When it comes to the Guardzilla Wireless All-In-One Video Security System, the most fitting word that comes to mind for me is potential. This system makes some amazing promises (which I’ll get into below), but there are some annoying kinks that still need to be worked out as well. The good news is that most of these issues have to do with Guardzilla’s smart phone app, and these kinds of issues are easily addressed through future app updates and patches. This means that there is definite potential here for an excellent home security product in the very near future!
Of course, if you’re not so sure about this particular model and would like to see what else is available, Best Buy has no shortage of great Security Cameras ready and waiting for you!
UPDATE: See below for a major update to my review of the Guardzilla Home Security Device. The folks at Guardzilla recently sent me a replacement camera for additional testing (apparently they’ve been tweaking their app. and working on making the overall system function better). Judging by the results of the second round of testing, I am pretty sure I received a defective camera the first time. Everything from my original post is still valid and will remain unchanged. However, I am much more pleased with the Guardzilla System now that I have tested a second unit, and I am pleased to be able to report some much better news in the update at the bottom of this post.
Among Guardzilla’s main promises are the ability to remotely monitor your home in real time, visually. This is achieved through the Guardzilla app & your smart phone. You can even send a photo directly from the Guardzilla camera to your smart phone whenever motion is detected in your home or the alarm is activated by activity taking place within the camera’s field of vision (but don’t worry, the motion of your pets should not activate the system). This is an amazing promise that I can unfortunately neither confirm nor deny due to the fact that the Guardzilla app did not function properly during my testing.
On the positive side, the app does *seem* fairly straightforward and easy to use. In my case, the app both froze up and quit entirely on a couple of different occasions, and it failed to display the still images that I did manage to take with the camera. This experience was frustrating to say the least, yet I am encouraged both by the simple layout of the app (which I thought seemed intuitive) and the fact that bugs in new software are both common and correctable. It may just be a matter of time before the Guardzilla System can fully live up to all of its many promises, which include (but are not limited to) the following: An 89° “wide angle” field of vision, night vision capabilities (covering a total distance of up to 30 feet), and the ability to capture highly detailed footage (in full 640 x 480 resolution). Not too shabby!
The Guardzilla camera also uses advanced image sensors to capture and record high quality video and still images, and it can monitor your home, business, or anywhere else that you want to protect, even when lighting conditions are not ideal (i.e., in low-light or even no-light conditions). These are definitely impressive boasts, and I have no doubt that the hardware is capable of performing these tasks. Unfortunately, my experience with the product leaves me with extremely limited room to comment on the functionality of any of the listed features (the images simply would not load onto my smart phone). But don’t panic, it may well have been my phone that was the culprit.
The hardware itself is a very attractive piece of equipment, and I like it a lot! It is small, discreet, and has a very elegant design that doesn’t include a lot of extra buttons or extemporaneous (and ugly) bits and pieces hanging off of it. It is also very light and can be placed just about anywhere (though no mounting bracket is included in the package). The hardware component of this security system is actually very nice and gives me hope that a better (or at least a less finicky) app will soon come along. If this happens, I have no doubt that the Guardzilla All-In-One Video Security System will fully live up to its potential.
As for the app itself, it is not at all difficult to download and install, and it is compatible with both iPhone and Android based smart phones. The only real issue with the set-up process is that the instructions are scant and don’t account for any troubleshooting difficulties that may arise. For most people this should not be a problem. The limited instructions are actually meant to convey the simplicity of Guardzilla’s set-up. From consulting a number of (foreign market) customer comments online, I found that most people got their Guardzilla up and running without any trouble at all. For those that did face difficulties (such as myself), a very quick phone call to the customer support line easily resolved the issue. This gives me the unusual (in a review) opportunity to comment on Guardzilla’s customer support team. I have to say, the call was answered almost immediately and the gentleman that answered knew what the problem was after a very brief (15-20 second) explanation on my part. Overall, this part of the installation was a very positive experience. I only wish I had called customer support sooner than I did. By delaying the call, I probably stretched what might have been a 5 minute installation into a lengthy exercise in frustration.
In the Canadian market, the Guardzilla is currently a “coming soon” product. This *hopefully* means that some last-minute product tweaks are still underway. So, what are some of the benefits of the Guardzilla System once it is fully available and bug free? Well, home security itself is just one benefit. You can also use the Guardzilla System to check in on your pets when you’re away from home, and it could be used in your boat, RV, beach house, or even your hunting cabin as a front line security system. Undoubtedly many folks will even use their Guardzilla as a baby monitoring device. Each of these is a perfectly reasonable and highly beneficial use of your Guardzilla System!
