Cheapest outdoor The security cameras I’ve tested either have an obvious problem or the manufacturer has prioritized unnecessary features over the basics. Who cares about Alexa support if the video feed is choppy? Is it really a bargain if I have to sign up for a monthly subscription just to watch my clips?
It’s not perfect, but the Defender Guard Pro is a refreshingly straightforward outdoor security camera that delivers clear video and supports the basic features most people want — all at an affordable price. Video clips are stored locally, there are no hidden extra charges — it even comes with a microSD card — and it works reliably for me (after a bit of tweaking).
Let me get the bad stuff out. The worst part of my experience with the Defender Guard Pro was the setup. There are two reasons for this and you should consider them before you buy this camera.
First, Defender Guard Pro only supports the 2.4-GHz Wi-Fi band, which is common for security cameras, but may cause problems during setup if your phone isn’t connected to the 2.4-GHz band on your Wi-Fi network. Some routers let you switch bands through an app, or you can create a guest network that usually operates on the 2.4-GHz band. I downloaded the Defender Guard app, signed up for an account (I was happy to see two-factor authentication), and scanned the QR code on the camera, but it took several attempts to connect due to this issue.
Second, the Defender Guard Pro is a tethered camera that requires a power outlet. You get a long power cable (10 feet) with an optional extension (25 feet), but the cable is not waterproof. The camera is designed to be wall-mounted on the outside of your home (screws are provided), and you’ll need to drill a hole to feed the cable—only a small portion of the power cable at the end is waterproof. This camera supports Power-over-Ethernet, so you can also use an Ethernet cable, although this is not provided. The camera itself is IP67-rated for water and dust resistance and braved rainy Scotland with no problems.
The Defender Guard Pro comes with a 32-gigabyte microSD card in the box, but you can also buy it with a 128-GB or 256-GB card (or insert your own). If you plan to turn on continuous recording, it’s probably worth getting a higher-capacity card, but for recording events, 32 GB is plenty.
With a maximum 2,560 x 1,440-pixel resolution, the Defender Guard Pro offers delightfully clear and smooth video at 30 frames per second. You can pinch to zoom in (up to 16X digital zoom) and still see a reasonable level of detail. You can also switch to a lower resolution if your Wi-Fi range is limited, but video quality inevitably suffers. The main weakness is the lack of HDR, so bright areas can appear blown out (avoid installing the camera in direct sunlight).