All of a sudden there seems to be a slew of home-monitoring cameras to show us what’s happening around the house. But security surveillance isn’t the only application. A friend wants a camera to see how her dog is coping when she’s at work; another wants one in the baby’s room.
Smart cameras typically connect to your Wi-Fi network so you see what’s going on, day or night, in real time through an app.
Uniden’s Guardian App Cam Solo camera ($229.95) is a compact weatherproof smart camera that runs on batteries. What appeals about this device is not only does it look cute, but it’s also wireless, therefore portable. So one day I can monitor my vegie patch and the next my front porch.
But you have to keep replacing batteries, about every 180 days according to the manual. However, battery technology is getting better, so hopefully this will become less of an issue.
When the camera’s motion detection sensor is triggered, notifications are sent to your phone; it can also record to an internal SD card. In a neat feature, the app can take photos or videos of the live stream.
There’s two-way talking, so my friend can hear and talk to her dog or shout at an intruder.
If you don’t want to keep changing batteries, the waterproof Nest Cam Outdoor ($319), with app and continuous live feed, uses a power point. But the exposed cord makes it vulnerable to vandalism. Furthermore, both these cameras can easily be ripped from their magnetic bases.
The Nest app asks questions about your home and location. For reasons of privacy and security, I recommend giving it as little information as possible.
Access to video history in the cloud is via subscription, starting at $140 a year.