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EufyCam 3 review: Brilliant performance with a big caveat!

Eufy Eufycam 3 1 Hero
© NextPit

What a brilliant performance the eufyCam 3 put on in NextPit's review! With 4K video, numerous smart features, and cloud-free use, the security solution would certainly have made it to the top of our list of the best surveillance cameras. However, various security flaws in Eufy's security cameras became known during the test period. Is the purchase still worth it?

Rating

Eufycam 3 in a nutshell

Just a few weeks ago, I would have given the eufyCam 3 a true top rating. Both the hardware and the software of the security solution are very good on paper and in everyday use. The 4K video image, the smart functions, and the promise that all data can be encrypted between the home base and the smartphone are convincing.

However, Eufy seems to have been misleading with its promise. For example, shortly before this test was published in December 2022, it became clear that Eufy was storing thumbnails of the live camera image on AWS servers without user consent. In addition, video feeds could be accessed via third-party software such as the VLC player. Until Eufy has the problems under control, I do not recommend the eufyCam 3, which is actually very convincing.

If you trust Eufy to get the problems under control, you can look for offers for the actually $549 security solution here.

Design & Furnishings

The S330 security cameras from Eufy look something like how surveillance cameras would be depicted in the comics. Besides the camera unit on the front, a solar panel on the top is especially noticeable. The base, which you can use to operate the cameras, looks like a simple WLAN router. A deceptive shot, as it turns out.

Eufycam 3 Kamera
The camera has a rather narrow field of view. / © NextPit

What I liked:

  • High-quality workmanship.
  • Super-simple installation & mounting.

What I disliked:

  • Home base must be installed with cables.
  • Large distance between lens and swivel joint.

Unboxing and setting up the eufyCam 3 is surprisingly fun! Everything is well labeled, appears to be manufactured to a high standard, and can be assembled properly even without instructions. During installation, you should first connect the base to your router via the included Ethernet cable. This is because Eufy relies on a wired installation to store the 4K video material - and for more security. If you have a complicated installation of your WLAN router, I recommend ordering a longer Ethernet cable at the same time.

If the Home Base is running and a blue LED light indicates an Internet connection, you can set it up via the Eufy app. All you have to do is assign a name and then continue with the installation of the cameras. You start the installation in the app about one meter away from the home base, then tap a button on the camera and a deafening noise is heard. Initially, the Eufy devices find each other via a shrill audio signal. If everything was successful, you indicate in the app where the camera is installed, and that's it!

Home-Base der eufyCam 3
The Home Base fits in well with other technology! / © NextPit

For my test, I screwed one of the security cameras to the wall in my kitchen. A set of three screws and three dowels is included per camera—leaving one dowel-screw pair. Installation took about three minutes, after which the camera hung very securely on the wall. Only Google possibly makes it much easier with the magnetic installation of the Nest Cam with battery!

Overall, there is hardly anything to criticize about the design and the installation of the cameras. However, I should note that the eufyCam-3 set is actually an outdoor camera kit. There are solar panels on the top of the cameras and there is no stand for tables or shelves. But since I want to avoid my neighbors feeling observed in the apartment building, I used the cameras inside.

I noticed that the distance between the wall mount and the lens is quite large. What is certainly not a problem when looking at the garden, could be difficult on smaller terraces. This is because the field of view starts a few centimeters away from the wall and you lose sight of entrances or staircases, for example.

App & smart functions

The control center for the eufyCam 3 is the Eufy app, which is available free of charge for iOS and Android. The highlight of Eufy's security solution, however, is that you do not need a subscription to use it. Thus, the purchase of the rather expensive security set pays for itself after some time compared to other solutions on the market. The scope of the features offered is enormous.

What I liked:

  • No follow-up costs due to subscriptions.
  • Powerful AI recognition.
  • Compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant.

What I disliked:

  • Not HomeKit compatible.

Note: Serious security flaws discovered in Eufy cameras

Before I tell you about my (very positive) experience with the features of the eufyCam 3 in this review, I have to cite the security issues at Eufy that became public in November 2022. Initially, IT security consultant Paul Moore found out that Eufy apparently stores thumbnails of live streams unencrypted in the cloud - without users even consenting to the processing in the cloud.

