Review: Canary Flex security camera lives up to its name

Canary’s initial foray into the networked home security camera space was very impressive – my colleague David Newman touted its high security settings in the wake of revelations about the general insecurity of these types of devices. The Canary camera was also somewhat large – a cylindrical tower that took up some significant space on your desk, cabinet or shelf.

The latest camera the company sent me is the Canary Flex, a much smaller unit meant to be more flexible (hence the name) in terms of placement, but also in power options. Like the Arlo Pro camera, the Canary Flex is powered by an internal battery (it’s charged via USB cable and power adapter). This means you can move the Flex to a location inside or outside your home where there’s no power outlet. The Flex comes with wall mounting screws and a 360-degree magnetic stand so you can position the camera in different spots. Additional accessories, such as a plant mount or twist mount (pictured below), offer even more location choices.

One big difference between the Flex and Arlo Pro – the Arlo features removable batteries – with the Flex, you need to plug the cable back into the camera for a recharge. Fortunately, Canary includes a very long USB power cable here, improving the distance needed between a camera placement and power source.

Canary Flex TwistMountCanary

The Canary Flex TwistMount (sold separately) gives you more placement options for the camera, like in a garage to monitor who keeps taking your shovel.

The camera provides HD video to a smartphone app, which you can view while you’re at home (on the same Wi-Fi network) or not at home (over the Internet). The camera itself connects to your home Wi-Fi network, with the box gleefully explaining, “Wi-Fi enabled, no hubs, no hassles” – a dig at the Ethernet-connected base station required by Arlo. There’s audio on the camera, but only one-way – you can hear what’s going on (and get alerts if the audio is triggered), but you can’t respond in kind. There’s also no siren capability to scare off any intruders.