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Proactive home security that combines AI and human intervention to keep watch over your home
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You could say that Amazon’s Jeff Bezos knows a thing or two about business. And Mr. Bezos just happens to be the lead investor in Deep Sentinel,1 an innovative camera-based home security system that I recently tested.
Naturally, I was filled with curiosity and questions. Can Deep Sentinel really protect my home and family? How does it measure up to other popular options like Vivint and SimpliSafe? And is the always-on-guard nature of Deep Sentinel worth hundreds of dollars? (It’s not cheap, but quality comes at a price.)
Don’t worry, you’ll get the answer to all these questions and more. But to foreshadow what’s to come, you should know that Deep Sentinel is a breath of fresh technology. The system actually has human guards monitoring its cameras at all times — day or night, rain or shine. Anytime movement is detected, the guards assess the situation; and if there’s a threat, they can even pipe through the microphone to tell the perp to get lost. You simply won’t see this from any other home security system out there.2
Did You Know: The founder of the company started Deep Sentinel after his neighbor was held at gunpoint in her home. She had a traditional security system in place, but it didn’t stop the home invasion. So David Selinger, founder and CEO of Deep Sentinel, set out to create the next best thing to having security guards standing outside your house.
It’s not a perfect system; I do have some minor gripes to share. But if you’re serious about safeguarding your home against burglars and package thieves, then Deep Sentinel is definitely worth a look.
What It Is: Deep Sentinel is a DIY camera-based home security system that uses local AI combined with human intervention (real guards on the other side of the camera lens) to scare away thieves and intruders before a crime happens.
What It Isn’t: Deep Sentinel is not a budget brand and does not offer any entry sensors that will sound an alarm when a door or window is opened. The outdoor cameras put a hedge of security around the exterior of your home only.
I live in a quiet neighborhood at the foothills of a mountain. It’s not a high-crime area by any means, but occasionally there’s a porch pirate making the rounds, and recently my neighbor’s car was broken into at night.
So with Deep Sentinel, I was hoping to find high-definition cameras that would not only monitor activity, but also proactively deter bad guys — with lights, sirens, and a human voice. Is that too much to ask?
FYI: It’s common for celebrities to have a private security system, with guards monitoring their home 24/7. If there’s an attempted burglary, police can be dispatched immediately since it’s a “verified” crime-in-progress. Deep Sentinel takes that same technology — which normally costs thousands of dollars per month — and makes it much more affordable for the average person.
I ordered Deep Sentinel’s three-camera starter kit, which comes with the following equipment:
No matter which Deep Sentinel kit you purchase, you’ll be impressed with the packaging and branding. The red and black colors pop, and the unboxing sequence is pretty creative. Here’s a sneak peek …
The graphic designers and packaging people really did their job here, which shows that Deep Sentinel isn’t cutting any corners. They pay great attention to detail, which in turn helps to build trust in their product. So kudos to the company there. This is the first time I’ve seen this level of detail since reviewing Vivint smart home security.
And when you see the Deep Sentinel cameras all lined up in the box, they look like a million bucks! But you might be surprised by how they feel when you take them out of the box …
Don’t get the wrong idea, the design is great — with the speaker on top and the camera lens and motion sensor beneath. But they’re made of plastic (albeit sturdy plastic) and they just don’t feel as well-built as expected.
I’m used to cameras that feel substantial, like they can take a beating. I experienced impressive build quality when testing products for my Ring Camera review, and also when doing hands-on testing of Arlo cameras. Is the less robust feel of the Deep Sentinel camera a deal breaker? Not at all. They can definitely hold their own in harsh weather conditions. Still, it’s something to keep in mind.
FYI: Deep Sentinel cameras sport a gunmetal plastic housing and have an IP65 weatherproof rating3 that can withstand temperatures between -4 F and 122 F. You can also upgrade to “extreme batteries” that can battle through temps as low as -40 F. Deep Sentinel’s got you covered, Alaska!
Deep Sentinel checks all the boxes when it comes to advanced technology that’s simple to set up and easy to use. Installation took me about 50 minutes, and it’s really paint-by-numbers easy. That said, there are a couple of things to look out for. So here’s a rundown of what to expect for install.
