Published on August 27th, 2015 | by Greg0
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.