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Toucan has long been focused on protecting the entrance of your home with an array of porch cameras, and more recently, a video doorbell. Its Wireless Outdoor Security Camera, though, is ideal for coverage anywhere else around your home. Completely battery powered, it can be easily installed anywhere it can receive a Wi-Fi signal.
Like the EufyCam 2 we recently reviewed, Toucan’s camera takes its design cues from Netgear’s Arlo Pro cameras. Its modular body and magnetic mount allow it to be installed virtually anywhere on your property that you can get a clear Wi-Fi signal. The lithium ion battery should give you a minimum of four months of power per charge, and that can be stretched to a year if motion detection is triggered less frequently, according to the manufacturer.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best home security cameras, where you’ll findreviews of competing products, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping.
The camera comes with all the security essentials. It streams and captures video in 1080p resolution and provides night vision, two-way talk, and motion detection with event recording. It also includes a built-in siren and a handful of canned visitor greetings and warnings, both of which can be activated remotely through the Toucan app. It has an IP56 weatherproof rating indicating it is protected from high-pressure water jets from any direction but its protection from dust ingress is much more limited.
Toucan offers a stingy 24 hours of video history for free with purchase of the camera, and you can only review video, not download it. That makes a paid subscription upgrade essential to save evidence of a crime that could help police find the perpetrator. Toucan’s least expensive offering is the Pro plan, which extends video history to seven days and also enables video download and sharing, plus the ability to share camera access with anyone you choose, for $3 per month. An Elite plan provides the same, but lengthens video history to 90 days. In both cases, one subscription applies to all your Toucan devices.
Installation and performance
To setup the camera, you’ll need to download the Toucan app and create an account. Once you choose the type of device you want to add, the app will prompt you to press and hold the Set button on top of the camera until a blue LED on its front starts flashing. A voice prompt confirms the device is initializing, and shortly after you’re asked to enter your network login credentials. Barring any hiccups, the whole process should take 2-3 minutes.
When you can see the cameras live feed, you should walk it out to where you want to mount it to be sure it will maintain a strong signal. I didn’t have any signal interruptions walking the perimeter of my home, so I mounted it on a fence facing my driveway. The camera mount needs only two screws to attach, so it’s short work. The camera sticks magnetically to the mount, which makes it easier for you to remove when you need to recharge the battery, but this makes it equally simple for crooks or vandals to take it down. I placed mine high enough that anyone would need a ladder to reach it, assuming that would be enough to deter anyone from messing with it.
The camera’s image quality is very good, displaying sharp details and accurate colors. Night vision, which by default activates automatically in low light, provides plenty of illumination and strong contrast to see clearly after dark. You can pinch to zoom and swipe to pan the image in either mode to more closely inspect parts of the scene.
Toucan has wisely kept the app as basic as the camera. A half-dozen circular icons below the live feed clearly indicate their various functions. A large push-to-talk button is front and center, surrounded by smaller circles for manually recording video, taking a snapshot, speed-dialing 911, activating the siren, and triggering one of the pre-recorded visitor responses. There are four of these: three phrases—“Hello, who is it?” “How can I help you?” and “No soliciting, thank you,” each intoned in a robotic male voice—and one menacing dog bark.
Motion detection was reliable in my tests. I didn’t want to be alerted to every car passing on the street in front of my driveway, just the ones that entered it, and I was able to lower the motion detection sensitivity to accomplish that. There’s also a scheduling option that lets you automatically activate the camera during certain hours of each day, which can further reduce the frequency of motion alerts.
Motion-triggered video clips are accessed on an Events tab on the app’s home screen. You swipe to the date you want to review on a bar at the top of the screen and that day’s clips are displayed below in reverse chronology.
In addition to the app, the camera’s live feed can also be viewed on Amazon Alexa and Google Home smart displays. I was able to check mine on an Amazon Echo Show by saying “Alexa, show me the driveway.” I was also able speak to visitors through the display and perform other functions just as in the app.
At just $80, the Toucan Wireless Outdoor Security Camera is a good deal cheaper than the Arlo Pro cameras of its ilk and comparably priced to the TP-Link Kasa Cam Outdoor Camera that’s our current pick for best budget outdoor security camera. That camera has similar features to the Toucan, but also includes sound detection, which can alert you to activity taking place outside the camera’s field of view. TP-Link’s camera also provides better protection from dust. On the downside, it requires continuous AC power, so it’s logistically more complicated to set up. The decision probably rests on whether security or convenience is a higher priority, but both cameras have much to offer the budget-minded shopper.