EufyCam 2C Pro Review: 2K HDR Video and No Subscription
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Having security cameras keep an eye on your yard can be a great deterrent, as well as giving peace of mind that you’ll be alerted to anything going on. At least you have the option to respond in some way, or at least have clear evidence to explain what happened, be it a nefarious act or an act or nature.
For this to be valuable you want a camera system that is going to be fast and reliable so you don’t miss anything important, as well as being accurate in detecting the right motion events so you’re not spammed with useless notifications that you end up ignoring.
Eufy Security has had a range of outdoor wireless security cameras for a number of years now, and these have consistently ranked well in terms of battery life and video quality. The eufyCam 2C Pro is the latest model, and takes it up a notch with 2K HDR video and some bonus features that can help with deterrent.
I’ve been testing two of these cameras for a few weeks now to compare how the video performance rates against the main competition, and also to see how well they do in Apple’s HomeKit. The eufyCams are currently the only battery powered outdoor cameras that support HomeKit Secure Video, so they are a popular choice with HomeKit users. That warrants some special attention which I’ll cover in it’s own section below.
Eufycam 2C Pro Overview
The eufyCam 2C Pro cameras come in one, two, or four packs with the required base station (the HomeBase2). I’ve elected to test the two pack shown here to give some results from different install locations.
As with other eufyCam models, these are purely wireless outdoor security cameras. This means they are battery powered and use a wireless connection back to the base station to communicate and record video. The base station is not optional as the cameras do not actually connect to your WiFi network themselves. They use a proprietary radio signal to the HomeBase2 only, and must be paired with that.
There are pros and cons here. The HomeBase2 can be configured on your WiFi which effectively makes it a wireless repeater for the cameras and allows you to position it for better signal strength depending on where your cameras will be installed. This can be helpful when you want to monitor the outside of your property but your WiFi router is in the middle of the house.
The HomeBase2 also provides local storage of the video recordings, which is a big selling point given many of the high end competitors require a cloud subscription for this (eufy offers a cloud subscription as well if you want). Having the recordings on the HomeBase2 also protects that evidence from loss if the cameras themselves are attacked. Eufy also supports using RTSP to store these on a local NAS instead.
The 2C model range adds spotlights and sirens over the older 2 models, but at the cost of battery life. The eufyCam 2 has a larger casing for a bigger battery that’s rated up to a year, while the 2C is rated up to 6 months in a smaller, more compact body which is actually more to my liking. The Pro model, meanwhile, adds the 2K camera resolution over the 2C’s normal 1080p video.
You get everything you need in the box, including the mounting brackets for the cameras, the crews and wall plugs to put them up, drilling templates, international power adapters for the HomeBase2, and even USB and Ethernet cables for charging and setup.
You charge the cameras by folding back the weather seal over the port on the bottom, and simply connecting a micro USB cable. You can take the cameras down easily enough (maybe too easily) for this purpose, or you can fork out the extra for a eufy solar panel accessory and leave that plugged in permanently.
This is always my preference with outdoor cameras as it makes them maintenance free, and avoids messing up any motion activity zones you have set up because the camera is slightly out of position after putting it back up.
Installation and Setup
Getting the system up and running is pleasantly easy, but you will need to plug the HomeBase2 directly into your router (or a network switch if you have one) using the provided Ethernet cable. Don’t worry, once initial setup is complete you can enable the WiFi connection through the app and move it to where you need.
Once you power up the base station it will put itself into discovery mode and wait for the eufy app. You’ll need the Eufy Security app installed, and have signed up for an account. Adding a new device in the Eufy app will discover the HomeBase2 automatically and add it to your account.
The app is used to associate any devices to you, and to enabled their cloud service to pass notifications to your smart phone when you’re off your WiFi network. Beyond allowing you to configure your cameras and access recorded video stored on the HomeBase2, it supports a whole home security system and allows you to monitor things remotely, and set up family members and security modes as well.
Once the HomeBase2 is online, you pair the individual cameras to it by simply holding the SYNC button on the camera, and then on the HomeBase2. You’ll get a voice prompt from the HomeBase2 to indicate success or failure. This should go smoothly, but I did have one failure because I took a little too long between steps and the camera had timed out. My bad, but it did allow me to test the failure behavior. Repeating the steps got the second camera paired without issues.
