Closed Circuit Security for Your House

If that baseball bat under your bed represents the past of home security, the Piper NV represents the future.

Installing a smart, capable security system once demanded demolishing walls and dipping into the savings account. Now, a crop of connected devices is making it easy to eye your home from afar. These new wave watchers sync with your smartphone and let you pull up live feeds, record footage, tilt and pan via an app, and even have sensors that relay information about temperature and humidity. Our favorite is the Piper NV. Standing about six inches tall, the all-seeing, all-knowing system is slickly-designed and smart, with a best-in-class 180-degree viewing angle and a 3.4mp sensor to snag sharp HD footage. It also detects motion, senses shifts in ambient light, and, thanks to full frame night vision, sees in the dark. Set up is as easy as plugging the camera in and pairing it with WiFi, and the camera blends in seamlessly on a shelf or desktop.

The partner app, while a bit slow to connect at times, has a clever interface that makes nosing around an apartment as simple as swiping your fingers over a control pad; it also sends subtle alerts whenever the camera senses any action (you can fine tune sensitivity) and records footage to the cloud. The camera stuttered occasionally, taking up to a minute at times to show us the live feed, but was never delayed enough to make us worry. If you want to keep track of multiple rooms — or homes — you can daisy chain a couple systems together and switch feeds back and forth. During our test run, the Piper didn’t catch any perps, but it did give us a glimpse of a night-vision-enhanced cat licking itself, a shot of an electrician’s ass as he performed surgery on a blown fuse, and some serious piece of mind. And that, after all, is the whole point. [$269;]