The Canary All-In-One Smart Home and Security Camera system have been quite successful since its launch in early 2013. Being one of the pioneers of the smart home devices with its IndieGogo campaign, it is one of the best choices for a smart security camera system, featuring HD video feed, decent night-vision technology, and a lot of sensors from motion, temperature, as well as air quality.
Being one of the pioneers of the smart home devices with its IndieGogo campaign, it is one of the best choices for a smart security camera system, featuring HD video feed, decent night-vision technology, and a lot of sensors from motion, temperature, as well as air quality.
However, there is one big flaw about the Canary Smart Camera: with all the nice features, it can only be used indoor. That is where the new Canary Flex fills in, being a truly weatherproof indoor/outdoor camera with a built-in battery. The ‘Flex’ in the name stands for its flexibility, and at first glance, it does live up to the name.
So, let us begin the Canary Flex Camera review by taking a quick look at its key features.
Canary Flex Camera Key Features
Unique, ‘Flex’ Body Design
The unique swiveling body design allows the Canary Flex to be put virtually anywhere. The new Canary Flex secure mount used a strong magnetic base, so you can easily adjust the viewing angle. This unique approach in design made the Canary Flex extremely versatile especially as an outdoor camera, where you can put it in a hard-to-reach place. The inclusion of a built-in battery further improves the versatility.
HD 720p Video Streaming
The 720p video feed quality might seem obsolete by today’s standard, where a lot of products offered 1080p. However, a 720p is still very decent, and it will help conserve Canary Flex battery life. As a result, the built-in battery of the Canary Flex can last for two whole months before charging.
The biggest upgrade of the Canary Flex over its predecessor is the outdoor capability. It is weatherproof and can withstand -4 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit without failing. Again, the very decent built-in battery tremendously help with the outdoor application.
Updated Canary App
Probably the biggest change we liked from the new Canary Flex is the newly designed app. The app is now very easy to use, and there’s a very nice activity log to view motion-triggered video clips. The app will also auto-adjust to Home and Away security modes depending on whether your phone is within your home Wi-Fi range. Means, when you are at home, there will be less unnecessary alerts that might disturb your sleep.
Updated Motion Detection
The motion detection of the old Canary Smart Camera is fairly nice. However, it has a major downside of being overly sensitive. That issue is addressed with the Canary Flex, and the motion sensor works well.
Third Party Integration
Currently, the third-party integration offered by Canary Flex is fairly limited, only works with Wink on the smart home hub compatibility. However, Canary promised an IFTTT channel update and Canary Flex Homekit integration shortly.
With a quick look at Canary Flex’s core features, its biggest competitor is the Netgear Arlo Q. Both offers 720p HD video and great outdoor capabilities. However, the Netgear Arlo Q offers better battery life of six months (vs Canary Flex’s 2-month battery life) and slightly better viewing angle at 130-degree (vs 116-degree). However, the Canary Flex offers a better, plug and play installation, where the Netgear Arlo Q needs to be connected to its hub unit, which relatively complicates the installation process. The Canary Flex is very easy to install and very versatile in placement. Definitely one of its biggest selling points.
Hands-On Canary Flex Review
As we have mentioned above, the installation process for Canary Flex is extremely easy. It is a plug-and-play installation, especially if you decide not to use the power adapter. Just decide a placement, secure the magnetic base, and flex the Canary Flex to your desired angle.
As we have also mentioned, the new Canary Flex app is now very well-designed. Setting up your Canary account and integration with the Canary Flex is pretty straightforward, and you can follow the step-by-step instruction given by the app.
Next, we test the performance, and given the motion detection issues of the first-generation Canary Smart Camera, that is the first feature we tested. We are happy to find that the motion sensor now works very well. There is no person-detection capability (currently) on the Canary Flex, so it will indeed give alerts when an animal enters the motion detection range. However, it is significantly better compared to the old Canary Smart Camera, and in our opinion, it is on par with the Netgear Arlo Q regarding motion detection performance, which is one of the best in its class.
The 720p video feed is pretty decent, paired with a very decent night-vision technology and noise cancellation. The 116-degree viewing angle might seem limited compared to some products like Logitech Circle or (again) Netgear Arlo Q, but it is still very decent.
Last but not least, there is the physical aspect of the Canary Flex. The swivel ‘flex’ design and the very strong magnetic base is the biggest selling point of this smart security camera, allowing installation on difficult surfaces. As we have mentioned, the battery life of the Canary Flex is roughly two whole months. It’s not the best, as the Netgear Arlo Q offers a 6-month battery life, but it is still decent considering the simpler installation (Arlo Q must be connected to the hub).
Pros & Cons
Let us end this canary flex review with a verdict. Here are what we liked and disliked from the Canary Flex.
- Versatile with swivel design and strong magnetic base
- Decent built-in battery with two months battery life
- Very easy installation process
- Decent performance with 720p video quality, great motion detection, and night vision
- Fairly limited third-party integration in its current state
- Only 24-hour worth of free cloud storage
In our opinion, the Canary Flex is simply one of the best options for an outdoor smart security camera available today. The ease of installation helps tremendously especially if you want to install a camera in difficult-to-reach surfaces.
There are some downsides like the currently limited third party integration, but we can expect Canary to assess it in future updates.