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Defender showed with its Defender Guard 2K-resolution camera that it understands what most people want from a home security camera: solid security features, intuitive operation, and an affordable price. Its latest offering, the Defender Guard Pro 2K Wi-Fi camera, checks all those boxes, delivering smart detection, a motion-activated spotlight, tack-sharp image quality, on-board storage, and an easy-to-use app all for just $126.
The bullet-style camera is durably built for outdoor use with an IP67 rating, meaning it’s protected against dust ingress and short-term water immersion. It’s outfitted with dual Wi-Fi antennas, a spotlight, and a built-in microphone for two-way communication with anyone in the camera’s field of view.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best home security cameras, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.
A pigtail on the back of the camera’s mounting plate includes a power adapter and PoE (power-over-ethernet) connections. PoE is a standard that enables the transmission of both data and power over a single ethernet cable. This simplifies installations when an outdoor electrical outlet isn’t available as it allows you to run a single cable back into your home. You’ll need to have a PoE injector in order to take advantage of this feature.
The Guard Pro has a top resolution of 2K (2560 x 1440 pixels) and supports both black-and-white and color night vision. Smart Human Detection ensures motion sensors are triggered only by people rather than all movement, and you can double-down on your defenses by enabling the spotlight to be triggered by motion as well.
The camera records video locally to a microSD card, and unusual for a security camera, it comes with a 32GB card pre-installed. The card reader recognizes cards with capacities up to 256GB, but upgrading means tossing the 32GB card that comes with the camera.
Setting up the Guard Pro is straightforward. I have easy access to an outdoor outlet, so I was able to use the camera’s power adapter rather than PoE. Once I plugged in the camera, it took about a minute to boot up, giving me ample time to download the Defender Guard app and register an account. When the camera’s LED flashed green, I needed only to tap the “+” button in the app to add the camera and follow the prompts to connect it to my Wi-Fi. The process was seamless and took less than five minutes.
Once the camera is connected, you’ll need to position and install it on an exterior wall. The Defender Guard app includes a Wi-Fi detection tool that lets you check your network signal strength at your preferred installation spot. When you’ve verified a strong connection, you can use the included mounting template to mark off the area where you’ll place the camera. You’ll need a drill to pre-drill the holes, but the rest of the mounting hardware is supplied.
The Guard Pro’s image quality is impressive in both standard and high definition, but if you your Wi-Fi network and broadband connection have the bandwidth to handle it, 2K viewing is the way to go. The quality naturally degrades the more you push the 16x digital zoom, but it’s still clear enough to make out details such as facial features and license plate numbers. Video captured with color night vision enabled was well-lit with accurate colors, and infrared black-and-white night vision provided excellent illumination with strong contrast.
Human detection was accurate throughout my testing, which was greatly appreciated as squirrels and neighborhood cats regularly scurry through my yard. You can toggle this off in favor of general motion detection when you want to monitor non-human movement, as I did when I decided to monitor cars coming into my driveway. The app offers plenty of ways to adjust motion detection and alerts, including multiple detection sensitivities, customizable detection zones, and the ability to schedule when the camera is “armed.”
The Defender Guard app makes all these features easy to manage. It opens to a Home screen where all your connected Defender cameras are displayed with live-view thumbnails. Tapping a thumbnail launches the video feed and control panel for that camera. This includes buttons for capturing video and screenshots of the camera’s live feed, triggering the microphone, and activating the spotlight or built-in siren. An option labeled “View history record” provides access to your event-triggered video clips.
The Defender Guard Pro performed solidly in my testing, with no connection dropouts or significant lags. The Defender Guard app was just as reliable with quick responses and no freezes. Overall, it’s a pretty polished system that puts dependable home security within reach of most budgets.