If you’re thinking about home surveillance – whether its for serious security concerns, or just to keep an eye on kids, pets and deliveries, you’re probably looking at cameras and video doorbells.
Toucan Smart Home wireless camera & doorbell review
I recently had a chance to install two devices from Toucan Smart home in my house; the Toucan Wireless Video Doorbell with Chime and Toucan Wireless Outdoor Camera. How well do they work, what can they do and how’s the video quality and battery life? I’ll dig into all of it in this review.
Let’s look at each device and what it promises:
Toucan smart home wireless camera
The wireless outdoor camera is a small and fully wireless outdoor camera designed to let you keep an eye on your property via Wi-Fi through the Toucan app, from inside the house or across the country. It’s weatherproof with an IP56 rating, has a magnetic mount for easy positioning, and offers 1080p HD video. It can also be used indoors if you want.
Toucan Wireless Video Doorbell and Chime
The Toucan Wireless Video Doorbell and Chime combo is an app connected, remote wireless and Wi-Fi connected doorbell set up with an included Chime. The battery powered chime is designed to be an audible alert so you can hear someone’s at your door, even if your phone isn’t handy. This doorbell is quite compact compared to some others and it has HD resolution, plus a 180 degree field of view so you can see all around your door, and it runs on a built-in rechargeable battery.
Both of these devices are run through the Toucan app, which lets you see, manage and view alerts or motion all in one place. You can get push notifications about rings or motion and go back and look at footage.
Important to mention is that you do need a cloud recording plan if you want to access videos beyond the last 24 hours. More on that in a sec. There’s also no hub or base station required with these cameras.
I was pleasantly surprised at how quick and easy the set up is. After first downloading the Toucan app and signing up for an account, I clicked Add Device and followed the prompts in the app. After connecting to my home’s Wi-Fi, I was ready to go in a minute.
Using Toucan wireless video products
When someone rings the doorbell or if motion is detected—even without a ring—the Toucan doorbell will instantly notify you on your smartphone that someone is there. With the two-way talk function, you can see and speak to the person remotely from anywhere; your home office, your workplace, or even across the country. No one will ever need to know you’re not home. Plus, with cloud video recording, you can access videos of every visit too.
With the camera, when motion is detected, you’ll get an alert so you can pull up the feed or peek out the window if you’re home. It’s a great way to keep an eye on kids and pets, or work going on at your home.
Viewing footage on Toucan app isn’t intuitive
If I have any complaints about this device, it is that using the app to review footage isn’t intuitive. If you’re reviewing footage from a specific day and you click on one of the events in the timeline, when you’re done, the app boots you back to the calendar list of recordings, forcing you to go back, re-select your date and search again for the video you’re trying to locate. It’s pretty tedious. Also, all the videos take some time to load, so it might look like you only have a few interactions on a given day. But if you pull down on the event list, more videos will pop up. I trust this will be an easy fix for Toucan in a future app update.
Toucan doorbell & camera video quality
The HD video quality of both devices is good. It’s easy to identify folks that come to the door or into your space, or to talk to them too. With the recorded motion alerts, you can easily look back at people approaching your cameras, even if they don’t ring the doorbell.
Cloud recording comes at a cost; that’s standard
In order to review your videos, you need one of Toucan’s Cloud recording plans. Toucan’s Free plan lets you look at videos made only within the last 24 hours. The Pro plan for $3US/month gives you 7 days worth of cloud storage and the Elite plan lets you access your videos for up to 90 days.
Is someone skulking around your house at night? Your Doorbell can act as a sentry, sending a motion alert and recording the interaction. The night time video is night vision, so you can see quite well.
Battery life of camera and doorbell
What about battery life? Toucan tells me the expected battery life depends on how often it’s used and how much motion is being detected or how much video is being captured. It’s estimated to be about 6 weeks to 6 months. That’s a pretty wide gamut. My doorbell has been in place for about 4 weeks now and it still shows as full.
The camera on the other hand was a different story. I fully charged it and installed it outside. It was dead in about a week and a half. Thinking that was a glitch, I recharged it to full, then put it back. This time it was dead within a week. I reached out to Toucan to inquire… they said that if there’s a lot of motion, it does drain the battery faster. And between me and my husband and our dogs out in the yard daily, well, that kind of makes sense. Even so, a week is a pretty short run.
So I fully charged it again, and let the camera sit in an area with no motion to test this theory. That seemed to fix the draining issue. So bottom line, you’ll either need to find a place for this camera that doesn’t get too much action, or expect to recharge it very frequently if you do.
Additional features for security: siren, pre-recorded announcements
For added security, there’s an audible siren to help you scare off intruders and you can use it with either the doorbell or the camera. You have to manually turn it on inside the app. I will add it’s not piercingly loud.
Similarly, you can use the embedded prerecorded messages to answer your door. By pressing the little talk bubble you can have the camera say things like….
“Hello, who is it?”, “No soliciting, thank you.” or set off the sound of a barking dog.
Connect to Google or Alexa smart home
Toucan smart home cameras and doorbells are compatible with your smart home digital assistants like Alexa and Google, in particular, ones with a screen like the Amazon Echo Show8 or Google Home Hub Max.
By enabling the Skill in the Alexa app or connecting Toucan to your Google Home, you can ask your assistant to “show me the backyard” and you should get a live video feed of your camera.
Once your Toucan account is linked with your assistant of choice, you should be ready. I was able to view my camera just by asking, but using the Echo Show device I wasn’t able to use the talkback function.
Overall review of the Toucan doorbell & camera
Overall, this camera duo is a good option to add video surveillance to your home. The doorbell lets you watch for deliveries and check in on when the kids get home… or leave.
The camera can cover other spots on your property, like the backyard with wide angle HD video.
Downsides? As I mentioned, reviewing footage isn’t easy. You do have to pay for cloud recording if you want to look at videos beyond 24 hours old. The battery life in the camera also concerns me. You can make the motion alerts less sensitive, but for me the battery didn’t last beyond about a week.
But if you’re looking for good video quality and coverage at a substantially lower price than other competitors, this is a pretty good system.