You could say that Jeff Bezos (you know, the Amazon guy) knows a thing or two about business. And Mr. Bezos just so happens to be the lead investor in Deep Sentinel,1 an innovative camera-based home security system that we recently tested in our home.
So naturally, we were filled with curiosity and questions. Can Deep Sentinel really protect our home and family? How does it measure up to other popular options we’ve used, like Vivint and SimpliSafe? And is the always-on-guard nature of Deep Sentinel worth spending hundreds of dollars on (it’s not cheap)?
Don’t worry, we’ll answer all these questions and more. But to foreshadow what’s to come, we’ll say that Deep Sentinel is a breath of fresh technology. This 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 company 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 home. Did he succeed? We’re taking a deep-dive look in this review!
It’s not a perfect system — we do have some minor gripes to share. But if you’re serious about safeguarding your home against burglars and package thieves, and you want the next best thing to a private security detail around your home, then Deep Sentinel is definitely worth a look. So without further ado, let’s dive into our findings!
What It Is: Deep Sentinel is a DIY camera-based home security system that uses local A.I. 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.
We live in a quiet neighborhood at the foothills of a mountain. It’s not a high-crime area by any means, but we do get the occasional porch pirate making their rounds, and recently our neighbor’s car was broken into at night.
So with Deep Sentinel, we were hoping to find high-definition cameras that would not only monitor activity, but also proactively deter bad guys from taking our things (with lights, sirens, and 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. This way, if there’s an attempted burglary, police can be dispatched immediately since it’s a “verified” crime-in-progress. Deep Sentinel is taking that same technology — which normally costs thousands of dollars per month — and makes it much more affordable for the average person.
We ordered the Deep Sentinel Starter 3-Camera Kit, which came with the following equipment:
When our Deep Sentinel box arrived, we opened it up to have a look. And inside we found some of the best packaging and branding we’ve ever seen. The red and black colors popped, and the unboxing sequence was pretty creative. Here’s a sneak peek…
While unboxing Deep Sentinel, the wife walked over and said, “Some graphic designers and packaging people really know what they’re doing.” She’s right. But does this mean the cameras will give us top-notch performance? Not necessarily. However, it shows that Deep Sentinel isn’t cutting any corners, and it speaks to their attention to detail, which in turn helps to build trust in the product. So kudos to the company here. Other than Deep Sentinel, we’ve only seen this level of detail when we tested and reviewed Vivint’s smart security systems.
Finally, we pulled the last tab to see our Deep Sentinel cameras all lined up. The camera kit looks like a million bucks. But we weren’t expecting what happened next…
We took the cameras out of the box, and holding them in our hand wasn’t the experience we had hoped for. Don’t get us wrong, the design is great — with the speaker on top and the camera lens and motion sensor beneath. But they’re made of plastic (albeit a sturdy plastic) and they just didn’t feel as well-built as expected.
We’re used to robust cameras that feel substantial, like they can take a beating. We’ve experienced impressive build quality while reviewing Ring Cameras, and also during our hands-on testing of Arlo cameras. Is this a Deep Sentinel deal breaker? Not at all, as we soon came to find that these devices 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 -4o F and 122o F. You can also upgrade to “Extreme Batteries” that can battle through temps as low as -40o F. Alaska, here we come!
We’re all about advanced technology that’s simple to set up and easy to use. Thankfully, Deep Sentinel checks all the boxes here. The installation took us about 50 minutes, and they really make it paint-by-number-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 doo-dads for plugging in the hub (ethernet cord, power cord, etc.).
And the Install box comes with a full-size screwdriver, a few screws, and even a masonry drill bit for folks who live in brick homes (you know who you are).
You’ll also find a Quick Start guide, but we recommend just downloading the Deep Sentinel app and following the step-by-step instructions.
Once we had the app on our phone, it had us find a home for our Hub. Just keep in mind that Deep Sentinel uses your local high-speed Internet to function, so you’ll have to place the Hub near your router and plug in with the ethernet cord.
So how about those Internet speeds? Well, you’ll find that Deep Sentinel has a nifty Internet Speed Checker built right into their app. We thought this was a nice touch that we haven’t seen from other brands.
Since we’re running 3 cameras, we needed 4.5 Mbps minimum. Not to brag or anything, but we came in at 19.2 Mbps, which is plenty of Wi-Fi for 8-10 Deep Sentinel cameras.
Did You Know: 12-25 Mbps is the average upload speed in the US. So even if you’re running 6-8 Deep Sentinel cameras, you should be fine if you’re in that range. However, if your Internet is too slow, you may experience delays and poor camera performance.
Once the Hub paired with our Wi-Fi, we then dropped the spare camera battery into the Hub’s battery-charging port. We’re really liking this design, and it’s not something we’ve seen before on the market. With a built-in battery charger, we’ll never have to worry about misplacing our spare battery. Like an old pal, it’s always there when we need it.