Finally, lets round out the discussion with a few more of Guardzilla’s features. For example, you can record your video feed (and even save the footage indefinitely) by picking up a microSD card (sold separately), you can enjoy the convenience of Guardzilla’s “geo-fencing” technology (which recognizes your smart phone and automatically arms or disarms your system as you come and go from home), and you can experience the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that your Guardzilla System has a 100 DB siren that will scare the tar out of any unwanted intruders and send them diving out windows. Imagine that!
While the Guardzilla System didn’t exactly perform as expected (or at least as hoped) for me, I am encouraged by the notion that it’s still early days in the product’s overall history and there are many potential benefits here that should ultimately materialize. When this happens, the Guardzilla Wireless All-In-One Video Security System will undoubtedly become an industry leader in affordable home security. For a system with no monthly (or other maintenance) fees that will sell for hundreds of dollars less than other more fully integrated systems, I think that the Guardzilla System could ultimately become an unbeatable value. Hopefully most (if not all) of the kinks will be worked out by the time Guardzilla launches at Best Buy! Either way, Best Buy has certainly got you covered when it comes to providing a great selection of Surveillance & Home Security Products!
My second round of testing with the Guardzilla Home Security System revealed an immediate improvement over the first round of testing. From the initial installation, the entire process went much more smoothly.
For example, with the first camera I had considerable difficulty picking up the wireless signal that the Guardzilla system gives out. This made syncing the camera to my phone utterly impossible. The second Guardzilla camera, however, immediately gave out the signal and my phone had no trouble connecting to the it. From there everything else pretty much fell into place. The app download, installation, and account set-up process all went along rather quickly (about 5 – 10 minutes) and without a hitch. I was quite pleased with this. One problem the first time around was the lack of detailed instructions. This is fine when everything goes as expected, but when there is troubleshooting to be done you’re pretty much left in the lurch. By the way, the instructions are still scant, but as I had no problems this time around, that really didn’t matter.
Testing the unit itself also went better. The video is of a reasonable quality when no movement is happening. I did notice that the image gets a bit pixelated when I (or anyone else) moves into frame. It seems to fluctuate between pixelated images and clear images, so you’ll ultimately be able to determine what’s on your recording. I also am inclined to believe that my phone was the main problem here. it’s an earlier model smart phone that has trouble with most apps. that I try to run, so a newer phone might not give you a pixelated image at all.
The notifications also worked out quite well. You have the option of receiving a text message, an e-mail, or a push message (a message given directly within the Guardzilla App.). I mostly used the push message option to receive my notifications, and I got quite a few of them over the course of a few days of testing. I didn’t always get them if I moved quickly past the open doorway that the camera was pointed at (and if I did, sometimes the image that the camera took did not reveal me in it as the camera did not take the picture quickly enough). However, if I passed through that doorway (or did anything that lasted for more than a split second) I did receive a notification and was generally in the photo as well (if one was taken, which didn’t always happen).
There is also an option for speaking to someone directly through your Guardzilla or listening to them through it. If you tap the Mic. icon within the “Monitor” screen of the app., whatever you say into your phone will be heard by anyone that is near your camera; When you tap the Speaker icon, the reverse is true and you can listen to sounds that the camera picks up. it’s pretty cool, but I haven’t found a way to have both icons on at the same time yet. Turning one of them on turns the other off.
I even gave the siren a blast (or two!) just to see how loud it was! It is 100 DB, and while it’s not the most alarming sound I’ve ever heard, I’m sure it would easily scare off most intruders. If you like, you can sound the alarm (remotely—from wherever you are) for any of the following lengths of time: 5 seconds, 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 60 seconds, and 120 seconds.
Most of the tests that I put the Guardzilla through this time around worked reasonably well, though not always perfectly. I also can’t say that you won’t experience any of the problems I had in my first round of testing. I am confident, however, that the Guardzilla I had before was simply a defective unit, and that overall the Guardzilla System is not nearly as frustrating as my first experience led me to believe. I’m also confident now that the folks at Guardzilla are continuously working towards making their product as highly effective of a home security device as possible. They seem to be making strides in that direction.
With a very reasonable price tag for what you do receive—and, knowing what I now know, I certainly have no problem deeming Guardzilla as at least worthy of some consideration for your next home security device. So do some additional research, weigh all the pros & cons, and decide what’ll work best for you and your home. Good luck!