October 18, 2021

robertlpham

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Cync Indoor Camera Review: A Manual Shutter Blocks Out Sly Peepers

When it comes to security cameras, a lot of us have mixed feelings. Cameras can be incredibly useful. We want to know if people are breaking into our house while we’re on vacation, or if our kids got home safely from school. We want to check in on our pets while we’re at work or see if our babies are safe and soundly sleeping.

But we don’t want to worry about being watched against our will. You can turn off most Wi-Fi-enabled security cameras via the accompanying app, or unplug them every time you come home. But there’s an easier way with Cync’s (formerly C by GE) indoor smart camera: Just slide the shutter closed. Genius!
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Shutters Drawn

Photograph: Cync

In my testing, I’ve found C by GE products to be capable and affordable. The rebrand hasn’t changed that so far. This camera works well and is very similar to a lot of its competitors. Its standout feature is the shutter. It physically covers the camera lens to reveal bright red plastic underneath. A crossed-out camera symbol is vivid visual confirmation that nope, nothing nefarious is going on here! There’s no guesswork and no squinting at a tiny LED to see what color it is. Closing the shutter also turns the LED status light and microphone off.

 

Obviously, you need to remember to slide the shutter down when you’re ready for it to start recording again. You can also turn privacy mode on and off from the app wherever you are, as long as the shutter isn’t covering the camera. So, for example, if you want to know the pet sitter got there, but also want them to feel comfortable, you can wait for the alert and then turn it off. They’ll know it isn’t watching them when the green LED light goes out.

Of course, no shutter can provide 100 percent security. People can get into nearly anything: Ring doorbells, baby monitors, and even the security systems of large corporations have been compromised. A recent Eufy “software glitch” allowed users to view other customers’—that is, complete strangers’—camera feeds instead of their own.

When you invite a camera into your home, you’re taking a risk. The shutter on Cync’s camera offers, at least, an extra layer of security. As with any security camera, choose a strong, unique password and set up two-factor authentication. Cync makes that easy by automatically setting up the latter (and you can’t opt out). Once you enter your password, it prompts you to put in an emailed verification code. You should also change your Wi-Fi password from the default the company gave you, and keep cameras and routers updated via regular software updates. Also, maybe don’t get naked or do anything, er, terribly intimate in front of any camera, on or off.

Mounting Success

Photograph: Cync

The camera body is small and, like most of the cameras we’ve tested, pretty unassuming. It fits on a side table or shelf easily enough, or you can mount it. It rotates 360 degrees on its stand, so you can face it anywhere before you go—this also makes it easier to mount nearly anywhere. Unlike panning cameras, you can’t change its direction in the app while you watch the live feed, only manually—which might be a bonus for those of you changing your clothes behind the camera lens.