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VINE VOICEon January 25, 2013
Color: Silver|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I give this more of a 3 1/2 stars...

I recently began looking into home video surveillance and home automation and acquired some products from a different manufacturer that lets you control video, thermostats, doors, lights, etc.. through a smartphone. My issue with that set of products is the need for monthly subscription to use it as well as the high prices of the components. I was very excited when I got the opportunity to try the Belkin video camera as it was cheaper and does not require a monthly subscription. Sure, it doesn't have all the home automation features that the other system has but I was more concerned with the video monitoring anyway. Overall I am pleased with how it works but there is definitely room for improvement.

Getting the camera up and running was actually quite easy and did not require me to hook it up to a computer or my home router. I simply connected it to my phone as a wifi connection, followed the instructions and then flipped a switch on the back of the camera to go into video mode. The app I downloaded to control it was for my Iphone 4S. Initially, when the first picture came up I was terribly disappointed in the quality. It looked like complete haze. That's when I realized that the box had been outside for a while and the lens was simply covered in fog. I wiped it down and it looked much better.

The video quality while viewing it over a wi-fi network on my Iphone was very good. The camera angle is very wide so I can get a good portion of my first floor including my front door. You can modify the quality of the video through the app so if you have less bandwidth, it will send a lower quality stream. However, even at its best quality, its only 640x480. Over a 3G connection, I had to manually turn down the video quality in order for it to be displayed but I didn't really notice much of a degradation in quality. Guessing it's because the iphone screen is so small that it really doesn't matter.

Here are the things I like about the camera

1. Cheaper than others I looked at. Compared to the Nexia line of cameras, this is priced much better
2. No subscription required to use it
3. Quality is about as good as the Nexia ones I use
4. Night vision is pretty good. All black and white but pretty clear
5. Sound!!!! Yes, this has the ability to stream audio as well which my nexia camera does not
6. Recording to the Iphone rather than some cloud server that limits your space
7. Like my more expensive solution, this does e-mail alerts based on motion

Here are the things that can be improved

1. The video is severely delayed and choppy. This does not produce "real time" video like the nexia and seems to only capture a frame or two every few seconds regardless of what type of connection I am on
2. Manual adjustment is annoying. This seems like it could be an easy update to the app to allow the app to automatically adjust the quality settings when bandwidth is limited. Waiting for a a minute or two and then getting a "sorry" message is annoying. Please build in auto adjust for this.
3. Load times can be long compared to other camera I have.

Like I said, more of a 3 and a half stars with the ability for this to be a 4 star if they can improve the video fps and the bandwidth detection. If those can be addressed either in software or a newer camera, this could be my solution for video surveillance around my house. Will be a lot cheaper than paying a monthly fee for something that does the same thing!
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VINE VOICEon February 13, 2013
Color: Silver|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Let me start with the summary, since the review is a very long one. This is an indoor camera. Great picture quality (non HD), very easy to set up and operate, works well with Android tablet (I don't have any iOS device to test with, but I'd imagine it works just as well, or better) and you can let any number of friends view the camera - they don't need to own a camera. But there is one potential security issue with the camera.

The flaw with this camera could be a deal breaker for some people, so I will mention it first. You need to create an account with Belkin, and anyone with access to the account will be able able access your camera.

There is no way around that if you want to use this camera. You cannot operate it in "local only" mode (connect to the camera directly). There should be a way, but Belkin is not telling us what it is. If I find out through reverse engineering, I will update this review.

Why is this important? If someone manages to guess your password, or if Belkin's security is compromised, you have no way of preventing people from looking into your house unless you turn it off. With other IP cameras, the password is only stored locally on the device, and is much less prone to being hacked. With some network expertise, you can create VPN tunnels that you need to connect to before you can view those type of cameras. You don't have such a choice with this one.

This won't be an issue if the camera is being set up in a public area (for example, a restaurant). At home, however, I feel uncomfortable knowing that a stranger could be peering into my house.

OK, now that this is out of the way, let us go on to the other features of this camera.

Build quality : The camera is nicely constructed, smooth plastic shell that fits nicely together. The base is weighed down by a heavy metal washer at the base, so it will not topple over easily. The power supply cord is long - 10 feet (I measured). The stated output is 5V, 1.5A.

Setup : the camera is very easy to configure, as long as you have an Android or iOS smartphone or a tablet. There is a little switch at the back of the camera - the only switch there, in fact. In the "up" position, it is in setup mode. In the "down" position, it is in camera mode. You should have received it in setup mode.

