Defender® is a leading developer and mass marketer of DIY video surveillance products. And as DIY has become more popular than ever, I thought it high time I review Defender® security products to help you choose a surveillance solution that fits your needs.
We’ll be looking at 3 of Defender’s best sellers: Wireless cameras Phoenix and Sentinel, and Pro camera Sentinel PRO.
Wireless vs. Pro
Defender’s cameras are classified as Wireless and Pro. Wireless cameras are easier to install and can be setup within minutes while Pro cameras are harder to install because of wires. However, Pro cameras are generally better.
Phoenix™ With 3.5” Digital Wireless Video Monitor
Phoenix™ is your eyes and ears. It has the added convenience of having a wireless video monitor that you can use to monitor and control your Phoenix™ cameras. It is a great solution for flexible monitoring of babies, pets, and employees and to catch intruders as well.
Using the wireless video monitor, you can make Phoenix pan, tilt, and zoom. It can move horizontally by 300⁰ and tilt vertically 110⁰. If you want to examine the image in greater detail, you can also zoom in using the monitor.
Phoenix™ has a built-in SD card slot. However, you can set it to record only when there’s motion to save memory space. So when someone walks into the monitored area, it automatically starts recording.
Invisible IR LED Night Vision
Phoenix™ can see up to 15 feet away in total darkness. It does that with the help of 8 invisible IR LEDs. The “invisible” LEDs do not cast the red glow that is distracting and an attention catcher.
ClearVu® Digital Signal
ClearVu technology from Defender® provides an outstanding precision of a digital signal with the range of up to 750ft. With this technology, Phoenix can transmit digital signals that only you can access from the video monitor. Privacy? Yup, it offers that.
Two-Way Audio Communication
Besides seeing who’s within the camera’s field-of-view, you can also talk to them with a push of a button. Talk with your baby, a visitor, or an employee with the two-way voice. Both the camera and video monitor include a built-in microphone and speaker.
Wireless Video Monitoring Device
The video monitor with its 3.5” TFT LCD screen is your means of monitoring your Phoenix camera. It has an adjustable screen brightness, control to Phoenix’ PTZ feature, speaker and microphone, Li-ion battery, and LED volume indicator. The LED volume indicator is used if you think the ambient sound in the background is unnecessary to monitor. So instead, it uses LED indicators. It lights green when the ambient sound volume is normal, yellow, orange, and red when it’s loud.
Power Save Mode For Longer Battery Life
That same video monitor is battery powered. When no motion and sound is detected, the monitor automatically goes to power saving mode (stand by). It doesn’t record nor transmit videos until you reactivate it or until it detects motion or sounds. When in this mode, the monitor can last a full 24 hours or about 6 hours when video is running.
- Image Sensor: CMOS
- Resolution: 640x480
- Viewing Angle: 50 degrees
- Focal Length: 2.8mm
- Optimal Focal Distance: 2-10 ft.
- Pan-Tilt-Zoom: Yes
- Panning: 300 degrees
- Tilting: 110 degrees
- Illumination: 15feet at 0 lux
- Frequency: 2.4GHz
- Max Transmission Range: 750 ft.
- IR LEDs: 8
- Monitor Type: TFT LCD
- Screen Size: 3.5”
- Expandable: Up to 4 cameras
- Zoom: 2x
- Quad Screen View: Yes
Sentinel Wireless Security Camera System
The Sentinel Wireless camera comes in various packages. Some packages include a 7” video monitor, 500GB DVR, or 1TB DVR with 4 or 8 channels. We’ll review the camera generally and if you think it is right for you, then check out the packages here.
Sentinel Wireless is a plug and play camera system that can work both indoors and outdoors. It is weather resistant but not waterproof so it can stay outdoors but not exposed to weather.
ClearVu™ Digital Wireless Technology
The ClearVu™ Digital Wireless Technology along with the ClearVu™ app makes setup a lot easier. This technology allows the system to automatically connect once turned on. It also ensures a clear and unique signal transmission of videos up to 450ft. away from the DVR. On the other hand, you can use the app to monitor your cameras wherever you are.
