Smart thermostat specialist Ecobee signalled its intent on becoming a major smart home force last year with the launch of the Ecobee SmartCamera. And there's a nice boost for the device as we move into 2021: HomeKit Secure Video added to the mix and a more affordable price-tag.
Now costing $50 less at $129.99, Ecobee's home security camera is a much more attractive prospect than it was when we reviewed it in mid-2020.
That's not just because of the reduced cost; HomeKit Secure Video is a brilliant innovation for home security cameras that we are seeing arrive on more and more devices.
HomeKit Secure Video allows you to store footage on Apple's servers with the peace of mind that it won't be seen by spying eyes ‚Äď not even Apple's.
When video footage is captured, it gets encrypted end-to-end and is then saved into iCloud, where it will stay ‚Äď securely. Only you (and anyone you invite to view) will be able to see it.
The encryption happens locally, before being sent to the cloud. HSV also determines the difference between people, pets, or cars before encrypting and storing it.
Read this: Apple HomeKit Secure Video explained
The Ecobee SmartCam has got Alexa baked right in, so it doubles up, somewhat, as a smart speaker and now, somewhat bizarrely, Spotify Connect has also been added to the mix.
Aside from the new features, the SmartCam also offers a decent array of home security camera specs and features such as 1080p HD video with 180¬į field of view, person detection, activity zones, two-way talking, night vision and it has a nifty white noise feature that makes it a pretty good smart baby monitor option.
The SmartCam is also the face of Ecobee's new Haven home monitoring app, which uses not just the new smart security camera, but also the new SmartSensor for doors and windows, existing Ecobee temperature sensors and the smart thermostat to offer things like auto arming, geolocation setting and the like.
For $5 a month you get access to the Haven Essential plan, which is good for a single camera and 14 days of video history. The Haven Extended plan is $10 per month for unlimited cameras. The SmartCam will work without a Haven plan as well, if you're not too fussed about that historic footage.
As part of the new update for 2021, Smoke Alarm Detection has been added to the Haven subscription, to alert you when the SmartCamera hears your smoke alarm.
The new pricing goes live on 11 January - so hold off buying one for a few days.