The camera’s default settings will probably work well enough, but you can fine tune your motion detection preferences by adjusting the sensitivity, and setting up activity and privacy zones to limit what triggers it. These models also support Person Detection, which will only trigger if the onboard AI determines person shaped movement in the capture area, which can be a useful filter to block out false positives.
There are a wealth of other settings to optimize battery life too, such as adjusting the video recording length, whether to use night vision, the spotlight, or neither, and what the spotlight brightness should be, and the video quality settings for recordings and live view separately.
How Does It Stack Up?
I’ve tested a dozen different wireless security cameras and I can easily say that Eufy has nailed the video quality. The eufyCam 2C Pro has the best video quality I’ve seen, hands down. That’s both night and day, with a without the spotlight active. The image is sharp, the video is smooth and responsive, and the HDR really helps with shadow areas and bright lights.
The infrared night vision blew me away with how bright it was compared to the competition. Turning on the spotlight switched it to ‘color night vision’ which was just as good, even though the spotlight is fairly small. I was able to clearly see everything from one end of my street frontage to the other in both modes. It’s not necessarily stealthy, though.
When it switches to night vision there is an audible click, and the eight IR LEDs around the camera lens are fairly visible if you’re looking in the right direction. Of course, if you elect to have the spotlight come on automatically when motion is detected then that’s not going to matter, you’re not going for discrete in that case.
Now, with video performance so good, I was surprised to find the audio was not at all up to expectations. I’ve had cameras with various levels of pickup effectiveness, in that some will capture quieter audio better, or from further away. The eufyCam does capture it from a reasonable distance, but the encoding is absolutely awful.
Audio is captured at a very low quality, and is filled with audio artifacts that result from a very low bit rate. This is so bad that speech is almost completely unintelligible, which makes it fairly pointless. There are no audio quality settings like there are for video, it’s just on or off, and I’ve checked with both cameras in case this was a hardware fault, but they are both the same. I’ve positioned the HomeBase2 so that I had excellent signal, and of course the video is not impacted by the same issues that would indicate a bandwidth limitation.
Now I still find this hard to believe, and as I haven’t seen a lot of complaints out there it may still be a hardware issue…even if it is on both cameras.
Motion Detection Performance
Things are better when we move on to notifications and motion detection. Motion sensitivity is on a 7 point scale, with the default being 5. That has been about right for me with motion being captured reliably without excessive false positives. the HomeBase2 does some AI filtering here for you, so even if you set it to detect all motion if will do it’s best to ignore things like swaying trees and grass. Turning the sensitivity up to 7 undermined this, and I started getting a constant stream of five second clips of nothing, but at 5 it hasn’t missed a single person or vehicle that I’m aware of.
The notifications are quite responsive, comparing well with other services. This is something that will vary as it’s largely dependent on your home internet access, and your cellular signal when away from home. I’ve compared to other services such as Ring, Arlo, and HomeKit, while I am on my home WiFi in order to minimize variables.
Besides the motion sensitivity, you can set up activity and privacy zones. Privacy zones are simply areas of the frame that will be blacked out, and are used to prevent inadvertently capturing things you don’t ever want on video, be they in your own home or in your neighbor’s. Activity zones are useful for ensuring you don’t get notifications for things you don’t really care about, such as every car that drives by.
Unlike other services which allow you to define a motion zone as an arbitrary polygon covering precisely the area you want, Eufy only allows rectangles. You can have up to three for a given camera, which helps to define the area you need, but you’re most likely going to have to compromise.
You can either cover only inside the desired area, but miss bits around the edges, or you can expand the rectangles to cover the whole area, but pick up unwanted stuff in the corners. In practice it’s probably not a huge impact, but it’s not as easy to define just what you want as it should be.
You can tap the camera thumbnail in the device list to start a live stream, and features such as the two-way talk and spotlight can be accessed from the playback screen. The stream starts within a second or two which is comparable to other camera apps. While playing you can’t scrub through the video clip, you can only tap a point further along to jump ahead. This is an odd omission given it’s possible in just about every other comparable camera app in some form.
Tapping the recorded video count in the corner of the camera thumbnail takes you to the the HomeBase2 recordings. Viewing these recordings is presented much the same as other video camera apps do; as a list of date stamped thumbnails that you can scroll through. You need to tap each one to view it, but you can swipe left and right from a playing video to go the next or previous one. Next to the thumbnail will be an icon indicating if a person was detected or not, and a photo of the face if it identifies one.