You’ll find a small box labeled “Connect,” and another one labeled “Install.” The Connect box has all the doodads for plugging in the hub (Ethernet cord, power cord, etc.).
The Install box comes with a full-size screwdriver, a few screws, and even a masonry drill bit for those who live in brick homes.
You’ll also find a Quick Start guide, but I recommend just downloading the Deep Sentinel app and following the step-by-step instructions.
Once you have the app on your phone, you’ll need to choose where to set up your hub. Since the hub will need to connect to your local high-speed internet via Ethernet cord, you’ll have to place it near your router.
Now, how about those internet speeds? Well, you’ll find that Deep Sentinel has a nifty internet speed checker built right into their app. This is a nice touch that you don’t see from other brands.
Since I was setting up three cameras, I needed 4.5 Mbps minimum. Not to brag or anything, but I came in at 19.2 Mbps, which is plenty of Wi-Fi for eight to 10 Deep Sentinel cameras.
Did You Know: 12 to 25 Mbps is the average upload speed in the U.S. If you’re in that range, you should be fine, even if you’re running six to eight Deep Sentinel cameras. What happens if your internet isn’t up to speed? You may experience delays and poor camera performance.
Once the hub pairs with your Wi-Fi, go ahead and drop the spare camera battery into the hub’s battery-charging port. This is a really cool design, and not something you’ll see elsewhere on the market. With a built-in battery charger, you’ll never have to worry about misplacing your spare battery. Like an old pal, it’ll always be there when you need it.
Next, lock and load your cameras with batteries, press the button on the back of each, and wait until it says “pairing.” Once each camera is powered and paired to the hub, all you have to do is mount them around the exterior of your home. Remember, these are outdoor cameras. If you’re looking to monitor the interior of your home, check out our roundup of the best indoor cameras.
Pro Tip: Don’t activate your Deep Sentinel camera and then accidentally take it into the bathroom with you before mounting it. Live guards will be watching!
My Deep Sentinel cameras went up without a problem. They were as easy to install as Ring cameras. (Read more about those in our Ring Spotlight Camera review.) Now, you may not love the Deep Sentinel plastic mounts, but they’re simple to affix to the house using a single screw.
Once your cameras are in place, you’ll be able to fine-tune your “Protection Zone,” which is the camera’s motion detection area. While custom zones are nice, they’re also pretty standard with today’s best home security cameras.
Overall, the quick-and-easy install is impressive. That’s the beauty of wireless systems: You can get up and running in a matter of minutes. Deep Sentinel definitely has DIY dialed-in. Now let’s get into the day-to-day performance of the cameras.
So what’s it like living with Deep Sentinel on a daily basis? Well, to be honest, at times you’ll forget you even have the system. And that’s a good thing. One thing is common among the highest-rated home security systems: They all sort of fade into the background. They do the job without requiring much of you. And that’s the case with Deep Sentinel.
That said, Deep Sentinel is always armed. You don’t have to worry about “arming” or “disarming” your alarm like you do with traditional home security systems. Unless you’re in “Privacy Mode,” Deep Sentinel is always watching over your castle. That’s something you’ll really come to appreciate.
FYI: The battery life on Deep Sentinel cameras is two to three months under normal activity. And switching out batteries is a breeze. In fact, it might take longer for you to climb the ladder than it will to change the battery (no kidding).
You might be wondering, “How can you really know the guards are watching?” Easy. In the app, it tells you how to test it. Just stand outside with your hands over your head and wait for a guard to respond. So I did. I felt a little silly doing this, but a guard responded in about 20 seconds and began chatting with me through the camera itself. A 20-second response time is already the fastest I’ve seen in the industry, and this wasn’t even a crime-in-progress! Check out the short video below.
When motion is detected by the camera, the camera wakes and immediately streams video to the hub, and the hub uses artificial intelligence to assess the situation. If there’s human activity, a LiveSentinel guard will watch the live footage and “verify” the event. Or, if the guard feels the activity is suspicious, he or she will take action.
