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Canary's New Flex Cam Outdoes Nest with 4G LTE

It's waterproof, can be powered by a cord or by rechargeable batteries, and has optional accessories that let you stake it into the ground, twist it around a pole or lock it into place. Another accessory will connect the camera to the Internet via a cellular LTE connection instead of via Wi-Fi.

Canary has announced its first indoor/outdoor camera, the $199 Canary Flex, which will be available in mid-October.

The Canary Flex attached to its magnetic mount. Credit: Canary

(Image credit: The Canary Flex attached to its magnetic mount. Credit: Canary)

Canary has also updated its subscription plans. Under the new scheme, a Canary membership will start at $10 per month for 30 days of video history, and will also include telephone-based incident support and a guarantee of paying up to $1,000 for a customer's home-insurance deductible for burglaries and other home-related incidents.

MORE: Best Wireless Home Security Cameras

That's a significant markdown from Canary's current subscription plans, which run from $5 per month for two days of video history to $30 per month for 30 days. It's also less than Nest Labs' Nest Aware subscription, which maxes out at $30 per month for 30 days of video history. Users will be able to add extra Canary cameras to the subscription for $5 each (although the third is free), compared to $15 for each extra Nest camera.

The Flex has night vision, motion detection and a 116-degree wide-angle lens. At 8 ounces and 4.35 inches tall, it's a good deal smaller than the original Canary, which will still be sold and supported. It connects via dual-band a/b/g/n Wi-Fi as well as Bluetooth Low Energy.

The camera has a speaker and a microphone, but two-way intercom function will have to wait for a software update. The video resolution is "HD" — we asked a Canary representative and were told that this means 720p, instead of the original Canary's 1080p resolution, for "optimal streaming." The new camera also lacks the original's temperature, humidity and air-quality sensors.

The Canary Flex mounted in its optional Twist accessory. Credit: Canary

(Image credit: The Canary Flex mounted in its optional Twist accessory. Credit: Canary)

The camera's outdoor operating temperatures range from 14 degrees to 113 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 to 45 Celsius), which is fine for most of the continental United States but might be dicey for some northern states, the desert Southwest and the Canadian prairie.

A Canary representative told us that the rechargeable batteries will last about four months on a charge. Users have the option of plugging in the Flex to an outdoor outlet as well.

During a hands-on with the Flex earlier this month, we were impressed by the camera's small size and appealing design. But the most interesting feature was the forthcoming 4G LTE mount, which connects the camera's feed to Verizon's cellular-data network instead of to local Wi-Fi.

The Canary Flex in the 4G LTE sleeve. Credit: Canary

(Image credit: The Canary Flex in the 4G LTE sleeve. Credit: Canary)

With that accessory, the Canary Flex's range increases to the far corners of a ranch, for example, or to vacation homes or recreational boats. Pricing and availability for the 4G LTE mount have yet to be determined.

Until recently, Netgear's Arlo was the premier outdoor Wi-Fi security camera. But Nest brought its own outdoor camera, the Nest Cam Outdoor, to market earlier this month. Netgear itself will be updating its Arlo outdoor line this fall, and other security-camera makers may follow suit.

We're expecting a review unit of the Canary Flex soon. Stay tuned for our full review.