When in setup mode, the camera powers up (by plugging in the power cable) and presents a wireless access point for your device to connect to. Use your phone or tablet's wifi setup to connect to it. There's no password. After you're connected, launch the app, which will guide you through the rest of the setup. If you messed something up, exit the app and launch it again. It will guide you through the steps all over again - connect to your home wifi router and register an account with Belkin - or log in to an existing account.

Operation : Using the camera only requires you to flip the switch over to camera mode after you're done with the setup. Run the app, log in, and you're presented with a list of your cameras. Click on it and you can view it. You can also view the camera through your computer's browser by going to netcam dot belkin dot com (sorry for the minor obfuscation - Amazon seems to block most URLs I type in). In Firefox I'm prompted to install the iSecurity+ plugin, but I can use it with the old video player.

(Edit 3/26 : n let me know in the comments below that it seems no longer possible to create an account from the login page. Not sure if this is temporary - I will check with Belkin and see what they say. For the moment - the following paragraph is no longer valid)

You can create an account on a browser and view cameras that other people share with you even if you don't own a Netcam. Anyone you share the camera with will need to do this. There are also public cameras available. At the time of this writing, there are two public netcams listed - both from the Silicon Valley Animal Control Authority.

(Edit 3/26 : above paragraph is currently invalid - I need to find out from Belkin if it is permanently disabled)

From the app or the browser, you can view your own cameras, your friends' cameras, and invite friends (by sending them an email) to view your cameras, and to revoke access to your camera. You can also set your own camera to "private" mode (meaning you're the only account that can view it).

Infra-red works well, but in auto mode, the IR comes on whenever light level drops low enough, even when the camera is not being viewed. Alternatively you can set IR explicitly on or off (need to go into setup screen to do this). You cannot control the IR that someone shares with you, and motion detection will not work in the dark if IR is off. The IR LEDs gives off a faint reddish glow when in operation that's visible when it is very dark.

There is no local (in-camera) recording capability. Recording is done by your phone using the app.

Email motion detection alerts appear to work OK. You get an email with two photos when motion is detected. There doesn't appear to be a way to throttle the number of emails sent, so if you happen to have the camera pointed at a busy scene, be prepared for a flood of emails. A slowly changing scene will not trigger motion detection - for example, shadows cast by the sun moving slowly across the room will not trip it.

Performance : The camera has a very clear picture and sound is decent. There is a small delay in video (about 0.25 seconds) and a much longer one in the audio (about 2 seconds). I was able to connect from outside my home network to the camera without needing to configure anything on my home router. In fact, I had the camera connected to a wireless router, that's connected to another wireless router (two layers of NAT), both with uPNP and port forwarding disabled. This suggests that the camera is connecting to Belkin's servers instead of the other way around.

Power consumption : I measured this with a Kill-a-Watt. Power consumption is very low. I measured it at 2W when the IR is off, and 3W when IR is on. Changing frame rate, picture quality, and other parameters didn't affect power consumption in any way that can be measured by the Kill-a-Watt. I left it on for 24 hours and it reported a total energy consumption of 0.05 kWh. Assuming IR is left on auto, this device will consume under 2 kWh in a month - less than 50 cents for the typical user.

The power plug can take 100-240V @ 50-60Hz. The output is 5V 1.5A.

So, again, in summary - has great image quality (640 x 480), has sound, really easy to set up, it just works without having to configure anything with your home router, but the password is stored at Belkin's server.
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VINE VOICEon February 8, 2013
Color: Silver|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I'll start with what is good about this camera:
1. Small, reasonably well built.
2. Good night vision. I can see across the room for about 20 ft in total darkness.
3. Easy set up: hint...when setting up, put the camera as close to your wifi router as possible. The signal strength is poor, and it can take for ever to connect, and usually doesn't connect at all. Other than that, set up is as simple as can be.
4. With good connection, the camera is very stable. I've had it running 24/7 for a week now without issue.
5. Motion detector image capture...email notification works well.

Why I wouldn't use this camera?
1. Wifi strength is poor. I'm placing it 50 feet away, granted there are 2 interior walls in between, and signal drops off constantly.
2. Although the camera does have an ethernet port, the port is non-functional...compounding the weak wifi signal issue.
3. Software sucks... You can't view the camera on a computer. You must use their iphone app. The app sucks. Worse of any camera app out there. First off, it crashes all the time. Second even on 4g LTE it has a hard time pulling videos through. I'd have to downgrade the video quality substantially to get a video connection. Third is it hardly works on Ipads...crashes more often than on the iphone.
4. Worse, most irritating part is that this camera is proprietary. You can't view the camera with Blue iris or any other app/program. This makes point #3 even worse. I'm not an expert by any means, but I simply can't get this camera to behave like a typical IP cam.
5. Poor value. This camera doesn't tilt, pan, or zoom....for $100 bucks I'd go elsewhere.

