Security cameras have come a long way since they were first introduced to the public at large many years ago. Previously, these were big, bulky affairs that were very loud, produced poor image quality, and stood out like a snowman at Panama City Beach.
Today, security cameras have advanced to the point that there’s no reason to not have one in your home. Whether it’s for peace of mind, to deter a burglary, to help you keep watch over a child or elderly family member, or even if you suspect your partner is having an affair, security cameras have become a very popular and sound investment for homeowners and renters alike.
When Falcon Watch released their latest in a long line of security cameras. I was cautiously optimistic. I’d heard good things, but I’d never personally used any of their products before, and I never invest in security products for my home without testing it out for myself first. I’m pleased to say that the HawkCam Pro exceeded most of my expectations, with only a few reservations to be aware of.
Before I dive into the bulk of the review, these are some of the features that the HawkCam Pro includes, and I’ll be reviewing a few standout aspects later on:
- Measures 7’ x 4.5’ x 5 and ½’
- Resolution of 1280p x 720p HD quality images on a wide screen lens
- Wireless capability, with motion detection and activation
- Includes Micro SD Card, with 32GB of storage capacity
- Uses a QR scan code for quicker setup
- Includes normal mode and night vision
- Live streaming with certain devices (Apple products, Android and on home computer)
- Ability to set multiple user accounts
- Two-way talk function
Size and Installation
This camera measures slightly bigger than the plug-in webcam that used to be so popular, before manufacturers started integrating them into the frame of most home computers. So, this is definitely not the biggest camera on the market, and when it comes to space management, and blending in with other objects in your home, that’s definitely not a bad thing. Now, on the other hand, it’s not small enough that you’ll be able to easily conceal it, if that’s a concern of yours. The base stand is firm and durable, and will ensure that the camera stays upright on just about any surface, regardless of the traction. The only drawback is that there’s no battery, so the camera has to be plugged in at all times.
So long as you don’t mind utilizing the QR code to initiate, the setup for this camera is an absolute breeze. It’s advertised as taking roughly five minutes to complete, and barring any advanced tweaks you want to do, I found that time estimate to be pretty on point. If this is your first time installing a nanny cam, or any similar home security camera, then just stick with the default settings for now. The most difficult aspect was getting the camera connected to other devices, like my phone and desktop computer, but technically this isn’t part of the ‘initial setup’ so I’m not counting it. There’s not a ton of customization you can do, in terms of image quality, power settings, timers, etc., but for a ‘ready to go, right out of the box’ experience, the HawkCam Pro was as good as they come.
Now, some people will tell you that image quality in home security cameras isn’t that big a deal, so long as you can get a rough idea of what’s going on. In certain instances, I might agree, but the majority of the time, I beg to differ.
For one thing, in the event that you do have a crime committed against you, or you suspect that your partner or someone else in the house is involved in some illicit activity, then you’re going to want images that are sharp, clear, and leave nothing to the imagination. This is critical because, in the event that you need to go to court, and plan on using your camera’s images or video as evidence, the quality needs to be immaculate.
For example – if you suspected that your spouse was using cocaine or any other illegal substance around your child, and you were seeking divorce with full custody, a clear image will go a long way towards the judge ruling in your favor. Even if your footage is admissible, if the image was blurry or low quality, odds are, your spouse’s attorney would try to question the integrity of the evidence. They’ll cite that the image was of such poor quality that you can’t conclusively determine that cocaine was present. They might suggest it was baby powder or baking soda instead. That sounds outrageous, I know, but it’s happened before.
I’m pleased to say that, with the HawkCam Pro, you won’t have that problem. These are some of the clearest pictures and video I’ve ever seen in an off-the-shelf home security camera. The 1280 x 720p resolution really shines through, even in black and white mode, and you can compare those you take on your camera with any other high quality black and white images taken by a high resolution camera, and the HawkCam Pro will match them for quality every time.
Functionality and Operation
On the whole, the HawkCam Pro is very intuitive, and does what it advertises 90% of the time. But use caution, because that 10% that’s lacking may make a big difference to you.
For me personally, I was drawn to the motion detection feature that was advertised, since I tested this camera with a home security mindset, more so than as a baby monitor or nanny cam. What I found was acceptable, but not great. Once I had the camera set up, I waited for nightfall, shut off all the lights, left the camera in normal mode, and then tried to see if I could sneak through the room without the camera detecting me. I was moving incredibly slowly, and had the advantage of not having to watch for furniture, since I already knew the layout, so I was afforded some advantages a burglar might not have. But even acknowledging that, I won, and the camera lost.
To confirm, I tried again, and beat the camera a second time in normal mode. I swapped to night vision mode and tried again, winning the first time, but got the camera to pick me up when I started being just a little more reckless. I tried again in normal mode, with the same heightened speed of movement, and the camera finally picked it up.
Bottom line – will the camera detect movement? Yes, it will, but only once it reaches a certain intensity. I get why cameras are set up like this, so that your pets don’t set the camera off every time they change position, or so you don’t trigger it with a quick trip to the bathroom. But even so, this is discouraging. Does it work? Yes, but a burglar is going to have to be making a considerably higher amount of motion than I would make if I were breaking into a home, and far more than I think should be necessary to activate a home security device.
Have your Say
What are your thoughts about the Falcon Watch HawkCam Pro? Leave a comment below and let us know.