As The Verge reports, further investigation then revealed other flaws as well. For example, it was quite easy for journalists to access the live feed of an eufyCam 3 via the video player VLC. For this, it was necessary to retrieve the camera's address via the Eufy app—and thus only after entering the user name and password. However, the fact that Eufy's video streams can be viewed outside of the Eufy app is not only critical, but it also contradicts Eufy's promise that its security solutions are based on encrypted connections between home base and smartphone, according to The Verge.

Eufy's clarification on this currently consists of either denying or appeasing the accusations. For example, they answered the website that access via VLC is not possible. Meanwhile, the magazine was able to establish the connection this way again and again. So before I can recommend Eufy's security solution, the company needs to get a handle on these issues.

Smart features in everyday life

Smart security cameras trade in the 24-hour recording that commissioners in movies usually demand at crime scenes for AI detection and motion sensors. Eufy differentiates between people, individuals, vehicles, and pets. The recognition of people is originally based on a photo from your smartphone camera or photo memory. Eufy's "BionicMind AI" then learns whenever the person in question walks into the picture. You can store a maximum of 50 faces.

Another advantage of Eufy's recognition system is that it works without an additional subscription. With many other manufacturers—including TP-Link and Google—you have to pay every month. Accordingly, the rather high purchase costs of the eufyCam 3 pay for themselves with longer use. And although Eufy does not require a subscription, you will find functions that I miss in other security cameras.

Drei Screenshots der Eufy-App
The Eufy app offers numerous functions and is logically structured. / © NextPit

Among them is the ability to intelligently turn the security system on and off. During the test period, I always received a notification when I went into my kitchen or living room. To avoid this, I can set time periods in the Eufy app to deactivate the cameras. Alternatively, the eufyCam 3 can arm itself when you leave the house. Either based on your location or via a detection that apparently works based on dialing into the WLAN network. Besides predefined security modes, you can configure your own setups and activate them with a tap.

In addition to the security modes that affect various functions of the home base and the security cameras, you can also use the eufyCam 3 as a trigger for smart home automation. For example, a smart lamp from Eufy turns on when motion is detected in the kitchen.

In addition to integration into Eufy's own ecosystem, you can also connect the eufyCam 3 to Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple's HomeKit, according to the Eufy app. While you can select the link to Alexa and the Assistant in the app, the link to HomeKit only refers you to a support page. This is somewhat misleading, as the eufyCam 3 is no longer officially listed as HomeKit-compatible.

Picture quality & audio

Another special feature of the eufyCam 3: You benefit from a high 4K video resolution for recordings and even for live viewing. There is also a night vision mode and a built-in video lamp—2-way audio is also on board. The biggest advantage of the high resolutions: You can digitally zoom in 8x on the video image.

What I liked:

  • Very good image quality including 4K resolution.
  • Night mode and lamp bring light into the darkness.
  • A hard drive with up to 16 terabytes can be retrofitted.
  • 2-way audio is convenient.

What I disliked:

  • Field of view quite small.
  • No pan and tilt function.

In connection with its eufyCam 3, manufacturer Eufy consistently advertises 4K image quality. Of course, it is questionable whether this actually brings advantages in everyday use. In my opinion, the biggest benefit is that you can zoom into the video image. So if something moves in a bush or behind your car, you can see better whether you need to turn on the alarm.

Regardless of the resolution, the image quality of the eufyCam 3 is very good. The video material is perfectly exposed at all times, lets you see both bright and dark image areas thanks to a high dynamic range, and the latency is also low thanks to the direct transmission to the home base. Only the field of view is relatively small compared to other cameras.

In my kitchen, I installed a camera above the door—which is how it would be done at house entrances or above garages, for example. In this case, just under a meter of space is missing between the door and the field of view. So I would have to tilt the camera down, but then I would already lose the view of my window. Transferred to the outside area, you might have to decide whether you want to see the area in front of your door or the entrance gate. Both are security-relevant areas that you would actually want to see with a surveillance camera at the same time.

