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Zmodo Torch Pro review: This giant security light takes up way too much space

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MSRP: $200.00

The Good Zmodo's $200 Torch Pro camera light, doorbell and Wi-Fi range extender work together to deliver prompt motion alerts and a high-definition live feed of outdoor activity.

The Bad The Torch Pro's camera light is seriously oversized and won't fit in the majority of porch light fixtures. It doesn't work with any smart home platforms and the initial app set up and overall app design is confusing.

The Bottom Line The Zmodo Torch Pro is a neat concept, but odd design choices ultimately make it difficult to recommend.

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5.4 Overall
  • Features 5
  • Usability 5
  • Design 5
  • Performance 7

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Zmodo's $200 Torch Pro -- roughly £165 and AU$265 converted -- is actually three separate products. You get a 720p camera hidden inside a color-changing outdoor LED, a motion-detector-equipped wired doorbell and a plug-in indoor Wi-Fi range extender. All of this stuff worked pretty well with the related Android or iPhone app to keep tabs on my front door.

But there's a big problem. The camera light is gigantic and wouldn't fit in any of the porch lights at my house or at the CNET Smart Home. The system also doesn't currently work with any smart home platforms and the app configuration and overall layout is confusing. The Torch Pro is an interesting concept with fine performance, but is ultimately much too unwieldy to recommend.

A big idea

Not gonna happen.

Chris Monroe/CNET

The Zmodo Torch Pro security light clocks in at 5.51 inches tall and 2.95 inches wide. Rather than having a traditional tapered shape, this light is roughly the same width from top to bottom -- with the exception of its smaller E26 socket. For this reason, it simply won't fit into most small- or medium-sized outdoor light fixtures.

I even ventured to a home improvement store to try it with various porch lights on display. Even with dozens of options to choose from, it would only fit in the largest models. And, if the bottom of the porch light has a tapered design, you'll probably be completely out of luck regardless of size (this happened with the porch lights at the CNET Smart Home -- see the image to the right).

Installation should have been simple, but I never managed to find a ready-installed light fixture big enough to support this device. Instead, I screwed it into an indoor table lamp for testing.

The color-changing LED claims a brightness rating of 350 lumens, a 5,000K color temperature and 100,000 hours of runtime. Those specs are roughly comparable to the Philips 40W Equivalent Candelabra LED. A 40W replacement LED isn't very bright in terms of output. For comparison, brighter 60W replacement LEDs typically have at least 800 lumens and 100W replacement LEDs typically have at least 1,600 lumens.

Even so, the light looked bright enough when I dragged the indoor table lamp outside. It helps that it's designed for use in a porch light surrounded by glass rather than in a lamp diffused by a shade. You can dim the light and adjust its color in the Zmodo app. You can also set an on/off schedule so the lights turn on and off and any custom color settings adjust automatically.

You can pull up a live feed from the light's built-in 720p, 132-degree camera. Whenever the light is on, the camera will automatically display in night vision mode and revert to day mode when the light turns off.

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