Panasonic HomeHawk Home Monitoring System – Installation & Review…
If you’re considering a home security system, we hope this review of the installation process and our experience using the Panasonic HomeHawk wireless home monitoring system will help you decide whether or not it’s the right system for you and your family!
Thanks to Panasonic for sponsoring today’s post. All opinions are my own.
When I was younger and lived alone, I had a home security system installed in my apartment. Back then, the systems were hard-wired. And the experience in its entirety, from the installation to the ongoing dealings with the big security company, was just a big hassle.
Someone had to come to your house, spend hours there running wires and try to upsell you during the process. Even after paying for the system plus the installation, they’d tack on a hefty monthly fee for the privilege of using your alarm system. Even canceling the service proved difficult. The whole thing was a miserable racket.
It was so much a racket that it turned me off to the “home security” industry, period. It felt like they were trying to scare me in order to make a sale. And the scare tactics kept on coming so that I’d stick around, buying their service month after month. Yuck.
When Panasonic asked us if we would like to try their HomeHawk home monitoring system, I was skeptical because of this past experience. But when they explained that this system is wireless (no lengthy, messy installation process by a technician I don’t know) and that there is absolutely no monthly service fee, I was definitely intrigued. So we decided to give it a try.
Here’s what you’ll need to install your HomeHawk home monitoring system:
- HomeHawk Home Monitoring System (our particular system included one front door camera and one outdoor camera, but other versions are available, and multiple cameras can be set up on the same network)
- Hand or power screwdriver
- micro SD memory card
- Smartphone with downloaded HomeHawk app
How to install & operate your HomeHawk home monitoring system:
Did you notice how small the list of supplies needed for this DIY project is? I couldn’t believe it. Know what isn’t on the list of things you’ll need? A degree in computer programming, electrical engineering, or any other super-techy background that makes projects like this a cakewalk for them, while the rest of us cower in fear.
The setup and installation of the system truly is simple. Here are the details:
1. Charge and power on camera(s).
The cameras come charged, but not fully. Go ahead and plug them in (they come with rechargeable batteries) to get a full charge before installation. Once charged the batteries can last up to 3 months.
The home monitoring system we chose came with one front door camera (looks long, narrow and is very unobtrusive/minimal). The outdoor camera looks more like a traditional outdoor security camera, but it is smaller and more low-profile than ones I’ve seen or had on my home(s) in the past.
2. Download HomeHawk app to your smartphone.
The HomeHawk home monitoring system is compatible with iPhone/iPads and Android devices. You can find the app in the App Store (for Apple users) or Google Play (Android).
But if you have an older phone or device, you may want to check the Panasonic website first, just to be sure your device and operating system will be supported.
3. Follow the setup instructions on your app for connecting the access point.
Once installed, the app will guide you through the installation process.
The first thing you’ll do per the app’s instructions is to connect the “access point” to your home router. The access point is a physical thing. It’s a white 7″ tall, semi-cylindrical “box” for lack of a better term.
The app instructions are super helpful, even if you’re NOT techy. Trust me, acronyms like USB, LAN, LED, DHCP give me vertigo. And even I could understand what I was supposed to do without issue.
The bottom line is that you’re really only connecting the power and one cord that connects this piece of equipment to your router.
Before moving on to the camera(s), remember to insert your micro SD memory card into the access point port. Your memory card will store all the recordings from your camera(s). Having this memory card means that you will not have to pay a DIME to anyone for monthly “maintenance” or “storage” fees!!
YOU own your footage and control what you record, don’t record, keep or get rid of. Let me say that again. Because of this little SD card, you will pay absolutely…
NO FEES ever, ever again.
To me, this is one of the best features of this system, for sure.
4. Install camera(s).
The sleek, elongated camera is the one you’ll place above your door. If you mount the camera on siding or wood molding, the screws you’ll need are included.
It’s as easy as drilling (3) pilot holes and screwing the wall mount in. If you need to screw into brick or concrete, you’ll need (3) masonry anchors and screws.
Once the pilot holes are drilled, you attach the mounting plate to your home with the three screws. Then the camera simply slides onto the mounting plate.
The whole process takes about 5-minutes, give or take. It took us longer to find the drill in our less-than-organized garage than it took to actually install the camera (sad but true).
The mounting instructions for the outdoor camera, if you have one (or more) is slightly different, but no more complicated. It mounts again with a simple mounting plate and 2 screws.
Did you notice I mentioned NOTHING of wires? That’s because there are none…
These cameras are 100% wire-free!
Yessssssss. No messy, difficult installation like they had to do in the “olden” days (around 2000 AD 😂).
Oh, and just in case you were wondering, they are waterproof. One of ours is a bit sheltered from the weather, but the other is out and fully exposed to the elements. No issues to report thus far even though it’s been snowed on, rained on, and subjected to 40mph winds!
With your app downloaded, and the camera(s) mounted, you’re in business! Wait till you see what incredible cameras these are. The images are full color, very vivid, sharp, and clear (even at night).
The camera allows you to see almost a full 180 degrees. I was shocked by how much area around the door we could see. And the image wasn’t wildly fish-eyed so that objects looked really warped like a house of mirrors type situation.
Now whenever someone approaches our door, the app pings our smartphones so we’re alerted to motion anywhere near one of our HomeHawk cameras. From our phones, we can see the live video feed of what is happening.
What’s super fun and trippy…especially for the kids is the 2-way talk feature. They had fun over the weekend running to the door while Tib taunted them from inside on his phone.
I’ve already highlighted a few of our thoughts about this Panasonic home monitoring system above in the installation discussion. But for a recap, here are some key features for this system that you can compare to competitors:
Overall thoughts on the HomeHawk system:
- It’s a very affordable home monitoring system. If you do some online cost comparisons between this HomeHawk system and some of the competitors, you’ll see this price point is a great one.
- NO monthly fees! This is a HUGE plus for this system. I do not like dealing with the darn upselling and ongoing bills that come with most security systems/companies. This one is a winner in that arena, for sure!
- Easy installation. Honestly, this is a DIY project that ANYONE could take on. We download the app, installed the access point and had the two cameras installed in about 45-minutes. So the whole system was up and running in less than an hour. And again, a portion of that time was spent hunting for the drill 😂.
- The app downloaded without issue, and the app options and system setup are easy to understand.
- The cameras are high quality. Colors are crisp, people are clear. You can see exactly what is going on through the app because the footage is clear as day.
- The cameras are very low-profile. They’re small and discreet compared to most others we’ve seen. We have white molding around our door, and the camera fits in seamlessly without drawing attention.
- The microphone on the camera works very well. You have the option to turn on an “alert” that people can hear as they approach your door. It tells them that your home is being monitored. And it comes over the speaker loud and clear.
- The two-way talk feature could be helpful in a number of situations…maybe you want to tell the delivery person to leave the package at another spot, for instance. But it’s also pretty fun to just play around with. Tib was at work the other day but welcomed the kids as they walked in the front door from school. Their faces were priceless when they heard the Wizard of Oz-type voice talking to them from behind some imaginary curtain.
Happy Home Monitoring!
We hope that you found this information helpful if you’ve been thinking about purchasing a home monitoring system. So many of us shop predominantly online now, so having packages delivered to our doors is more common than ever before.
Because of that, I think more and more people will be turning to home monitoring systems like the HomeHawk to help keep an eye on things being delivered at the house while they are away. It’s certainly a budget-friendly and effective home security solution!
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