Review Panasonic HomeHawk Window Camera

hey everybody it’s lon zeidman and we’re taking a look today at a new security camera from panasonic this is called the home hawk window camera and what’s unique about this is that it’s designed to look at the outside from the inside it actually sticks onto a window inside your home and looks out and we’re going to be taking a closer look at this one in just a second but i do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure this came in free of charge from panasonic however all the opinions you’re about to hear are my own nobody is paying for this review nor has anyone reviewed or approved what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this new camera is all about now the price point on this one is 149 there’s a whole bunch of different cameras in the home hawk lineup and what’s unique about them is that there’s no subscription fee or cloud service with these so all the video that they record is stored locally and therefore there’s no subscription fees with it although you can access the camera when you’re not at home so they do cost a little more than some of the other ones out there but there’s no ongoing cost of ownership you get all of the features as part of the purchase price and that’s why these might cost a little bit more now what’s unique about this one of course is that it sticks to the inside of your window and they have this sticky stuff here on the left hand side of the lens that it uses to latch onto your window i have seen this material on other products we looked at a ipad iphone stand the other day that works with similar materials and this stuff really sticks on really really nicely and holds on for quite some time there’s two different ways to mount it though so you can use the sticky pad here and if you go that route you’re going to get a notification push to you every three months to reseat the camera just to be safe i did have this thing hanging up for a couple of days it didn’t fall down it was pretty much right where i left it when i installed it so i don’t think you’ll have any problems with it given my past experience with this material that they’re using but if you want it more securely attached they have some single-use double-sided tape that you can put on the edges here and that will more securely

attach it to your window and the way you do it is just basically put it up on your window i’ll show you some b-roll we shot a little bit earlier you give it a nice good push into the window that you’re attaching it to and then once you got it where you want it you just pull up that little lever there and that will lock it into place and you’re good to go so it’s a really unique design in that the lens is pretty much pushed up against the glass and you’re not getting any reflection coming back onto the lens so it almost looks like the camera is being placed outside even though it’s safely indoors there’s also a little rubber curtain here around the edges to help keep the light out you will see in a few minutes when i show you some image quality samples that there is a little bit of light bleed on the edges but by and large i think it looks pretty good for what it is now this does sit inside and because it’s inside it needs to be powered all the time but it’s obviously going to be easier to get at an outlet you get a nice long cable here for the camera it’s a 9 watt power adapter running at 5 volts 1.8 amps so you could probably find some other ways to power it the barrel connector here is removable so there is some flexibility with that the camera though is not compatible with rtsp or anything else out there so this is only going to work with the home hawk app at the moment so if you’re looking to add this to your existing security dvr unfortunately it will not work with that now the camera requires wi-fi in order to work and it does not work on 5 gigahertz networks now most people have routers that will automatically assign the right frequency to the device i have my networks bifurcated into specific networks based on frequency and i had a little bit of a problem initially getting this

connected because i kept trying to connect it to my five gigahertz wi-fi it is only 2.4 most of you should not have that problem but if you do have a 5 gigahertz only network this will not connect to it after we got over that hump setup was pretty easy with their app and it wasn’t hard to get going there is an sd card slot here for the sd card that is needed for storage and it’s important to have an sd card with this there is not one included and the reason is is that you will not have any recordings from it if you don’t have an sd card installed so without the card you’ll get notifications but no recordings of what it saw you can of course log in live and see what’s going on without the card but it doesn’t work as well without the card installed and what i recommend getting for these security cameras especially if you plan to record continuously are one of these high endurance cards which are designed for uses like this one where you have constant writing to the card over the course of the day and once you have everything set up and on the window you just put the little plastic piece here back on and you are good to go there will be a single light that you’ll see shining through the back of the plastic here but you can disable that if you want there is a cooling fan on the bottom of this that i heard kick on during the day when the sun was out and the window was warmer it’s not that loud but it will be something you might hear so if you’re putting this in a bedroom just be aware of that and on the topic of bedrooms there is no microphone in the camera so you don’t record any audio there’s no two-way conversation obviously but it does record video of what’s going on outside let’s take a look at some image samples and then we’ll see how the app works so here’s the first shot of my side yard during the day and as you can see here the frame rate is pretty good it’s running at 30 frames per second the

