These days, it’s not terribly hard to set up a camera in your home. Nest’s acquisition of Dropcam last lear shows that people are interested in doing so. Well, what happens if you take that just one step further? You wind up with Guardzilla. An all in one home security system.
I was really excited to review this thing. I have two dogs, so I’ve been looking for a way to watch them when I’m not home; they do have a tendency to get into naughty behaviors. I headed home with the Guardzilla and excitedly told my wife all the things it did. I was really stoked.
I popped open the app after plugging in the Guardzilla and was greeted with an Android app that looks like it came off a feature phone. It doesn’t look much better on iOS, either. “Oh god,” I thought to myself. But, I knew I had to give it a fair shake, so I set aside how awful it looked and went ahead with the setup. Once it was set up, I was able to see the feed from my phone while I was on the same network, but as soon as I changed the quality level from Med to Max, it stopped working altogether. This was pretty typical of the experience the Guardzilla offers.
The device itself is fine. It’s not quite unassuming, so it’ll look a little weird in your living room. It does have a micro SD slot for capturing a few days of video, but the video is terrible security camera footage. When you put it side by side with video from a Dropcam, it’s astoundingly bad.
Everything from the app to the hardware is well below par. It’s just so disappointing. I genuinely wasn’t able to get it working for long enough to be able to actually test out some of the more robust features, like pet ignoring motion sensing, the alarm siren, and auto arming. This app is so poorly designed and developed, in fact, that the password field is revealed by default. The login asks for 4 fields of information to log you in, and logging in with another phone is an affair that demands you’re on the same Wi-Fi network as the camera device.
If you guys know me well enough, which at this point I think you do, you know that I’m a pretty savvy guy. It takes something pretty bad for me not to be able to get it working properly. If you’re in the market for something in this vein, do yourself a favor and spend the extra $80 and get a Dropcam. At least with a Dropcam you can use their email notifications to do some cool things with IFTTT. Even something cobbled together that way would be a better solution than the Guardzilla. Another possible option is Canary, which we reviewed on TechnoBuffalo already.
Given that it’s only $100 I suppose I can’t expect much, but I’m certainly not going to be using this thing as a camera in my home, much less as an actual security measure.
Bottom line, redesign the app from the ground up, then try again. This is a huge pass.