Reviews You Can Rely On

Canary Flex Review

This security camera's performance is too low to rationalize the expense
Canary Flex
Credit: Canary
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Price:   $200 List
Pros:  Camera can call first responders, smooth video/audio streaming, sharp sound quality
Cons:  No local storage, poor night vision, narrow field of view
Manufacturer:   Canary
By Nick Miley, Austin Palmer, and Matt Spencer  ⋅  Apr 18, 2022
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50
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#9 of 11
  • Recorded Video Quality - 35% 3.3
  • Monitoring Performance - 35% 6.1
  • Ease of Use - 30% 5.7

Our Verdict

The Canary Flex performed poorly in nearly every one of our analyses. Despite some bright spots in its monitoring performance and ease of use, we found that the camera's upfront cost and monthly subscription fees far outstrip the product and services you receive. We recommend looking to other higher-performing models that cost less at checkout and monthly subscription fees. You can pocket the money you saved and stash it away for a rainy day.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Canary Flex
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Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Top Pick Award  
Price $200 List$36 List
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Pros Camera can call first responders, smooth video/audio streaming, sharp sound qualityInexpensive, most features available without subscription, color night visionFacial recognition, great night vision, redundant power sourceVertical/horizontal panning, color night vision, no subscription requiredSufficient live and download video quality, good onboard microphone
Cons No local storage, poor night vision, narrow field of viewPlug-in power source, no remote panning, no backup batteryBig/conspicuous camera, no camera speaker, expensiveIndoor use only, no back-up battery, so-so sound qualityPoor night vision, relatively slow frame rate, no onboard speaker
Bottom Line This security camera's performance is too low to rationalize the expenseA high-performance camera at a low price that allows access to most of its features without a subscriptionThis is a high-quality camera with many useful security features that will be especially appealing to those using the Google Smart Home platformA top-performing, remote panning camera at a low price with no hidden chargesAn all-around decent quality camera that cuts a few corners to keep the price low
Rating Categories Canary Flex Wyze Cam v3 Google Nest Cam Wyze Cam Pan v2 YI 1080p Home
Recorded Video Quality (35%)
3.3
7.5
7.5
7.1
6.5
Monitoring Performance (35%)
6.1
7.8
9.1
7.8
7.8
Ease of Use (30%)
5.7
8.7
7.4
8.7
8.4
Specs Canary Flex Wyze Cam v3 Google Nest Cam Wyze Cam Pan v2 YI 1080p Home
Camera Type (Indoor or Outdoor) Indoor and Outdoor Indoor and Outdoor Indoor and Outdoor Indoor Only Indoor Only
WiFi Type Dual-band
802.11a/b/g/n
2.4 GHz
802.11b/g/n
Dual-band
802.11a/b/g/n
2.4 GHz
802.11b/g/n
2.4 GHz
802.11b/g/n
Encryption Types AES 128-bit, SSL/TLS AES 128-bit AES 128-bit, SSL/TLS AES 128-bit Yes, type N/A
Resolutions Available 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p
Wired or Battery Battery Wired Battery and Wired Wired Wired
Smart Device Compatability Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
IFTTT
Google Assistant Amazon Alexa
Google Assistant
IFTTT
Amazon Alexa

Our Analysis and Test Results

This weatherproof camera offers users high-quality sound, smooth streaming, and basic alerts. On the other hand, this camera has crummy recording quality (especially at night), limited features, and a narrow field of view. Making matters worse, the camera is relatively expensive.

Performance Comparison


Canary Flex home security camera - this is a relatively expensive camera that did not perform well in...
This is a relatively expensive camera that did not perform well in our evaluation.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Recorded Video Quality


The Canary Flex performed extremely poorly in the recorded video analysis garnering one of the lowest scores in the class. While the camera can record in 1080p, it begins by recording in 360p and then ramps up the quality as the recording continues. We found that the poor video quality made it hard to make out facial features beyond 15 feet. Additionally, the camera blocks you from recording anything without paying for a subscription.

Technically, the Flex has night vision. However, we found that the video quality was about the same as other cameras with night vision. The images produced in dark settings are blurry at best, and identifying individuals is impossible. Finally, the camera's field of view (116ยบ) is quite narrow, making it less useful for close-quarter recording.



Monitoring Performance


The Flex did a little better in the monitoring performance evaluation than its truly wretched showing in the recorded video quality metric. While the camera has a live video latency of around 2 seconds, the audio and video are smooth, and the two are synced. For its part, the sound is fairly sharp. However, the quality of the video goes down if there is a concentration of activity close to the lens. Some artifacts can show up on screen in such scenarios as well.

The sound captured by the microphone has the highest fidelity that we have heard from a camera. There is no echo and background humming to speak of. Additionally, the camera's speaker (which the user can talk through) produces clear sound, making it easy to understand exactly what is being said. Unfortunately, this high-quality speaker does not come with an alarm.

Canary Flex home security camera - the flex performed well in the sound quality assessment. we were...
The Flex performed well in the sound quality assessment. We were quite impressed with the fidelity of the sound captured by its onboard microphone.
Credit: Chris McNamara

Ease of Use


The performance of the Canary Flex slumped in our final assessment. This poor showing is primarily the result of the limited settings, features, and customization that the camera's app allows. Additionally, the camera lacks onboard data storage, and cloud storage requires a paid monthly subscription. That said, the lack of functionality makes the app easy enough to navigate, though we had some problems setting up the location for directing an emergency services response. The physical setup of the camera is quite easy given the generic magnetic base and provided hardware for wall mounting.

Value


We see value as a ratio of performance and cost. By this standard, the Flex is not a good value. It is one of the more expensive models in the class, and yet, it is one of the poorest performings. The savvy shopper will look to other products in our review for both savings and functionality.

Conclusion


Our appraisal of the Canary Flex has one bright spot; the sound quality captured by the camera's mic and delivered by its speaker is top-notch. Aside from that, the camera utterly failed to meet the expectations set by significantly less expensive models in the class. We do not recommend this camera.

Nick Miley, Austin Palmer, and Matt Spencer
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