Every family or individual has their reasons for considering a home security camera. Maybe it’s to keep an eye on a baby or toddler while it sleeps upstairs. Maybe it’s to make sure your dogs aren’t having a party while you’re out of the house. Or maybe it’s to monitor your front door or because you’re concerned about break-ins or porch pirates.
Though we’re past the age where we need a baby monitor, my husband and I discussed the need for a home security system with video cameras. We have two dogs, one of whom has been known to cause a ruckus when left alone. So when we were offered the chance to try out the ChillaxHome Smartcam security camera, it felt like a good test to see what a surveillance camera system could do for us.
Here’s what I learned about this entry-level home security camera and its accompanying app.
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What Is the ChillaxHome Smartcam?
The ChillaxHome Smartcam is an inexpensive, wired video security camera that can be placed anywhere in your home. It’s the entry-level model of Chillax’s wider range of security cameras, which are mainly marketed as baby monitors.
Here’s how it works:
- The camera activates when there’s motion in view, capturing a 30-second video with sound of that activity. It’s viewable on a smartphone via the ChillaxCare app.
- You can check the camera anytime via the app. You’ll see and hear a real-time view of your baby sleeping or your dog getting into the recycling bin — oh wait, maybe that’s just in my house!
- The camera is hard-wired, so it must be located near an electrical socket. It’s out in the open and set on a surface (an adhesive disc is included). Note it’s not a hidden surveillance camera, so you can’t “spy” on a baby sitter or house sitter while you’re away.
- The camera features two-way voice, so you can talk to your baby or pet via the app and have a quick conversation with someone in your home — say, when you’re upstairs and they’re downstairs.
- It’s indoor-only but can be placed at a window or glass-pane door to monitor activity outside. It works day or night.
- You can adjust app settings so you’re notified every time there’s movement, or you can disable notifications.
- The free version of the app keeps video recordings for 24 hours and offers other limited storage and sharing options. The paid version, currently $5.99 per month, keeps videos for seven days with greater options for sharing and storage.
How We Tested It
When our two ChillaxHome Smartcams arrived, we set them up to view the front and back doors of our home. The front door view also captures a section of the living room, including the couch where our dogs usually hang out while we’re away.
Before placing the cameras, I had to plug them in close to our internet modem to pair them. This was done via easy step-by-step instructions in the app. Once the cameras were set up, I went into the app and saw a real-time feed from each point of view.
I initially assigned the settings to send a notification every time there was an “event” (a movement or sound detection) on one of the cameras. I soon found I was getting notifications every few minutes, especially on days when we were all home. I now turn off notifications at home and turn them back on when we’re going to be away for more than a couple of hours.
We haven’t gone out of town since we installed the Chillax, but we spent an evening or two out. We’ve used the app to check in on the house and mostly witnessed the dogs snoozing or changing positions. We “spoke” to the dogs once. But for our pets — as for most dogs, I would imagine — this had less of a soothing effect and more of an exciting one, to the point one of them peed on the floor near the camera.
And while we don’t need a baby monitor, we do have a 10-year-old who needs occasional monitoring. She had a friend sleep over the other night, and they decided to sleep on the couch so they could stay up late to watch TV.
How late? Well, I can tell you! The Chillax recorded the moment they tucked in and turned out the lights — at 1:35 a.m., not the midnight hour as she assured me!
- Inexpensive, entry-level system;
- Two-way voice feature;
- Real time feed and video capture of “events,” including at night.
- Storage and archive limitations with the free app;
- Eighty-inch-long cord limits where the camera can be placed;
- Enabling notifications in the app means receiving alerts after every movement or noise.
Q: Can you monitor it while you’re out of town or away from home?
A: Yes, but you’re limited to just the last 24 hours via the free app. You can review activity for as much as seven days via the paid app.
Q: Is the camera wireless?
A: No. It must be plugged into an electrical outlet.
Q: Does it work in the dark?
A: Yes. It has a night vision feature, and it lets you see up to a 30-foot radius without light.
The ChillaxHome Smartcam is primarily intended as a baby monitoring app, and it’s clear to see it would function effectively in this regard. It can send notice of any movement in a baby or toddler’s room. And for a sleeping baby that stirred, the voice feature allows a parent to say a few soothing words from a distance.
As a home security camera, the free app limits its effectiveness. If we to go out of town and later learn there’s been a problem, we could only see the last 24 hours of activity on the free app. That’s not a flaw of the camera itself, just something for consumers to keep in mind.
My final verdict on the ChillaxHome Security Camera is a qualified thumbs-up. The camera does what it claims to do and offers strong features at an affordable price. As a security camera, it can’t prevent a break-in. But it can alert you right away to any disturbance. And with the paid app, you can review activity up to seven days old.
Where to Buy the ChillaxHome Smartcam
The ChillaxHome Smartcam is currently available for $24.99 on the Chillax website.
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