The best facial recognition cameras of 2020 – CNET

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<pre><pre>The best facial recognition cameras of 2020 - CNET

Nowadays, many home security cameras have facial recognition that allows you to create a database of friends and family members who visit your home regularly. When the camera sees a face, it determines whether it is a person in your database with known faces.

The software can be due to a variety of factors from lighting to changing hairstyles to wearing glasses in one day rather than the next blow or blow – and much more.

However, we know with certainty that this function is becoming increasingly popular in our devices, not only in home cameras, but also in ours phones and contribute as efficiency tools Automate airport check-ins, Because law enforcement is invested in more face recognition Technology, it already raises serious questions about privacy and civil rights across the board and bring calls for government regulation,

But let's step back a little into the consumer realm. Your home is your lock, and the option of having facial recognition devices in it is still a compelling option for those who want to be up to date with the smart home innovation. Let's take a look at the facial recognition cameras we've tested recently to find out which models are the best and to determine if one is right for you.

Continue reading: Amazon Echo, Google Nest and the best smart home gifts of 2020

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

When we speak of pure face recognition skills, the Nest Hello, the Nest Cam IQ Indoor and the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor (which are all essentially the same camera) win by far. Of these models, the Nest Hello is my first choice for face recognition as it is the least expensive of the three models and offers the most opportunity to give you important information about who is at your front door.

The IQ Indoor from Nest can tell you who is already in your house. However, the Hello camera and the IQ outdoor camera tell you who is in your house outside your house. The eye level of the Hello doorbell is the best way to monitor and see most visitors (although you could install the IQ outdoor camera at eye level for $ 349 if you wish).

The catch with the Hello camera and other Nest cameras with face recognition is that you have to pay for the face recognition function. That means you have to subscribe to the Nest Aware Cloud Subscription Service for face recognition. Find out more about Nest Aware.

Nevertheless, the Nest Hello is also a choice for the best video doorbell overall. So it's a win / win situation, regardless of whether you want to enable face detection or not.

Read the Nest Hello test.

Chris Monroe / CNET

The Tend Secure Lynx only costs $ 60. Given that, I was skeptical that this camera would deliver, but it does. The camera itself not only offers good performance and numerous useful functions such as free storage of video clips for seven days on an event basis, but also free facial recognition (in contrast to the optional Nest Aware service).

Build your database with familiar faces, and the Lynx takes over. There is a certain learning curve when familiarizing yourself with every face, but it is a very good option if you want an inexpensive indoor surveillance camera with decent facial recognition.

Read the test from Tend Secure Lynx.

Chris Monroe / CNET

The $ 299 Nest Cam IQ Indoor is similar to the Nest Hello doorbell. It has facial recognition (when you sign up for a Nest Aware subscription) and shows you who is in front of the camera's field of view with consistent accuracy.

But it also has a number of additional advantages. Since it's an indoor camera, Nest has equipped it with an integrated Google Assistant speaker. That said, the camera essentially acts as a Google Home speaker and can answer basic questions like the current weather or traffic around you and control a variety of smart home devices that support Google Assistant. It also works with Amazon Alexa.

Read the Nest Cam IQ Indoor Review.

Face recognition cameras: All we've tested

Here is a summary of the facial recognition cameras we recently installed and tested.

Recommend above:

Worth considering, but not as good as the recommendations above:

  • Nest Cam IQ outdoors: The IQ outdoor camera is similar to the $ 229 Nest Hello camera and the $ 299 IQ indoor camera in terms of specs and performance, but is inferior at a whopping $ 349 per camera.
  • Netatmo welcome: Netatmos Welcome indoor camera did a good job of recognizing faces, but the function was ultimately not as reliable as we had imagined.
  • Wisenet SmartCam N1: The $ 150 SmartCam N1 security camera and app did a great job recognizing faces. It comes with a built-in microSD card slot for local storage, but the $ 60 Tend Secure Lynx does a good job for much less performance.

Not recommended:

  • Honeywell smart home security: Unreliable performance, including facial recognition technology, significantly affects the attractiveness of this all-in-one system.
  • Tend Secure Lynx Pro: While the Lynx Pro for indoor and outdoor use is technically the high-end version of the Lynx only for indoor use, its improved specifications did not lead to better facial recognition.

Please note that the above recommendations were valid at the time of testing and may change due to later software updates. We will update this list regularly as such changes are required.

How we tested

When you set up a camera with facial recognition, you profile individual people by either taking and adding their real-time picture or using an existing photo you have of them. From there the face recognition camera should You can distinguish human faces from any other type of movement activity and choose the recognized ones from your database of familiar faces. If it works optimally, you will receive a warning that the camera has found "Chris", "Molly" or anyone in your database.

There are many use cases for this type of functionality, but some common use cases are getting an alert when your kids come home from school or when a dog walker or family carer shows up. You can rest assured if you expect someone to show up and you want to receive an automatic alert (especially when you're not home to greet them).

But it also helps in security scenarios, since the camera essentially differentiates between faces that it recognizes and faces that it does not recognize. This way, if your camera alerts you that it saw someone on your porch or entered your home, but you don't recognize them, you can send the information to the police officers more quickly in the event of an actual burglary. in or theft instead of having to search through dozens of generic motion alerts to find the activity.

Display of the face recognition function in the SmartCam app.

Screenshots from Megan Wollerton / CNET

The best way to test these cameras is to create a database. I do this when I test a camera with facial recognition (see screenshots above). I add people to my database and let the camera do the rest. It is advisable to give these cameras at least a few days, as some will improve considerably even within a short time because they see faces from different angles.

Then it has to be analyzed how well the camera actually recognizes faces. How many times did it correctly identify my face with someone else's face? What was it like when you approached from different angles and changed hairstyles and clothing accessories? Could the camera even recognize faces? Some occasionally strive to recognize faces, including those that claim to have facial recognition, and instead mark the activity as a basic motion warning (ahem, Tend to Secure Lynx Pro).

The future of face recognition

Amazon doorbell and security camera company, Ring, filed two patents related to facial recognition The patents suggest that future ring products may be able to automatically recognize and identify faces from "most wanted" lists or watch lists and automatically send notifications to law enforcement officers. Here is an extract from one of the patent applications:

A video can be analyzed by an A / V recording and communication device that recorded the video (and / or one or more back-end servers) to determine if the video contains a known criminal (e.g. a convicted offender, a sex offender or a person on a server) "most wanted" list etc.) or a suspect. Some of the present embodiments can automatically send such video streams to law enforcement agencies.

"Amazon dreams of a dangerous future," said ACLU lawyer Jacob Snow in a blog post.

"The history of discriminatory state surveillance makes it clear that facial surveillance will do disproportionate harm to people who have already been targeted by the government and are exposed to racist profiling and ill-treatment – immigrants, black people, and former detainees," added Snow.

Currently, ring cameras do not offer facial recognition at all. Models like Nest Hello are only used to identify a person you add to your list of "familiar faces". They will not pull from a law enforcement list to determine if a convicted offender is nearby, or will turn to law enforcement if they discover a face that might match someone in a database.

Although we do not currently know of any ethical violations related to these cameras on the market, we cannot in reality verify how the biometric data is used. Even if we give the participating companies the advantage that there are doubts about their analysis and data usage guidelines, these guidelines can change at any time. And when you consider that Ring is owned by Amazon and Nest is owned by Google, the potential for a Big Brother scenario is obvious.

We will continue to keep an eye on home cameras, doorbells, and other devices with built-in facial recognition to keep track of changes in industry trends – and to see if new models can meet the needs of Nest's Hello Summer.


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Originally released last year.