Nest created quite a buzz when they announced their latest product—the Nest Cam Outdoor. But unknown to many, a smarter outdoor camera is also about to hit the market. I’m talking about Amaryllo’s ATOM AR3. To be fair, Amaryllo calls it an outdoor security robot. And by nature, robots are smarter than cameras. While this camera is not yet shipping, I can tell you what I know about the camera based on previous experiences with Amaryllo products and research.
”Robot? Like Wall-E?”
If the word robot summons up a friendly image of a cute house companion roaming around your kitchen, it's time to hit the delete button. AR3 is just a camera that is either mounted to your ceiling (AR3S) or screwed into a light socket (AR3); similar to Amaryllo’s iCam Pro Deluxe.
So why call the AR3 a robot? Because it's intelligent. Its intelligence leads to fewer false alarms and a wider area of coverage compared to other outdoor cameras. We’ll get into the specifics shortly.
- 360° Pan-and-Tilt
- Face Detection
- Motion Tracking
- No local storage
- Isolated Product
- Motion tracking in previous version created unnecessary alerts
AR3 Video & Image Quality
ATOM AR3 is a 1080p camera. During the day, it provides rich and colorful videos. At night, its four IR LEDs kick in to activate night vision. The camera is enhanced by its ability to pan and tilt on its own. Its body pans 360° and the camera tilts 90°. If you prefer to control things on your own, you can control the pan-and-tilt feature using your smartphone combined with the free Amaryllo app. Other features of the camera include real-time two-way talk, being water and dust proof, and the use of 256-bit encryption.
Fewer False Alarms, Better Coverage
First of all, AR3 has fewer false alarms because it uses a PIR motion sensor. In fact, it uses three of them. These sensors are strategically placed around the camera’s body to detect motion from every direction. You can further improve motion detection by creating activity and blockout zones. AR3 will detect all motion, but will only notify you if motion is within a designated activity zone.
When a motion sensor is triggered, AR3 automatically turns to face the activity. Not only that, it will continue to track motion a full 360 degrees.
Motion tracking isn’t a new feature. In fact, there are plenty of customer reviews on Amaryllo's previous camera the iCam Pro Deluxe, which also features motion tracking. Most reviewers are calling the feature "too good" as it tracks almost anything. However, with face detection, being "too good" becomes less of a problem. Before notifying you, AR3 tries to identify a face. To be clear, it uses face detection, not recognition. If it detects a face, it takes a snapshot and sends a picture to your phone. Within the app, you will be asked to approve the person (someone you know) or trigger an alert (someone you don't know). If you choose to trigger an alert, you have the option to turn on the camera's LED lights or you can have the camera speak up on its own. You can set it to say “Hello!” or “Identify yourself!”, whichever you think is more appropriate.
Amaryllo offers several subscription plans for AR3 and AR3s, similar to iCam Pro’s subscription plans. The free plan offers 24 hours of cloud storage and 3 days of snapshot alert storage. The Silver plan ($3.99/month) upgrades cloud storage to 7 days and upgrades notifications from a snapshot alert to a 10-second video alert. The Gold plan ($9.99.month) extends the cloud storage to 30 days. And finally, the Platinum plan ($19.99/month also sends alert clips, but your videos will stay in the cloud for an entire year.
Take note that the free plan only activates facial recognition for four people. If you want it to recognize more faces or if you want to enjoy other features such as activity zones, you need to subscribe to one of the paid plans.
Unfortunately, AR3 does not work with other brands, but you can add other Amaryllo cameras to your system and control them using the same app.
A Quick Summary
To sum it all up, ATOM AR3 is a pan-and-tilt robotic camera that can either be screwed into a bulb socket or ceiling mounted. It has motion sensors that pick up activity from any direction, it can track and follow motion, it has face detection, and uses cloud storage.
Update: 5/13/2017 AR3 has launched. While we like the camera's features, we don't like that most of its features remain deactivated unless you pay for a subscription. We also don't like the high price point.