If you’ve spent any amount of time on YouTube in the last couple of years, you’d have seen Mark Rober combatting porch pirates with Glitter Bombs. For those of us who don’t necessarily have his engineering skills or the spare time to create these things, there are a number of easier options and we’ve had the Eufy SmartDrop setup for a couple of weeks now, and it’s time to share that experience.

The hardware, assembly and setup

This isn’t a small item; once it’s assembled, you’re looking at a box that measures 69.9 x 54.9 x 54.9 cm and weighs a whisker over 20 kg. The weight should be enough to deter most, but once it’s bolted down, it’s not going anywhere! With these measurements, Eufy claim that the SmartDrop can accommodate 99% of packages that are likely to be delivered to a residential address.

Taking a quick step back, though, the delivery packaging is pretty immense with the SmartDrop flat packed. It’s heavy enough that my local FedEx driver brought it up on a sack truck. To their credit, of all of the packaging enclosed in the package, only a very small amount of plastic was in there, which was to prevent the components from rubbing and getting scratched in transit.

A tip of the hat, too, to Eufy for their clever use of cardboard as the pictographic assembly instructions and template for the mounting holes when you secure it to outside concrete. Speaking of the assembly instructions, I share with you a couple of pro tips from Jo, who assembled the box for me.

  • Use the packaging to stabilise the box and prevent scratches during assembly
  • When attaching the bottom, half tighten the screws and steadily workaround to tighten them all
  • Like IKEA furniture, don’t assemble this with your partner… o.O
  • Use a handheld screwdriver, it’s a bit fiddly but you’ll get a better result
  • Have enough space to lay all the parts out flat, it will make the whole process easier; particularly if your partner isn’t there helping
  • I would have liked the battery to be USB-C and fully charged on arrival, but that’s a really minor issues that don’t take much to overcome. The whole process of the assembly took about 25 minutes, and that was with my “help” and interruptions to take photos.

    Once assembled, you’re looking at a pretty hefty box that’s awkwardly sized and definitely not something a single person could carry. In the front, there is a 1080p camera that captures clear images or video of the faces of people approaching the box and the confused look on their faces while trying to operate the box.

    The box is rated to IP65 standards and coated in an anti-corrosion material that should stand up to the weather pretty well. My concerns about the device’s lifespan isn’t to do with the box, but rather the plastics and how well they’ll hold up to an Aussie summer and — aesthetically speaking — how long the stickers will last. Where this one is placed, in summer it will get direct sun from early morning until around lunchtime.

    One of the discussions I’ve had with a few people is, “What’s to stop the box being stolen?”. The simple answer is two things; the physical size and weight make it cumbersome to lift and carry, and the second is the thumping great bolts that have been drilled into the pavers and underlying concrete.

    The Eufy Security App

    Downloading the app is as easy as any other app, as is setting up the connection to the box. It really only takes moments, provided you follow the instructions.

    A word of warning, though on a gotcha in the setup: If you’re not connecting to a Eufy HomBase, your Wi-Fi must be 2.4 GHz, not dual-band. Otherwise, the SmartDrop simply won’t connect. Most routers will allow you to separate your 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz bandwidth, and it’s easily done.

    Once set up, all of the device’s functions are easily accessed in the app.

    One particular feature that I like is the forethought in the Auto Switch mode. This means that when you’ve opened the box with the master pin, the box assumes it is empty.

    So any unexpected deliveries coming can simply press the open button to open the box and make a delivery, but only once.

    When the box has been opened, it requires a PIN to open any further instances. The voice prompts that guide delivery drivers through how to make a delivery are simple to follow and trigger when people approach the box or press the open button.

    Should you be fortunate enough to get a second, unexpected delivery in a single day, you can log into the video feed to confirm that there is in fact a courier there and remotely open the box.

    Setting a unique, single-use PIN is quick and simple, something I quickly got in the habit of doing when placing orders. This is useful later, as you get a notification that a delivery has been made with the identifier you used when setting up the PIN. If your battery goes flat or you forget your master PIN: There is a physical master key that can open the box, even without power.

    Regardless of how you open the box, the gas struts are well-positioned and strong enough to lift the box lid without any need for lifting by the user.

    Of course, if you’re home, you can simply answer the door and receive your package directly.

    The app gives pretty speedy notifications when someone is spotted near the box. This was roughly in line with the notifications from my Ring doorbell and other cameras. With the number of cameras I have around my home, I didn’t see the need to pay for cloud storage with Eufy, although a HomeBase would allow you to use local storage as an option if you’re not as invested in another platform as I am.

    It’s not cheap, but it’s worth it if you get a lot of deliveries

    With an RRP of AU$849.95 — there are specials on regularly — this isn’t a cheap device, but if you get many deliveries to your house, it’s worth the money. Anyone who’s had a single package “delivered” but not there when you get home will know what I’m talking about. For me, this isn’t about a clear return on investment but more like car insurance; you hope not to need it, but if you do have it, you’ll be glad it’s there.

    Your mileage will likely vary depending on the mode you use, the number of deliveries you get and how high the foot traffic is near your SmartDrop box. For me, well into the yard, with most of the foot traffic being my daughter playing after school, I’m using between 10% and 15% battery per week.

    I’ve looked into these types of secure delivery boxes in the past and have not been convinced enough to buy one. The SmartDrop has shown some serious strengths in the market with huge internal capacity for deliveries, sturdy design that will last through the weather, ease of setup and a great range of very useful features.

    I’d be more than happy to suggest this as a first option to anyone keen on securing their packages against porch pirates. The SmartDrop can be purchased through the usual retail channels or via Eufy online.

    Disclosure Statement

    Due to shipping costs of the device, Anker has not requrested return of the SmartDrop

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    Michael Hughes

    Has Ausdroid given up posting on Twitter?
    There’s been no posts since June 30.

    Chris Rowland

    Yes we have. Under ElMo’s stewardship the place is a mess and we’re no longer participating.