EufyCam 3 and HomeBase 3 review: Why I’m not getting rid of these cameras yet

 

eufy-set1.jpg
9/10

EufyCam 3 & HomeBase 3

Outstanding

$550 at Amazon

 

Pros

  • Great video quality
  • No subscription fees
  • Face recognition
  • Anti-theft detection
  • Completely wireless
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Had to unpair and repair old Eufy Security devices
  • Privacy concerns
  • Not directly compatible with HomeKit

Eufy Security has attracted attention in the security camera world recently for cybersecurity flaws, with some users saying Eufy has misled consumers by uploading local-only data to cloud servers without user knowledge, and pointing out holes in video data security that enable remote access to Eufy cameras’ livestreams using VLC player.

These claims come with unfortunate timing as the Chinese technology company just launched a series of security devices to end the year.

One of these new launches, the EufyCam 3 and HomeBase 3 bundle, also known as the Eufy Edge Security System, seems to gather all the best features of competing security cameras and combine them into one kit. With 4K-quality images, forever power, and expandable storage, all with no monthly fees, those flaws may not seem important.

EufyCam 3 specifications

Weight 420g
Dimensions 2.5 x 5.1 x 2.6 inches
Resolution 4K (3,840 x 2,160)
Night vision Color with spotlight or infrared
Motion detection range 30ft
Battery Lithium battery and integrated solar panel
Spotlight 100lm, motion-activated
Audio Two-way audio
Weatherproof IP67
Storage HomeBase 3
Power Solar, optional rechargeable with cable
Connectivity Wi-Fi
Installation Screw mount
Voice control Amazon Alexa and Google Voice Assistant

HomeBase 3 specifications

Weight 656g
Dimensions 3.1 x 4.3 x 5.7 inches
Weatherproof Indoor use only
Detection Face recognition and human, vehicle, and pet detection
Alarm 100db
Storage Built-in 16GB local storage, expandable up to 16TB with 2.5″ SATA interface SSD or HDD
Power Plug-in
Connectivity Ethernet
Installation Indoor use only

Home security is a big deal to me, and that’s an understatement. Growing up in a third-world country, I’ve heard my fair share of crime and break-in stories from family and friends. To be fair, waking up to someone reaching in through my bedroom window to steal something after breaking into the house behind mine is enough to instill fear in anyone.

That experience made me paranoid about home security, so I always wanted to lock my house down like a prison with locks and alarms everywhere. Now that I am older, wiser, and have a family of my own to protect, I’ve set up my home security just how I like it and, thankfully, my house isn’t like a prison.

I was able to do this with Eufy Security. An electronics brand by Anker Innovations, Eufy makes home security cameras, sensors, keypads, and pretty much everything you need to set up your own customized home security system. I went with some motion sensors, cameras, a Eufy keypad, a video doorbell, a smart lock, and a HomeBase 2.

The new Eufy Edge Security System

Eufy’s new Edge Security System has two EufyCam 3 cameras — bullet-shaped and completely wireless, using built-in solar panels at the top of them — and a HomeBase 3, an artificially intelligent hub for all Eufy Security devices that features facial recognition, with 16GB of built-in local storage space expandable to up to 16TB, and works as your home security alarm.

Straight out of the box, you get two EufyCam 3 outdoor cameras, the HomeBase 3, one Ethernet cable to connect the HomeBase 3, a 12V adapter for the hub, a USB-C cable to charge your security cameras, two screw-mounting bases, a quick-start guide and sticker, and the mounting hardware, which consists of screw packs, screw positioning stickers, and a metal pin for resets.

This kit by itself can work as a standalone security system. I mounted one camera where it can cover my driveway and front yard and the other covering the backyard and back door. The HomeBase 3 supposedly keeps all recordings inside our home, and the motion detection notifications flow in seamlessly.

It’s also already learned to recognize my and my partner’s faces, so when either of us takes the dog out in the backyard, it tells us which one was detected.

This is particularly helpful for letting me know when a stranger was detected instead of one of us. Especially when you’re out of the house and get the notification that a stranger was detected, as was the case when someone came to work in our backyard.

I like being in control of my surroundings; whether that’s healthy or not is a topic for another day. Customizable and DIY security systems bring the control back to you, so you can install your motion sensors exactly where you want them, instead of someone else doing all of that for you.

