Canary Flex Review
Pros: Camera can call first responders, smooth video/audio streaming, sharp sound quality
Cons: No local storage, poor night vision, narrow field of view
Compare to Similar Products
|Price||$200 List||$36 List|
$35.98 at Amazon
$199.00 at Amazon
$49.98 at Amazon
$24.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Camera can call first responders, smooth video/audio streaming, sharp sound quality||Inexpensive, most features available without subscription, color night vision||Facial recognition, great night vision, redundant power source||Vertical/horizontal panning, color night vision, no subscription required||Sufficient live and download video quality, good onboard microphone|
|Cons||No local storage, poor night vision, narrow field of view||Plug-in power source, no remote panning, no backup battery||Big/conspicuous camera, no camera speaker, expensive||Indoor use only, no back-up battery, so-so sound quality||Poor night vision, relatively slow frame rate, no onboard speaker|
|Bottom Line||This security camera's performance is too low to rationalize the expense||A high-performance camera at a low price that allows access to most of its features without a subscription||This is a high-quality camera with many useful security features that will be especially appealing to those using the Google Smart Home platform||A top-performing, remote panning camera at a low price with no hidden charges||An all-around decent quality camera that cuts a few corners to keep the price low|
|Rating Categories||Canary Flex||Wyze Cam v3||Google Nest Cam||Wyze Cam Pan v2||YI 1080p Home|
|Recorded Video Quality (35%)|
|Monitoring Performance (35%)|
|Ease of Use (30%)|
|Specs||Canary Flex||Wyze Cam v3||Google Nest Cam||Wyze Cam Pan v2||YI 1080p Home|
|Camera Type (Indoor or Outdoor)||Indoor and Outdoor||Indoor and Outdoor||Indoor and Outdoor||Indoor Only||Indoor Only|
|Encryption Types||AES 128-bit, SSL/TLS||AES 128-bit||AES 128-bit, SSL/TLS||AES 128-bit||Yes, type N/A|
|Wired or Battery||Battery||Wired||Battery and Wired||Wired||Wired|
|Smart Device Compatability||Amazon Alexa
|Google Assistant||Amazon Alexa
Our Analysis and Test Results
This weatherproof camera offers users high-quality sound, smooth streaming, and basic alerts. On the other hand, this camera has crummy recording quality (especially at night), limited features, and a narrow field of view. Making matters worse, the camera is relatively expensive.
Recorded Video Quality
The Canary Flex performed extremely poorly in the recorded video analysis garnering one of the lowest scores in the class. While the camera can record in 1080p, it begins by recording in 360p and then ramps up the quality as the recording continues. We found that the poor video quality made it hard to make out facial features beyond 15 feet. Additionally, the camera blocks you from recording anything without paying for a subscription.
Technically, the Flex has night vision. However, we found that the video quality was about the same as other cameras with night vision. The images produced in dark settings are blurry at best, and identifying individuals is impossible. Finally, the camera's field of view (116º) is quite narrow, making it less useful for close-quarter recording.
The Flex did a little better in the monitoring performance evaluation than its truly wretched showing in the recorded video quality metric. While the camera has a live video latency of around 2 seconds, the audio and video are smooth, and the two are synced. For its part, the sound is fairly sharp. However, the quality of the video goes down if there is a concentration of activity close to the lens. Some artifacts can show up on screen in such scenarios as well.
The sound captured by the microphone has the highest fidelity that we have heard from a camera. There is no echo and background humming to speak of. Additionally, the camera's speaker (which the user can talk through) produces clear sound, making it easy to understand exactly what is being said. Unfortunately, this high-quality speaker does not come with an alarm.
Ease of Use
The performance of the Canary Flex slumped in our final assessment. This poor showing is primarily the result of the limited settings, features, and customization that the camera's app allows. Additionally, the camera lacks onboard data storage, and cloud storage requires a paid monthly subscription. That said, the lack of functionality makes the app easy enough to navigate, though we had some problems setting up the location for directing an emergency services response. The physical setup of the camera is quite easy given the generic magnetic base and provided hardware for wall mounting.
We see value as a ratio of performance and cost. By this standard, the Flex is not a good value. It is one of the more expensive models in the class, and yet, it is one of the poorest performings. The savvy shopper will look to other products in our review for both savings and functionality.
Our appraisal of the Canary Flex has one bright spot; the sound quality captured by the camera's mic and delivered by its speaker is top-notch. Aside from that, the camera utterly failed to meet the expectations set by significantly less expensive models in the class. We do not recommend this camera.
— Nick Miley, Austin Palmer, and Matt Spencer
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