The value-priced Lorex Smart Home Security Center (model HC64A) consists of a touchscreen console, two indoor / outdoor cameras, and a Wi-Fi range extender. The system can be expanded with up to six additional cameras, as well as door / window and motion sensors and a video doorbell, provided they are all manufactured by Lorex. But you will need to monitor this security system yourself, as there is no option to pay professionals to do it for you.
Lorex offers this console in nine other kits with different combinations of cameras and sensors, ranging in price from $ 350 (two outdoor cameras, but no range extender) to almost $ 800 (four cameras, a reflector camera, and a video doorbell). ). For this review, I augmented the HC64A kit with a USB-powered camera, a doorbell camera, and a motion detector.
Measuring 7.1 x 7.5 x 3.3 inches (HxWxD), the console easily fits on any desk, kitchen counter, or even a bookshelf. Its foldable antennas help bring in weak Wi-Fi signals, but add 2.3 inches to its height. The center of attention is its 7-inch, 720p angled screen that can display up to four video streams simultaneously.
The system has a dual-band (2.4 and 5 GHz) Wi-Fi adapter on board, as well as a Bluetooth LE radio. Supports a variety of Lorex indoor and outdoor home security cameras, including a camera / reflector combo. The company does not sell door locks, thermostats, smoke detectors, or air quality sensors, and the hub cannot connect to generic smart home devices that use the Zigbee or Z-Wave protocols. As such, it is a better security camera system than a whole smart home system.
This Lorex hardware works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home Assistant, but cannot directly stream video to an Amazon Echo or Google Nest smart display. you may Cast the camera signals to a TV that has an Amazon Fire TV or Chromecast connected. It is not compatible with Apple’s HomeKit ecosystem, and Lorex is not part of the Connectivity Standards Alliance’s Matter initiative to standardize smart home hardware and software.
The console has built-in storage in the form of a microSD card slot, but the system has no built-in redundancy. Battery powered cameras will continue to operate during a power outage, but the Home Center display will turn off (unless you connect it to an uninterruptible power source). Also, the console cannot connect to an LTE mobile data network during a broadband outage.
Inside the Lorex Smart Home Security Center
Based in Canada, Lorex has a long history in video monitoring devices and sells a line of digital video recorders and industrial security cameras. The Home Center screen can connect with up to eight cameras and 32 sensors, while its screen can display four simultaneous video streams. Displays a battery gauge at the top right of each stream to show the charge level of the wireless cameras.
Beneath the surface, the Home Center uses Android 8.0 software, 2GB RAM, 8GB ROM, and includes a 64GB micro SD card (supports cards up to 256GB). If that’s not enough storage for your needs, it’s easy to add up to a terabyte of data by installing an M.2 SSD drive in the back of the console.
Because video is stored locally, there are no monthly fees for online storage, which can save you hundreds of dollars a year. The video itself is saved as a .dav file that many popular video players will not recognize, although Lorex has a free player and Amcrest Smart Game the software worked fine.
Lorex backs the product for one year, although three years of extended coverage is available for $ 50 for the kit I looked at. The technical support is thorough, with a variety of DIY videos available on YouTube and instructions for doing things like adding an SSD to the console. The technical team is available by phone Monday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. M. At 9:00 p. M. (Eastern Time), but there’s no way to email them.
Set up the Lorex Smart Home Security Center
All Lorex gear comes with great startup guides and “24 Hour Surveillance” window decals to hopefully scare away thieves. Setup begins with the Lorex Home app. There are versions for iPhones, iPads, and Android systems, but there is no way to use a connected browser or Windows 10 app.
After signing up for an account, I plugged in the console’s AC adapter and posed for a snapshot to use their Face Unlock software. This allowed me to avoid manually entering my password.
Next, I needed to choose between Wi-Fi and wired Ethernet for an Internet connection. I chose the latter but it worked fine with Wi-Fi.
To connect the first camera, I inserted the battery and pressed the reset button below. He made a synthesized sound, the camera’s green LED lit up, and the console quickly found him. I gave it a name and its transmission appeared on the touch screen.
I followed this up by installing the Wi-Fi range extender in the middle of the house. Unfortunately, each Home Center console can connect with only one extender, so very large homes are probably off-limits.
Then I added a second wireless camera, a doorbell camera, a USB-powered camera, and a motion detector. In total, it took me about 30 minutes to put together a rudimentary video surveillance system in my house.
Using the Lorex Home app
In addition to the Home Center console, I used the Lorex Home app on my Samsung Galaxy S20 phone to view the video and make changes to the system. There is no way to view all streams at once on a mobile device, and the video can take a few seconds to load.
The application allows facial and fingerprint recognition to unlock it. For those concerned about security, you can use two-factor authentication.
Whenever I registered movement, the application would ping me. These notifications can be turned off for better sleep. Fortunately, your Events page consolidates the most important events in one place. I went through a list of times the cameras were triggered and saw the relevant video.
Lorex Smart Home Security Center in the real world
During two weeks of use, the Home Smart Security Center streamed high-quality video to the touch screen and to my phone. He recorded numerous motion-activated time-stamped clips in his field of view.
Caught the unexpected arrival of a guest parking his car, but tripped over falling leaves on a windy day, although sensitivity can be adjusted. Privacy mode turns cameras off.
Each chamber has its own siren. The cameras had a true range of about 90 feet, which made them perfect for most homes. The extender included in my kit helped fill my 3,500 square foot home with security cameras.
Lorex hardware is cheap to use, as the console draws 8.8 watts of power when in use and 5.6 watts when idle. That adds up to an annual electric bill of $ 7.65 if you’re capturing video 20 percent of the time and you pay the national average of 14 cents per kilowatt hour for electricity.
Think of the Lorex Smart Home Security Center as the ultimate in video monitoring to set up and forget you’re always there, ready to wake up when something shakes you. In other words, it can keep an eye on your domain and alert you when necessary.