The original Canary was one of the strongest available home security cameras when it came out in 2013, and it hasn’t fallen behind since then. But, the cylindrical camera is better suited for the bookshelf than the garden — we don’t think this Canary would be very good at singing in the rain. Last week, the company fixed that issue with a brand new camera called the Canary Flex, a smaller, weatherproof camera that can be used with a variety of mounts.
Like the original Canary, the Canary Flex is a connected security camera that can stream its feed live, which can be watched using a web browser or an app. It’s smaller than the original Canary and has a narrower field of vision, using a 116-degree angle lens compared to the original’s 147-degree lens. But, the Flex is better suited for outdoor use. Unlike the original, the Flex is weatherproof and has a 6,700 mAh battery that Canary says can last for “months.” They didn’t specify how many. The streaming video has the same AES 256-bit encryption, too.
The camera is a little weaker than the one on the original, and can only take basic HD video as opposed to 1080p. But, it does have night vision, and eventually, you’ll be able to use it to welcome guests — the camera has a speaker and microphone with two-way talk enabled, although the feature won’t be available at launch. We imagine Canary will push out a firmware update using the companion app once it’s ready.
It’s a well-built device for the outdoors. The long battery life is great if the Flex isn’t going to be in range of an outlet, and weatherproofing will ensure that it stays undamaged if left uncovered. That said, those who live in particularly cold places should take note — while the 113-degree upper bound of operation seems high enough for most, the 14-degree lower bound might not be low enough for many people in the northern states.
But, there’s one more challenge to meet to make an outdoor streaming security camera work — connectivity. Chances are, Wi-Fi signal is pretty weak outside your home, if it’s accessible at all. If that’s the case, it’ll be possible to buy a special mount that Canary has co-developed with Verizon. That mount will connect Flex to the Verizon 4G LTE network. Canary doesn’t have pricing or availability information ready for that mount, but we imagine that it’ll need to be added to an existing Verizon plan as a separate device.
The Flex comes with a 360-degree swivel mount, but the company will have a few other mounts sold separately, including that Verizon mount. Other options include a fixed mount that can’t be swiveled (in case you’re worried about thieves turning the camera face away), a stake mount ideal for use in the garden, and a tail-like twist mount that can be wrapped around railings or tree branches.
The Canary Flex is available for preorder now for $200 and comes in black or white. The fixed mount is $30, while the other mounts (besides the Verizon one) are $20 each. There’s no hard shipping date yet, but Canary says the camera and mounts can be expected before the end of the holiday season.
Canary is also changing up their subscription program. Before, Canary charged a monthly fee for various amounts of cloud storage for recorded video. They’re throwing that out for one flat rate that includes unlimited storage and downloads for video recorded within the last 30 days. They’re also adding security perks, like a $1,000 reimbursement on homeowners or renters insurance deductibles for home invasion incidents and a dedicated agent to provide support during those incidents. Membership will also grant an extension of the camera’s warranty from one year to two. The subscription will cost $10 per month for one device, $15 for two to three devices, $20 for four devices, and $5 additional for any device past four. Canary will also retain a free plan, which will store recorded footage taken within the last 24 hours by up to four cameras.