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Security, whether at home or at your place of business, is on the top of everybody’s list of priorities. A home security camera is one of the best tools to make your home or office more secure. This is probably the reason why there has been an influx of security cameras entering the market.
One of these is Flir FX. But with a price tag (see here) really worth it?
Contents (Jump to)
Flir FX Features
- What’s Included: Out of the box, the package includes the Flir FX camera and the detachable stand. You also get two internal batteries, which provide two hours of power each. These batteries are located inside the stand and the camera itself, and this gives you four hours of power even when the power cable is not attached or when there is power outage in your area.
- Camera specifications. Flir FX records videos in HD, giving you 1080-pixel footages. The streams, however, are only 720 pixels. Flir gives you a wide field of view at 160 degrees and you can use the device for two-way communication as it comes with a speaker and a microphone. You can also get video recordings at night because of its night vision, allowing the camera to see for around 30 feet even in low light conditions or at night.
- Sound detection. Aside from just detecting motion, the Flir FX can also detect sounds. It can send “audio event” alerts when it detects a sound in the room or area that you are monitoring.
- RapidRecap. Flir FX has one unique selling point: it can secure your home or office by helping you keep an eye on things but it does not bore you watching hours and hours of footage of nothing happening. With its RapidRecap feature, you can view everything that happened during the day in just one minute. The RapidRecap technology superimposes different clips and each element would have its own timestamp. For instance, a person came into view at 1:21 pm, while a car passes at 1:30 pm, RapidRecap will show you both the person and the car with their respective timestamps in a single frame. You can view events for the entire day, or just pick the time range you want to see, such as all events from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm while you were at the office or anytime from midnight to 6:00 am while you were sleeping.
- Flexibility. Flir FX may be used indoors and outdoors. The wireless camera may be set anywhere inside the house without having to mount it as it comes with its own stand. If you want to use the device outdoors, you can fit it into the outdoor housing that would provide it with added protection from the elements. There are also accessories for other uses such as the sport case and the dash mount.
- Live stream. You can see what is happening even when you are away with the live streaming video that you can view from your smartphone or tablet.
- SmartZone. SmartZone Alerts allow you to choose the areas that matter most to you. When movement is sensed in these areas, the camera will start recording and you will get an alert on your smartphone or tablet. Using the Flir FX app, you can select the areas you want to monitor and the level of sensitivity you want. This would effectively reduce the false alarms that you get. For instance, if you use the Flir FX inside your living room and want to be alerted when somebody goes up the stairs, you can set it using the mobile app. Flir FX will only send you alerts and start recording when it detects movement on the stairs and only then. This means that you will be alerted when your toddler tries to go up the stairs but not when he is playing on the sofa.
- Direct Wi-Fi connection. Flir FX uses your Wi-Fi network to let you view live streams if you are located within 500 feet of your Wi-Fi router. If you are located farther away, you can get the video streams from the Flir Cloud service.
- Local and cloud storage. Flir FX has an SD card where you can store video footage. You can also take advantage of the cloud storage that you get with a subscription plan.
- Subscription plans. Flir offers three subscription plans that allow you to make use of the RapidRecap feature and cloud storage.
Flir FX Features at a Glance
|Monthly Fee||Yearly fee||Cloud history||Cloud storage||RapidRecaps|
|Free Cloud Basic||FREE||FREE||48 hours||10 GB||3 per month|
|FLIR Cloud Premium||$14.99**||$149.99||30 days||Unlimited||Unlimited|
The good news is that a 30-day trial to FLIR Cloud Plus comes free with your purchase of the device. However, after the trial lapses, you revert to Free Cloud Basic
Setting up your Flir FX
Like all connected devices, you would need to connect your Flir FX to your Wi-Fi network and then pair it with your smartphone or tablet. This process takes some work, unlike other devices that are basically plug-and-play. You would need to switch from the app to the device’s settings to get it done the first time and that takes quite some time.
You need the smartphone app to control your camera and everything is easy to figure out. A simple tap on a thumbnail image would bring up the live feed, then a “more” menu is there to guide you through creating RapidRecaps, viewing the recorded footage, and turning the alerts on or off.
