Making Security Easy.
For those looking for a hubless, unmonitored, wireless, no drill, easy 1-2-3 setup, the Toucan 1080P Wireless Camera and Doorbell setup may be the optimal kit. Affix the device to your home with 3M tape, reduce damage to walls, enjoy weeks of camera/App integration, and when needed, recharge the device via USB-A to USB-micro cable. Enjoy alerts, send a canned text or employ two-way calling/video. Set an alarm, call emergency services, and track packages to thwart porch pirates. With such a simple setup, Toucan proves that you can!
- Ease of Use
- App Integration
- Image Quality
Who can make security easy? With Toucan, you can!
As our homes become more tech-integrated and WiFi technology improves, many have turned to Doorbell cameras to track/monitor guests, comings/goings of relatives/loved ones, and to monitor precious packages. Even though I have trusted Vivint with my home monitoring needs, I know many that prefer a stand-alone, plug-and-play hubless monitor.
With modern smart home devices and App integration, it has become possible to piecemeal a “customized” setup for your home with features like HomeKit, IFTTT, Google, and Alexa integration. For those interested in an unmonitored, wireless, rechargeable, do-it-yourself Doorbell camera, consider the budget-friendly Toucan Wireless Doorbell Camera.
The Toucan Wireless Video Doorbell arrived in an attractive 6 1/2 inches wide by 6 1/4 inches tall by 2 11/16 inches thick retail package. The top white panel displayed the Toucan name/logo in black/orange font and listed the generic product name. Instead of relying on a flat white background, the company chose a more vibrant presentation. My eye was immediately drawn to the emergency cone-orange colored accents and the large slightly raised, glossy image of the doorbell camera on the cover.
The company name was listed in the upper left corner, while the left panel displayed six product-defining features: 180-degree ultra wide angle, video call, built-in rechargeable battery, easy wire-free setup, videos encrypted for privacy, and free 24-hour video history. The generic product name and an image of the wireless door chime were listed within the lower orange footer.
The slipcover spine (orange colored), listed the product name, and displayed a labeled image of the App experience (Scroll to see everything, 180-degree ultra-wide angle, pre-recorded messages, two-way talk, siren alarm, call emergency services, photo capture, video capture), and QR codes for the App Store and Google Play Store.
The orange-colored rear panel provided a substantial amount of information for the user. The product name, “We Make Security Easy” catchphrase topped an array of twelve product feature icons: Weatherproof IP56, PIR Motion Detection, Night Vision, Instant Notification, Instant Live Feed, Two-Way Talk, Siren Alarm, Wireless Connection, Call Emergency Services, No Hub Required, Pre-Recorded Messages, Access Anywhere.
The lower edge of the panel displayed three colorful images to showcase the simplistic installation process, which promised stick it, pair it, and connect it functionality. The grey lower panel listed information about the product limited warranty, legalese information about the company, product manufacturing labels, a product inclusion list, and SKU barcodes. Overall, the packaging felt inviting, informative, and exciting, without feeling overburdened or over-techie.
I know many families balk at tech devices that seem overly complicated. I liked the shape of the camera, the inclusion of the accessory button chime, the promise of an easy setup, and the access anywhere App design.
I slid the inner white box away from the slipcover, lifted the lid, and removed the internal contents. Nestled atop the inner plastic tray, you will find a black surgical mask (plastic wrapped), and an instruction packet. Beneath the accessories, you will find a white plastic tray with two cutouts. The left cutout contained the Video Doorbell (5 1/2 inches tall by 2 1/8 inches wide by 1 3/16 inches thick, 6.9-ounces), while the second cutout contained the doorbell chime (2 9/16 inches tall by 2 9/16 inches wide by 7/8 inches thick at 1.6 ounces).
I gripped the red plastic tab at the top of the camera and slid it out of the box. Once removed, I found a 4 7/8 inches long by 1 7/8 inches wide by 1-inch thick accessory box with mounting bracket, camera mount 3M tape (1 1/4 inches wide by 2 11/16 inches tall), wireless chime mount 3M tape (1 7/16 inches square), two 7/8 inches long drywall screws plus anchors, a small Phillips screwdriver, and a 20-inches long USB-A to a USB-Micro cable. Beneath the wireless chime, you will find two Energizer-branded AA batteries.
