The most comprehensive way to monitor your home
I’m sitting 800 miles away from my house, yet I can comfortably see my entire living room and front porch with just a few short taps on my phone. I can also rest comfortably knowing that the 360-degree detection will find anything that moves and alert me to its presence, whereas many other security cameras can only detect movement within a limited cone of vision. We’re looking at Guardzilla’s two latest Internet-enabled gadgets in this review, the Guardzilla 360 Indoor and the new Guardzilla 360 Outdoor camera.
360 Indoor Camera Hardware and Specs
Both cameras come in an identical box, prominently displayed in a clear plastic cylinder in the top half, and the bottom half concealing the rest of the contents with box art. The 360 Indoor camera is a more simple setup, both in its box contents and in the actual setup of the product. Sporting a triangular design, a 360-degree HD camera (1712 x 1712 resolution) sits right up top, with speakers running down the sides, as well as a set of microphones for listening with. There are also three buttons on one of the sides, which function as a way to quickly alert three preset contacts to look at the camera. The underside of the camera features three feet for easily resting on any flat surface, and also features an industry-standard size mounting hole in the middle for mounting on a tripod or other similar-shape mount.
A small LED is located on the top and will glow green when the unit is unarmed, red when the unit is armed, and blue when someone is actively watching the live video stream. This LED can be disabled if you prefer. The hardware itself isn’t the most attractive hardware you’ll likely find in your home and tends to stand out quite a bit no matter where it’s placed. It’s quite a bit different looking from all of Guardzilla’s other cameras and looks a bit like one of those Polycom call systems you’d find in a meeting room. This could be a good thing if you want it to look like an obvious security monitoring tool in your home, but might not be so nice if you prefer your electronics to blend in with their surroundings. The Guardzilla 360 Indoor retails for $199, and inside the box you'll find the camera, 10ft USB cable, and wall outlet charging brick.
360 Outdoor Camera Hardware and Specs
Guardzilla’s outdoor camera features a very different design language, some of which is functional, and some is clearly an evolution of previous aesthetics. While the indoor Guardzilla 360 camera features a design that stands out from things throughout many homes, the outdoor camera features a design that’s visually more similar to other cameras on the market. This is a slightly more complex product than the indoor cam, as the camera itself is designed to magnetically attach to the mount it ships with. A cup-shaped mount is included for placing the camera on the ground, and both mounts snap on to the small end of the camera, held together with a very strong magnet that’s located at the base of the camera itself, not in the mount.
This means the camera can easily magnetically stick itself to any metal object, although the included mount will likely hold it in place better. Unlike the indoor camera, the outdoor camera features a battery inside that lasts a whopping 3 months. This means the Outdoor 360 camera can be truly wireless and can be easily placed in awkward spots where wires would otherwise hinder mounting. Charge time is around 5 hours, but having to only charge the camera a handful of times a year makes up for what could otherwise be considered a long period of time to charge.
The camera is a sleek white design with a conic shape, resembling a small megaphone. The larger top side features the 360 HD camera (1712 x 1712 resolution) at the end, which protrudes just a bit in a dome shape. While this seems to be an obvious point that could break, dropping the camera results in it falling on the side first rather than the very end, keeping the risk of breaking at a minimum. The camera features a detachable L-shaped plug that fits right into a rubber gasket on the side, which could also help save the unit from a fall, if such a thing were to happen. A single speaker is located on the white plastic section, along with a set of microphones that enable listening in to what’s around the camera, as well as a power button. An LED indicator light sits next to the lens up top and will glow green when the unit is unarmed, red when it is armed, and blue when someone is viewing the live feed. The outdoor Guardzilla 360 camera is IP65 rated for excellent water and dust resistance in normal conditions but is not designed to be submerged.
The Guardzilla 360 Outdoor camera retails for $229 and is currently sold at Best Buy. Inside the box, you'll find the camera, a magnetic base for hanging, a footed cup base for setting on a flat surface, 10ft USB cable, and wall outlet charger.
