Lorex is a well-established, decades-old security technology company that carries top-of-the-line, professional-grade security systems perfect for homes, larger properties, offices and businesses. We were excited to come across the 4K Ultra HD 8-Channel Security System, which included high-end video cameras, so we tried it out for ourselves. Here’s what we thought!
What We Loved…And What Needed TLC
As with any system, there are many features we loved about the 4K Ultra HD 8-Channel security system from Lorex and some things we felt needed improvement.
Let’s start with the good:
- No Required Monthly Fees: This was a huge pro for us, as we didn’t want to worry about long-term contracts or fees. The only costs associated with this security system were the initial cost of the equipment or a fee for premium cloud storage, which was an optional add-on feature.
- High Video Quality: The video quality is 4K, which is among the best of the best for security cameras.
- People and Vehicle Detection: With advanced motion detectors, we were alerted when there was movement on our property. But we didn’t get false notifications like if a branch moved, as our system had artificial intelligent features to detect only people and vehicles. Because we monitored the system on our phones, this feature was wonderful in eliminating unnecessary push notifications.
As with anything, with the good also comes the bad and there were definitely some aspects of our system that could use some TLC:
- Installation: The installation process was left entirely to us and there was no option for professional installation through Lorex. If we didn’t want to do the installation ourselves, it was our responsibility to hire a professional installer through a third party.
- No Professional Monitoring: This is a system that we had to monitor completely on our own using the Lorex App. There was no option for 24/7 monitoring from professionals. That wasn’t a deal-breaker for us, but it’s important to note that without 24/7 professional monitoring, we were the ones responsible for calling for help in the event of an emergency.
- Customer Service: Customer service was open Monday through Saturday from 11:00 AM until 10:00 PM EST. That means that if we had a problem with our system outside of those working hours, we were out of luck.
Our Video Review
Of course, writing about a camera’s video and audio doesn’t really do it justice. For this reason, we made a video review of the Lorex 4K camera system, showcasing its video display throughout the day and night as well as its audio, smart platform integrations and more.
The Beginning of Our Process
For us, extra safety and security were one of the main reasons that we decided to look into a security system in the first place and we’re not alone; according to a recent report, the global home smart home security market was valued at approximately $2.14 billion in 2018 and is expected to grow to $4.37 billion by 2022.1 With so many smart home security systems on the market, finding the perfect fit can feel daunting, but it is so important.
Lorex had a ton of security system options on the home page, which is why we felt we felt a bit overwhelmed right off the bat. But eventually, we found our footing and located the “Beginner’s Guide To Lorex” in the middle of the homepage, which was extremely useful; we recommend starting the process there. Lorex is always offering specials so we decided to go with the deal of the day, which at the time of our purchase was the 4K Ultra HD 8-Channel security system. This deal really does change daily, so keep an eye on that as you peruse their website.
Ultimately, we decided to order online directly from the Lorex website which was incredibly easy. Because the system we ordered was in stock, it shipped out in one business day and arrived at our home about a week later. When we got our package, we immediately opened the box which included:
- A One TB Hard Drive
- Four 4K Cameras
- Four 60 Foot BNC Cables
- Four Mounting Kits
- Five Power Adapters
- One Ethernet Cable
- One HDMI Cable
- One Mouse
- One Security Decal
- One Quick Start Guide.
We unboxed and tested it out, and here’s what we thought of the system’s features.
Storage With The One TB Hard Drive
Our system came with one main hard drive which hooked up to the four cameras and stored all our video footage. The one TB hard drive held approximately 500 hours of video, the equivalent of 250 full-length movies, which was more than enough for our purposes. However, we had the option of upgrading the hard drive to a larger one. But we all knew with upgrades come higher prices and that was the case in this scenario; the larger the hard drive, the more expensive the cost. Learn more about the costs of components on our Lorex pricing page.
The typical industry standard for security cameras’ video quality is 1080p HD, which is what companies like ADT and Nest offer. To date, the highest quality video we’ve seen from a smart security camera is 4K and that’s what we got with the 4K Ultra HD 8-Channel Security System. What did that mean for us? Well, one of our top priorities from a security system was video that wasn’t grainy and these 4K cameras checked off that box with clear video. As well, we could see things that were really far away because our cameras could zoom in on objects down the street without reducing the video quality. In sum, you can expect really nice video footage from these Lorex cameras at about twice the amount of pixels as 1080p HD.
There was really no way to get these security cameras to blend in with our home. While that didn’t bother us, it is important to note the design of these cameras was very bulky; think street corner or storefront cameras. But one good thing about the cameras was that they could withstand harsh outdoor weather elements, working in temperatures anywhere from -40 to 131 degrees Fahrenheit. Basically, they could work in the coldest of winters and hottest of summers, which was a great feature for us since we wanted eyes on our entire property throughout the seasons. We don’t ever have to worry about bringing the cameras indoors even during rain or snow, as they were completely protected from dust and water jets. When we got our system we sprayed it with our power washer to test this feature out. To our satisfaction, it held up perfectly!