A quick “Hello!” from the guard using the built-in two-way talk is usually all it takes to scare away a porch pirate or intruder. But the guards can also sound the 104-decibel alarm and dispatch police to your home if needed. This proactive protection is definitely Deep Sentinel’s competitive advantage in the home security market. Again, no other system in mass production is doing this.
FYI: Deep Sentinel can verify a crime-in-progress when dispatching police, with suspect description, behavior, etc.4 Police take “verified” alarms more seriously than unverified alarms (as most of those are false alarms), and thus you will likely get the help you need faster with Deep Sentinel guarding your home.
To really test it out, I went snooping around my front porch at night like I was up to no good. And I have to say, my first test didn’t go as planned. After about 30 seconds of loitering, I noticed the red LED ring on the camera lighting up … but no guard response. This didn’t seem right. After all, I was behaving as suspiciously as possible. (Think Harry and Marv from “Home Alone.”) I even stole a package from my own porch! So I did the hands-over-the-head thing to get the guards’ attention. Finally, after about a minute, a guard spoke up and explained the reason for the misfire.
Turns out my camera was having performance anxiety (tech issues) and would need to be replaced. Obviously, I wasn’t happy about this. But what happened next really speaks volumes about Deep Sentinel and their service. Using the camera’s two-way talk, the guard said he was putting in a tech ticket for my camera. Then he actually put in an order to have a new camera sent out pronto. I didn’t have to lift a finger; this was all done through the camera!
The next day, I replaced my front door camera with my side door camera, and I tested out the burglar bit again. It took about 20 seconds for a guard to chime in: “Hey you, in the blue sweater.” It definitely got my attention, as the camera’s audio is incredibly clear (and loud!). I told the guard I lived there. They asked for some identifying information, and then I asked to test the siren.
Here’s another short video that shows what to expect from Deep Sentinel’s two-way talk and built-in siren.
The siren is much louder than other outdoor cameras I’ve tested. This is to be expected, as active crime deterrence is Deep Sentinel’s whole schtick. The siren will send intruders packing, that’s for sure. Finally, I tested the system a few other times without a hitch. The guards were always talking to me within 30 seconds, so I certainly felt confident with Deep Sentinel safeguarding my home.
Deep Sentinel streams and records in 1080p HD resolution, which is the industry gold standard for video quality. However, the night vision and field of view (FOV) could be improved. The cameras offer a 130-degree FOV, and I typically like to see 140- to 160-degree viewing angles. Still, you can see from the picture below that the image quality is crisp and clear, and you can see plenty of the porch, front yard, and even well into the street. So no complaints there.
Allowing human guards to view live footage at your home may leave you feeling a little vulnerable at first. So it’s important to note Deep Sentinel’s privacy settings.
In the Deep Sentinel app, just enable Privacy Mode to stop streaming your video feed to the guards. (They won’t be able to see your video even if they wanted to.) You can turn on Privacy Mode for any/all of your cameras, and set it to last as little as five minutes or as long as 24 hours.
Privacy Mode can be helpful in a number of cases. For instance, maybe you enjoy sunbathing in the backyard and don’t want to broadcast your bronzed bod to Deep Sentinel’s guards. Or maybe you’re hosting a party and want to prevent arriving guests from triggering non-stop alerts and “verified” activity. I like the flexibility Deep Sentinel offers here. I’ve seen this feature in indoor cameras, like the SimpliSafe SimpliCam and abode’s iota gateway camera (which I talked about in my abode home security review). However, I’ve rarely seen a feature like Privacy Mode in an outdoor camera. So that’s another feather in the cap for Deep Sentinel.
In the app, there’s also a feature called “Advanced Scheduling,” which automatically sets your cameras to Privacy Mode at predetermined times of day. You’ll find this option in the Privacy settings, too. The bottom line here is that Deep Sentinel cares about user privacy, and their extensive privacy features are a testament to that fact.
FYI: One gripe I had with Deep Sentinel was their aggressive email marketing. I understand that everyone has to make a buck, but I received one email after the next from them. And the emails were pretty cringeworthy at times, with subject lines like: “I’m going to get fired for this … ” Thankfully, a simple click of the “unsubscribe” link in their emails will do the trick.