I find this method of accessing recordings to be a bit primitive now, with Ring’s amazing Timeline View the best in class approach. That presents all recordings on a timeline of the day which you can scrub through at will, quickly scanning through anything and everything that has happened over a period of time. HomeKit Secure Video has replicated this, but the execution and performance isn’t nearly a slick as Ring has pulled off. Eufy’s approach is functional, but more cumbersome if you have a lot of events to go through.
HomeKit Secure Video Performance
As I noted up front, testing the eufyCam 2C Pro in HomeKit was a key focus for me because camera systems based on the HomeBase2 are the only battery powered cameras that support HomeKit Secure Video. HomeKit certified cameras must be permanently powered, but eufy get’s around this by certifying the HomeBase2 instead as a bridge device.
The experience has been a mixed bag, and the most involved set up of a HomeKit camera I’ve done to date. This took so much experimentation that I’ve create a dedicated guide for it. This only relates to configuring for best performance rather than basic setup though, as the latter was trivially easy.
Let’s start with pairing. With the newer HomeBase2 you can pair with HomeKit directly, without needing to even download the Eufy Security app at all. Simply plug in and power up the HomeBase2 as with a normal setup and then scan the HomeKit QR code on the base when it’s ready. HomeKit found it right away and added the HomeBase2 as a bridge in the Home app.
From there, you just pair the cameras with the HomeBase2 as normal and they appear immediately in HomeKit with default HomeKit Secure Video settings. You could leave it at that, but it’s likely that you won’t be able to leave the HomeBase2 near your router and still get good signal to the cameras in their intended locations.
That means switching it to WiFi, which you can only do in the Eufy Security app. So install the app, sign up for an account anyway, and everything will be automatically detected and added to your account as soon as you go into the app. That’s nice, as it doesn’t require any additional pairing or setup, and the cameras show a small HomeKit logo in the corner to note that’s where they are paired from.
It’s important to know this, as there are various settings in the app which are disabled on HomeKit paired devices. Most of these make sense, such as limiting the recording resolution to 1080p, because that’s what HomeKit Secure Video mandates for any camera. Of course, this means going with a Pro model is probably a waste of money since the regular 2C will give you the same features at that resolution. That said, I feel there is still some improvement in sharpness in the video due to the higher source resolution, even though it’s downscaled when encoded.
Now if you only want to use the cameras in HomeKit and don’t want Eufy recording everything, even if it is only local storage, you’ll need to disable recording and notifications in the Security section of the app, not in the camera settings. Doing it on the camera will stop it sending anything to HomeKit as well. This is certainly not made very clear, but it can be done by turning those things off in the Home mode of the HomeBase2 settings under the Security tab.
Motion Detection Performance
How about performance with notifications and motion detection? This is where things have been frustrating. The relationship between the Eufy Security settings and the HomeKit settings is not at all clear. Some things impact HomeKit and some don’t, but there’s little warning or explanation in some cases.
The key issues I’ve had revolve around motion sensitivity. The motion detection of the cameras is quite sensitive, which is good (you don’t want to miss anything), but relies on the Eufy’s AI filtering and record limits. HomeKit seems to wait longer for additional motion to ensure it captures the whole event, but this means, once triggered by something genuine, it can keep recording for along time if there is any other motion in frame, even tiny amounts.
To combat this you can use activity zones in HomeKit (Eufy app ones don’t count), and turn down the sensitivity on the camera, but then you risk missing some events. I spent a lot of time juggling different settings and troubleshooting before I managed to get reliable results.
Notifications speeds are about on par. Running both eufy and HomeKit at the same time, I’ll get one slightly before the other, but who gets in first is not consistent. HomeKit’s are richer in that you can long press the notification and access the recorded event or the live view directly without having to open the app. That’s assuming it’s recorded and processed quickly enough.
I’ve had many issues where the video is not ready yet when I want to see what triggered the notification right afterwards, or it didn’t record anything even though I’ve set it to record all motion. I might get a notification but no recording, or a recording and no notification. I haven’t had this with other HomeKit Secure Video cameras, as it’s to do with having to hop through the HomeBase2 first. Restarting the HomeBase2 when things are unreliable like this seems to help significantly.
This extra hardware seems to also impact live streaming speed and snapshot updates in the Home app. My other HomeKit cameras begin streaming super fast, and that includes eufy’s own Indoor Solo Cam, probably because they are all directly on the WiFi network. Starting a live stream on a eufyCam from the local WiFi network, even with full signal strength to the HomeBase2, takes noticeably longer, on par with a cloud-based camera.