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resolution is 1080p but you’ll notice there’s a lot of compression artifacts because it looks like it’s recording at about the same bit rate it streams to you at about two megabits per second or so not bad for cameras of this class but just be aware it’s not going to give you a nice crisp 4k image because it just doesn’t record a lot of visual data the field of view on it is 150 degrees i’ll give you another shot here that was more in the shade again good quality decent enough for what it is and i like the fact that it can continuously record the outdoors because it is inside plugged into wall power and that does have some advantages so overall good daytime visual quality here just a little bit of artifacts that you’ll get due to the bitrate one thing i recommend though is not having screens on your window so you can see what happens when you’ve got a screen on there there’s no way to focus it out so if you want to put it on a window make sure it does not have a screen the width of it is about five inches or so so if you have about 5.1 inches of clearance with this you should be in good shape to capture things and we have a door that i’m going to attach this to in a minute that has about six inches or so and this fits perfectly within that clearance there now i want to go back to this daytime shot to contrast it with the nighttime view

here and as you can see the image is quite dark because there is no infrared illumination on this and while the sensor is very sensitive to light if you don’t have any light this is what you’re going to get so on the right hand side you can see a little bit of a glow from a street lamp that is hidden behind some trees but for the most part this image is totally dark and as i scrub through it more quickly here you can also see we’re getting a little bit of light bleeding in from the room that this camera was placed in and i think that’s coming from the tv given the variation in the light on the left hand side as i scrub quickly through the video here and it was actually picking this up as motion as well there are ways though to filter out some of the areas to detect motion but overall it’s not very useful without a little extra light in very dark areas now i want to pull up this next clip here because this was really a good example of the sensitivity of the sensor so this is on the side of my house and on the front of my house we have a porch with lights and i went to take the dog out at around 11 30 in the evening and as you can see here the light from the front is actually being picked up quite nicely here on the side so if you do have a little bit of ambient light it’s going to go a long way with this camera but it’s not going to allow you to see in the dark what was neat though is that it did pick me up here with its people detector as i was walking around so this was really impressive in the sense that you’re able to get a color image out of it with just a little bit of light bleeding over but i was though disappointed that it didn’t have a better performance in totally dark areas and again you’ll probably want to have a motion sensor

light or something light up the scene a little bit better because if it’s totally dark you’re not going to see anything now here’s another shot under my porch with just a small outdoor light fixture illuminated and you can see just having a little bit of light here makes a big difference with this camera all right so let’s pop in now to the home hawk app and see what’s going on with our camera i only have a single home hawk camera but if i had multiple cameras on my phone here you would see more than one on this screen tapping on it brings you right in and then it’s going to connect to the camera and provide a live image and if i rotate my screen here you can see we get the real-time view as to what’s going on outside at the moment looks pretty good here we’re actually connecting over the internet to my camera just to simulate what it would be like to operate it remotely so that seems to be working pretty nicely here we’re going to back out real quick though and take a look at the timeline now what i did on mine is i set it up to record 24 7 and that means you’re going to get a ton of recordings available to you each day and what it does is it records in five minute increments so it records for five minutes saves the file and then creates a new file so what will happen is as the card fills up it will delete the older files but there are ways to protect them so for example if i wanted to maybe preserve this recording at 1031 that had some motion detected once it

loads up the clip i can hit this little lock icon here at the bottom and save it so let’s give it a second here to load in and i’ll show you there it goes so i can just hit the the lock button there and that will prevent that particular clip from being erased and one of the things that i like about having 24 7 recording is that you can see the moments leading up to and following a motion event that was detected i did find that the motion sensitivity here is quite sensitive so it’s going to pick up a lot of false alarms but if you wanted to limit it to maybe just a person detection because it does have some ai to detect people you can filter things down a bit so if we go back a day or two here you’ll see that it picked up people on two different occasions here on august 24th my gripe though is that when you go to play back one of these detection events it doesn’t take you right to the event itself you do have to scrub the timeline here to get to it so it tells me that it detected the person at 11 32 but i don’t know exactly where in the clip it did it and actually the detection event happened a little bit later than 11 32 was actually 11 34 or something like that so you’ll know what clip that it happened in but it takes a while to kind of find exactly when the moment occurred and i would like to have them update this to give you a jump to point so you can see exactly when that person was detected now when it detects a motion or person event it will push a notification to your phone with a still image of that event and it was also giving me the image on my apple watch too which was pretty nice if you’re getting too many notifications though what you can do here is go into the editor and have it only push a notification for when it detects a person so that might be something to do if you’re getting just too many false alarms on it likewise you can also go in and edit the zones in which it detects motion let’s take a look at that so to make adjustments you can just click on the hamburger menu here go to settings and then go over