Next, we locked and loaded each of our cameras with a battery, pressed the button on the back of the camera, and waited until it said “pairing.” Once the cameras were powered and paired to the Hub, all we had to do was mount them around the exterior of our home. Remember, these are outdoor cameras — if you’re looking for an indoor camera, check out our latest roundup of the best indoor cameras available.
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!
Similar to what we experienced when we used the Ring Spotlight camera, our Deep Sentinel cameras went up without a problem. Now, we didn’t love the plastic mounts, but it only took one screw to affix it to the exterior of our home.
Then, once the cameras were in place, we had the ability to fine-tune our “Protection Zone,” which is the camera’s motion detection area. While custom zones are nice, it’s also something that all of the best home security cameras we’ve reviewed offer these days.
Overall, we were impressed with the quick and easy install. That’s the beauty of wireless systems — you can get up-and-running in a matter of minutes. So 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 we forgot we even had the system protecting our home, which is exactly what we want. We’ve found that our highest-rated home security systems sort of fade into the background. And Deep Sentinel is one of those. It did its job without requiring much of us.
With this in mind, Deep Sentinel is always armed. That is, 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. We really liked that extra layer of protection.
FYI: The battery life on Deep Sentinel cameras should last between 2-3 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 out the battery (no kidding).
All right, so you’re probably wondering, how do you really know the guards are watching? Easy. In the app, it told us to stand outside with our hands over our heads and wait for a guard to respond. So we did. We felt a little silly doing this, but a guard responded in about 20 seconds and began chatting with us through the camera itself. A 20 second response time is already the fastest we’ve seen in the industry, and this wasn’t even a crime-in-progress! Check out the short video we made below.
When motion is detected by the camera, the camera wakes and immediately streams video to the Hub, and the Hub uses AI 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 dB 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, we went snooping around our front porch at night like we were up to no good. And we have to say, our first test didn’t go as planned. After about 30 seconds of loitering, we noticed the red LED ring on the camera lighting up… but no guard. This didn’t seem right, after all, we were trying to be as suspicious as possible (think Harry and Marv from Home Alone). We even stole a package from our own porch! So we did the hands-over-the-head thing to get their attention. Finally, after about a minute, a guard spoke up and told us the reason for the misfire.
Turns out that our camera was having performance anxiety (tech issues) and it would need to be replaced. Now obviously we weren’t happy about this — but what happened next really speaks volumes to Deep Sentinel and their service. Using the camera’s two-way talk, the guard said he was putting in a tech ticket for our camera, then he actually put in an order to have a new camera sent to us pronto. We didn’t have to lift a finger, as this was all done through the camera!
The next day, we replaced our front door camera with our side door camera, and we 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 our attention, as the camera’s audio is incredibly clear (and loud!). We told the guard we lived here. They asked for some identifying information, and then we asked to test the siren.
Here’s another short video we made 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 we’ve tested. This is to be expected, as active crime deterrence is Deep Sentinel’s whole schtick. The siren will certainly send bad guys packing, that’s for sure. Finally, we tested the system a few other times without a hitch. The guards were always talking to us within 30 seconds, so we certainly feel confident with Deep Sentinel safeguarding our home.
Deep Sentinel streams and records in 1080p HD resolution, which is the gold standard for video quality in the industry. However, we think the night vision and field of view (FOV) could be improved some. The cameras offer a 130-degree FOV, and we typically like to see 140- to 160-degree viewing angles. But still, you can see from the picture below that the image quality is crisp and clear, and you can see plenty of our porch, front yard, and even well into our street. So no complaints here.
Trust us, one of our biggest concerns was privacy. Allowing human guards to view our live footage at our home left us feeling a little vulnerable at first. Then we found the Privacy settings.
There’s an area in the Deep Sentinel app where you can set “Privacy Mode” — anywhere from 5 minutes all the way up to 24 hours — on each of your cameras. When Privacy Mode is enabled, it stops sending the video feed to the guards; in other words, they can’t see your video even if they wanted to.
Privacy Mode can be helpful in a number of cases. For instance, maybe you enjoy sunbathing in the backyard, and you don’t want to broadcast your bronzed bod to Deep Sentinel’s guards. Or maybe you’re hosting a party (post-Covid quarantine, of course), and you want to avoid arriving guests from triggering non-stop alerts and “verified” activity. We like the flexibility Deep Sentinel offers here. We’ve seen this feature in indoor cameras, like the SimpliSafe SimpliCam and abode’s iOta Hub/Camera combo, but we rarely see it in an outdoor camera. So that’s another feather in the cap for Deep Sentinel.
You can also choose “Advanced Scheduling,” which automatically sets your cameras to private at predetermined times of the day. You’ll find this option in the Privacy settings, too. The bottom line here is that Deep Sentinel cares about user privacy, and the extensive privacy features are a testament to that fact.
FYI: One gripe we had with Deep Sentinel was with their email marketing. We understand that everyone has to make a buck, but we received one email after the next. And they were pretty cringe-worthy at times, with subject lines reading: “I’m going to get fired for this…” Thankfully, a simple ‘unsubscribe’ in your email server will do the trick. No harm, no foul.