I opened the instruction manual packet and found two orange/white, 3 3/4 inches tall/wide octagonal “SECURED BY TOUCAN” stickers, a limited warranty slip, a thin instruction manual, and a customer support card (email, App QR code, Live agent link QR code, Instagram QR, Facebook QR, YouTube QR). I liked the dark-on-light visual theme of the instruction manual. The first section provided a labeled diagram of the doorbell/chime, followed by charging instructions.
I lifted the 1 1/16 inches wide by 1/2 inches tall rubberized back cover, and plugged the USB-A to USB-micro cable between a standard 5V/2.1A USB port and the camera. The central 2 1/8 inches diameter by 3/32 inches thick LED ring started with a solid bright-red ring to indicate the charging battery status, before changing to flashing soft blue LED.
Once the LED ring changed colors, a female announced “The Device is initializing,” while the LED ring continued to flash. I utilized the QR code within the instruction manual (Outer Packaging or Support card) and followed the link to the 4.5* Toucan Smart Home App. I updated the App, previously downloaded to pair with the Wireless Outdoor Camera, and subsequently opened the App.
I tapped the “+” icon at the top right of the Toucan App and scanned through the three camera options (Wireless Security Camera Pro -Coming soon-, Security Light Camera, Wireless Outdoor Camera), the two Doorbell options (Wireless Video Doorbell Pro – Coming soon-, Wireless Video Doorbell), and the single lighting option (Sconce light on light bar). I tapped the “Wireless Video Doorbell” option, and even though I appreciated the ability to add a custom name, I chose “Side Door” as the name for the device.
I then followed the App instructions, pressed and held the Set button near the USB port, and navigated to the final screen. The blue LED illuminated and the female announcer stated “The device is initializing, setup is in progress,” “Connection succeeded, you can use your device now.” This entire process took about three minutes to complete. After about 45 minutes of charging/pairing, I was ready to install the camera.
Once the camera installation finished the setup process, the App informed me that the camera needed a firmware update. While the App finalized the firmware update (3 minutes), I slid the back plate away from the door chime, installed the batteries, removed the plastic film from the front of the chime, added the small 3M square to the back of the chime, and installed the chime in my entryway.
I pressed and held the set button and heard the announcement state “Setup is in progress, press the doorbell to connect.” I was quite pleased with the rate and ease of the pairing process. At first impression, I thought that the doorbell camera was going to sit flush against the wall and would block the charging port. I was a bit concerned that I would have to finagle the rear port open to try to charge the camera. Luckily, the included metallic bracket proved that this was not the case.
I cleaned the surface of my home’s vinyl siding with isopropyl alcohol, affixed the 3M tape to the metallic backing of the included bracket, and then stuck the camera bracket against the siding. The rear panel of the camera contained orientation slots that aligned perfectly with the bracket. To install/remove the product, I simply aligned the camera with the bracket and then tightened or loosened the lower set screw. The installation process, like the App setup/pairing proved to be an elementary endeavor.
The App review ended up being very similar to my Toucan Wireless outdoor camera review. I liked that the App was designed with ease of use in mind and proved to be quite intuitive to navigate. Select your desired camera feed from the main screen and visualize the camera feed along the top panel. The bottom panel provided six small icons (auto speech, video capture, image capture, SOS call, Pro setup/features, siren) and one large mute icon.
If interested in additional features beyond the base App features, you can move into the Pro for $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year and gain video-in-video function, specialized holiday greetings, saved/bookmark recordings, 10 shared users per camera, 30s/60s/90s playback, adjustable siren duration, 7 days recorded video history, and unlimited video downloads. For $9.99 a month/$99.99 per year (price again for the camera), you can upgrade to the elite and gain up to 90 days of recorded video history in addition to the Pro features. I thus far have been happy with the basic plan and have not needed to extend to the Pro status.
