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Tend Secure Lynx Pro review: Tend Secure's Lynx Pro is a decent camera with disappointing facial recognition

Comparing facial recognition cameras

Tend Secure Lynx Pro Wisenet SmartCam N1
Price $150 $150
Color finish Black or white White
Weatherproof Yes No
Connection type Wi-Fi Wi-Fi
Power source Adapter, battery backup Adapter
Resolution 1080p HD 1080p HD
Livestreaming Yes Yes
Continuous recording No Optional with select cloud storage plans
Cloud storage Free 7-day event-based video history, optional 30-day event-based video history for $10 per month Optional, starting at $5 per month for 5 days of event-based video history, $8 per month for 7 days of continuous history and $20 per month for 21 days of continuous history
Local storage Yes, built in Yes, microSD card not included
Mobile app Yes Yes
Web app No Yes
Night vision Yes Yes
Alerts Motion, face recognition Human, face recognition, audio
Activity zones No Yes
Third-party integration Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

The Lynx Pro differentiates itself from the SmartCam N1 with its free seven-day event-based video clip storage, built-in local storage and weatherproof casing. At the same time, you're missing out on a web app and activity zones. 

But let's talk about facial recognition with the Lynx Pro. Inside the Tend Secure app you create a database of familiar faces. Take a photo of yourself and anyone else you expect to regularly visit your home and add them to your database. I added myself and two colleagues, Chris Monroe and Ry Crist.

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A look a facial recognition with the Tend Secure app.

Screenshots by CNET

While the camera did a great job of sending me prompt notifications, it was very hit-or-miss at correctly identifying us. And, regularly, it didn't even notice a face at all, either one in the database or a new face, and counted it as regular motion alert. The app gives you an opportunity to help the facial recognition feature improve over time by letting you name faces it previously marked as unknown. But even after several days of testing, the Lynx Pro's facial recognition didn't improve and still required my input to identify many of the faces. The Wisenet SmartCam N1 did a much better job of picking up on faces and telling me who it saw. 

I was able to get the camera working with Alexa and Google Assistant fairly easily, though. Both voice assistants let you turn the camera notifications on and off, which is a handy feature, as well as check on the status of your camera. 

Unfortunately, this camera is simply too expensive for one that struggles so much with facial recognition. That said, if you want the other features -- free video storage, a weatherproof camera and battery backup -- it might still be worth it to you. Just keep in mind that there are better indoor/outdoor cameras out there (without facial recognition) like the Netgear Arlo Pro 2. And, if you don't care about the whole weatherproof thing, consider Tend Secure's own Lynx camera -- it costs just $60 and has the same free cloud storage and better facial recognition performance.   

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