We were a little surprised to find the Deep Sentinel mobile app experience to be so basic. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, we’re just used to tinkering with features in apps offered by brands like Vivint and Cove. With Deep Sentinel, what you see is what you get. But honestly, in some ways we 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, and you can also 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 us, having a real person watching over our 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. Anytime a video is recorded, it will show up here, allowing you to go back and review footage at any time. We like the little icons Deep Sentinel uses, as it allows us to quickly scan to see the nature of the activity, and whether or not it’s worth looking into.
And finally, you can also fine-tune your notifications. We were bombarded with Deep Sentinel notifications on the first day of testing, so we chose to receive push notifications only when a) Law enforcement is contacted, and b) A Live Sentinel agent intervenes. You’ll find your Notifications in the Settings drop down on the homescreen, and you can tweak these to your liking.
And that wraps up our experience with the Deep Sentinel mobile app. Note that it was good, but not great.
Remember: Deep Sentinel uses a Wi-Fi connection to signal the monitoring center. We prefer a cellular connection with 4G LTE (you can read about the best cellular security systems here), but thankfully we didn’t experience any delays or cameras going offline due to our Wi-Fi.
Unfortunately, Deep Sentinel doesn’t offer any type of smart home integration. We were a bit disappointed here, as we 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 Alexa, Google, Apple HomeKit, Z-Wave, or any other smart home platform.
The folks at Deep Sentinel say that 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 we’re willing to take for some modern conveniences (also, there are workarounds here!). The lack of smart home features isn’t a deal-breaker for us, but it’s something we’d like to see offered by Deep Sentinel in the coming years. In the meantime, if you’re a die-hard Alexa user, we recommend checking out our guide to the best home security systems that work with Alexa.
First, there’s the upfront equipment cost. Deep Sentinel’s 1-Cam Kit costs $399, which puts “guards on duty” at your front door. They also sell a 3-Cam Kit for $699 and a 6-Cam Kit for $1,149. We recommend these larger kits if you want to secure your whole home exterior.
Now, $399 for a single camera isn’t unheard of, as the Nest Cam IQ is equivalent in cost, and the Ring Video Doorbell Elite runs about $349 (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 our book.
If you want to further explore the costs and camera options, here’s our full guide to Deep Sentinel pricing, plans, and packages.
|Deep Sentinel Kits||Front Door 1-Cam Kit||Starter 3-Cam Kit||6-Cam Kit|
|Number of Cameras||1 Camera||3 Cameras||6 Cameras|
|Type of Protection||Entry-Level, Townhomes and Small Homes||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|
|LiveSentinel Monthly Monitoring Fee||$60||$100||$160|
Besides the equipment cost, you will also have to pay for LiveSentinel, which is Deep Sentinel’s always-on-guard, 24/7 professional monitoring service. It’s not cheap, but we tested it and it works like a charm.
Compared to many DIY systems that we’ve tested over the years, Deep Sentinel is definitely on the steep end as far as equipment pricing and monthly monitoring goes. But that’s comparing apples to oranges (and we can’t do that!). Rather, Deep Sentinel is a great alternative to private, guarded surveillance systems (think Justin Bieber’s setup) that can cost thousands of dollars per month. So with that perspective, you can see that $100 per month really isn’t so bad.
FYI: Deep Sentinel requires a one-year contract, which isn’t so bad compared to many professionally installed home security systems that require 3- to 5-year contracts.
Of course, if you’re on a tight budget, there are more affordable 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|
|Extra High-Capacity Battery||Battery||$49|
|Solar Charger & USB + Extreme Temperature Battery Kit||Charger/Battery||$88|
|USB + Extreme Temperature Battery||Battery||$59|
|WiFi Range Extender||Range Extender||$30|
|Extra Standard Battery||Battery||$29|
Let’s be honest, if our home were ever burglarized, we wouldn’t think twice to invest in a live-surveillance system like Deep Sentinel. While using the system, we did come across a few snags here and there — like minor tech issues and the lack of smart home features — but even the highest-rated home security systems have their flaws.
We think 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 it even if you’re halfway around the world on vacation, is worth the investment to us. And as far as entryway protection, it wouldn’t hurt to also put an affordable DIY system in place to use in tandem with Deep Sentinel (we recommend SimpliSafe for that!). You have options!
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 (though not all!). And some offer a full 60-day money-back guarantee. Still, we think 30 days is plenty of time to take it for a spin.
All in all, we give Deep Sentinel two thumbs up. Their cutting-edge innovation with their active deterrence technology is definitely worth a closer look.
Each Hub can support up to 6 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 will cost upwards of $1,000 or more per month. So we don’t think Deep Sentinel is expensive.
Yes, Deep Sentinel requires a one-year contract agreement at sign up, though you have a free-trial period.
Yes, Deep Sentinel cameras stream in 1080p HD resolution, so we enjoyed sharp image quality while trying out the devices.
We experienced about 20-30 second response times on average, which is the fastest we’ve seen in the industry. Also, since a crime-in-progress can be verified by a human 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.