Videoqualität Eufy eufyCam 3
The video quality of the eufyCam 3 is really great / © NextPit

What the eufyCam 3 also lacks is a pan and tilt function. Here, the TP-Link Tapo C210 was more convincing in NextPit's review, but it is designed exclusively for indoor use. If you are convinced by the eufyCam 3 so far, you can go for the Floodlight Cam 2 Pro with 360-degree camera* for this function.

Another advantage of the eufyCam 3 are the two different night vision modes. On the one hand, you can activate an integrated video lamp to deter burglars. Or you can use the infrared night vision, which lets you see in the dark without colors. Eufy does not reveal the range of the integrated infrared lamps. In the test, however, they could easily illuminate walls six meters away.

The S330 security camera also performs well in terms of audio quality. Thanks to 2-way audio, you can listen live via your smartphone into the desired room and make voice announcements at the touch of a button. For example, you can announce to the postman while at work that they can simply place packages under the doormat.

Eufycam 3 Home-Base Anschlüsse.
The Home Base is wired to your router / © NextPit

Eufy also handles alerts intelligently. In the app, you can set Eufy's security cameras to sound an alarm when motion is detected. Alternatively, you can also use this function via the Home Base. That's handy if you don't want to scare off every visitor when they approach your front door.

Battery and power supply

While the home base works with a fixed power supply, the security cameras in the eufyCam-3 package work wirelessly. Thanks to 13,000 mAh batteries and solar panels, a runtime of at least one year is supposed to be guaranteed. However, if properly installed in sunny regions, the cameras can also work completely self-sufficiently.

What I liked:

  • Carefree runtimes of the cameras.
  • Cameras recharge themselves thanks to solar power.

What I disliked:

  • -

Although you will probably install Eufy's security cameras in a fixed location, they operate on battery power. While this gives you more flexibility in installation and you don't have to worry as much about cables, you do have to charge the cameras at the same time. And this is where Eufy has come up with something: The manufacturer puts solar panels on the top of the cameras.

Solarpaneele Eufycam 3 von Eufy.
Thanks to solar charging, the security cameras theoretically achieve an infinite runtime / © NextPit

Theoretically, these panels charge as much energy on a sunny day as they consume on the same one. In practice, you'll probably be less able to take advantage of this in gloomy Germany. However, with the right installation in an area that collects a lot of sun, you can still extend the runtime. This is an advantage over other models.

Thanks to a 13,000 mAh battery, the runtime should be around one year according to the manufacturer. This is not untypical for security cameras, but it depends on the number of events and other factors. I did not notice any significant drop in battery life during my test days, but unfortunately, I was not able to test the cameras for a year.

Apart from solar charging, you will find a USB-C port for charging on the back of the cameras. Since Eufy provides this with a waterproof rubber flap, you can operate the cameras outside without a power supply. This means: unscrew, charge, and reattach.

Conclusion

After a few days of testing, the hardware of the eufyCam 3 leaves a very positive impression. The package of Home Base and two security cameras can definitely be considered a premium security solution for the home. The high purchase costs are justified in theory due to the 4K video streams, the reliability of the AI detection as well as advantages such as the offline storage of videos, the expandability of the security setup as well as the variety of functions. The battery life, which is theoretically infinite thanks to solar panels, is also an advantage over other systems.

Netzteil Eufycam 3
The included power supply comes with a surprisingly long cable! / © NextPit

However, I have to advise against buying it in December 2022. Because during the test period, a security vulnerability became known, which also affects the eufyCam 3. With this one, not only were thumbnails stored on cloud servers unencrypted and without the user's consent. It was also possible to access a live camera feed with little effort via video players like VLC. The hurdles that The Verge editors, for example, had to bypass for this were far too low for a security solution.

As long as Eufy, or rather Anker, does not admit and fix these security holes—initially they even vehemently denied them—I simply cannot recommend buying the eufyCam. That is annoying, as the Eufy security solution would actually have deserved a top rating. However, due to the serious security flaws, I have to reduce the rating to one star—until Eufy's security camera is not a security risk for users.

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Benjamin Lucks

Benjamin Lucks

Ben has been working in tech journalism since 2018, was a freelancer in the middle of the CoVid-crisis and has been full-time at NextPit since November '20. Since then he has tries to find the right mix between professional competence, humor and fresh perspectives in reviews and texts.

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