A good investment in home security.
One area of interest I’ve had for a long time is smart home security. I love all of the technology that surrounds this particular area and in some form or another, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with several of the major home security brands in the market (Ring, Arlo, etc.). Recently, Guardzilla, a technology company that focuses on home security that is both affordable and easy-to-use products, released a new 360º security camera — the Guardzilla 360 Outdoor All-in-One HD Camera. It was honored at CES 2018 with an Innovation Award in the Smart Home category. It’s the first-ever security and monitoring WiFi camera to deliver full 360º live HD video and continuous two-way audio. I’ve been testing out one of their units for the past few weeks and am excited to share my findings on the device.
Guardzilla 360 Outdoor is a powerful HD camera with 360-degrees of viewing. Most cameras only allow for 130-degrees of viewing and as a result, many homeowners place several cameras to cover an entire area. With Guardzilla 360, you only need one to monitor and protect the entire environment. Even if it’s placed flush against a wall, users will still have a 180º field of view, which is still greater than standard WiFi cameras. Guardzilla 360 Outdoor is built tough enough to withstand any weather situations that come up. It’s rated IP65, which translates to the camera being dust tight and water resistant with a low-pressure water jet spray. Guardzilla considers the unit ‘weatherproof’ by these standards.
The Guardzilla 360 Outdoor can be mounted using the magnetic wall mount or the table stand. In the instance of the table stand, the camera will be facing the ceiling. The magnetic wall mount allows you to position your camera vertically or horizontally. Guardzilla’s does suggest to place the camera in an area with the widest unobstructed view to get the greatest benefit of the 360-degree video. The camera is powered by an internal rechargeable battery or by using the 10-foot power cord that is provided with the camera.
Like most smart cameras in the market, the Guardzilla 360 Outdoor has a companion app for you to use for close monitoring of your property. This app is available on either iOS or Android mobile platforms. It is used for set-up of the camera as well as continued monitoring of the camera. It is free to download and a user sign-up account is required for operation of the app/camera. In addition to the app, Guardzilla 360 Outdoor is fully integrated with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Nest, Samsung Smart Things, and IFTTT. Some additional steps are required for the set-up of these services beyond the initial connection of the device.
You can use Guardzilla to detect motion in a monitored area, set-off an alarm when you aren’t home, answer the door with the two-way communication, or record events as they happen. With that last option, an additional service plan may be required. Guardzilla has their own cloud service set-up for users of the cameras and it breaks down like this:
- FREE: Capture 8-second videos of motion events without sound for 2 days
- $4.99/month ($49.99 annual): Capture 30 second motion detection videos with sound stored for 7 days
- $8.99/month ($89.99 annual): Capture 30 second motion detection videos with sound stored for 30 days
- You also have the option to save ‘snapshots’ with the app. This is actually a 360-degree interactive image and not just a standard screenshot of the app.
- Live 350º HD Video: Full HD Panoramic View (1712×1712)
- Weatherproof: Withstands extreme heat, cold, and moisture
- Versatile Mounting Options: Horizontal and vertical magnetic hanging mount and nesting base for flat surfaces
- 360º Motion Detection: Full surround PIR Array
- 360º Night Vision: Auto engages in low light
- Two-Way Talk: Full duplex audio with premium dynamic driver and microphone
- 90dB Siren: Active security deterrent
- Dual Power Supply (AC/DC Power): Built-in rechargeable battery and 10-foot power cord options
As I previously mentioned, I have quite a bit of experience with WiFi security cameras and I’m glad I was able to apply that knowledge to this review. The Guardzilla arrived in a plastic cylinder with Guardzilla branding applied to it. The top half of the packaging is clear so that you can see the product within. Unboxing the Guardzilla wasn’t a problem, but figuring out how to mount it best was. I really struggled with this because once I saw how the field of view worked, I was a little stumped about the best place to install it. Even though the manual states that you can mount it horizontally or vertically, a horizontal wall mounting is pretty awkward. I placed the Guardzilla in a couple of different places around my property and found that the best placement was either the tabletop option or vertically upside down. When it was placed horizontally, the camera seemed to have trouble staying level and it would keep drifting downward. I could still control the camera in the app and move it around like a standard 360 camera view, but once I was done with it the camera would slowly drift downward. This did not happen when it was on the table or hung upside down. In one instance, I actually place the camera in a corner of my front porch to see how it would handle angles and well, as you can see from the screenshots, it wasn’t a very successful test.
The Guardzilla 360 Outdoor has one of the easiest set-ups I’ve seen from a WiFi camera. In just a few steps, I had the camera connected to my home WiFi and a signal was being broadcast. Guardzilla’s app is actually pretty easy to follow, too. When you visit the dashboard screen of the app, the camera status will show as either Disarmed or Armed. When you want to view the camera’s live feed you tap on ‘Monitor’ and your phone will connect to the camera. Depending on your signal, you may or may not connect very quickly. I have had times where I would tap on Monitor and the camera would immediately connect and other times that it would take up to 5 seconds.
I really like the specialty controls that the app has — volume, brightness, contrast, POV, viewing mode — but sort of wish they were not hidden. Right now, you have to tap on the menu toggle in the top right-hand corner in order for the options to appear, but there is a lot of black space at the bottom of the screen that could be used for a heads-up display of sorts for the options.
Image and video quality were excellent. I never had an issue being able to tell what was going on during our surveillance of an area. I was also impressed that the night vision fades away easily when a light is introduced into its field of view. I tested this feature indoors so that I could control the source of light.
Overall, I really like the Guardzilla 360. It gives you a new perspective on how to view your property and makes monitoring multiple areas at one time much easier. The set-up of the product was incredibly easy, but I think the interface of the app needs a little bit of work. It’s very functional, but I’d like to see it laid out a bit differently. So, is the Guardzilla 360 Outdoor worth investing it? I believe it is. In addition to using it outdoors, I could also see using it inside a garage where temperatures might fluctuate more than indoors since it is built for extreme temperatures. Guardzilla 360 Outdoor is currently being offered for $229.99 (MSRP) but can be found on sale for as low as $195 (at the time of publishing).