Some of our other favorite features of the cameras were:
- Smart Home Integration: Our security system was compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant. This meant we could access our security system with voice control. We were also able to activate camera features and access live or recorded video on our smart TV. For those without a smart TV, the security system was also compatible with Apple TV, which could be hooked up to any kind of television. But in order to use a smart TV or Apple TV, first we had to install the Lorex Secure App, which is free on the Apple and Google Play stores.
- Night Vision: The night vision on these cameras was amazing and we could see clearly outdoors at all times. Color night vision allowed sensors within the camera to record colored video in low-light settings, which meant we could see the branch outside our home as the sun was setting. This was made possible by the powerful image sensor built into the cameras. But it’s important to mention the system needs to be set up near ambient light for this feature to work, so we set up one of our cameras facing a street light. If there was no ambient light, the infrared LED lights around the lense kicked in, which allowed an automatic shift to black and white light. Being able to clearly see in color or in black and white was a unique feature, since many systems such as SimpliSafe only have black and white night video.
- Storage: We liked being able to store video on the hard drive and on the cloud. The free cloud storage plan included up to 10 GB of video, which was about two days worth. If that’s not enough storage, the premium plan provided unlimited cloud storage, but that would have been an extra $35 a year. That price is pretty normal; Arlo for example, charges anywhere between $35 and $180 a year depending on the system and the amount of cloud storage the user wants.
- Motion Detection: Lorex offered something called RapidRecap, an easy way to locate motion from the camera. Essentially, this was our event history compiled into a quick and easy time-stamped video. The fact Lorex provided RapidRecap made it incredibly easy to sift through cloud history and saved us a ton of time when we were looking for specific movement within videos, like one time when a friend from out of town arrived on our doorstep unexpectedly.
Installing Our System
Installation was challenging and time consuming, but doable. There were a handful of different cameras and a Digital Video Recorder (DVR) that needed to be set up near our router. And in order for everything to work, we had to make sure the long wires were plugged in at all times. We ended up using tape to tack the wires up on the ceiling to reduce any risk of tripping and get them out of our way.
In order to install the system, we needed a drill, screwdriver and ladder. After reviewing the instruction manual, we still had a few questions about how to connect our system to the app and that was when we called customer service. We also had the option of live chatting with a customer service rep on the Lorex website, but we felt that would be more time consuming. We were hopeful our representative would answer our questions, but honestly, we didn’t get the kind of service we expected. The representative we spoke with was a bit short and didn’t seem interested in helping. He did eventually help us set our system up, but it wasn’t the most professional experience we’ve ever had.
The Lorex Secure App
Because our Lorex system was self-monitored, having a decent app was key, since that’s where we viewed our livestream and received notifications. The Lorex app worked on all devices, which was great because we used both Apple and Android products in our household. Once we downloaded the app, we got push notifications, saw both live and recorded video and grouped cameras together. For example, we grouped together our outdoor front cameras and outdoor back cameras which made it possible to livestream multiple cameras at one time. This made the self-monitoring portion simple when live streaming because we had eyes on multiple places simultaneously.
You Should Know: The mere presence of security cameras could deter an intruder, so install the cameras in a visible location.
Let’s Talk Money
We’ve all heard the saying “you get what you pay for” and that’s the case with Lorex. Because of the wide variety of systems, there are a wide variety of prices. Our system was on sale for $387.99 but normally costs $699.99.
Money Saving Tip: Take advantage of Lorex’s open box deals, which are gently used security systems at a discounted price with a one-year warranty.
One of our favorite things about Lorex was there was no mandatory monthly fee. While the initial investment may feel like shelling out a large chunk of change at one time, many other security companies require long-term contracts and monthly fees even after the initial equipment costs. But not Lorex; once we paid for the product we were done. Of course, that wouldn’t be the case if we sprung for the unlimited cloud storage, which broke down to $3.49 a month, but we opted out.
Our Final Thoughts
Lorex was a good option for us. We loved the clear video and lack of lengthy contracts and monthly fees. But because there was no professional monitoring option, this system’s best for someone who lives in a gated community, an apartment with a doorman or somewhere with other security measures in place. Otherwise, you may get stuck in a situation where you’re unable to call the police for whatever reason, but for someone looking to avoid monthly fees, Lorex is a great option.
- Are Lorex cameras secure?
Lorex cameras are secure because all of the footage is stored locally on a hard drive rather than in cloud storage. As long as you change your administrator password periodically and create long, complicated, and unique passwords every time, your system will be secure. Also, make sure to perform all firmware updates as soon as possible.
- Is Lorex owned by FLIR?
Lorex is currently owned by Dahua Technology Co. FLIR Systems sold Lorex to Dahua in February 2018.
- Why did my Lorex cameras stop working?
Your Lorex cameras may have stopped working because the camera may not be connected to the power adapter. You might also have a faulty cable.
PR News Wire. (2019). Smart Home Security Market to Grow at a CAGR Of 19.6% During 2018 – 2022.