[Review] Anker’s EufyCam WiFi cameras are great, but rough around the edges |


Wifi cameras are one of the easiest upgrades you can make to your smart home, and they go a long way to securing your house. It’ll give you quick access to surveillance in your house, plus some intelligent motion detection and alerts if something out of the ordinary is happening.

There are tons of options, though, with differing levels of hardware and software support. Anker has recently jumped into the game with Eufy cameras, their brand for smart home products. This isn’t the company’s first adventure into connected home gadgets, but it’s definitely one of the biggest.

We’re going to dive into Anker’s wireless cameras, but can they deliver in a crowded market? Let’s find out.

The Anker EufyCam E wants to be the kind of camera that you set and forget. Anker promises one year of battery life from a single charge (or three years in standby, which is equally crazy) which is achieved by a mix of intelligent video recording and a sizable battery in the camera itself. It’s completely wireless and can be mounted on the wall or outside with a magnetic or screw mount, and since it’s IP65 certified, sticking it outside shouldn’t be an issue.

Normally cameras or any other devices that promise excellent battery life have to make compromises in other areas, but Anker didn’t really have to do that here. The cameras record in 1080p quality and look pretty good, albeit not quite as good as a set of Nest cameras or something. But for being totally wireless, they’re quite good.

They also offer automatic night vision switching, two-way audio, motion alerts, and anti-theft detection where the cameras/base will sound an alarm if they detect that they’re being moved.

Installation

Installing these cameras is quick and easy, and in my experience they came mostly charged out of the box. However, they do require a base station, so keep in mind that you’re going to have to put the HomeBase somewhat close to your router to get everything working.

It’s an easy process, though; plug the HomeBase into the wall and your router, and it’ll turn on. Open up the Eufy Security app and follow the instructions for pairing things up, and you’re all set within about a minute. The firmware update took a bit longer, but you don’t have to do anything for that process.

You’ll notice on the back of the HomeBase that you have a microSD card slot for storing videos, although the package includes a 16GB card out of the box. It’s easy to swap out.

There’s also a USB port, but you can’t use this for attaching external storage. It can fast charge the cameras, though.

Moving onto the cameras, you’ll find a microUSB port on the back and an indentation for either magnetic or screw mounting, depending on which mount you use. You could theoretically run a cable into these and have them powered forever, but that may be more trouble than it’s worth, especially outside.

Anker does have a mounting guide with video instructions in the app itself, which you can find by checking the settings of the cameras after they’ve been paired up. I opted for indoor mounts for the security cameras, but you do get outdoor screw mounts if you’re planning on using these outside, too.

Video and streaming performance

So let’s dig into how well these cameras really peform. The only thing that I can’t fully test is battery life simply because I don’t have a year to play with them prior to writing a review. I can say that I haven’t seen the battery indicators move at all in the app, and I never actually charged them before putting them on the wall, so I’m going to trust Anker’s word that they’ll last for a full year with regular usage.

Depending on where you put them and how you set them up, though, you could see worse battery life. There are two default operation styles, including an optimized mode where clips are only 60 seconds and it will try to avoid recording duplicate events. The better surveillance mode takes 60 second clips, and will try to record as much for each event as possible. You can customize that further, maxing out clip length to 120 seconds and changing the retrigger interval from 0 seconds to 60 seconds. Obviously taking longer and more clips will drain the battery quicker.

As mentioned above, the video quality is generally very good for a wireless security camera, even with night mode enabled. There’s just about nothing that I can find to complain about with the hardware.

The software, on the other hand, seems good but not great. Navigation is a little clunky, and I experienced several instances where I would just be signed out of the app and would stop getting notifications. I wouldn’t realize it until later, which caused some concern in case I missed an important alert on the doorbell. Asking Google Assistant to play video streams on my TV also wasn’t consistent, but I’m not sure if that’s Anker’s fault or Google’s fault.

Motion detection is also a little more limited than I’d like since you can’t set it for only certain times. Indoor motion detection is really only useful when you know no one’s home; I don’t need 100 notifications every day alerting me that I’m walking around my living room. That just blows up my phone and wastes storage space.

You can set activity zones, though, so you’ll only see alerts when something moves through specific zones in the camera’s field of view. It’s not perfect, but hey, it’s something.

EufyCam E: Worth it?

You can get one of these in a set with the HomeBase for $229, with single add-on cameras for $179. That’s slightly higher than an Arlo solution, but only slightly below a Nest camera, which means it’s really up to you what you want out of a camera. If you want something wireless, well, that knocks Nest out right away, but on the wireless end Arlo still makes some pretty decent competition. Pricing ends up being pretty close if you compare equivalent models (a 1080p Arlo Pro 2 instead of their 720p options, for example) but Anker does still win out in the lack of any subscription fees. If you’re deadset on avoiding paying monthly for a camera, then this isn’t a bad option. It’s also a little more private since the data never sits on a cloud service at any point, which adds some extra peace of mind. I don’t think the EufyCam E runs away with the crown, but I do think it’s a very competitive option in a crowded market.

Easy installation, a simple app, incredible battery life, and no hidden fees make for a great starting point for Anker that can hopefully be improved in the future with some software updates.

Anker EufyCam E Kit | $229 | EufyLife
Anker EufyCam Add-on Camera | $179 | EufyLife


Born in southern Alabama, Jared spends his working time selling phones and his spare time writing about them. The Android enthusiasm started with the original Motorola Droid, but the tech enthusiasm currently covers just about everything. He likes PC gaming, Lenovo’s Moto Z line, and a good productivity app.




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