The $99.99 Camera/Chime Setup may be one of the cheaper options on the market. The size was similar to other doorbells and provided a sexy glossy black face with a clean white frame. With the included 6500 mAh battery, you can expect >2 weeks of regular use before needing to recharge. I liked that the App sent my iPhone alerts, but I was a bit frustrated after the first day of installation with the frivolous movement alerts.
At least, I was frustrated until I dove deeper into the App settings and adjusted the motion detection and motion zones. I was able to filter out the moving American Flag in the picture and enjoyed fewer alerts. When I navigated to the App, I saw squirrels, tree branches, and a nice 180-degree wide angle of my porch. It is important to note that without add-on cost features, you cannot use Picture in Picture technology.
However, the PIR motion detection, free 24-hour video history, video call, instant live feed, and two-way talk worked very well. The beauty of the system is the easy 1-2-3 point setup, the quick app integration, the hub free, base station free design, the waterproof elements, and a payment free App experience (unless you choose to add on features). For those who want just a bit more, simply add on the perks.
I compared the images from the Wireless Doorbell to the Toucan Outdoor Wireless Camera and felt the outdoor camera provided slightly crisper imagery. When I snapped still frames with the Toucan camera and accessed them from my iPhone, the borders were abnormally blurred and the detail was of lesser quality than when I snapped a screenshot. I think this was a feature of the 180-degree camera/App and how the data was processed.
I was more impressed with the rate of transition between light and night mode and the quality of the imagery in the night mode. In fact, the infrared imagery appeared more vibrant than the daytime color images. My Vivint Doorbell Pro provided clearer pictures than the Toucan and provided high-quality data/saved shots in my camera roll. Perhaps the Toucan Pro camera “coming-soon” will improve upon this feature. Until then, I would still prefer to depend on Vivint for my main security needs.
Like many stand-alone or monitored systems, you can access the camera images from anywhere an LTE signal can be found. If you tap the cog icon, you can turn on/off auto greetings such as “Hello, who is it?” “How can I help you?” “Dog barking” or you can add custom greetings through the Pro features (purchased content). You can tap “Emergency Call” to manually enter a number to call or to select a number from the contact lists.
Adjust the time zone, set a do not disturb for notifications, or set a schedule for notifications. The battery life combined with the wire-free installation and iP56 waterproofing allowed for 2 weeks of utility through several rain showers. I paired the device with a side door and added a camera to my current monitored system. I liked that I could press the top set button on the chime to change the sound, but wished the announcer would have voiced the setting or that you could change it through the App.
Despite the plethora of positive features of the camera, there were a few less-than-ideal aspects that require mention. First, even though the camera promised Alexa/Google Assistant interaction, neither the instruction manual nor the website provided easy-to-follow instructions. For a promise of easy-to-install hardware, the company left the user to figure this process out on their own. Navigate to the Alexa App, select devices, search for “Toucan Camera,” and then follow the prompts.
Once the process was set up, I liked that I could tell Alexa “Alexa, show me Side Door” and the App followed the instruction. This process should have been easier for the average user and improved instructions should be provided either online or in the box. I do not have an Echo show and the iPhone/iPad App will tell you “Cameras Do not work on this device.” The second issue was with the captured images when you snap a photo with the App.
I definitely appreciated the improved capture field of the 180-degree camera and the optimized ratio. However, if you capture the image for later use/need, you will note some distortion in the images. I did not mind hiding better features through a paywall, but felt that the 24-hour recorded history was a bit low for the price. I think 72 hours would have been fairer for the basic shield plan, with the pro extending to 10 days, and the elite up to 6 months (if not indefinite).
Despite the few critiques, I was quite pleased with the overall design of the camera and the App. Some may question why the device only uses 2.4Ghz receivers, and state that wired is safer/more secure. I understand the issues/concerns but also realize that added features drive up the cost.
The chime/camera paired nicely, provided adequate range, and the kit worked to add monitoring/communication to one of my doors. Based on website information, Toucan’s goal is to reach as many as possible with a cost-friendly, feature-packed kit. For those interested in a simple setup, simple App integration, and a hubless, wireless installation process, look to Toucan.