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Eufy Edge Security System hands-on: The most advanced security cameras yet?

The Eufy Edge Security system is a near-perfect blend of innovation and pragmatism. Local storage, facial recognition, and the lack of monthly fees will make you rethink your home security.
Written by Maria Diaz, Staff Writer
Edge Security System
Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Forget everything you know about home security: Eufy Security is setting a new standard. The company's latest Edge Security System, which features two wireless EufyCam 3 4K-resolution outdoor cameras and the HomeBase 3, looks to machine learning and solar power to deliver what may possibly be the most optimized surveillance setup I've seen yet.

Updated review: Eufy Edge Security System: Why I'm not getting rid of these cameras yet

I've been tinkering with the Edge Security System for the past week and, while there are several features like Eufy's BionicMind AI Technology that require further testing, have been generally impressed by what the bundle offers. Here's a rundown of my short-term experience, with more in the coming weeks. 

Harnessing 'Forever Power'

Boxed Eufy Security Kit on table

Wave home security cloud services away with this system.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Starting with the eyes of the security system, the EufyCam 3 -- which comes in a two-pack -- is a bullet-shaped outdoor camera that is completely wireless and has built-in solar panels at the top to provide what Eufy calls "Forever Power."

Eufy's Forever Power makes for my favorite kind of system: a set-it-and-forget-it configuration with no need to buy spare batteries. The cameras only need 2 hours of daily solar energy to retain their maximum capacity, but you can also go with the wired route via the USB-C port on the back. You likely won't need to physically charge them beyond the initial setup phase, though.

Solar charging meant tactical placement in the perimeter of my home was necessary. Once I figured out where the optimal location was and installed them with the included mounts, it was all about getting the perfect angle and enjoying the extra surveillance.

EufyCam 3 installed on exterior of house

The EufyCam 3 in action.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

I can't speak for the camera's battery life and solar charging just yet, but I put them up after a full charge and they've remained at 100% battery for the past five days. We'll see how they hold up during the coming winter months.

What's clear to me is that Eufy is offering a security system that you'll use for years, not because of subscription models, but because of the feature set. This alone makes it easier to recommend than what Ring, Arlo, Wyze, and, yes, even Blink are doing with their security cameras. These brands, though popular in the smart home market, require a subscription to unlock the full potential of their respective security cameras, especially for important features like saving old video clips.

More: Eufy's new smart security cameras do things that Amazon's can't 

Eufy Security EufyCam 3 Two Cam Kit in packaging

The Edge Security System includes the HomeBase 3 and two EufyCam 3 cameras.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

As for the actual video, the EufyCam 3 records 4K Ultra HD resolution, which means you get four times the pixels of 1080p HD resolution in a solar security camera. There are plenty of 4K security cameras on the market so this, in my opinion, is not the main selling point of the Eufy. 

There's also an F1.4 aperture lens that makes for better clarity and 40% improved light sensitivity, especially at night, according to Eufy. From my testing, I found the nighttime footage adequate enough to discern faces, so take that for what it's worth. It helps that the EufyCam 3 has both infrared and color night vision options, with the ability to turn on the built-in spotlight when motion is detected.

More: See in the dark this Halloween with the best night vision cameras

An AI home run from HomeBase

The HomeBase 3 is more than your average smart home hub. It saves the video recordings from the cameras locally, with 16GB of built-in storage that is expandable to up to 16TB (yes, 16TB) with an external hard drive. It works as a chime for compatible Eufy doorbells, but also as an alarm if desired. Compared with the HomeBase 2 that I've already been using with my Eufy motion sensors, doorbell, and other products, the HomeBase 3 is taller and clearly built to handle enhanced computing. 

My old HomeBase 2, left, next to the new HomeBase 3 on the right.

My old HomeBase 2 (left) next to the new HomeBase 3 (right).

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

Working in tandem with the EufyCam 3, the new HomeBase employs its BionicMind AI to not only detect motion but discern if it was caused by a human, vehicle, or an animal. With enough machine learning, the hub takes things to the next level by intelligently recognizing and identifying the different people and objects that go in and out of your house. For example, the HomeBase 3 recognized me and my partner by name about a third of the time within the first few days of use. With time, you'll be able to know exactly who arrived or left your house and at what time. 

Lastly, I just want to commend the system for how reliable it is at giving me an "animal detected" alert whenever my puppy is wandering in the backyard. 

Bottom line, for now

Eufy Security EufyCam 3 Two Cam Kit on a shelf

The solar panels on the cameras make them truly wireless.

Maria Diaz/ZDNET

The Eufy Edge Security System launched a few weeks ago and retails at $549.99. At that price, it's certainly not a purchase to make on a whim, but it is on par with what many quality security cameras cost currently, with the bonus that you won't be paying for a monthly subscription. The price is fair considering you don't have to buy spare batteries for the wireless solar-charging cameras, and the hub can save all of your footage locally and recognize faces, all while doubling as a security alarm and doorbell chime.

At this stage, the HomeBase 3 is compatible with the EufyCam series, Eufy Security Battery Doorbell, and Eufy motion and entry sensors. Compatibility with the company's video doorbell dual, SoloCam, Floodlight Cam, and indoor and outdoor cams will arrive in the coming months.

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