Firstly if you're buying from the world's largest online retailer, Amazon, then there is just a hint of unfair bias since Amazon own two of the biggest brands in the market, Blink and Ring. These companies both produce good quality products with their own distinct slant (though it won't surprise you to learn that both prioritise Alexa compatibility in their feature lists!)
Secondly, like so much else, smart home cameras come with two costs – the cost of acquisition and the running cost; most (but not all) require a subscription service to get the best of the feature set available including, crucially, recording incursions onto your property.
With these two considerations in mind, I found myself thinking, what security cameras would I look to pick up this Black Friday to keep my own home safe and – ideally – to avoid setting myself a long-running financial trap. Personally I'd rather spend a bit more on day one than keep spending a monthly fee.
The pay-once route
Just the other day, a neighbor of mine visited and asked me if he could see a recording from my smart camera because his car, parked a few doors down, had been stolen. I had to apologise and explain that, unless someone came onto my property, the camera didn't actually record the incident.
This is normal with smart home systems, which are activated by nearby motion, record for a few seconds, and then go quiet for a spell to save power (even if something is happening). With a 'proper' system with a base station, like the EufyCam S330 below, you can choose to record as much as you want and the cameras are 4K because it's your own data network – your wi-fi – rather than a paid-for subscription happening on the cheap.
EufyCam S330 2-Cam Kit |
was $549.99 | now $359.99
SAVE $190 at Amazon This 4K security system works day and night and, thanks to built-in solar panels, can be installed with forever power without drilling cables through walls. The base station has 16GB storage, expandable to 16TB, so no subscription is needed. Remember to click on the $20 coupon in the listing to get this price
Eufy also offer a number of other elements which can work with this system or alone, like their eufy Security Floodlight Cam with 360-degree pan and tit camera.
eufy Security Floodlight Cam S330 |
was $299.99 | now $169.99
SAVE £90 at Amazon 360° Pan and Tilt Camera Coverage – remotely pan the lens 360° horizontally to get a complete view without the risk of blindspots, 2K Full HD video. You need click on the $20 coupon in the listing to get this price
The pay-or-not option
As mentioned, the Amazon-owned services come out in force over the Black Friday / Cyber Monday period with bundle deals, and one of the most cost-effective is a Blink Outdoor bundle.
These cameras are designed to work their best with a subscription, which for unlimited cameras is $10 a month, but you can buy an additional device called a Blink Wireless Sync Module which lets you record locally instead. It doesn't have all the smarts, and is seemingly deliberately less elegant (there are no animated icons in the app), but it is interesting to have a buy-out clause from the subscription!