Myfox Home Alarm and Security Camera full review
Smart devices are all the rage at the moment, and you can pick up anything from a smart bulb to a smart kettle or even a smart washing machine. Myfox claims to be the “world’s first proactive smart home security system” boasting unique solutions designed to protect the home. However, with so many smart home security systems on the market at the moment, what separates the Myfox home alarm and security camera from the likes of the Piper NV? We set up the smart security system at home, and put it to the test to find out.
See also: How to make your home a smart home
MyFox Home Alarm & Security Camera review: Design and build
Visually, both the MyFox home alarm and security camera look gorgeous – it’s the best looking security system we’ve used so far. In fact, its won awards due to this point, namely the iF Design award and the Red Dot Product Design Award. Both the home alarm system and the camera are made from what looks like high quality aluminium and white plastic, which brings a great unity between the product family.
It’s very sleek and understated and will blend into your home environment, which is exactly what you’d want a modern security system to be – you don’t want a huge clunky camera system, as it’d be easily spotted in any kind of home break-in.
The home alarm is a pretty large, circular unit with built in LED’s around the rim and two speakers on the bottom for its incredibly loud 110db siren – but we’ll talk more about that siren a bit later on. It has to be plugged in for a constant supply of power, but in the case of a power outage or a burglar switching off the plug, the alarm has a battery back-up that’ll keep it singing for long enough to deter any intruders.
The design of the camera is more impressive to us though, and it’s primarily because of two relatively simple design features. The first impressive design feature is its privacy mode, which uses a mechanical shutter to cover the security camera when you want privacy in your own home. Some people aren’t comfortable with the idea that a camera is recording them in their own living rooms 24/7, so the option to quickly close the camera shutter via the MyFox Security app is a better option than physically having to turn the camera away.
The second great design feature of the MyFox security camera is its use of magnets with its dock. MyFox has designed both the security camera and home alarm to be attached to walls and brackets for a more secure system – but what if you’re unable to secure it to a wall? MyFox provides a great curved dock for the circular security camera that uses magnets to allow for finite control over the angle of the camera. It’s such a simple feature to have, but one that makes the MyFox Security camera that little bit better than its competition.
MyFox Home Alarm & Security Camera review: Setup
The MyFox Home Alarm and Security Camera boasts a “10 minute set up from your smartphone”, however in our experience it took almost an hour. Why? Well, let us tell you. First of all, we typed “MyFox” into the App Store and ended up downloading what appears to be the right app, but for the wrong products & country. It was only when “United Kingdom” wasn’t an option during the sign up phase did we realise that we were dealing with the wrong app. But, that’s more our fault than MyFox’s, so let’s move on.
We decided to set the security camera up first, as the home alarm comprises of the alarm, key fob and Intellitag, all which require individual setups and would (probably) take longer to do. Setup was done via the MyFox Security app, which is available for both iOS and Android devices, but instead of connecting to the cameras own Wi-Fi network for setup (the norm for many smart devices), it took a slightly different approach.
Instead, we had to manually input our Wi-Fi network details as there was no option to scan for local Wi-Fi networks, then the app transfers this information to the camera via a QR code which was displayed on screen. We thought that the use of QR codes was quite innovative with regards to setting up devices, as connecting to a specific device’s Wi-Fi for set up is always a bit of a hassle. However, our setup was unsuccessful and we had to reset the camera and start again – but the app didn’t tell us why this had happened. We thought it was an issue with the QR code being read properly, so we decided to try again.
After going through the same process again, and again, and again, we started to get a little frustrated. We just couldn’t understand why it couldn’t connect to our Wi-Fi network when it was in range and had an active connection to the internet. It was then that it dawned on us that the camera may not be compatible with a 5GHz Wi-Fi connection, so we tried connecting to our 2.4GHz network and it connected the first time. Why couldn’t MyFox specify somewhere in-app that the camera only supports 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network connections? The stressful camera setup left a bit of a sour taste in our mouths.
However, the setup process for the Home alarm and all its accessories was a much more pleasant and straight forward experience, especially now that we knew that the system wouldn’t work on a 5GHz Wi-Fi connection. We went through and added each individual accessory via the MyFox Security app with no real issues, and took around 10-15 minutes in total. The only real downside to the setup process was that there was no real explanation on what each button did on the key fob, which meant that we activated the insanely loud 110db siren by accidentally pressing the panic button.
See also: Best smart lightbulbs in 2015
MyFox Home Alarm & Security Camera review: Camera
So, after the stressful setup process, how did the MyFox Security Camera perform? Overall, it was actually quite impressive. The security camera boasts a full 720p HD camera with night vision capabilities and a 130-degree wide angle lens. When we originally saw that it was only 720p HD, we immediately lowered our expectations with regards to image quality – but that was our mistake. Upon accessing the live camera feed via the MyFox Security app, the image quality was clear and crisp, and looks closer to a 1080p feed than a 720p one. You’re able to pick out small details, which is a crucial feature for a security camera.
Even when the camera switches from standard to night vision mode, the quality is largely still there. Looking at security cameras we’ve used in the past, using night vision can decrease the overall quality of the video feed by some degree, making it grainy and generally less impressive than its standard offering. However, the night vision mode of the MyFox Security Camera doesn’t follow this rule, and produces a level of clarity comparable to its standard day time video feed.
