As a neurotic homeowner, the Canary smart home security system was probably one of the better things to happen to me.
For $US169, you get the Canary All-In-One (AIO). In addition to the device’s headline camera function — which I use to spy on my dog while I’m at work — it also tells you about air quality and temperature of the room in which it sits. Recently, we got the Canary Flex, a $US199 camera that can be mounted on a wall and powered from a built-in battery.
Now, Canary is getting even better with some long-awaited features that make me, personally, very happy: Two-way-talk, so I can use the Canary’s built-in speakers to talk, a web app so I can watch the dog from my web browser, and, finally, a general performance increase so there’s less lag when I’m watching Canary footage live.
The caveat is that you need a Canary membership, normally priced at $US10/month or $US120/year, to take advantage of the intercom and web app features. That membership is pretty good, though, giving you access to more cloud video storage, a hotline of security specialists who you can call in the event of a break-in, and other perks.
Anyway, I’ve tried the new features, and they’re useful. Here’s a video showing them in action:
You can read my original review of the Canary here, where I praised the gadget for its slick app, nondescript housing, and useful dashboard of information.
Almost two years later, I would add two brief things to that original review.
First, the Canary Flex camera that I mentioned earlier is great. It’s a pill-shaped camera that uses a magnet to stick onto its base, so you can rotate it a solid 360 degrees for the optimal fit. And it’s proofed against most inclement weather. I have mine watching the outdoors, so I can see if and when UPS drops off a package.
Second, and this part may not be as good for as many people, but — If you own a Canary, State Farm offers a small price break on your homeowners insurance, based on your Zip code and your policy. We didn’t know that when we chose State Farm or Canary, so it was a very pleasant surprise.