As my previous posts indicated I’ve been looking in to different HomeKit Secure Video camera’s. Especially after Eufy announced their indoor range for a very low price. Up until that moment HomeKit Secure Video was something that sounded like something I’d be interested in, but was also out of range with the $200+ pricing.
Eufy came in with a low starting point of $40. This combined with the promo Eufy was running made it worth looking in to, so I got both the Indoor 2K and the Indoor 2K Pan & Tilt Camera.
Indoor 2K Pan & Tilt & Indoor 2K
The Indoor Pan & Tilt (P&T) was the first one that arrived. The camera is small, comes with a USB cable, USB power plug and screws to mount it on a ceiling or a wall.
Setup is straight forward, the app indicates two flows. If you have a HomeKit logo on the QR code you don’t need the Eufy App, if it doesn’t you need to create an account with Eufy to use it. It looks like the first unit’s don’t have the HomeKit logo added so I’m stuck with the Eufy app.
Setup was straightforward and installing the firmware update to make it HomeKit compatible was installed in a few minutes. After which adding it to the Home App was straightforward and I could get going.
It’s good to know a lot of features from the Eufy Camera get disabled once you enable the HomeKit functionality. Eufy published a matrix on this.
For me this wasn’t a deal breaker, because I wanted to do everything within the HomeKit Eco system. Two things that I have noticed though are:
- The quality of the camera get’s lowered to 1080p once added to HomeKit, it also seems to be more compressed. Eufy has said they will address the compression issue in a future update.
- Two way audio doesn’t work. You can listen to what the camera hears but you are not able to talk to you phone and have that played back on the Eufys speaker. Eufy has suggested this won’t be enabled in a future firmware update due to the hardware missing full duplex audio support, which is a hard requirement for HomeKit.
Pan & Tilt
Before hand I knew HomeKit won’t support the Pan & Tilt functionality. It’s possible to enabled motion tracking in the Eufy app, the camera will then follow the motion and this is reflected in HomeKit. However this requires you to keep using the Eufy app too. Looking back I would stick with the regular Indoor camera. It requires less energy, the device is slightly smaller and quite a bit lighter.
This is the biggest downside to the Eufy product line at the moment. It requires a Eufy account which you can’t secure properly with 2FA. If someone gets your username and password they are in and can turn on and off your camera which is a scary prospect for an indoor camera. They have been rolling out 2FA support in Canada and Germany but it’s unclear when this will roll out to other countries.
For now I’ve disabled internet access to the camera; which is fine as HomeKit works over the local network and uses your home hub (AppleTV, HomePod). Longer term I hope they make it possible to use the camera in HomeKit Only mode.
HomeKit Secure Video
The biggest reason to go with these camera’s and not with another ecosystem is because it fits well within the rest of the ecosystem.
Most of it works as expected, I can see the camera when I’m home, it records video when I’m not home. We’ve currently set it up if anyone is at home (of the family) it stops streaming/recording) and as soon as everyone has left it will arm the devices and start recording when motion is detected. This seems to be working perfectly.
All of the detection is done locally on your network if you have a home hub device (AppleTV, HomePod). It seems to be working fine, we’ve asked it to notify us of any movement and we’ll get notifications that say things like ‘Animal detected’. Once you click on the notification it will play the ‘clip’. This is very much hit & miss, sometimes it will load instantly, sometimes it takes multiple retries and other times it won’t work at all. I hope this is something that will get better with time.
The Aqara G2H is very interesting too; like the Eufy camera’s the device is cheap, but it also boasts a HomeKit Only Mode. Something Aqara recently said they would disable, but after outcry committed to continue supporting. This means that like the other HSV camera’s it’s possible to set it up and manage completely from the home app, including upgrading firmware, without having to create an Aqara account or use an Aqara app.
Besides this the G2H has a bigger field of view (140° instead of 125°) and supports 2 way audio from HomeKit. I’ve ordered one to play around with and expect it to come in next week.