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to camera settings and here you can start making some adjustments if i go over to detection and set my detection area you’ll be brought to this screen here where you can set specific areas that you may want to ignore when it comes to motion detection and you also can get a finer approach here if you click on this little icon to get smaller grids here that you can work with and i found this was a good way of getting rid of a good chunk of the false alarms but it won’t get rid of all of them now there are a few settings adjustments here that i thought might be of interest so let’s dive into those real quick and then we’ll see how it works with some popular home hubs out there the first is the video quality you can adjust it so right now by default it is set to 1080p at 30 frames per second but if you are filling up your sd card too quickly or you’re dealing with a slow internet connection where you have the camera installed you can adjust the resolution all the way down to standard depth that will of course lower the bit rate and make it work a little better you can also adjust the frame rate so you can keep the higher resolution but just run it at half speed for example that might help out a little bit as well hdr is enabled by default i recommend keeping that on because it will do its best to try to pull out things in the shadows when needed so i found that is something you want to leave where it is the bit

rate level icon will give you an idea as to how the connection is between you and the camera which would be helpful if you’re trying to troubleshoot your connection either at home or at where you’re monitoring from in the recording settings here you can see how much of your sd card is filled up again it’s going to by default overwrite as you can see there with that overwrite recording option enabled and if the clips are not preserved through that lock mechanism i showed you earlier it will delete the oldest clips as new ones are recorded that’s kind of a standard way these things work you also have the ability to adjust the timestamp here as well you can turn it off or switch it over to a 24-hour format if you don’t like the light being on you can turn off that status led here so it’s not shining all the time so if you do have it in a bedroom you won’t have that light steering back at you when you disable that function and then under system here you can check for our firmware updates and also i have that maintenance reminder on to remind you to reseat the camera whenever that three month period ends now as i mentioned i have my camera recording 24 7 but you do have the option to record with a different strategy so let’s jump back to the front screen here if i click on this big camera icon it’ll bring me into the mode selection screen for this camera and what you have are the options to have the camera not record 24 7 but instead only record when motion is

detected and then you can determine how long it records for and what i like about this is that because the camera is plugged in you can record for a longer period of time versus an outdoor battery operated camera so there is some advantages here to being inside max though is five minutes per event and of course you’ll get one of those big five-minute files when it’s done recording it won’t record what happens before though so just be aware of that and then you can decide whether or not you want notifications all the time or just when a person is detected or none at all unfortunately there’s no integration here with some of the popular services like ifttt to have it switch modes i would have liked to have seen a scheduling option so that i could have it record all the time throughout the evening but maybe stop during the day that kind of granularity doesn’t seem to be here i think you’ve got to manually switch it in between modes but it’s nice to see the framework is here for that later if they decide to do that it does though work with popular home hubs two of them amazon and google you can’t have a lot of automation going on with this but you can pull the cameras up through those systems let’s have a look at amazon’s alright so i have an amazon fire tv stick here loaded up and i’m just going to issue a voice command now show me the side window and let’s see how long this takes i did find that this does take a while um so we may have to uh fast forward a

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little bit here as it makes the initial connection so this is one thing that did not come up as quickly as some other cameras that we’ve looked at recently do so let’s uh hit the pause button here and fast forward to when it actually shows up all right there we go it did take a little while for it to come up but now we’ve got the image on screen unfortunately at the moment it looks like the best you can do with these is just see what’s going on outside i like the lack of ifttt integration i can’t integrate this into the routines that you can do in the amazon ecosystem so i can’t have a motion event trigger off something else with this camera just yet but it looks like that again is something that could be added down the road through software updates now before i close out i did want to acknowledge the fact that reviewing these security cameras often brings a multitude of opinions in some agree with what my assessment is others do not and i think one of the challenges of this home security space is that people’s needs are vastly different some folks just need a simple notification camera if you need that the blink or the new wise outdoor camera are probably good for that other folks want a more robust 24 7 security system and for those folks you might want to go with a more expensive and robust 24 7 hardwired professional security installation and then in the middle there are folks that are willing to manage some things themselves but still want that simplicity and i think this is one of those products that falls into that middle category it’s not perfect there are a lot of things they need to address on the software side but if you don’t like the idea of subscriptions and you don’t like the idea of putting things

into the cloud i think the system that panasonic here is putting together might be appealing to some folks because you do get the 24 7 recording you do have to have sd cards installed on all the different cameras and you’re not putting the files anywhere it’s staying at home in your network and there’s really nobody that will see what those cameras are recording and if that’s something that’s of interest to you then these might be worth looking at just know that some of the features that you might see on some of those other consumer oriented systems aren’t here just yet but i think there is potential and there are some other cameras in this line as well that might do a little better on the night vision too so we’ll probably be coming back at some other things in this home hawk line as they improve software but i really like the concept here and this is something we’ll probably come back to when software updates are made in the future that’s going to do it for now until next time this is lon simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the supporters including gold level supporters tom albrecht chris allegretta david hochman brian parker mike patterson and bill pomerantz if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month so head over to lawn dot tv support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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