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Hands-on with Homeboy: This could be the best home-security camera yet

Michael Brown | Oct. 23, 2014
Homeboy remedies almost every drawback seen in security cameras and it doesn't cost a fortune.

The speaker grill in the metal is for the onboard siren, which isn't terribly loud (it's rated at 81dB at one meter), but it's enough to draw an intruder's eye to the camera and hopefully persuade them to leave once they realize they've given a security camera a full frontal.

Finally, the Homeboy can be integrated with other smart-home systems that support IFTTT recipes. If you own a smart light switch or bulb (something from Belkin's WeMo or Philips' Hue lines, for instance) you can use the Homeboy's motion detector to turn on a light. Or you can create a recipe that will trigger a louder stand-alone siren.

Caveats
Again, this isn't a full review, but I do want to identify a couple of reservations that I have about the Homeboy based on my early impressions. Its video resolution is limited to 640x480. If the intruder is far away from the camera, it might not catch enough detail for its clips to be useful as forensic evidence.

And there is no Homeboy web portal, so you're limited to viewing video clips on your mobile device (you can also receive text-only email alerts). Its field of view is somewhat limited: 52.9 degrees on the horizontal and 41.2 degrees on the vertical, and its motion detector has less than 15 feet of range. Finally, it's limited to operating on crowded 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks (although it doesn't need a lot of bandwidth).

You'll find cheaper IP cameras--the Homeboy is priced at $149--but its unique feature set renders it a powerful security tool. I'm looking forward to a hands-on review once its firmware and smartphone app have been finalized. The camera is on sale now, but it won't ship for another week, and the software remains in beta. 

What do you think of the Homeboy's potential? Does it deliver the features you're looking for, or do you think you'd be better served by a conventional IP camera? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section, below.

 

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