Gadgets guardzilla

Published on August 27th, 2015 | by Greg


Guardzilla: An Inexpensive Home Security Camera

Smartphone-enabled home surveillance cameras are becoming widely available, but tend to be expensive. We’ve seen a pretty wide variety over the years, and expect the number to grow thanks to increasing investment in the IoT (Internet of Things) and other home automation technologies. While some systems have packages that can include a wide variety of sensors, there is also plenty of room on the market for simple, single-use solutions.

The Guardzilla All-in-One Video Security System doesn’t make any big leaps, and doesn’t offer much in the way of fancy new features or functions. But it does cover most of the basics and then some: there are motion sensor and siren capabilities, a microSD card slot and even infrared night vision, plus two-way audio. The unit and app are pretty basic, though available for both iPhone and Android devices, but that’s the point- unlike some competitors which can really put your wallet in a pinch, this one has no monthly fees and comes in at under $100. It might not be the best option for your mansion, but is ideal for a college dorm, vacation house, or apartment. And it looks pretty nifty- not exactly subtle or easy to hide, but modern and fairly sleek.

If you’re used to some other IP cameras, then you might miss a few things- the Guardzilla doesn’t include tilt or pan or zoom options, and the camera itself offers only a fairly low resolution of  640 by 480. There’s no way to connect to it from a PC, laptop, desktop, or web browser though, and only older 802.11 protocols (compared to newer 802.11ac models). But there is a pretty decent alarm built-in, a slightly shrill and piercing 100-decibel noise that you can have have triggered when motion is detected. One surprising absence is the ability to view recorded footage from the application- it doesn’t seem possible, although you can record to the memory card (not included) or view live video from your smartphone. Setup is fairly simple, as you connect directly to the unit’s wi-fi network to configure everything. Push and text notifications weren’t always prompt, and generally the motion sensor was a little wonky, but photos were crisp.

As a standalone unit, you cannot bring the Guardzilla into an ecosystem, which leaves it a little orphaned in a world where IFTT support is quickly becoming a critical feature for us. We’ve seen cameras that can move from the house to action use and even some with temperature sensors, but a single-purpose surveillance unit means it can focus on key elements. For those who want or need it, geofencing is available to enable to disarm the Guardzilla too. You won’t have to worry about privacy either- no cloud to worry about, for better or worse. Available now, online and in stores, expect to spend around $90 for a fairly solid, entry-level model.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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