Cove's security cameras are a great addition to the alarm system, but there's not much that stands out about them. Aside from the lack of a video doorbell, Cove offers security cameras comparable to those of most security systems. The cameras come with 1080p HD video, competitive prices, and AI-driven motion recording. While there are few things to set them apart from other brands, they're a good combination with Cove's user-friendly security systems.
Cove Security Cameras Review
Compare Cove security cameras
Info current as of 05/10/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
What to expect with Cove security cameras
For the most part, Cove's security cameras share the same DNA:
- 1080p video resolution with day and night vision options
- Remote access through the Cove app
- Motion-activated recording
- Local video storage when you insert a microSD card
- Cloud video storage
- Two-way audio (Cove calls it Call Mode)
The Cove app is your portal to using the cameras and allows you to change settings, receive notifications, and watch live and recorded videos from your cameras. Still, most of these features are pretty standard among security cameras. For our review, let's focus on the things that make Cove most useful: motion detection and video storage.
Cove's recording settings come in various flavors to help you sort videos and manage notifications:
- Motion sensitivity: By adjusting the sensitivity of your camera's motion sensor, you can train it to ignore small movements from pets.
- Activity zones: Activity zones allow you to exclude portions of the camera's view from triggering recordings or alerts (like a busy sidewalk). It's common to most security cameras but is one of our favorite features to use.
- Alert frequency: This helps solve one of the biggest problems with Wi-Fi security cameras—notification overload. We love that you can set how often the camera will alert you so it won't send multiple notifications in less than a minute. This setting is helpful if you want to keep a higher level of motion sensitivity, which usually results in a pile of notifications every time your dog walks by.
Cove Cloud video storage plans
Info current as of 05/06/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
We appreciate that Cove Cloud includes 24 hours of cloud storage with every security camera, but that might not be enough for most people. You have so little time to download videos before they disappear forever.
Although you can upgrade your storage plan to Cove Cloud+ for around $3 per month per camera, the costs add up quickly if you have more than three cameras. Compared to brands with affordable multi-camera storage plans—like Ring and Google Nest*—Cove's per-camera pricing isn't a great deal.
Still, Cove has a big advantage over those brands, thanks to its microSD card slot. This gives you local video storage that's easier to manage than cloud storage and doesn't require a monthly subscription. Of course, you need to buy the microSD card upfront—the cameras support cards up to 32 GB. But considering you can buy a compatible card for less than $10, we think it's the best alternative to paying for a Cove Cloud+ plan.
There are just five differences between Cove security camera models, and all relate directly to the places you use them.
AI smart detection
The Cove Indoor Camera has a couple of extra motion detection tricks:
- Human detection: As the name suggests, this AI-driven feature looks for motion from human-shaped objects, so your camera ignores everything that isn't human.
- Baby crying: The cameras can record video when there's a loud sound—hence its namesake. It's not limited to babies crying (it also works for alarms and other loud sounds) but is very helpful for capturing video without motion detection.
Field of view
The Cove Outdoor Camera's (140º) field of view is wider than that of the Cove Indoor Camera (110º). It can see more area, which makes a lot of sense when its outdoor setting doesn't have to deal with walls that naturally restrict a camera's view.
The Outdoor Camera comes with a starlight sensor that gives it better visibility at night and access to color night vision. Starlight sensors are popular these days because many newer security cameras have them—like Wyze and Reolink. Although the Indoor Camera has night vision, it lacks the low-light color imaging of the Outdoor Camera.
The Cove Outdoor Camera can handle adverse weather conditions like rain, dust, and snow, while the Indoor Camera doesn't need weatherproofing.
The Cove Outdoor Camera uses batteries to allow you to install it where there's a good view without having to think about a power cord like on the Indoor Camera. This means you need to recharge the batteries occasionally, but it's worth the extra portability. Just remember to keep the camera in range of your Wi-Fi network.
Cove security camera pros and cons
Cove Outdoor Camera: Best for outdoors
The Cove Outdoor Camera offers portability, thanks to a rechargeable battery that lasts up to six months on a charge (usually less in our experience). This means you can install it far from a power outlet for enhanced placement flexibility. We like that the Cove outdoor camera has a wide 140º field of view, which is above the 130º average for most security cameras. Still, it can't see as much as the Arlo Pro 4, which boasts an impressive 160º view.
Overall, this camera isn't particularly spectacular among those offered by security systems. But its relatively low price and rechargeable battery make it an appealing choice for Cove customers to have their cake (a user-friendly security system) and eat it too (a camera for said system). If you want a standalone option, the Reolink Argus 3 Pro is a solid alternative.
Cove Indoor Camera: Best for indoors
The Cove Indoor Camera trades weatherproofing for smart detection that uses AI to spot humans, baby cries, and fewer false notifications. Considering the camera costs half as much as the outdoor model, this isn't a bad tradeoff. We're especially big fans of the camera's human detection for tracking when a person sets off the motion sensor.
Although this camera's 110º field of view is narrower than average, it works well enough indoors where a wide angle might record more blank walls than you might think. The power cable is also quite convenient indoors since you don't need to monitor battery levels.
Like the outdoor camera, we think Cove's indoor camera has a lot to offer for people already using or thinking of buying a Cove security system. But if you want a standalone security camera with arguably better features, you might consider checking out the Wyze Cam v3.
As you might expect, Cove's security cameras don't offer much to folks without a Cove alarm system. Still, we like that they play to the respective strengths of outdoor and indoor cameras. The price is on the lower end, so you can get as many cameras as you need without busting your home security budget. Check out our Cove security review to learn more about the security system.
Cove Outdoor Camera: Choose this model if you want flexible installation options and great night vision outdoors.
Cove Indoor Camera: Choose this option for dynamic detection features and an affordable way to watch over common areas in your home.
How we reviewed
We've tested other Cove equipment in the past—control panel, door sensor, motion detector, key fob, etc.—but that was before these newest cameras launched. So, for this review, we tested the new indoor and outdoor cameras in a home office in an apartment. We didn't have access to the Cove app, so we use the equivalent Kami cameras in the Kami app to get a feel for how they function in a Cove system.
Kami security cameras during testing for this review
Aside from testing video quality and setup, we also looked for any quirks that might set these cameras apart from the competition. You can learn more about how we test and review products in our ranking methodology.
Not directly; Cove's website doesn't mention anything about a doorbell camera. But there is a Kami Doorbell Camera that's compatible with Kami Shield, which uses Cove's monitoring service. We imagine Cove will add a video doorbell soon.
Installing Cove security cameras is an easy process that's similar to what you'd expect from any other Wi-Fi security camera:
- Power on the camera.
- Select the camera from the setup menu in the Cove app.
- Scan the camera's QR code using the Cove app to connect your phone to the camera (the camera talks during setup to let you know its status).
- Put in information about your Wi-Fi network, which generates a QR code on your phone.
- Scan the QR code with the camera and wait to hear if it was successful.
- After the camera connects to your Wi-Fi, name it and choose the location where you're installing it.
- Place or mount the camera in its final location.
You should expect setup and installation to take about 10 minutes—though maybe a bit longer if you need to track down tools in your junk drawer.
Cove has a partnership with Kami to provide home security cameras—and both kinds of cameras are functionally identical. The only real difference is that regular Kami cameras are slightly cheaper and don't interact with Cove security systems.
Related articles on SafeWise
*Google, Google Nest, Google Assistant, and other related marks are trademarks of Google LLC.