Imagine being away on a trip when a storm hits your home and how comforting it would be to log onto an app on your phone to check on your property.
Security cameras and their apps are nothing new, but they often come in multi-camera systems with pricey monthly subscription fees.
Tend Insights has partnered with John Deere to produce a simple, stand-alone, plug-and-play outdoor Wi-Fi camera that pairs with a free app to let you keep an eye on your place while you travel.
And yes, it’s painted John Deere green.
If the Tend name is not familiar to you, it's probably because the company produces Wi-Fi cameras and monitors under the brand names of its partners, Kodak and Despicable Me in addition to John Deere. The company has won Innovation Honoree Awards at the annual Consumer Electronics Show for three years in a row, so their cameras stand up to technical scrutiny, as does their marketing savvy.
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I tested Tend's John Deere camera and was amazed at the simplicity and the image quality.
I have used both wired and wireless security camera systems, and all of them have been a challenge to set up whereas the John Deere camera took roughly five minutes from unpacking to viewing an image on my phone.
It took considerably longer to decide where I wanted it placed than it did to activate the camera.
I positioned mine so that I could watch the front drive of my property while away. It requires a 110V electrical outlet to plug into and should be within range of your Wi-Fi router. Mine happens to be roughly 300 feet from the router, but that will vary considerably depending on your router strength and any obstructions.
The ISecurity+ app is free, with both IOS and Android versions. It includes 24-hour cloud storage at no charge. There are paid plans for longer storage. The app allows you to set recording triggers and alerts for motion detection.
I found that the motion detection was quite sensitive. My camera is out in the open, so birds set it off easily. Because of that, I have the alerts disabled. It's a big plus to be able to adjust and/or turn on and off the settings while away from home.
The 1280 x 720 resolution makes for a very clear color image, even when viewed on the small screen of a smartphone. The lens is fixed, but the 75-degree viewing angle allows you to essentially pan and zoom with standard smartphone finger movements on the screen.
While traveling in Europe, I could effectively see the entire front drive of my property following a spring storm and ascertain that there was no damage. The image is far clearer than other camera systems I have used.
But Wait, There's More
The camera has a microphone that allows you to hear as well as see what is going on in the camera's range. This would come in handy for keeping an eye on outdoor pets while you are away.
In addition to being a superior stand-alone outdoor security camera, the John Deere serves as a strong Wi-Fi signal booster. I can now access Wi-Fi from parts of my property that never had service before. The camera is smart enough to extend your Wi-Fi signal using the same password as your primary router.
With a price tag of $149, the booster becomes an additional bonus that makes this an ideal add-on to your vacation budget.