Although both Guardzilla 360 cameras sport a number of excellent features, the most unique is also the most prominent part of the design; the 360 camera up top. While 360-degree cameras have become a sort of fad for smartphone accessories or action cameras, they are an unused tool in the world of security. Guardzilla is quick to highlight the advantage a 360-degree camera has over any other traditional style of camera: other cameras only see in one direction at a time, and even if the lens is a wide-angle one, most of these wide-angle cameras still only view 130-degrees of any area. Guardzilla’s 360-degree cameras not only allow quick and easy viewing of every angle without mechanical movement but can also detect movement anywhere throughout this 360-degree image at any time. Depending on what you’re trying to monitor, the superiority of Guardzilla’s detection area is immediately obvious.
Both the indoor and outdoor cameras feature this ability, and while it might be slightly more useful in an indoor situation because of various entryways and other obstacles, the outdoor camera’s 360-degree detection ability isn’t any less useful just because it’s outdoors. Motion detection outside may have to be limited to night-time only, as I found birds and other wildlife around my home would constantly set off the detection alerts, even with the camera’s motion sensitivity set to the lowest setting. Since there’s likely nothing that’ll be moving much inside a home other than pets (when you’re away of course), the likelihood of false alarms is extremely low. If movement is triggering too many false alarms, audio detection can supplement or replace movement detection, which may be preferable to use over motion detection depending on the location of the camera. Like movement, the sensitivity of audio detection can be altered to help prevent false alarms, but also to help identify actual problems when they arise.
When something is detected, an optional alarm can be sounded. This consists of a constant high-pitched beeping noise that emits at 100dB for the indoor Guardzilla camera and 90dB more traditional alarm tone for the outdoor camera. This alarm can blare for between 5 and 120 seconds, or disabled if you prefer. When detection happens, an alert is generated and can appear in three distinct ways to a user: a text message, an email, and a push notification via the app on their phone. Any combination of these alerts can be enabled or disabled, and the single best type of alert is the push notification since clicking it will take you straight to the events page of the camera. From here you’ll be able to view a snippet of what the camera saw happening, including the ability to fully rotate the image 360-degrees to check out the action from multiple angles.
Aside from a simple alarm, Guardzilla offers 2-way duplex audio capabilities with both units. This allows the ability to not only listen in to what’s happening around Guardzilla but also turns Guardzilla into a speakerphone, with functionality to both speak and listen at the same time, just like a phone. The implication here is that intruders will know someone is actually watching them, not just a static siren that’s blaring, and be aware they are being recorded and that authorities are on the way to handle their delinquency.
From the time we received our Guardzilla 360 indoor unit back in March, the Guardzilla app received a significant update that completely changed the look and feel of the app. While the general layout of tasks is the same as before, the new facelift makes it look and feel more modern, although navigation between elements can still be a bit slow at times. Settings are often nested, meaning you'll need to go into separate menus to adjust different settings instead of having everything in one larger space. This design helps visually separate options and keep them segregated into their own containers, helping alleviate confusion, but makes overall navigation slower than if they were in a single space.
When viewing the live feed, you'll find the camera's visual adjustment settings across a row of icons on the top of the feed. This row can be hidden via the small arrow above and offers ways to adjust the volume of the speakers on the camera, the brightness and contrast of the image received, as well as the orientation of the camera. This orientation helps make viewing easier by giving options to switch between tabletop mount, wall mount, or ceiling mount, and flips the video to follow the orientation. The default viewing point can be set within the PoV section, which allows for quick and easy customization of where the camera's default view sits for the app's view of the feed. Since this is a 360-degree camera, this FoV is only for our eyes, as the camera sees in all directions at all times.
Both the indoor and outdoor cameras have the same exact set of settings, barring one big detection method: audio detection. While both cameras can detect movement in order to generate alerts, only the indoor camera can generate alerts based on noise levels. You're not likely to want to generate alerts based on noise outside, so the lack of functionality on the outdoor camera makes sense, but it would still be nice to be able to enable this functionality in case you're using the newer camera indoors. All the other settings are nestled in here, and since they are camera independent, you'll need to connect to each camera before changing its settings, as these menus will move around a bit depending on the one you've got highlighted. This can be done in the camera list, with the name of the camera prominently displayed at the top.