You may be a little surprised to find that the Deep Sentinel mobile app experience is pretty basic. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it might be something to think about for those of you who like loads of app features to tinker with. (If that’s you, then check out our guide to the best home security mobile apps.) With Deep Sentinel, the app is pretty streamlined. What you see is what you get. Honestly, I don’t mind at all. As they say, sometimes less is more.
On the app home screen, you’ll see a running banner of your recent activity, with a thumbnail image of the video and the guard’s name assigned to it. Beneath that, you’ll find each of your cameras with the battery status.
If you click into a camera, you’ll see a walky-talky icon that says “Press and hold to talk.” That’s your two-way talk, which you can use to speak with visitors. If you press More Controls, you’ll have the option to engage the siren, set your motion zone activity area, or choose an active deterrent pre-recorded message. (For instance, “Attention: This area is under live surveillance.”)
Did You Know: You’ll see a LiveSentinel guard’s name and ID number on each and every recorded video in the app. For me, having a real person watching over my home — and knowing their name — really helped to build trust and humanize Deep Sentinel.
You also have a History tab, which is basically your activity log. Whenever a video is recorded, it shows up here, allowing you to go back and review footage at any time. Deep Sentinel uses little icons to identify the nature of each activity, which makes it really easy to quickly scan the feed and hone in on what’s important.
And finally, you can also fine-tune your notifications. I was bombarded with Deep Sentinel notifications on the first day of testing, so I adjusted my settings, choosing to receive push notifications only when a) Law enforcement is contacted, and b) A LiveSentinel agent intervenes. You’ll find your notifications in the Settings drop-down on the home screen, and you can tweak these to your liking.
Remember: Deep Sentinel uses a Wi-Fi connection to signal the monitoring center. A 4G LTE cellular connection is generally more reliable because it isn’t affected by Wi-Fi speed/connectivity. But thankfully, we didn’t experience any delays or cameras going off-line due to our Wi-Fi. (If you’re interested in systems that use a cellular connection, check out our guide to the best cellular home security systems.)
Unfortunately, Deep Sentinel doesn’t offer any type of smart home integration. I was a bit disappointed here, as I like having the option to integrate Alexa or Google Home products for hands-free voice control. But as it stands, Deep Sentinel doesn’t work with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit, Z-Wave, or any other smart home platform.
The folks at Deep Sentinel say this is by design, as Bluetooth-compatible smart home hubs can be prime targets for hackers.5 While this is true, it’s a risk I’m willing to take for some modern conveniences. (Also, there are workarounds!) The lack of smart home features isn’t a deal-breaker for me, but it’s something I’d like to see offered by Deep Sentinel in the coming years. In the meantime, if you’re a die-hard Alexa user, I recommend checking out our guide to the best home security systems that work with Alexa.
With Deep Sentinel, there are up-front equipment costs. For $399, you can get their single-cam kit, which puts “guards on duty” at your front door. They also sell a three-cam kit for $699 and a six-cam kit for $1,149. I recommend these larger kits if you want to secure your whole home exterior.
Now, $399 for a single camera isn’t unheard of, as Nest Cam IQ pricing is comparable, and the Ring Video Doorbell Elite cost runs about $349. (It was $499!) So, the Deep Sentinel equipment is reasonably priced for what you get. And keep in mind that each kit comes with a smart hub and a local AI processor. If you want to purchase extra cameras individually, you’re only looking at $150 each, which is some serious bang for your buck in my book.
If you want to further explore the costs and camera options, here’s our full guide to Deep Sentinel pricing, plans, and packages.
|Front Door 1-Cam Kit||Starter 3-Cam Kit||6-Cam Kit|
|Monthly Monitoring Price||$60||$100||$160|
|Number of Cameras||1||3||6|
|Type of Protection||Entry-Level, Townhomes and Small Houses||Advanced, Larger Homes||Executive Level, Largest Homes|
|Smartphone App Included||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Smart Hub With Snapdragon AI Processor||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|24/7 Guards on Duty||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Besides equipment cost, you’ll also have to pay for LiveSentinel, which is Deep Sentinel’s always-on-guard, 24/7 professional monitoring service. It’s not cheap, but it works like a charm.