Long Range Night Vision
Sentinel has powerful night vision because of its 24 IR LEDs equipped to give up to 75 feet of vision in the dark. This is an excellent night vision range given that most indoor plug and play cameras like Piper provide half that amount of coverage - if not less. When placed outdoors, the night vision is still capable enough to help you monitor your lawn - if you're into that sort of thing.
- Image Sensor: CMOS
- Resolution: 640x480
- Focal Length: 3.6mm
- Viewing Angle: 48 degrees
- Focus Type: Fixed
- Frequency: 2.4 GHz
- Maximum Transmission Range: 450 ft.
- Optimal Transmission Range: 150 ft.
- IR LEDs: 24
- Cameras per receiver: 2
The Sentinel PRO is Defender's ultimate security solution. It is made for those who want a high-caliber security camera setup. However, it isn’t so easy to install as you’ll have to run wires from the camera to the DVR then the router.
Sentinel PRO cameras are included in several packages with DVR memory space of 1TB and 2TB and with 4, 8, and 16 channels.
800 TVL Resolution
TVL is a unit of resolution corresponding to the horizontal lines that make up the image. Common CCTVs only produce up to 700TVL which isn’t enough for a crisp and clear picture. Sentinel has an 800TVL resolution which means it is better than most peers. Most security cameras these days offer a digital resolution measured in pixels. For those more familiar with that measurement, 800 TVL roughly converts to 720p resolution.
See more with the DVR’s capability to watch and record widescreen pictures with 960H technology. 960H has a resolution as high as 960x480. However, if your like me your eyes are now going to the last paragraph. Yes, the camera can record as high as 720p but the DVR will only let you watch in 480p. It's true. You didn't mis-read anything.
Longer Night Vision Range
Sentinel PRO has 48 built-in IR LEDs. That much power is enough to let you see up to 150ft in the dark. In an open area that’s the distance of half a football field!
Sentinel PRO, being an indoor/outdoor camera is tough and can withstand certain conditions. Its anodized aluminum casing provides protection from elements and it has an IP66 rating to provide dust protection.
Also, the cable that comes with the camera system is fire-rated FT4. This is a step ahead of most building codes.
An app is a major player when you want to fully monitor your home or business. PRO cameras do include DVRs but you can also download the free mobile app for live or playback videos. The ClearVu® app works with your system. The system privately sends your video to your smartphone through the app so you gain access to past recordings and also start recording on-demand. But, before you buy based upon app alone you may want to checkout current app ratings. At the time of writing the app was rated poorly on iTunes but had a decent rating on the Google Play store.
Image Sensor: Sharp CCD
IP Rating: IP66
Focal Length: 4mm
Focal Type: Fixed
Optimal Focal Distance: 60ft.
IR LEDs: 48
Night Vision Range: 150ft.
IR LED Control: Automatic
Viewing angle: 75 degrees
What Defender Camera is Best For You?
No size fits all, and choosing depends on the level of security you want. If the reviews above are too much to digest, let me summarize that for you.
The Phoenix camera offers impressive specs but with limited use. You can use it to monitor your home from within the 750ft. transmission range. Monitoring ends beyond that. Which is why it is best used as a baby monitor or remote monitor to check in on things. It doesn’t work with the ClearVu app, so mobile monitoring isn’t possible.
The Sentinel Wireless is the easiest security solution for average households and small businesses. It is wireless, so installation is a breeze and no need to drill holes. Since it works with the ClearVu® app, you can use it to monitor your house from anywhere in the world. Excellent night vision range also adds to its value. Plus since it is weather-resistant, you can use it to monitor outdoor spaces as well.
Although the Sentinel Wireless is enough for most homeowners, the Sentinel PRO has an edge. It is the best you can get from Defender®. But high quality comes at a high price. Also, installing Sentinel PRO is more tedious as it needs wires to connect the cameras.
So what do you think would work best for you? You can check out different packages directly from the Defender® website and choose the right one for you.