It also allows you to use the microphone, capture a snapshot and tweak the settings for sound and motion sensitivity and night vision.
Pros of the Flir FX
- Condensed Video Footage: The ability to condense video footage to just a minute is a great idea because it saves you from having to go through hours and hours of footages. You are able to catch the things that you need to see and that might need your action without wasting time fast-forwarding and rewinding. If you see something of interest, you can easily take note of the timestamp and review more of the scene.
- Adjustable Sensitivity: The ability to adjust the sensitivity of the motion sensors and designate SmartZones also goes a long way in helping you get the most out of your security camera while also making sure that important places are monitored.
- Wide Viewing Angle: The Flir FX has a 160-degree viewing angle and you get a full view of the room without any warping. It also helps that your videos are all in high definition.
- Truly Wireless: The Flir FX is a true wireless security camera. If you plan to use it for extended periods of time, you can have it plugged in. But if you plan to set it up outside, you really do not have to worry about wiring. Unlike traditional security cameras that send video footage over wires, it sends video footage over your Wi-Fi network, stores it using the onboard SD card, or sends it to its own cloud storage.
Alternatives to Flir FX: Nest Cam, Dropcam Pro and Piper
With its price point and with its capabilities as a wireless camera, Flir FX meets some stiff competition from Piper, Dropcam Pro and Nest. All of these security cameras have two-way communication features and mobile app controls, as well as motion and sound alerts. However, Flir FX is the only that offers both cloud and local storage; all three only offer cloud storage.
If you do not like the idea of paying a monthly subscription, you can opt for Piper, which offers its cloud storage for free up to 1,000 clips. However, Piper does not have night vision capabilities.
Piper and Nest Cam also offer better video quality for live streams, delivering resolutions of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels compared to the 1,280 x 720 pixels offered by both Flir FX and Dropcam Pro.
|Flir FX||Nest Cam||Dropcam Pro||Piper|
|Price||Check here||Check Here||Check Here||Check Here|
|Streaming video quality||1,280×720||1,920×1,080||1,280×720||1,920×1,080|
|Field of view||160 degrees||130 degrees||130 degrees||180 degrees|
|Motion and sound alerts||X||X||X||X|
What could be better
The features included in Flir FX are something that other security cameras should aspire for. However, there are some things that could be improved.
- RapidRecaps Aren’t Perfect: There are some problems with RapidRecaps. If you choose a longer time range, or if you are monitoring a busy area such as the street outside your gates or your store, it might become more difficult to follow the RapidRecaps.
- Web and App Interface Still Work in Progress: The Web interface is rather new and does not have all the features and functionality that you see on the mobile app. Also, while the mobile app is easy to use, it is prone to glitches, which hopefully Flir can correct in succeeding updates.
- Rare False Alerts: False alerts are also a problem. There is a good chance that Flir FX would send you various false alarms throughout the day even when you have set the sound and motion sensitivity to the lowest levels and you have the SmartZones activated.
- Video Viewing Not Always the Best Option: More significantly, there are instances when you cannot immediately see the video clip after you receive an alert.
- No Integration with Other Smart Devices: Also, if you have other smart devices at home, you should know that Flir FX does not offer any integration.
Conclusion – What’s the Final Word?
There is no question that the Flir FX gives users a lot of features. It is very evident that the designers knew what was important for their users and gave it all to them. It gives users the two-way communication, HD video recording and streaming, motion and sound detection, night vision, and a truly wireless setup.
It also gives you several features such as the RapidRecap and Smartzone, which you may not see in other security cameras. It also helps that Flir FX is very flexible in that you can use it inside the house, outdoors, and even when you go biking. All you need to do is to buy the casings for any specific use that you might have in mind.
There are, however, some things that the company needs to work on as these can really bring the product down. Fortunately, these failings do not reside in the product itself, but in the added services such as the smartphone app and the new Web interface.
Bottom Line: I was surprised by how much I liked the Flir FX and by how it matched (and in some cases outperformed) big name competitors. Overall, this is a good buy in my book. Check out this listing for pricing details.
Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn’t have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!