Compared to many of the top DIY home security systems, Deep Sentinel is definitely on the steep end when it comes to equipment and monitoring price. But Deep Sentinel really doesn’t belong in the standard DIY camp, despite their easy self-installation. Instead, you should think of Deep Sentinel as a great alternative to private, guarded surveillance systems that can cost thousands of dollars per month. (Think: Justin Bieber’s setup.) From that perspective, $100 per month really isn’t bad.
FYI: Deep Sentinel requires a one-year contract, which is a little unusual for a DIY system. However, one year isn’t bad at all compared to contracts with professionally installed systems. Some of the top pro home security systems require three- to five-year contracts.
Of course, if you’re on a tight budget, there are more affordable home alarm systems out there. But if you want the best that money can buy, there are only two options that make sense: Deep Sentinel and Vivint Home Security.
Deep Sentinel doesn’t offer a whole lot in the way of add-ons and accessories, though you can pick up a few extra batteries, a Wi-Fi range extender, and additional cameras. Here’s the latest lineup of upgrades you’ll find on the menu.
|Add-Ons & Accessories||Type of Device||Cost|
|Solar Charger and USB + Extreme Temperature Battery Kit||Charger/Battery||$88|
|USB + Extreme Temperature Battery||Battery||$59|
|WiFi Range Extender
(Coverage up to 1,000 Square Feet)
|Extra Standard Battery||Battery||$29|
*Monitoring not included. Your subscription will be prorated to account for additional cameras.
Let’s be honest, if my home was ever burglarized, I wouldn’t think twice before investing in a live surveillance system like Deep Sentinel. While using the system, I did come across a few snags here and there, like minor tech issues and a lack of smart home features. But even the highest-rated home security systems have their flaws.
Deep Sentinel makes sense for folks who want to put a perimeter of protection around their home. The peace of mind that comes with having a live guard monitoring for suspicious activity — and knowing the guard will take care of things even if you’re halfway around the world on vacation — is worth the investment. As for entryway protection, it wouldn’t hurt to also put an affordable DIY system in place to use in tandem with Deep Sentinel. (I recommend SimpliSafe for that. Read our full SimpliSafe home security review to see why.)
It’s also worth mentioning that Deep Sentinel gives you 30 days to decide whether you love it or not. If you decide it’s not right for you, you can return it for your money back. Granted, most home security companies offer a 30-day return policy. Some even offer a full 60 days. Still, being able to take the system for a spin makes it much easier to sign that one-year contract.
All in all, I give Deep Sentinel two thumbs-up. Their cutting-edge innovation with active deterrence technology is definitely worth a closer look.
Each hub can support up to six Deep Sentinel cameras.
The monthly monitoring starts at $60 and goes up from there. It’s more expensive than traditional home security monitoring, but you have to keep in mind that a similar private system with 24/7 live surveillance would cost upwards of $1,000 or more per month. Looked at this way, Deep Sentinel is not expensive.
Yes, Deep Sentinel requires a one-year contract agreement at sign-up, though you have a 30-day free trial period.
Yes, Deep Sentinel cameras stream in 1080p HD resolution, so you’ll enjoy sharp image quality.
I experienced about 20- to 30-second response times on average with Deep Sentinel, which is the fastest I’ve seen in the industry. Also, since a crime-in-progress can be verified by a LiveSentinel guard, the police are more likely to take it seriously and respond in a timely manner.
Deep Sentinel. (2020). About Us.
Globe Newswire. (2019, January 4). Deep Sentinel Disrupts Home Security Industry as the Only Solution with Active 24/7 Personal Security Guards.
Polycase. (2019, September 13). IP65 vs. IP67 Enclosure Ratings.
Moore, M. et al. (1988, June). Crime and Policing. US Dept. of Justice: Perspectives on Policing.
Science Daily: University of Texas, San Antonio. (2019, October 23). Study warns of security gaps in smart light bulbs.