Cori HD Smart Home Security Camera review: Peace of mind on a budget

Home security cameras have come a long way in the last several years, seamlessly allowing homeowners, businesses, etc. to watch live streams of living rooms, warehouses, offices and more from anywhere in the world, right on their smartphones. A comprehensive setup used to cost hundreds of dollars, but Momentum offers a pair of their new Cori home security cameras for under $100. Can you really get a quality experience for such a low price? Let’s take a closer look.

My neighbor’s house was robbed in broad daylight a couple of weekends ago. A group of three watched their house and waited for the family to leave for a weekly hike. Within just a couple of minutes of them driving off, the gang sprung into action. An outdoor camera was triggered at their driveway and caught them jumping over the gate and onto the property. My neighbor was alerted while driving and saw the footage, and the house alarm went off a minute later. The three broke a window at the back of the house, reached in and unlocked a door, and ran upstairs to the master bedroom. They removed pillow cases from the bed to load up with stolen goods and began rummaging through drawers. A second camera in the bedroom again caught them in action.

Within a few minutes, my neighbor and his family returned to the house based on the live streams from both security cameras. He yelled at them to leave via the two way audio system in the cameras and that the police were on the way. It effectively scared them out and they jumped over a fence in the back, leaving all but an old iPad behind. If not for the cameras, it would’ve been a disaster for my neighbors. Work laptops, car keys, a full purse with a wallet, jewelry and more could’ve been stolen. Not only that, but clear images of the robbers’ faces (not posted here) were captured, given to police and shown on the local news.

The cameras that my neighbors have cost hundreds of dollars, but were worth every penny and saved their property. Can a family on a budget get comparable security? For the most part – Yes. Similar to budget smartphones like the Moto G5 Plus, technology has reached a point where you can get a solid experience without breaking the bank. And this kind of security should be accessible to everyone.

In the box

Two cameras come in the box, allowing for multi-room setups or a view outside from a window (they’re not rated as dedicated outdoor cameras). The cameras aren’t battery operated and require a wall outlet, and connect to the units via micro-USB (and USB to each AC power adapter). Each wire is generously long and will reach most nearby outlets, and the cameras themselves can either sit on a flat surface or mount to a wall with adhesive pads. The cameras swivel freely (but firmly) on their base and can be set at just about any angle, and with a wide 110-degree view, you shouldn’t have a problem covering any area. An instruction manual and quick-start guide are also included.

A speaker on the back is plenty loud for two-way communication and a micro-SD card slot allows for up to 128GB of local storage. If you run into trouble after setting things up, there’s also a reset button on the back. The micro-USB power adapter plugs in at the bottom left.

Hardware

 Cori HD Security Camera
Resolution 720p at 15 FPS
Field of View110-degree wide angle
Night Vision850nm infrared LEDs for night vision up to 25 feet
Intruder AlertsMotion and sound detection, and sensitivity is adjustable
StorageMicro-SD up to 128GB and cloud storage via US servers
Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi at 2.4GHz
AudioTwo-way audio via integrated microphone and speaker
PowerAC power adapter (no internal battery)
DimensionsHeight - 4.21"
Width - 2.68"
Thickness - 2.75"
Warranty1-year limited warranty

Setup and Performance

Setting up one or both cameras is fairly straightforward, although make sure to plug in one at a time during setup or (in my experience) Wi-Fi won’t be recognized. After downloading the Momentum app to your smartphone and creating an account, you simply sync the cameras to the Wi-Fi in your home or office and video will start live streaming to your phone. During setup, you’ll be prompted to scan a QR code at the bottom of the camera and a voice through its speaker will confirm when each step is completed. Smartphones require either Android 5.0+ or iOS 9.0+.

Once you’re synced, you have a lot of options. Activating a live stream provides you with a wide 110-degree view, which is more than enough to cover a large room or office. I set the cameras up in a friend’s living room to keep an eye on her new shelter dog (who was too well behaved to be any fun). You can set Motion or Sound Detection to trigger the cameras for an intruder, etc. or watch a live stream anytime. All footage is date and time stamped.

Like my neighbor’s cameras, two-way audio communication is possible and the speaker at the back of the camera gets very loud. I was able to clearly hear my friend at the other end of the room and vice versa. Sometimes there was a slight buzz in the speaker when two-way audio was activated, but it never stopped it from working. You can talk to family members, pets or warn intruders in real time. The cameras will also automatically switch into Night Vision when the lights go out. You can clearly see me on camera #2 leaning against the wall in total darkness on the other side of the room. Infrared LEDs make this possible.

The camera resolution tops out at 720p, which is adequate for security, keeping an eye on pets or having a live chat with family members. You’ll occasionally see artifacts in the picture, especially in less than ideal lighting, but it doesn’t compromise the overall viewing experience. There’s also about a full second delay in live streams, which again is irrelevant overall. You have control over resolution and the sensitivity of both motion and sound triggers as well.

Storage

You can store both still images and video locally via a micro-SD card (up to 128GB), but cloud storage offers the most versatility. If you simply want to view live streams, have two-way audio control and set motion/sound alerts, you don’t have to pay for a subscription. For cloud service, which stores video on secure US servers, you can pay $5 per month for up to 7 days of storage or $10 per month for unlimited storage. This provides access to recorded footage to share with friends, family or the police if there’s an intruder. Annual plans are also available and you can save around $10 with that option. You get the first 30 days of cloud storage as a free trial.

Conclusion

Momentum’s Cori security cameras are a real bargain for what you’re getting. Two cameras, HD footage, two-way audio, night vision, 24-hour live streams and two cloud storage options. The video quality isn’t the best with occasional artifacts, motion delays and less than 24 fps, but for only $60, you’re getting a complete security experience at a fraction of the cost of many competitors. I never ran into serious issues while using the cameras and was always confident in their reliability. For both security and keeping an eye on a new pet, the two cameras were all that I needed.

You can buy the dual-camera package from Momentum’s website for $59.99. Other cameras are available as well, such as an outdoor camera/floodlight combo for $179.99 and garage door controller with built-in camera for $99.95. Walmart is also offering a two-pack for less than $60.


About the Author: Erik Slaven

He was born and raised in Virginia, but escaped to Southern CA. Started out as a BlackBerry addict until he bought HTC’s Droid Eris and never looked back. He's owned dozens of Android devices and can rarely settle on a daily driver for more than a few months. He's currently using a Galaxy S8 and BlackBerry KEYone. He rides motorcycles for fun and would live on the beach if it was legal. Marketing and freelance pr help keep the lights on.