Be Informed When It Comes To Home Security Cameras
A wild thing happened a few years ago that made me want to put a security camera in my home, and it's not what you'd expect. I live in a condo, so I really only have one ingress/egress of my "home" unless you count my 10th floor window (no balcony). What could I want a security camera for?! I had a contractor hired by my building to do some work on my front door. They did a terrible job on the door, but also left me puzzled as I came home to find my bathroom light on, along with a dirty rag on my kitchen counter. Why was this person going into my suite when they only needed to be in the front hall? I needed to know.
People Lie, Cameras Don't.
When I asked security what was up, they assured me nobody went past my front lobby. I asked how they were so sure, and they told me a security guard was positioned there with them the whole time watching. That's when I produced the dirty rag and told them my bathroom light was on, which I never leave on. They tried to tell me I must be mistaken and it was all in my head. Sure bro. Sure. I wanted eyes, so I bought myself a Wyze camera. A sweet $39.95 on Amazon, it comes with a mobile app, and is super easy to setup. I placed one on my front door and set it up in a couple minutes. Protected! I could pop into my app anytime to view my front door and even setup motion detection should my door open between the hours of 830am - 6pm (when I wasn't home - at the time). In future contractor visits, I always knew as soon as they entered, and when they left.
And, I Got This Sweet Footage Of My Cat!
It's the little things that make you smile, right? Motion detection would fire me alerts when my cat would hear something in the hall thinking I was coming home and once jump up on the front counter type thingy I have. Adorable, right? Sometimes I'd screw with her head and talk to her though the camera - which sounded about as good as you'd think voice would sound coming out of a miniscule speaker located inside of a $40 security camera. Remember talking through a pair of cups with string. It was effectively the same thing. The cat is now napping in kitty heaven for quite some time now, and that Wyze camera.. well..
Much like the cat, I put a lot of repairs into that thing. The first one just overheated and would send me endless alerts that it was offline, then online, dozens a day. Trash. The first replacement would randomly decide to not record video. Trash. The second replacement would allow me to stream the video, but kept telling me my MicroSD card was faulty. Funny, that same card worked in other devices just fine, and is still working in other devices just fine (it's actually running in a Raspberry Pi right now). Reliability was horrible, and I won't even get into how bad the app was - constantly logging you out for no reason - and when you're logged out - guess what... no alerts!
But, The Wyze Cam Is Only $40.00 - What Do You Expect?
Cool. I strongly suggest using Wyze cameras for things such as mounting it beside your TV so you can check if your dog is napping on the couch while you're at work. Otherwise, it's effectively trash. This realistically goes for any of the small all-in-one camera systems that come in under $100.00 and offer a laundry list of cool looking features, especially any of the "off brand" cameras that come with instructions in both Chinese and broken English. These cameras talk a big game in their feature sets, but when it comes time to perform, they're sitting on the sidelines. There's a reason they're so cheap. Most notably, you'll see them advertised as "1080p" or "4k". They're not. If you get 480p, you're lucky. It doesn't look too bad on your small phone screen, but as soon as you view that image elsewhere, it's as if someone turned on a blur effect. They're useless. Ever looked at surveillance footage of some suspect on the news and wondered why the image looks like it was taken with a potato? Well, your $40.00 Wyze cam will effectively be the same thing. Why even bother. Further, many "premium" features are also locked out unless you're willing to pay $2 / camera / month.
Ok, But Nest & Ring Are Great Systems!
You're not wrong. They're quick to setup, easy to use, and everything is available right at your fingertips. Both systems offer a handful of excellent cameras which range from about $80.00 to $500.00. But, there's a catch. There's always a catch. With Ring, you can't view any historical footage (not even 10 minutes ago) without a subscription to their platform ($3 / Month / Device), and Nest you're looking at $8 / month to view your historical footage (up to 30 days), but at least it's not per device. Effectively you're buying a glorified webcam unless you want to pay them money every month for the rest of eternity. Imagine if you're at work for the day, and you come home to find your home was broken into. You've wired your place with this amazing system from Ring, but now you can't even provide the police with any security footage because you didn't pay the subscription fee. Sure, you'll just call them and pay now, right? Wrong. It was never stored to begin with because you weren't paying. There's a better way.
With Unifi, it's a one time purchase, and you own your video footage. It's not held hostage.