Honeywell Lyric C2 review

The Honeywell Lyric C2 offers smarter home protection without breaking the bank

A blend of intelligence, simplicity and performance sets the Lyric C2 apart from the pack.
A blend of intelligence, simplicity and performance sets the Lyric C2 apart from the pack.
A blend of intelligence, simplicity and performance sets the Lyric C2 apart from the pack.

Highs

  • Attractive hardware
  • Fabulous, wide-angle lens
  • Sharp, daytime imaging
  • Intelligent sound detection
  • Free cloud recording

Lows

  • Initial connectivity issues
  • Smeary night vision
  • Poor two-way audio

Priced at $169, the Honeywell Lyric C2 Wi-Fi Security Camera (RCHC4400WF) is the company’s range-topping smart home camera, supporting 1080p Full HD imaging, four adjustable alert zones and intelligent sound detection. It’s a considerable upgrade from Honeywell’s entry-level Lyric C1 device ($119), which is limited to 720p resolution and offers less features.

The C2 is neatly positioned to slot into the Lyric smart home ecosystem, which now encompasses thermostats, leak detectors, security systems and more. But with waves of network cameras hitting the shelves of local big-box electronics stores, the Lyric C2 needs to perform well to stay afloat. We put it through the ringer to see how it stacks up against the competition.

Compared to other devices we’ve recently reviewed from Honeywell – the cheap-looking Lyric T5 thermostat in particular – the C2 Wi-Fi Camera looks quite attractive out of the box, with a large, circular face that resembles a giant eye guarding your home. It lacks the weighty, premium finish of the Hive View, but is certainly a step-up from budget cameras we’ve previously reviewed.

Standout features worth a look and listen

Under the hood, the Lyric C2 supports a couple of standout features that allow it to compete against heavyweights like the Nest Cam and Netgear Arlo. A 145° wide-angle view negates the need for pan and tilt, while four individual alert zones allow you to monitor doors and windows while ignoring other parts of the image, reducing false alarms. Two-way audio is now common on most security cameras, but the C2 is boosted by smart sound detection, which can differentiate between specific sounds such as a baby crying or a smoke detector siren, triggering tailored alerts to your phone.

In an age where smart home manufacturers are desperate to sign you up to subscription plans, what we really love is the addition of free, 24-hour cloud recording and local backup to an 8 GB SD card, also included in the box (up to 64 GB supported).

Easy installation, connectivity issues

The Lyric’s hinged desktop mount makes positioning easy around the home, but you can also opt for wall or ceiling positions if you prefer. Installation was aided by audible prompts from the device itself and friendly guidance from the Honeywell Lyric smartphone app (iOS and Android available). But, as we found with the Lyric T5 thermostat, the C2 repeatedly failed to connect to our Wi-Fi network during setup. Device resets, app reinstalls and sheer persistence won the day, but left us feeling nervous about the C2’s overall reliability.

High-quality daytime imaging, night vision less impressive

Once (finally) up and running, the Lyric C2 proved itself to be an able performer without the complexity of pricier competitors. Operation can be activated manually or through geofencing, with monitoring automatically enabled when you leave home. Meanwhile, live streaming image quality was very good – crisp with far less smeariness than we’ve encountered on other devices. We also found that the C2’s wide-angle lens was particularly useful in covering larger rooms. However, like most smart home cameras we test, image exposure was challenged by direct sunlight. As our test images show, even on a dull day, areas around windows were blown out.

We were surprised to find that the C2’s night vision was less impressive. While the 10m range is more than adequate, and you could easily pick out objects in the room, imaging was murkier than we’ve seen from great-value devices like the Swann Smart Security Camera.

Image exposure is challenged by direct sunlight – even on a dull day, areas around windows were blown out.

Throughout our time with the camera, motion detection was highly responsive with accurate zoning – push notification and email alerts hit our phone within a couple of seconds of detection. The C2’s intelligent sound detection also worked well – while it took the camera a little longer to fire an alert, it correctly identified a smoke alarm sounding in the background, as well as a baby crying, which is a fantastic addition. However, the camera’s integrated speaker was poor, delivering shrill, rasping audio.

While the Honeywell Lyric C2 is undoubtedly an accomplished smart home camera, there are a few missing features that would elevate it to “must-have” status. A longer power cable would provide additional flexibility for positioning, while competitors sporting a battery backup (like Swann’s model) offer enhanced protection. Honeywell has also been slow to integrate their Lyric devices with third-party systems. There’s support for Amazon Alexa but not Google Home, or platforms such as SmartThings or Apple HomeKit.

Warranty information

The Lyric C2 is supported by a one-year limited warranty.

Our Take

While some products in the Honeywell Lyric range fail to impress, the C2 Wi-Fi camera is a different story. It’s a great-value smart-home camera supporting intelligent features, simple operation and daytime imaging that competes with pricier competition. A lack of third-party integration means there’s certainly room for improvement, but otherwise, the Lyric C2 punches well above its weight.

Is there a better alternative?

In a packed marketplace, Honeywell has crafted a great-value package of simplicity, intelligent features and high-quality performance. The Swann Smart Security Camera is a little cheaper ($150), supports both indoor and outdoor use plus wire-free operation, and just barely gets our vote ahead of the Lyric C2. At the other end of the market, full smart home security setups, such as the Netgear Arlo Pro 2 offer scalability and enhanced security features, but are much more expensive.

How long will it last?

As one of the world’s largest and best-known electronics brands, Honeywell isn’t going anywhere. Buy with confidence.

Should you buy it?

Yes. The Honeywell Lyric C2 is a fabulous addition to the company’s smart home range and an intelligent, great-value network camera. You won’t be disappointed.