as the Home and Away Modes, the Canary Pro also has a Night Mode. All three of the modes can also be modified to suit the user’s preferences or the system can simply be set to Auto which then activates the camera based on the user’s location. The only flaw I can see with the system is that if you were to leave your smartphone at home, the Canary Pro wouldn’t be activated.

When any movement is detected, the camera starts recording and will upload a color HD video stream to Canary’s servers. The movement also triggers a notification on your smartphone to let you know that movement has been detected. Canary’s Premium service stores video clips online for up to 30 days so you can go back and check from anywhere in the world.

As well as recording video, there is a Live View mode that can be accessed at any time. This could be useful for checking on a child and there’s even a two-way talk function so that you can speak through the Canary’s built-in speaker as well as being able to hear the person in the room. I noticed a certain amount of background interference with the volume levels turned up high, but I’m assured by Canary’s tech support that this issue, which is caused by interference from the Wi-Fi chip, has been ironed out on the latest Canary Pro models.

In addition to the monitoring ability, which can be further customized with the ignore pet mode and masking of the activity zone, the Canary Pro also features a Panic Mode. If you’re ever unfortunate enough to find yourself under threat in your own home, the Noonlight emergency response feature will alert the police. The camera also has a 90dB alarm that can be triggered and will hopefully scare off any intruders or alert neighbors that there is a problem. The Noonlight Mode is only available with Canary’s Premium cloud storage plan, which costs $99 per year. Finally, if you’re a smart home type, the Canary Pro can integrate with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.

Verdict: The image quality of the Canary Pro camera is very good and there’s also a night vision mode. The angle of view is extremely wide and a whole room can be covered with one camera. The motion detection works well and it’s useful to be able to access the Live View feature from anywhere in the world. If you have a pet at home, you could use that feature to check up on them and even reassure them by speaking to them when you’re at work. The system works well and although it can be used without taking out the Premium subscription, the Canary Pro’s usefulness is limited. There are cheaper security cameras with local memory card storage, as well as other security cameras like Amazon’s Ring, which offer cheaper subscription services. The beauty of the Canary System is that it’s a “setup and forget” system. The security camera just works even when you’re asleep or away from home. The Premium subscription is worth the money, especially the Noonlight panic feature and notifying first responders. One Canary Pro is enough for most small apartments or houses, but you can add extra cameras if required.

Pricing & Availability: Canary Pro camera $169 / £159 / €169. Canary Pro with Premium subscription: $12.99 (camera free). Canary Pro and one year of Premium subscription £238 / €268. Monthly Premium subscription if buying Canary Pro: £79 / €99 annually.

More info:

Tech Specs:

  • Camera: 1080p HD video camera 147-degree wide-angle lens.
  • Features: Automatic night vision and motion detection.
  • Audio: Built-in microphone and speaker.
  • Alarm: 90+ dB siren.
  • Home health: Temperature, humidity and air-quality sensors.
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n) and Ethernet, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
  • Power: 100-240V power supply
  • Security and storage: AES 256-bit data encryption, encrypted cloud storage, secure web transfer (SSL/TLS).
  • Dimensions: 15cm (height) and 7.6cm diameter.
  • Requirements: Minimum 1Mbps internet connection and iPhone or Android device.

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