Part of the app's core functionality is delivering notifications for alarms, as well as providing a way to actually see the video from the cameras. Notifications are delivered by your choice of text message, email, and/or push notifications directly from the app. Text messages and emails are just notifications that movement or audio has triggered an alarm and do not provide a link or way to watch the video. Push notifications from the app will directly pull up the triggered event, allowing you to peruse the 8-second long clip generated from the alarm. 8-second video snippets are stored in the cloud without sound for free, accessible at any time. Guardzilla offers subscription plans to store 30-second video clips with sound as well; $4.99 per month or $49.99 per year for 7-day retention, and $8.99 per month or $89.99 per year for 30-day retention. Videos can also be downloaded via the app and stored locally on your phone, although these will not have sound.
Sometimes it's easy to forget to arm your system when you leave the house, and it's for this reason the Guardzilla app has an auto-arm function. When enabled, it becomes the app's job to track your location in proximity to your home, as the app will take care of arming and disarming the system depending on how close to your home you might be. If this doesn't work for your home, you'll be able to delegate control to other users via the app by dropping their email address in the shared section. This sends the user an invitation, and they'll be able to control the camera and see what's happening as if it were their own. Sharing control can be revoked by the owner, so if you need to drop access to someone for any reason at all, it's just a few quick clicks away.
Each camera can be password protected too, so if someone gets your account login information, they aren't necessarily guaranteed access to your cameras. The password can be changed easily within the app, and takes only a few seconds to walk through the process. This provides a second layer of security to help ease concern about the possible dangers of having an Internet-connected camera that anyone might otherwise be able to snoop in on. Guardzilla also goes through regular audits of its security practices and policies to ensure its cloud isn't being infiltrated, and users' information is safe.
The Indoor Guardzilla 360 feature three call buttons on the side, which are designed to alert three individuals to tune in to the live feed. This can be for any reason at all but is likely most intended for emergencies. Pressing the button will send an alert to the account listed in the app, delivering a push notification on that person's phone, directing them to check out the live feed of the camera. From here you can see the video or use the 2-way communication feature to converse with the people on the other end.
Interconnection and Smart Home Compatibility
Like any good smart home product, all of Guardzilla’s cameras integrate deeply with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, Nest, and even IFTTT. While most commands with virtual assistants are pretty simple and mainly only allow arming or disarming of a system, IFTTT integration means you can utilize any other IFTTT connected device to follow a set of commands alongside Guardzilla. Want Guardzilla to activate when you lock your Nest door lock? How about flash your Phillips Hue smart lights while it sounds an alarm after detecting movement? Maybe have a pot of coffee brew when Guardzilla disarms itself when you get home? Any and all of these things are entirely possible through IFTTT, and highlight the importance of being integrated with this particular service. Professional monitoring services can be enabled straight from the app too, delivering a piece of mind that a dedicated group of folks will respond to alerts and handle emergencies, even if you're unable to peruse the app or interact with the camera.
360-degree video and detection is a game changer
2-way audio communication
Motion/audio detection and alerting
Full remote control access via the app
Deep 3rd party service integration
Professional monitoring options
Cloud storage with ability to download videos
Outdoor unit's magnetic mount is ultra strong
3-month battery life on the Outdoor camera
IP65 rating on the outdoor camera
Automatic night vision
Ultra simple setup
Indoor camera siren could be a bit louder
No battery backup on the indoor camera
Guardzilla has crafted a phenomenal product with its latest release, the Guardzilla 360 Outdoor camera. With an unbelievable 3-month battery life, IP65 water and dust resistance, a strong magnetic mount, and the ability to not only see in 360-degrees but also to detect anything within this view, the Guardzilla 360 Outdoor is absolutely one of the best security cameras you'll find on the market today. Guardzilla's existing 360 Indoor camera isn't quite as good, but it still offers a compelling experience, for less money as well, and would make a good companion product to go with the newer model. Since 360 Outdoor can also be used indoors though, it might just make more sense to stick with that model all around, especially if you want to go wireless.