My Canary Smart Home Security device arrived yesterday and now that I’ve had 24 hours a play with it I thought I’d write up my impressions.
It arrived in a large box which had the smaller Canary box in it as well as a really cheap North American to Australian power adapter rattling around loose in the box. Given that I’d pre-paid 200 bucks and waited just over 18 months for this device to arrive seeing a 50 cent adapter (Which I’d never actually use due to the fire risk) as the first thing when you open the packaging was a bit jarring.
Having said that, the actual Canary box has a premium feel and was pleasing to open with the Canary itself sitting nicely visible once you remove the lid along with a couple of high quality cables. As expected the power adaptor was an American blade style but as the Canary itself uses a micro USB socket for power I just plugged it into a smart phone charger that I already owned.
The device setup procedure is via the Canary smartphone app which then transfers the configuration via a standard audio cable plugged between the smartphone and the Canary which is a nice touch.
This was where I hit my first snag. The Canary simply refused to connect to my Wireless LAN, so I had to arrange an ethernet cable for it before it would connect up to the internet. At this point it automatically downloaded an update (all the while keeping me updated via the smartphone app)
After the device rebooted it came up straight aware and started working. As part of the setup process you are asked to pick your location from a Google map so that Canary can set up a geofence around your home which it uses to sense when you leave home in order to automatically arm the security features of the device. Unfortunately this feature works particularly poorly and decides that I’m entering and leaving my home multiple times per hour even though I’ve been sitting on the sofa the entire time. It continued to do this several times throughout the night with status changes between 4 and 5 am when I was most definitely asleep and my phone wasn’t moving anywhere.
The app let me invite my wife to access the Canary device also which works as expected giving her full access once she created an account for herself. Unfortunately she is also experiencing the same geofencing issue that I experience which means that the device constantly thinks that one of us is away.
The environmental sensors are a particularly nice touch (and one of the main reasons why I backed this project rather than buying a readily available D-Link device 18 months earlier) however despite asking me my location in order to setup the geofence, the software wasn’t smart enough to figure out that like most of the world I have no idea what a Fahrenheit is. After poking around in the application I found the switch to convert to the Celcius temperature scale and the graph started to make sense. (The smart thing to do would be to have the app default to Celsius instead of Fahrenheit and select Fahrenheit automatically if you geofence a location in North America)
So far in the 24 hours that I’ve been using the device it’s spent about 6 hour “offline” which I assume means that something is wrong with the Canary server infrastructure. If it continues like this it wont be very useful as a security device..