The Home app snapshots are handy for quickly looking over your domain, and they are supposed to be updated every 10 seconds. It seems eufy doesn’t do it like this, and it’s an issue I’ve noted on the Indoor cam as well. My experience is that eufy prefers to show you the latest motion event as a priority, so it will update the snapshot when motion is detected, and leave it there for up to a minute before updating it again.
A key selling point for the eufyCam range is their subscription-free local storage. Unless you’re going for DVR based CCTV system, of which there are many, the a quality wireless camera system is likely going to require a paid cloud service. There are a couple of good options to call out here, and the first is the Arlo Pro 4.
This camera is similar in design to the eufycam 2C Pro and has comparable features. Key benefits are the support for a wider range of smart home integrations and the removable battery pack which makes charging a lot simpler. You can buy an extra pack and simply swap it over on the fly, or take the current battery inside for charging without having to take the camera of it’s mount. There is also a solar panel option available.
The 2K video is close to the eufyCam in quality, but I found it not quite a sharp or responsive, and Arlo’s cloud service had a noticeable delay when accessing recorded or live videos. That said, the actual recording seemed to pick up quickly and recorded everything I would expect to see. In fact, motion detection seemed to be faster than the eufyCam and captured events closer to their trigger time in some cases.
The Arlo cameras are pure WiFi, and don’t require a base station, although you can optionally use one for local storage. This doesn’t negate the need for a subscription though, it’s just more peace of mind. You’ll also need that base station for some of the smart home integrations to work, so check yours if it’s important to you.
I found the Arlo app, although a similar design, to be less intuitive and more kludgy that the Eufy Security app, with many settings scattered under different menus and hard to find. Like Eufy’s app, it’s functional, but it will take some getting used to.
I need to add the Ring Spotlight Cam as a viable alternative. While it’s subscription-based, only 1080p, and the night vision performance is distinctly worse than the eufyCam 2C Pro, my testing has shown it offers some important benefits that are worth considering.
First up is the dual removable battery packs. This makes it easy to not only swap out batteries for charging, but gives you the option to boost battery life as well. You can pop out on battery without power down the unit, or you can keep it charged with a solar panel accessory.
Ring is more anti-theft focused than most other wireless cameras I’ve seen that just use a standard 1/4” screw mount that you can easily remove. The Ring bracket uses a custom ball join that is actually part of the camera body, and it secured with a locking screw to the wall mount. It’s not a huge thing, but it at least requires more effort from an attacker to get it off.
Two other key things that have impressed me with these cameras is there durability, and the Ring app experience. I’ve had a few Spotlight Cams up around the perimeter for several years now, and through heavy rain and full summer sun (they are completely exposed to the elements), they just keep on trucking.
The motion detection accuracy is also very impressive. Even though cloud based, they trigger recording quickly, capture everything they should. You can get a lot of false positives at higher sensitivity settings, but the person detection is accurate and reliable which filters those nicely, and you can use motion zones to avoid common triggers like moving plants. The notification speed is amazing, regularly out performing both Eufy and Homekit where I’ve been running all three in parallel.
Finally, the Ring app experience is the gold standard in this field. The app is clean and well laid out. Settings are logically placed, and accessible from multiple places, and the Timeline View is magical for checking up on what’s happened over time. The fact that cloud-based videos can be seamlessly scrubbed through on the fly is impressive, and I haven’t seen anything else come close to this user experience.
As a standalone security solution, or in combination with other eufy sensors, the eufyCam 2C Pro is a high quality device that delivers excellent video quality without the need for any ongoing subscription costs. Motion notifications are comparable to other products and sufficiently timely to be useful, and person detection has worked well for me to aid in reducing unwanted alerts.
The app layout is good, with settings mostly located where you would expect them to be, and offer a good level of customization for optimizing detection and battery life in your specific situation. There are also good mode setting allowing for arming and disarming recordings and/or notifications at different times, including geolocation for multiple family members.
There’s support for integration with Amazon Alexa and Google Home, and full support for HomeKit Secure Video recording. However, this feature needs some work. I haven’t been able to get a reliable experience in terms of either notifications or event recording, and the interaction between HomeKit settings and those in the Eufy Security app create some confusion as to how best to tweak things. Some situations will be better than others, depending on camera placement and what is in the frame in terms of sources of false alarms.