Connected Security Cameras
We have reviewed several Wi-Fi enabled home security cameras. They were evaluated for frequency, motion, microphone sound quality, image quality, microphone and speaker quality, storage options, placement flexibility and smartphone apps. The results determined the Logitech Logi Circle was the best for wireless security. This camera was the easiest to set up and place, and the most intuitive. After an additional fourteen cameras were tested, the Logitech Circle 2 was the best, followed by the Nest Cam Indoors and the Netgear Arlo Q.
Features To Look For In Home Security Cameras
The most important features to consider include the video quality, a wide-angle lens, capabilities for two-way communications, alerts for motion and sound detection, the ability to filter out any false positives, geofencing, local storage and smart home integration. The best camera is the one that fits the situation of the user.
The Logitech Logi Circle
This is the top Wi-Fi camera for using every day. The battery is built-in, rechargeable, and much easier to place than other cameras. The cloud vision storage is free, and operable 24-hours a day. The replay feature makes this an excellent choice. Logi Circle offers free cloud storage for life, and additional storage plans are available for a small charge. The smart geofencing, and image quality in dark and dim rooms combine with the versatility of a built-in-battery or AC power for exceptional usage. The motion-detection algorithms and intuitive interface reduce the nuisance alerts.
The Specifics of the Logitech Circle
The Logitech Circle does not require the initial pairing of camera to phone. This is generally accomplished with the QR code supplied with the camera, or the Wi-Fi network of the Logitech Circle. Once the Circle app is opened on the smartphone, the camera and phone will find one another. The user then selects the Wi-Fi network, enters the password, and creates a cloud storage account with a password and an email. The process is incredibly simple. The two-piece base consists of the magnetic charging ring and camera sphere, enabling the camera to be tilted or swiveled for greater flexibility and placement. The battery will run for hours after being taken off the magnetic base, only turning on when motion is detected.
The Circle app is unbelievably easy to use for new users, with no sub menus or multiple menus. The image is clear, bright and colorful. The perimeter speaker provides loud and clear sound, even if the television is on. The alert and motion sensitivity is exceptional, and smartphone push alerts are customizable. Tree branch and bug movements are ignored, while the movements of animal and people are picked up. When the personal-detection feature is activated, alerts will only be sent for a person, and animals are eliminated. Everything is recorded even when there is no alert.
The geofencing is not customizable, but sends alerts whenever necessary. The biggest issue with the Logitech Circle is the there are no capabilities for manual recording. All action must be captured with the automatic away mode. Photos can be taken by using the app.
The Netgear Arlo Q
This camera offers generous storage, activity zones, customizable alerts, and free video storage for seven days. The geofencing feature does lack accuracy.
The Specifics of the Netgear Arlo Q
This camera is the second pick due to the customizable alerts, video storage free for seven days, activity zones, audio and video quality, customization flexability, alert types and costs. This camera is a little harder to set to, but not too difficult. The apps QR code must be read by the camera, and a chime will sound once paired. The audio and video quality are excellent, and the colors are sharp and bright. The sound is clearly picked up by the microphone. The control icons are easily accessible along the bottom of the screen.
The geofencing is inaccurate due to the vagaries in the GPS. The app can be used to define activity zones including windows and doors. The customization for sensitivity and detection was better than with the other cameras. A map can be used to adjust the geofenced area, and the sensitivity of sound and motion is adjustable. Multiple activity zones can be set, and the important portion defined. A users guide is required to locate these settings in multiple Byzantine menus. The activation can be enabled with geofencing or schedule, and recordings are easy to locate. The security features are excellent, and protect the phone if it is acquired by the wrong person. The camera can be linked to the SmartThings system, so additional actions are available through the hub.
Blink Home Security Camera
This camera is both scalable and inexpensive. The battery lasts for an extremely impressive period of time. For individuals on a strict budget, unconcerned about geofencing, or frequently using two-way chat, this camera is roughly half the price of the others. The camera will operate for approximately two years using two AA rechargeable batteries. Pitch black rooms can be illuminated with the built-in video light, and the 720p video is excellent.
The Specifics of the Blinks Home Security Camera
This camera is scalable, inexpensive, and the batteries last for a incredibly long time. The camera is flexible, unique, and operates with battery or AC. The battery enables easy placement, including using double-sided tape to place on a wall. This camera is part of a system, so multi-room coverage is simple with multiple cameras. A Blink sync module is used to pair the cameras. The camera is not cheap, but the pricing is inexpensive. The video is shot at 720p, but the difference between the Blink and more expensive models shooting in 1080p is extremely minimal. Even when the zoom on still photos is 4x, the images remain colorful, sharp and bright. There are no speakers on Blink cameras, and this may be a deal breaker for some individuals.
The motion sensitivity is adjustable, but no speaker means no sound detection. The alert retrigger time and video clip length can be set, eliminating many of the unnecessary alerts. The settings and app are easy to use, and there is am arming and disarming detection toggle. Instead of the standard night vision, Blinks use an LED light automatically or manually for any motion detected in the dark. There are three levels of brightness intensity. The light is extremely bright, even when set for the lowest level. The Blink will capture and store all recordings on the cloud prior to alerting the intruder they are being recorded. There are no subscription plans offered for cloud storage, clipping storage on the cloud is free, and the time frame and number of clips are unlimited.
The Nest Cam
This camera offers high-performance streaming, and nice integration options. A Nest Aware subscription is required. The audio and video capabilities are good, it works with a lot more smart-home devices than other cameras, and the geofencing is decent. The video storage expires after ten days, making the camera nearly useless without a subscription. Only subscribers can use the time lapses and create clips, although these features are standard on the other cameras.
The Specifics of the Nest Cam
This camera features high-performance streaming, and numerous integration options. A subscription to Nest Aware is required to used the advanced features. The video quality, aural performance and lowlight performance are excellent. Among the cameras tested, the alert capabilities, app and setup were among the top. One of the issues is the high cost of running the camera for any individual not already part of the Nest smart-home eco-system.
The camera is compatible with most smart-home devices through the Nest program. The fee to use the majority of the Nest Cam features is $10 each month. The Nest Cam provides continuous video recording 24/7 for ten days with purchase. Once this expires, the required fee is $100 per year or $10 per month for the Nest Aware service. Any recordings that the user stores in the cloud are available for ten days, then the storage fee of $300 per year or $30 per month become s applicable.
The Benefits of Wireless Security
The only way to achieve true home security is with a full security system, and cameras are excellent for home monitoring. They provide peace of mind, enable the home's activity to be tracked, and the authorities can be quickly notified if there is a break-in. The entire household should agree on the camera, usage and placement. The needs of the household must be taken into consideration when choosing the camera, what it will record and the functions.