June 22, 2016
Over the past few years home security tech has vastly improved, become more affordable, and even more portable. From renters to homeowners, there is a consistent need on a global level for accessible security, to be able monitor your home and even loved ones or family pets. The Maximus Smart Security Light powered by Kuna is one such option, bringing a DIY offering to monitoring the outside of your home while integrating it hardware that already exists: outdoor lighting.
The light looks like a standard outdoor lighting fixture, with the exception of there being a small camera beneath it and built-in speaker and microphone. We tested the smart security light over a month through storms, windy weather, and humid infused heat breaching 100 degrees.
Installing the Smart Security Light
Installation and Setup
The Maximus Smart Security Light hardware needs to be installed to a direct power source, so it does require a bit of effort. However, in total it took about 20 minutes and that included taking down the pre-existing flood light. If there was not a pre-existing power source, that would add a significant amount of time to the installation.
As far as the instructions go, the included version was a bit hard to read, but they were easy enough to follow. The items within the box also make it easy for this to be a one-person job. From being able to hang the light from the mounting brackets with the included fixture holding hook to metal fixture screws length indicator, the items took a lot of the guesswork out of the process.
Getting the smart light up and running and also connected to wifi took around three minutes. There was also a day-one software update, but that was done in the background and required no interference besides a press of the button.
Features and Specs
At first look, I thought the smart security light would be a bit more limited than it ended up being. My primary concern was regarding the static location of where the camera focuses, but the lens captured a wide-area (not fisheye or wide lens however). The camera can also be manually adjusted on a swivel, but this is still a bit of a concern depending on how open your entryways are.
The camera itself and recording is done in 720p. As you can see from our short demo video there is some graininess to it, but this is already a massive improvement to standard security cameras. My one gripe here is that the camera has no night vision mode, which sort of limits its functionality to hours with daylight. But wait, this is a lighting fixture as well, shouldn’t that produce enough to make it useful? Unfortunately not so much. Similar to our review with the LG camera, vision is limited in the dark, more so even. The fixture uses a standard bulb and even produces a yellow color, so you’re not going to be getting as much use there. If it’s in a doorway then you’ll probably be safe.
The fixture also includes a two-way intercom feature. This allows you to both hear what is happening outside your home, but also communicate back through it. So wether you’re not at home and want to scare someone off or simply too lazy to get up, this is a nice feature to have built-in. There are also three pre-recorded messages, which I found to be kind of tacky, and had us hoping we could record over them with our own messages. The related siren feature is also pretty loud, and the sound definitely caries.
While testing we also had some connectivity issues even though there was a router nearby with only a window to interfere with the connection. After the signal dropped it did auto-reconnect, but you’ll likely want to test for a strong connection in the area where you plan to install this.
- Powered by 120V – 240V
- 720p HD Video
- Built-in siren
- Two-way intercom feature
- Advanced motion detection
- Connected through wifi (requires connectivity in range of area installed)
- Bluethooth connectivity available, but limited by distance to device
- Requires the use of the Kuna app to view video, recordings, and push audio messages
For the Maximus Smart Security Light there are two design elements we looked at, mostly focusing on ease of use: mobile app and hardware design.
Though there are a few designs available, each look like your standard outdoor light fixture. It doesn’t stand out or call attention to it’s unique features, which is ideal considering it’s a security camera. Playing a message or communicating with someone may throw someone off guard, which would also be great for scaring off undesirables. It also was able to withstand a variety of weather without issue.
Mobile App Design
The Kuna app was a bit of fresh air. From hardware manufactures, we typically find their mobile apps are a second thought to their primary focus. Perhaps it’s because the app is created by their technology partner, but either way it worked incredibly well as was super easy to use. The advanced motion detection feature within the software also allows you to tell the app if motion was triggered by something like wind going through leaves, which in turn likely adjusts the motion sensitivity.
Pros and Cons
- Great video quality
- Two-way microphones
- Cloud Storage (paid)
- Easy video playback
- Mobile app is easy to use
- Lack of integration with other technology
- Lacks night vision feature (just built-in light)
- Limited field of vision
Should you buy Maxiums’ Smart Security Light? Absolutely. Between the price point, ease of use and installation, functionality, and overall quality of the video, this is a great option to keep an eye on your home. We give the Smart Security Light a 4 out 5 due to a lack of night vision mode (limited to built-in light and other lighting) which is present in other outdoor security lights at the price point, but overall it’s a great product with unique features.
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