Salient Eye is a super-responsive app that converts Android devices into watchful security cameras, complete with an optional siren and text and email alerts.
I initially thought that Salient Eye was the Android version of the iOS-only Manything and Presence apps. And it is -- in some ways. It takes any camera-equipped phone or tablet with Android 2.2 or higher and converts it into an instant security device.
Unlike Manything or Presence, though, Salient Eye has no webcam functionality. That means that you won't be able to check in on a pet or otherwise tune into a live stream.
Instead, the Android device records video and you can opt in to texts (presumably on a different device) and emails complete with links to photo evidence of what's happening at home. It also has a companion app, Salient Eye Remote, that lets you arm and disarm the camera from a second Android device.
Salient Eye is also equipped with an incredibly annoying siren that you can only turn off after you've entered your secret four-digit disarm code. As with the texts and emails, it's optional, but a nice feature if you're looking for some basic theft deterrence. Salient Eye's no-hassle approach to home security is extremely appealing and it's free, so you might as well give it a go if you have an old Android phone lying around.
We're all used to the new app registration routine; provide your email, create a unique username and a password. It typically isn't complicated and it's a predictable step, but it's still a process.
I was pleasantly surprised after opening Salient Eye for the first time to find that there's none of that, no Facebook-linking, email-requesting or other up-front personal information-gathering. Instead, you're immediately presented with a big green button in the middle of the screen for "arming" the app and four smaller green buttons below for opting in and out of email alerts, text alerts, enabling/disabling the siren, and remote access. That pretty much sums up the app.
You need to have your device positioned to record before pressing the arm button. Moving the entire device or crossing the camera's field of view will cause Salient Eye's app-arming countdown to reset (you can adjust it to anywhere from 10 seconds to 5 minutes). Once it's armed, it's armed -- any movement within range of the camera will send Salient Eye into a frenzy.
First, it will take a ton of photos of the action, then, as it's sending you a text, email or both, it will initiate the siren. Of course, you can adjust the siren's volume based on the parameters of your phone or tablet, but this thing is loud. If it doesn't scare a burglar away, at least it will annoy and disorient them.
A four-digit code of your choosing will disarm Salient Eye. And, since you can access the arm and disarm function from the Salient Eye Remote app, you don't have to be in the room to disarm the camera. That way, you won't have any agitated neighbors on your hands.
Salient Eye is extremely reliable. I tested the app on a Samsung Galaxy S5 and received text and email alerts on an iPhone 6 Plus. I also used an Asus Nexus 7 tablet as a secondary Android device to test the Salient Eye Remote app. It worked similarly well, although you do have to go through a sort of latent device registration process to connect your "camera" Salient Eye device with your remote enable/disable device.
Every time I triggered Salient Eye's motion detector, the alerts arrived soon after with links to awkward photos of me running in front of the camera. The quality isn't great, but it's enough to see who or what triggered the siren. The siren adds a lot to this app, too, although there is a slight delay between the motion detector triggering and the siren sounding; it always takes the photos first and initiates the siren second.
In addition to the handful of features available on the home screen, Salient Eye does have a settings section where you can make a few more custom tweaks. You can change the time period between alerts from 5 to 30 minutes and adjust the sensitivity of the motion sensor to low, medium or high as well as the time it takes to arm the app (from 10 seconds to 5 minutes). And you can enable alerts related to Internet outages, a disconnected power supply and a low battery. It provides just enough to give you a little bit of freedom within the app.
IP Webcam is another Android-specific app that can convert devices into security cameras. I haven't reviewed IP Webcam, but it looks much closer to Manything or Presence in terms of functionality. It has a continuous stream, so you can check in on your home or office remotely on a web browser, although it doesn't look quite as well-designed as its iOS counterparts.
The Salient Eye app doesn't have an IFTTT channel and it doesn't work with third-party products, but in this case I didn't mind. Salient Eye does a few things very well and that seems to be working for them so far. And non-Android users needn't feel left out -- an iOS version of Salient Eye is in development.
Salient Eye can turn any Android device with a camera into an armed security system. Not only that, but it will send you texts, emails and a string of potentially incriminating photos in a flash. The siren adds an appealing second layer of security features; not only is Salient Eye alerting you when it detects motion, it's also (hopefully) scaring the pants off intruders.
And the Salient Eye Remote app ensures that you can arm and disarm the system as needed. Give this app a try if you're interested in testing out motion sensors, alerts, sirens and other security camera basics. It costs nothing and has an especially hassle-free setup.