Top critical review
Not Instant Connection but Has a Good Picture
November 11, 2018
This is a nice little camera, easy to install, and the picture quality is very good for the price. It came well packed, although I couldn't find the tool shown in the instructions to push the reset button. I used a gel pen and it worked just fine, which is easier to do than keep track of yet another small tool. I have it set up to watch my front door from inside my closed porch where it's protected from the weather. I am impressed with the sturdiness of the housing and it even speaks to you during setup, which is kind of neat.
So why only 2 stars? The description and pictures are misleading. I wish that these was a way to have it speak a selected phrase when the motion is detected, such as "wait a minute or two for my camera to connect us", or "please leave package and stand there for a minute while I get your picture or ask if I need to sign go something or come to the door", or hang on because I am disabled and it takes me a while to answer the door".
Yes, it sends a message to your phone when you have motion detection on. But it doesn't just pop up. First you have to sign into the app, and although you can stay signed in, it can take up to 5 seconds to load the app after you select it. Then you have to select the camera from a thumbnail (even if you only have one), and this wastes more time. I have yet to see anyone leave a package because they are come and gone after ringing my doorbell by the time I can actually access the camera. I was hoping to be able to talk to whoever comes to the door, but despite setting up the audio, I apparently must turn on the sound to hear through the app. I expected to push the microphone to speak, but I don't expect to have to turn on the sound from the display each time, once I set it up to detect sound in the settings. It's useless to use this in real time without a way to record. For some reason I expected that I could record to my phone from inside the app, but apparently I was mistaken. I can take a snapshot, and email it to my phone, but I don't see a way to do even this through the app. I am going to get a card to record, but I don't see any controls for playback. Maybe those become available when the card is installed. It did require a firmware update after I set everything up, so I had to restart. Maybe the app needs to have a software update as well? The instructions for setup are a bit confusing because there's no explanation of what connection, WiFi or Ethernet is suggested, and there's not a power cord. It comes with a USB cord, but you will need to plug it into a powered USB wall plug or device with USB. That wasn't clear in the instructions, especially since it says to power up your camera before you install the app or the camera. Fortunately I have a spot to plug it into a USB charger. There's also no explanation of the cloud service. I got an introductory offer and a monthly charge, but no explanation of what cloud it's using or an option to add it to your own cloud service. I am not signing up for another cloud for $10/mo for an undisclosed amount of storage, for a camera that says that you don't need a cloud service and can record on a card. I am an old lady and not technically savvy, so I am not sure what an Ethernet is so I picked the WiFi option because my router is in a closet and I don't need a camera in the closet. It's very confusing and inconvenient to use although I think that adding a card to record and practice on my part may make it more functional. It's just not a real time instant connection to the phone and it requires a number of steps to get to the point where you can see and talk to the person who triggers it.
The recording time was difficult to set up as well, and you have to set start and stop time as well as which days you want it to record. There's not a pick for "always", and it's unclear if it's going to be recording everything during the time it's on, or only if it's detected. Likewise, it's unclear if it detects on sound and/or motion only or at sound all (which might make it useless for a baby monitor or elder care if there's not enough motion to trigger the alert. There's no option to go directly to the camera on alert, which is implied by the description.
I don't see this camera as quite what it says it is, although it's well made and I am happy with the picture quality and sound, once there is a connection. I wouldn't count on this camera as an instant security camera or baby monitor, although it should record well with a card or cloud service. I would like a better option for the cloud service though, and an explanation of the pros and cons of WiFi/Ethernet connection and card/cloud storage. I will change my rating if I see these an improvement.
Otherwise, I suggest that you pick a different camera with a better app unless you simply want a recording camera and don't want/need real time access to the video.