Eve Home this week added to its product lineup with the new $249.99 Eve Outdoor Cam. Unlike most other outdoor webcams, this is more of a fixture so the installation can be time-consuming. With a motion sensor, very clear 1080p wide-view camera, and bright spotlight, however, that time is worth it for HomeKit smart homes.
For months, I’ve used the smaller and less expensive Wyze Outdoor Surveillance camera. So I was surprised at how large and heavy the Eve Outdoor Cam is by comparison. Wyze’s offering looks similar to its other cameras: A small cube. At 6.7-inches tall, the Eve Outdoor Cam is shaped more like a bookshelf speaker for computer audio. And it weighs far more. Eve doesn’t list the weight but I’d estimate this is a solid two to three pounds.
Of course, these are very different approaches to a connected outdoor webcam. Eve’s product is meant to replace an existing light fixture. As a result, you have to hardwire it to your home’s electricity. Eve includes wire connectors to make this process easier, which I appreciate.
To test the Eve Outdoor Cam, I decided to remove the light fixture over my garage door. It took me about 10 minutes to do that and another 15 minutes to install the Eve Outdoor Cam. The process is straightforward but again, you’ll be connecting wires from your home to the device, so you should turn off the power. You can adjust the tilt and swivel angle of the camera using an included tool.
One point worth noting: The base of the camera didn’t quite cover the electrical box from my existing outdoor fixture. It’s a bit small but I do have an old house with large electrical boxes. You can just see the gap on the right side of the Eve Outdoor Cam above. That could easily lead to water getting inside the base. So check the size of your electrical box on your home: The base is only 4-inches wide.
After the installation, you just scan the HomeKit code with an iPhone just as you would for any HomeKit accessory. You can do this through the Eve mobile app as well. I had no issues with the setup process and was viewing the video output within two minutes of this step.
And what video output it is! My wife and I were both impressed by the video quality from the Eve Outdoor Cam. Output is streamed and/or recorded at 1080/24fps. The camera provides a nice 157-degree field of view while the infrared sensor can reach up to 26 feet.
I don’t like that Eve chose to use a 2.4 GHz WiFi radio only for the connectivity; at least not at this price. However, that didn’t impact the functionality or video quality in my testing.
In the daytime, colors really popped and after sunset, the night vision feature worked well too. You don’t get color at night, so the video may look like it recently snowed.
Given that this is a HomeKit device, you get all of the goodies that HomeKit supports. That includes suggested and custom automations, notifications, and best of all HomeKit Secure Video. This last feature is a huge plus in my book as no third party (including neither Eve nor Apple) can view your video. All automations, motion detection, and recognition take place locally.
I set up a custom automation to blink a light in the house whenever motion was detected, and it worked as expected. That’s overkill though because you can have the spotlight turn on in that case. There’s a setting in the Eve app to control this or change the spotlight brightness.
I also used the HomeKit app to set up motion detection zones as well. As an added benefit, the camera and motion sensor can be used independently for automations. So I was able to detect motion for when a car pulled into the driveway as an automation trigger event.
I should note that thanks to HomeKit, the Eve Outdoor Cam video appears on a iPhone, iPad or Apple TV almost immediately after you press the button to view it. That’s one of the things I don’t like about my Wyze cameras; there’s often a three to seven-second delay to view camera output.
Like most connected cameras these days, the Eve Outdoor Cam supports two-way talk functionality. We tested it and my wife said the audio output was loud and fairly clear.
Overall, the Eve Outdoor Cam is a really nice product that works well. At $249.99, it’s a bit expensive. And you have to like the more modern look of a rectangular webcam with a spotlight; there’s no other design option here.
Eve products have always been HomeKit exclusively, so there’s no Amazon or Google integration. So if you don’t use HomeKit, this may not be the product for you. I say “may” because the Matter standard will expand Eve product usage to other smart home platforms. Matter doesn’t support webcams but that’s where the motion sensor comes into play.
If you currently use HomeKit and want a webcam with motion detection and a spotlight that can be controlled separately from the camera, this is a good choice. Just remember that it’s really a smart light fixture and that you’ll need wires for the power.
How is the downward visibility on the camera? I have not had good luck with doorbell names (partially because I don’t have doorbell wires) and wonder if this would be something I could use as a replacement. I would lose the actual door bell function, but that is almost never used anyway. The important part would be the ability to see packages and protect them from porch pirates. HomeKit integration is a definite plus.
The IR or night vision camera won’t even work if it’s not dark enough outside to meet their definition of dark. I have a bright street lamp in the field of view; although all other cameras I have work at night with an IR camera, the Eve Outdoor Camera’s IR camera does not function at all. Eve won’t even provide a switch for it or a sensitivity scale, or even a location-based or time-based functionality. In other words, if there’s too much light for Eve’s definition of dark, then don’t expect the IR camera to function at all. It’s a very disappointing camera that is mostly marketing hype. For the money, I expected good engineering. What I got was take-it-or-leave-it non-functionality.