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Kidde RemoteLync review: Kidde's siren-equipped security camera is alarmingly good

The $189 Kidde RemoteLync Home Security Camera isn't perfect, but it gets a lot of things right.

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Megan Wollerton
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Megan Wollerton

Senior Writer/Editor

Megan Wollerton has covered technology for CNET since 2013. Before that, she wrote for NBC's Dvice.com (now SyFy). Megan has a master's degree from the University of Louisville and a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College, both in international relations. She is a board member of the Louisville chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. When Megan isn't writing, she's planning far-flung adventures.

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Kidde (pronounced kid-duh) is a well-known name in the United States for its array of smoke- and carbon monoxide-detecting devices. But the brand recently expanded its product roster to include RemoteLync, a $189 DIY indoor security camera that's on sale now in the US and slated for international availability in about a year.

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7.4

Kidde RemoteLync

The Good

Kidde's $189 RemoteLync is a solid security camera, complete with responsive IFTTT- and geofencing-based Home/Away arming and motion sensing capabilities, as well as a built-in siren to scare off intruders. It also operates on a rechargeable low-power battery and comes with 12 hours of free cloud storage.

The Bad

The RemoteLync is essentially the same camera as the Homeboy, a product we reviewed back in 2014, although this version does tack on direct integration with other Kidde devices. And like the Homeboy, Kidde's RemoteLync doesn't have live streaming or an HD-quality resolution.

The Bottom Line

If you prioritize camera mobility over live streaming and HD quality, Kidde's RemoteLync model will definitely deliver, but its price seems a little steep given the diminished specs.

So many brands are introducing Nest Cam-esque models to the market nowadays -- you know, plug-in HD live-streaming cameras complete with motion and sound alerts as well as opt-in monthly cloud storage for a fee -- but Kidde veered off the beaten path a bit with its camera.

RemoteLync is equipped with a low-power rechargeable battery designed to last for roughly 3 months on a single charge. It doesn't have live streaming, and instead of 720 or 1080p video, Kidde's model has only standard-def 640x480 VGA resolution; you also won't find any audio alerts or two-way talk functionality on its specs sheet. (These trade-offs help ensure longer battery life.)

And Kidde makes up for those missing features with solid geofencing, an IFTTT channel, responsive motion alerts and a loud intruder-scaring siren. The price is a touch steep for this camera, but I'd recommend the RemoteLync to anyone more interested in security features than webcam functionality.

All of the indoor home security cameras we've tested

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Kidde's RemoteLync cam is small and portable and snaps onto the included flat magnetic base with ease. That makes it simple to stick on a flat surface, but you can just as easily peel off the sticky adhesive strip on the bottom of the base and attach it to a wall.

The RemoteLync also comes with a cheaper-feeling plastic attachment that looks like a miniature helmet. It's supposed to act as a camera cover in case you have video-viewing privacy concerns, but you do have to open and close it manually.

Once you've completed the initial camera set up in the related Android or iOS RemoteLync app -- this process is very straightforward -- you can start playing around with various features.

Beyond being able to arm and disarm the camera manually from the app, you can also enable the geofencing feature, which sets the camera to either Arm or Disarm mode based on the location of your phone. The downside, of course, is that the app is tracking your location at all times, but I found this feature to work extremely well. Geofencing is a neat tool -- when it works well -- because it allows for a level of Home/Away customization that you could never get with a static Home/Away schedule; you just have to remember to bring your phone with you when you leave.

You can also create recipes in IFTTT. I tried one that successfully armed the RemoteLync camera whenever the Nest thermostat (another IFTTT partner) was set to Away mode.

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If the camera detects motion in Away mode, you can opt-in to receive push and/or email notifications and sound the built-in siren. It will record a short video clip of the action, too (you can adjust the clip length from 5 to 30 seconds, and you get 12 hours of cloud storage for free). This also worked very well, although the 5-second clips tended to miss some of the action.

This camera also works with other Kidde products, so I tested it alongside the RemoteLync Monitor that my colleague Andrew Gebhart reviewed simultaneously. The RemoteLync Monitor is a plug-in Wi-Fi gizmo that listens for smoke and/or carbon monoxide (CO) alarms and sends you a related alert, basically turning a standard non-smart detector into a connected version a la the Nest Protect.

With both Kidde RemoteLync devices connected at the CNET Smart Home, the camera automatically recorded a 5-second video clip whenever the smoke/CO-alarm-sensing Monitor issued an alert -- a neat extra if you have both Kidde products.

I like this camera overall, but it's essentially identical to Homeboy. When I reviewed Homeboy in 2014, it cost $150. Since then, the startup upped the price to $189 and it looks like Kidde's newer RemoteLync version followed suit. $189 is certainly a competitive price given today's DIY landscape, but it does seem a little high for a camera without live streaming or even HD recording/playback.

Still, Kidde's RemoteLync Home Security Camera is a solid option, particularly if you don't care about live streaming or high-definition and want something portable that can work in concert with other Kidde devices.

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7.4

Kidde RemoteLync

Score Breakdown

Features 7Usability 8Design 7Performance 8