With the world going crazy out there, we all have the constant need to be protected and warned against any evil coming from the outside. This is especially true when we consider the safety of our own homes. We are away at work for the largest portion of the day, we tend to drive out of the city for the weekend and take a holiday trip here and there. This means that during these times our house is left unattended and can be a target to any kind of home violation. Often is not just about the material things that would go missing, but is the general notion of our violated personal space and safety.
Smart Home Outdoor Camera
In the search for best home security, most of us go to extremes in arming the house right. Since I’m not a fan of heavy artillery, let me present to you one of the coolest smart home outdoor camera out there, shaped as a regular house light – Kuna.
Basically, this smart home security camera should be placed instead of your old regular porch light. It has one built-in video camera, a wifi adapter, a motion sensor and two-way intercom. The beauty is that it connects to your home network and works through your smartphone, by sending out notifications when someone is approaching your front door. You can actually speak with the person outside in real time or perhaps use the two-way intercom to play pre-recorded messages. Kuna also offers the option of recording a video that can later be downloaded, helping you to find out more if someone was snooping around your house. In all, there’s one huge setback: there’s a subscription fee if you look to enjoy the best value by this smart home outdoor camera.
Prior to discussing more details, let’s check some of the main aspects of this product:
- It records full 10 seconds prior to an event happening.
- Setup in just 15 minutes, without wires or drilling.
- Get instant notifications on your smartphone, once someone comes to your door.
- Enjoy 720p color video during day and night.
- Sound 100 dBA siren to deter suspicious visitors.
- Two-way intercom, so you can talk to the visitors in clear audio.
- No replacing batteries.
- Access recordings for a maximum of two hours after each event.
- Get 3 free clips downloads per month.
- The light is motion-activated, set to turn on/off by schedule.
- Offers waterproof design.
It normally costs less than $200 and can be bought on Amazon. It is also available in some of the local stores. Kuna has a sister device named Maximus, however, these are basically the same product, but named differently. They both offer pretty great designs and are available as Traditional, Craftsman and Contemporary models. Depending on your house style, you can choose the best visual fit. Regardless of the model, you’ll get what it appears to be a simple porch light for the common visitor.
When someone decides to approach your doorstep, the motion detector in this smart home outdoor camera will immediately send a notification on your smartphone, informing you that you have a visitor. Simultaneously, it will record a video and sound of the event – even though to my taste the field of view may be a bit narrower than expected. Whatever it’s recorded, it is being uploaded to the cloud, but you can view these clips for just two hours if you don’t wish to subscribe, and you can download just three free videos per month. This is kind of bad news and is a serious down-point to be considered.
Installing the smart home outdoor camera
This smart outdoor camera is pretty easy to install. The instructions you’ll receive in the package are easily understandable and you’ll find few tools in the box that facilitate this process, which is great if you’re not very handy. The only thing you’ll need to put your arm into is the physical maneuver to hang it in the desired place. In order not to pull additional wiring, it’s best to use a place of a previous light. Just, keep in mind to hang it on the right height so that the lenses can capture any activity.
Then, simply connect the smart home outdoor camera to your wifi network, via the Bluetooth connection between the camera and your smartphone. You should enter the wifi password into the app and it will automatically establish a connection with your router.
Since the smart camera doesn’t have an infrared LED light it really depends on what kind of light you have on, in order to capture a night time video. The best recommendation is using a LED light with 800 lumens maximum, in order to avoid glaring the camera lenses.
You can then use your app to manually turn on the light (available for both iOS and Android devices), you can program it to turn on if it detects motion, or you can set schedules to turn it on/off automatically with the sunset or the sunrise – so you don’t have to physically do it. On top of that, you can use different schedules for the workdays and the weekends. In case you have several cameras installed, you can copy the same app settings.
However, the monitoring cannot be done from a computer, but only through smartphones and tablets. If you wish, you can also grant access to all household members for even better usage.
If the visitor at the door knows about this device, it can be fairly easy to escape the camera range.
The app, on the other hand, is pretty neat – you can enjoy a real-time view whenever you wish. Once it sends out a notification that someone is at your door, you can immediately see a live camera feed and talk to the person by using the intercom feature.
If you don’t know the person outside and you perhaps don’t wish to reveal that you’re a female, you can use three previously recorded messages in male voice: “Can I help you?” “I’m sorry, we’re not interested,” and “I’m sorry, we’re pretty busy right now.” If the person does not want to leave, you can then use the 100dB siren, making even the toughest character consider leaving. If you’re a single mom with kids, you may see how useful this feature is.
These options come in very handy if, for example, you’re expecting a package delivery, but when the delivery guy rings the bell, you may be midway through your shower, or changing, or basically being busy with whatever that is stopping you to come to the door in the next 30 seconds. This way, you can instruct the person to leave the package and you can pick it up later.
The smart home outdoor camera comes with a seemingly small monthly fee of $4.99 if you decide to pay for the full year. The trick (and the frustration) is that this fee is per camera only. So if you have few cameras around the house, it adds up to the cost. If you wish to pay the subscription each month, then you should pay $7.99 every 30 days.
There’s also a 14 day trial period, after which you will want to take the full monthly subscription. Now, if you enjoy the benefits offered by this smart home outdoor camera, you may wish to subscribe to $9.99 per month, an option including up to four cameras, thus adding few more around the house. Or, if you have a really big home, you can equip your house with up to eight cameras and use them via one monthly fee of $19.99.
All of the subscriptions include lifetime theft protection – if someone steals the light, Kuna will provide a new one, unlimited video downloads and many possible discounts for future purchases. Similar applies for the video retention length as you upgrade up the plans, starting with seven, progressing at 14 and ending at 30 days of video retention accordingly. This pretty much depends on how much value you are looking to get from this product.
To wrap it
The Kuna smart home outdoor camera is an easy solution if you are concerned with unwanted visitors coming at your porch. It’s true that for the same price you can buy a regular porch light and a proper outdoor security camera, however, the Kuna is far easier to install and power. The app works really great and it is easy to use.
However, the downside is the subscription. If you decide to use the product subscription-free and you suffer a break-in, only two hours of review time plus three free downloads monthly won’t provide enough evidence for the crime.
The most practical usage is getting the $4.99 subscription because most of the people will need only one camera and not a second or third unit. This smart home outdoor camera comes only as an outdoor model to interact with the unwanted visitors, and if you’re concerned with the inside safety of the home, perhaps a better option is installing a full home video surveillance plan.