The camera also features a 2-way intercom system, which allows you to communicate with family members in the same room as the camera (and scare them once or twice, like we did during testing!). While it’s a nice feature to have, we didn’t really see the point – I can’t imagine any kind of situation where I’d want to talk to an intruder rather than trigger the 110db siren, but y’know, each to their own.
Like the home alarm, the MyFox Security Camera has to be plugged into a power supply so you have to think about its positioning with regards to the nearest plug socket. But with this said, the supplied cable is longer than your average Micro-USB cable so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue. If there’s a power-cut or if an intruder tampers with the camera, it has a back up lithium-ion battery that’ll kick in and keep it recording for up to an hour. You’re also notified of whenever the camera is unplugged and running on battery, so you can access the live feed and make sure everything is okay.
So, how does the MyFox Security Camera secure your home? The camera motion detection, and can send you a notification whenever motion is detected. However, it's an 'on' or 'off' setting, which is very disappointing. We'd expect to be able to set certain areas in the frame to watch for motion, but you can't do that here. There's no way to set the intervals for alerts, either.
In the app, you can access the video feed and verify whether it’s a false alarm or if there is an intruder, and if it is the latter, you can easily activate the alarm. There’s also a mode where the alarm will automatically be triggered whenever motion is detected on-camera, but in a household with cats, we couldn't use this feature.
Using the MyFox Security app, you can easily identify periods where movement was detected, thanks to purple blocks displayed on the timeline below the live camera feed. Simply drag the timeline back to where motion was detected, and you can quickly and easily review earlier footage. This is made possible because whenever the security camera isn’t in privacy mode, it’s recording – but don’t worry about your phone storage, as the video footage is stored in the cloud.
However, this service isn’t free. You’re given a two-week free trial of MyFox’s premium service, which offers 7-day video storage in the cloud. After that, you’ll have to pay £7.99 a month for the service, or £3.99 a month to get an overview of the days’ events. Considering that you have to pay £169 for the camera and £249 for the alarm system, the least we would expect is a free cloud storage service.
See also: Best smart heating systems 2015 UK
MyFox Home Alarm & Security Camera review: Home alarm system
So, the MyFox Security Camera stands up to our expectations, but what about the £249 home alarm system? First things first, lets list what the home alarm system is comprised of. It comes with a hub to connect each accessory to your local Wi-Fi network, a key fob, a 110db siren and an Intellitag. Additional accessories can be bought at an extra charge and added to an existing system, which can be found here.
Let’s start by talking about the siren, the heart of the home alarm system. The main selling point is its 110db siren, a siren that’s louder than the siren of the Piper NV security camera, which we reviewed recently. But how loud is 110db? Well, its said that any exposure to volumes over 100db for over a minute can cause permanent hearing damage, and we can definitely vouch for this. We accidentally set off the alarm at 4:30am on a Sunday morning, and believe us when we say that everybody in the house was awake within seconds. In fact, being in the same room as it for 10-15 seconds left us with quite a headache, which is both impressive and slightly worrying.
Next, we have the MyFox key fob. This small fob is personal to you, designed made to be attached to keys and be on your person wherever you go. When setting up the fob, you have to input the name of the person using it, and using this information, you can go onto the MyFox app and see who’s at home at any given time. It’ll give parents piece of mind, and may stop some teens from sneaking out at night!
The key fob features four buttons, including, as mentioned earlier, a panic button for emergency situations. Pressing the panic button will trigger the 110db siren, and will also send a text, email and notification to every member of your family that’s signed up to the MyFox Security app. It’s a great accessory to have “just in case” and will bring peace of mind and a sense of security for many people. You can easily enable the security system at the press of a button when leaving home, and carrying the fob on your person will also automatically deactivates the home security system upon your return, making accidental alarm triggering a thing of the past.
Last, but by no means least, we have the Intellitag. The Intellitag is, as suggested by its name, an innovative piece of home security technology. To install an Intellitag, simply place it on any window or door frame in your house and add it in-app – it’s that easy. The Intellitag uses on-board sensors and an algorithm to analyse the different vibration patterns it detects, and can detect a potential break in before it happens.
The Intellitag is able to tell the difference between standard events like opening/closing a door, or even a ball hitting a door, and possible threats like an intruder using a drill or hammer. When it detects a potential break-in, the Intellitag will trigger the siren and send a notification to your smartphone alerting you to the current situation. With all this said, we still thought that we’d get a false alarm or two if we put the Intellitag on our front door, but we’ve had it on our door for a few weeks now, and we’ve not had a false alarm (yet!).
Like the siren, the Intellitag has technology built-in that’ll detect any potential tampering, namely with communication jamming, and set off the alarm before the connection is lost.
Myfox Home Alarm and Security Camera: Specs
- 720p HD camera
- 130-degree wide angle lens
- night vision
- motion detection
- two-way audio
- battery back up
- 110db siren
- Intellitag proactive break-in detection
- Personalised fob key and panic button
- automatic deactivation of alarm system upon your return