These systems, however, tend to come with the downside that they’re more prone to cybersecurity flaws. There are some claims that Eufy camera feeds can be accessed remotely using VLC player, no encryption or authentication required. Though Eufy hasn’t made an official public response to this claim as of yet, we reached out to the company for comment and have yet to receive an answer.

Video quality

The EufyCam 3 is a 4K-resolution security camera that blows all of the other ones I’ve personally used out of the water. This completely wireless security camera captures a clear and colorful picture during the day, one that lets you clearly discern facial features and letters and numbers, like those of a license plate, for example.

I’ve used many security cameras in the past and I think we can agree the resolution isn’t always the best. This means that when a security camera claims to offer 2K or higher resolution, I want to see if it’s actually going to be a good picture. And, in this case, it is; the picture quality is outstanding — I simply can’t ding Eufy on this.

Even at night, when the EufyCam 3 has the option to turn on a spotlight to record color night vision or do infrared night vision, the picture quality is pretty great for both. I prefer color night vision: It means the spotlight on the camera comes on when movement is detected, which makes for both a better picture with less ghosting and a potential deterrent.

The security cameras also have anti-theft detection, which is triggered when someone tries to pull them off or, in my case, a crow tries to stand on it. The anti-theft alarm comes from the HomeBase 3, so you’ll always hear it if it’s triggered by someone outside, and it’s also visible on a mobile notification from the Eufy Security app.

The EufyCam 3 and HomeBase 3 security camera system isn’t compatible with Apple HomeKit at this time, but it is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, like my current Eufy Security video doorbell. Asking Alexa to show me the driveway cam on my little Echo Show in my kitchen makes me feel like I’m in a holiday commercial, which is a fun, yet useful, ability.

No subscription fees

I don’t like subscription fees on top of any of the products I buy; it’s a hill I’m prepared to die on. And a camera with a subscription fee is one of the most illogical things to me. If I’m already spending $100 to $250 on a great camera, why on Earth would I have to pay a monthly fee to use it?

This is the main reason we chose Eufy for our home security system and it’s one of the two ways the HomeBase 3 excels: Inside your home connected via Ethernet, it stores the video captured by the security cameras outside without the need to pay for cloud storage, and it doubles as an alarm.

Though it comes with 16GB of local storage, the HomeBase 3 features an expansion bay that can hold a HDD or SSD for up to 16TB of video storage, no cloud storage necessary.

Don’t forget, however, that Eufy is facing its own issues with security: Though the company says the footage is kept local, it’s been said to send video thumbnails, photos of the people detected, and identifier data to AWS cloud servers. Eufy claims this doesn’t happen with the HomeBase 3 thanks to a high-performing database that stores the data within the hub.

An area where the HomeBase 3 does excel is its BionicMind AI technology. This makes it so the hub can intelligently learn the different faces of different people and recognize who’s coming and going. For our home, I added a photo of myself on the Eufy Security app and the system started recognizing me after a handful of sightings, doing it more reliably about a week or two into the process. (The facial recognition technology does, however, make me leery of this data being uploaded to cloud servers without our consent.)

I wanted to see how the AI performed with other household members, so I didn’t initially add my partner and, for security concerns, decided to skip my kids altogether. The system flagged my husband as a “stranger” and took snapshots of about 34 different angles and expressions of his face and and 30 of his body to learn to recognize him. Before I added a name for him in the Edge Security System, it had intelligently grouped all these sightings into the same stranger.

I find the BionicMind AI technology to be pretty reliable for the benefit of home security, especially when you get those midnight alerts that someone has been spotted. Seeing my husband’s name on the notification gives me peace of mind knowing it’s not a stranger prowling the backyard at midnight but rather him taking the puppy out after one of its messy accidents.

Something I didn’t care for when switching from our HomeBase 2 to the new HomeBase 3 was that we had to unpair our old devices and individually add them, which made it so we slacked on it for a good while. It’s the kind of thing that you want to be able to do seamlessly with the mobile app when you upgrade your hub, and it’d be awesome to just have a pop-up appear asking to add these devices to the new HomeBase 3.

Forever power

The wireless security camera that the new Edge Security System includes two of, the S330 EufyCam, has an integrated solar panel at the top and a USB-C port at the back for charging, if needed. After I plugged my two EufyCams in for an initial charge, I found the best places to install them.

My house faces north, so installing the cameras both where I’d get enough visibility over the coverage area and where they’d receive enough solar power was a challenge, especially going into the winter months. I opted for mounting one on the easternmost side of the house, in order for it to receive the most unobstructed sunlight, which happens in the morning hours for us.

