KGUARD Easy Link Series Combo Kit Review

KGUARD’s promise is of easy-to-setup, easy to monitor security solutions. The video quality is good, but setup and networking is still a little rough around the edges.

KGUARD Easy Link Series Combo KitReview: On the plus side

I’m in the position where security gear isn’t my primary review focus. I’m well aware that KGUARD don’t have this market to themselves, but I’m not comparing it directly to other security cameras because I can’t speak to their particular strengths or weaknesses. Merely the strengths and weaknesses of this particular kit, as well as whether it’s good at keeping your security worries at bay.

Except for maybe Rockwell’s.

The KGUARD Easy Link Series Combo Kit — technically the EL421-4HW212B if you like Star Wars droid names — is a “complete” home security solution, comprising (in its case) four cameras and a central DVR hub to monitor them and record any activity picked up on the cameras themselves. KGUARD sell this kit in a couple of different variations depending on how many cameras you actually require, although the setup appears identical across the range. The DVR itself is specific to the kit, so you can’t add more cameras if you needed them, so buying to your needs would be wise.
They’re all wired cameras, which means that installation may involve a little ceiling crawling and wall cutting depending on where you want to mount them; for the purposes of review I simply left them with trailing cables, which I can’t see as a sensible long term solution. Still, while the physical parts of each camera aren’t exactly the epitome of smooth modern design, they’re quite rugged, and waterproof if you were using them outside.
For whatever it’s worth, I got a weird fuzzy nostalgic feeling when installing them, simply because they use BNC connectors, and it’s been a long time since I’ve used any of those.
In fact, I’m pretty sure that the last time I did, video effects like these were cutting edge:

But I’m being picky there; very few buyers of security camera solutions would care whether they’re pretty or not. They’d care about whether they work.
Four cameras means that you can record up to four signals at once, and if you want to watch in real time, that entails hooking the DVR section up to a monitor. It supports HDMI output as well as VGA, depending on your monitor needs.
Configuration of the KGUARD system is via either an onscreen menu — a mouse and remote are supplied — or via a web browser plugin. There are also Android and iOS apps that pair to the KGUARD DVR via QR Code. It’s a little gimmicky, but it does work to create that initial pair.
I can’t particularly fault the KG-EL421-4C1T’s camera quality overall; in both well lit and murkier spots they did a good job of motion sensing and picking up reasonable quality pictures. You’re not going to shoot Avatar with it, but then that’s not the point.

KGUARD Easy Link Series Combo Kit: On the minus side

Which is not to say that the KGUARD KG-EL421-4C1T is an entirely flawless product.
For a start, you could be mistaken into thinking that a “complete” solution would come ready to go out of the box, but this isn’t the case. It’s not the issue of installing the cameras and dealing with cables that I’m concerned with here, but the fact that the system comes without a hard drive. On the plus side, that allows you to pick whatever capacity drive you’d like, but on the minus side that means you’ve got to open up the DVR and install the hard drive yourself.

KGUARD Easy Link Series Combo Kit
Hard drive not included — so budget for one, and be ready to bust out the screwdriver.

If you’ve ever installed a PC hard drive, this isn’t a tough job. But if you are a novice, I could easily see it being a daunting prospect.
There’s also some aspects of the kit that move beyond being mechanically functional into being irritating. The supplied mouse is cheap, and the OSD for the PVR is pretty woeful. It’s far easier to configure a web browser on the same network to manage any configuration issues you might have.
Then there’s the mobile apps. Pairing them was indeed easy, and that’s a big plus while you’re on the same network if you wanted to check a camera in a remote room. The promise of the KGUARD Easy Link Series Combo Kit is monitoring anywhere, and this is far less certain. This kind of network navigation is rarely easy, but in the KGUARD Easy Link Series Combo Kit’s case, I’ve been able to get a satisfactory signal from the cameras when on a remote network exactly once.
I’d love to say I knew why it worked then and not other times, but I’m honestly unsure. Essentially, unless you’re very adept at working out how to set up safe remote access through your home network, it’s likely you’ll struggle with this.

KGUARD Easy Link Series Combo Kit: Pricing

The KGUARD Easy Link Series Combo Kit I reviewed was supplied to me by Anyware; they list its RRP as $699, with higher prices for kits with more cameras.

KGUARD Easy Link Series Combo Kit: Fat Duck verdict

The KGUARD Easy Link Series Combo Kit is a fair DIY home security, as long as you’re happy with network configuration and installing hard drives. I’d still be happier thinking of it as a purely onsite security solution rather than something that easily allowed you to monitor a remote location based on my own test experiences.

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