Canary's confusing $99 View security system skips out on standard features like a siren.
Canary's $99 (£75 and AU$125 converted) View security system was inspired by the startup's original $169 All-in-One camera, but instead of replacing the All-in-One, Canary now sells both. In order to distinguish between the two largely identical-looking systems, the View is more affordable, in theory letting more people buy into Canary's DIY home security universe, but at the expense of advanced features like temperature and humidity sensors, a siren or an Ethernet port.
Although the View is minimal by comparison, it offers some surprising free options like person alerts and auto-arming/disarming tied to your phone's location. It also works with Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as Wink. Weirdly, though, Canary charges for things you usually get for free, like two-way audio and access to a web app.
The View works fine as a camera, but it at least needs a siren to count as a full-fledged all-in-one security system. I'm also truly confused that Canary is charging for two-way audio. Get the View if you want a decent, affordable security camera, but don't expect a self-contained security device here.
Canary was one of the first startups to introduce an "all-in-one" security system -- a single, plug-in device complete with an HD camera, arming and disarming capabilities and a built-in siren to scare away intruders. Basically, if you either can't have, or don't want, an accessory-heavy security system, a self-contained model offers a small-scale alternative with minimal hassle (and often, less expense).
Check out the chart below to see how the View compares to competing systems like Guardzilla's 360, LG's Smart Security and Canary's own All-in-One:
|Canary View||Guardzilla 360||LG Smart Security||Canary All-in-One|
|Color finish||Gray||Black and gray||Black||Black, white|
|Type||Indoor only||Indoor only||Indoor only||Indoor only|
|Resolution||1080p HD||1712p HD||1080p HD||1080p HD|
|Field of view||147 degrees||360 degrees||130 degrees||147 degrees|
|Cloud storage||Free 24-hour event-based video history (optional 30-day event-based video history for $10 per month)||Free 48-hour event-based clips (Optional Pay $5 per month for 7- or 30-day clip storage for $5 or $9 per month; professional monitoring available for an additional fee)||No free option. 7-day/30-day continuous cloud storage for $10/$30 per month; professional monitoring for $20 per month; 7-day/30-day continuous cloud storage and professional monitoring for $25/$40 per month||Free 24-hour event-based video history (optional 30-day event-based video history for $10 per month)|
|Mobile app||Yes, Android and iPhone||Yes, Android and iPhone||Yes, Android and iPhone||Yes, Android and iPhone|
|Web app||Yes, with optional cloud subscription||No||No||Yes, with optional cloud subscription|
|Alerts||Motion, person||Motion||Motion, tamper||Motion, person|
|Two-way audio||Yes, with optional cloud subscription||Yes||Yes||Yes, with optional cloud subscription|
|Third-party integrations||Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Wink||Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, IFTTT, Nest (SmartThings coming soon)||Amazon Alexa, Built-in Z-Wave hub||Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Wink|
Looking at this chart, the View's obvious advantage is its low price. If you don't care about having a siren, then it could be the right choice. That said, you'll have to pay $10 per month for a "Canary Membership." That includes 30-day video clip history, two-way audio, access to the web app and longer video clips that capture more of each isolated motion event.
If you want any of those things available only with a Canary Membership, the View simply isn't worth it. Even Nest, which used to charge a starting fee of $10 per month for its Nest Aware service, now offers a lower $5 price tier. And even at $5 a month, you get five days of continuous video recording (not just clips).
As far as all-in-one devices go, though, I wouldn't recommend the glitchy Guardzilla 360 or LG's ADT-centric Smart Security device either.
The Icontrol Piper NV is still my all-time favorite all-in-one camera, but it unfortunately isn't widely sold anymore, following Icontrol's purchase by Comcast and Alarm.com in 2017.
Performance-wise, the View did well. I received near-immediate alerts when the camera detected general motion or saw a person, although it often picked up "unimportant" motion activity, like a ceiling fan moving. The live feed was fine in both day and night vision, delivering a clear view of what was happening in both portrait and landscape modes.
I was able to pull up the View's live feed on an Amazon Echo Show by saying, "Alexa, show me the basement camera." And using a Home speaker, I could ask Google Assistant if I was home or not. These integrations were very simple to set up and worked reliably.
I'm disappointed by Canary's $99 View. I hoped it would be a second-gen version of the All-in-One -- same features, lower price. Given that the All-in-One was first announced way back in 2013, that isn't an unreasonable expectation. Instead, the startup left out key things like a siren and decided to charge for stuff most companies offer for free, like two-way talk.
It's great that you get person alerts for free, as well as Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility, but I don't understand what Canary was going for here. Again, it's a fine, budget camera that's possibly worth it if you want features like arming and disarming. But Tend Secure's $60 Lynx is my vote if you're looking for a solid entry-level cam -- it has free facial recognition (not just person detection) and free 7-day event-based cloud storage.