The goal is for the cameras to achieve “forever power,” where a couple of hours of direct sunlight are enough to maintain the battery life. I haven’t had to charge the cameras since the initial charge almost two months ago, and I’ve only seen a significant decrease in battery on our driveway camera.

The EufyCam 3 that looks over my driveway is always monitoring comings and goings, by us, approaching vehicles, and Amazon delivery drivers, so it gets a lot of use. Combine that with rainy and foggy fall mornings, and it creates a perfect storm for battery depletion. Even then, the 12,400-mAh battery on that S330 eufyCam is still at 58% with 52 days of use and 2,431 detected events.

You can set the EufyCam 3 to run on Optimal Battery Life, where it records up to 20 seconds of video and adjusts detection time to avoid recording the same object twice in a short period of time, or on Optimal Surveillance, which is what I keep it on. With optimal surveillance, videos can be up to 60 seconds long, and the system tries to record each event as long as possible. You can also customize clip length and detection periods.

The Eufy Security app also shows you when the EufyCam 3s are charging via sunlight, which is pretty neat to see in real time, and it also features a Solar Dashboard. This option shows you how your camera’s battery percentage has trended over time, as well as Beta features like how many mAh of energy it received per day and what the solar charging efficiency looks like.

Eufy Security S330 eufyCam 3 2-Cam Kit

$549.99 at Best Buy

 

Bottom line: Is the Edge Security System really enough for home security?

The Eufy Edge Security System, aka the EufyCam 3 and HomeBase 3 bundle, retails for $550. This is pretty on par when you compare it with brands like Arlo and even Ring, for example. But home automation tinkerers may sniff at the price tag when you can get other security cameras for less than $100 or $50 individually.

Here’s my view: The price, though steep, is worth it. Listen, I’m known to be the cheapest person in my family, always looking for deals and the best ways to make my home do what I want for less, so $550 is not an amount I take lightly, by any means. But when I break it down, I can’t say the price isn’t worth it.

When setting up home security, many people buy several motion sensors, indoor and outdoor cameras, alarm systems, entry sensors, and so on, and can end up spending around the price of this system or more. These two 4K-resolution, outdoor, wireless S330 EufyCams can be placed strategically to surveil your home’s front and back entrances, so you have the peace of mind that you’ll know if an intruder is spotted before they even try to make entry, and can even have the outdoor camera sound an alarm when it happens.

Then the HomeBase 3 intelligently identifies who or what was on camera and locally stores the video from these events, without your having to pay monthly fees for your home protection. Keeping in mind the privacy risks associated with Eufy storing some things on the cloud, I prefer to keep my EufyCams outside my home. (Many other security cameras store data on the cloud, so that’s not inherently a bad thing. It’s a problem if a company does so without letting its users know.)

The HomeBase 3 can also be set up so an alarm goes off inside your home when the EufyCam 3 outside detects movement, with highly customizable options for what actions to take, such as sending notifications and keeping video recordings.

All in all, this really can be a standalone home security system; anything else you add to it is for your own peace of mind.

FAQ

Is the HomeBase 3 compatible with older Eufy Security cameras?

At this time, Eufy Security is working to expand compatibility with the HomeBase 3. When the new hub launched in September 2022, it was compatible with all EufyCam models, the battery doorbell, and motion sensors.

A firmware upgrade will make the rest of the Eufy Security product lineup, including existing Eufy cameras, compatible with the HomeBase 3 by the end of 2022; with the only exception being the wired doorbell, planned to be compatible in the beginning of 2023.

Are there alternatives to the Eufy Edge Security system worth considering?

There are a lot of security camera systems on the market, though few compare to the HomeBase 3 and eufyCam 3 in resolution, reliability, and local storage. These are some of the best alternatives to this system, with variations for monthly subscriptions or video quality.

Arlo Ultra 2 Spotlight camera security system

$599.99 at Walmart

 

Ring Spotlight Cam Plus + Solar panel

$229.99 at Amazon

 

CamCamp Wireless Security Camera System

$379.99 at Amazon

 

Arlo Pro 4 Spotlight Camera Security Bundle

$399.99 at Best Buy
, , , , , , , , ,
Previous Post
Delta Air Lines finds an outrageous way to insult important customers
Next Post
Apple loses its imagination and reverts to a chilling old tune

Related Posts