What would I recommend? I now have done a ton of research and own 2 other systems...the Foscam 8910 and the Logitech Alert. Here's my opinion of the 3 system for what it's worth:

1. My favorite is the Logitech Alert. You want this if you have a newer house with normal electrical wiring. By that I mean not spliced, added on, modified, etc. The construction quality is best of the 3 by a mile. Image quality during day, dim, and dark times are the best by far. Set up is simple and brainless. Signal connection and stability is much better than wifi. Open architecture means you can view your camera through VLC, Blue iris, etc...so if Logitech goes belly up, your camera is still functional. What I don't like about the Alert system is that there is no tilt/pan/zoom....false advertisement. The software only support 6 cameras, although you can view more if you use Blue iris. The app does suck, but you can use Blue iris which works great on both iphone and ipad. These are more expensive (hint....much cheaper if you use the 'configure' option on Logitech's site)but are the best out there.

2. Foscam is pretty good. Image quality is on par with the Belkin. There's true tilt and pan, the ethernet port works, stable, fast, and the software and flexibility is just unbeatable.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon August 4, 2015
I have two versions of this camera and like them so much that I bought this one as a gift for a friend who needs to be able to keep an eye on an aging cat.

The Belkin cams are not perfect. But they are reliable. The apps are excellent. Customer service is excellent. And the live video and audio feeds are plenty good enough to see and hear what is going on. And they are super easy to set up.
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VINE VOICEon January 27, 2013
Color: Silver|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've had a Dropcam HD Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Camera since May 2012 and I've been mostly happy with it, but with two reservations. Most importantly, the picture is dull, with most of the color bleached out, which means that it's not only less pleasant to look at, but less useful than it could be. I've had it pointed at my front porch and, for example, cannot tell whether the red flag on the mailbox is up or not because the red blends in with the green bushes behind it. (Notice that in the attached video you can see the red flag just fine!) Second, the email alerts are not that helpful, for two reasons. First, they're so sensitive that I receive notices when cars go by, which I don't really care about. Second, last I checked with Dropcam, the alerts only go out once every half hour. So if someone comes to your door between one alert and the next, you're not notified by email.

With that background, I got my hands on a Belkin NetCam. I was delighted by it immediately. Here's what I like about it:

1. The setup was absolutely simple. No problems whatever. I had it running in minutes.
2. The picture is BRIGHT. Far brighter than what I get with the Dropcam. I've added two images to this item to show the differences between the two.
3. You can take pictures or video of what the camera is seeing on the fly. The video attached to this review was taken that way with the microphone off at 640 x 480, with a frame rate of 15 (out of a possible 30) and a quality of 5 (out f 5).
4. You can choose to receive email alerts when the device detects motion. Unlike the Dropcam, there is no thirty-minute delay, so when the camera detects motion, you get an email. This is a good thing. The other thing I like about the email alerts is that they include two pictures rather than one. Very often with the Dropcam, which sends one picture, you get a photo when something has just entered the area being monitored, and you can barely tell what it is. With two pictures, you get that first image and the a second one, when whatever has entered the area farther into the frame. The result is a much more informative alert.

What could be improved:

1. As for negatives, the only real downside of the device for me also has to do with the email alerts. You can adjust the sensitivity of the motion detection with settings from 1-5. What I'd like is to receive alerts whenever someone comes to my door or is in the front yard, say, some 15 feet from the camera. But none of the settings give me that. A setting of 1 seems to result in no alerts coming in at all. But settings from 2-5 result in my getting alerts for cars driving by. Admittedly, sometimes I seem to get fewer alerts about passing cars than other times, and I'm not sure yet what the pattern is. Certainly all settings from 2-5 have alerted me about traffic in front of the house at one time or another. Hopefully the gradations of motion sensitivity for the alerts can be improved in software updates--I'm not sure if that's possible, however.
2. There is no Kindle Fire app (yet?).
3. The NetCam does not allow you to talk through the device as the Dropcam does. (That is, using the Dropcam you can talk to people in the room from some external site). But this isn't a feature I care about, but some may.

On the whole, highly recommended!

-- Debra Hamel
review image review image review image
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on February 13, 2014
The camera works, their app works. Setup is easy. Night image somewhat poorer than others.
Thats the good part of the review.
Camera will not be usable directly connected to anything in your home network.
This feature was in the camera but a firmware update killed it.
Their app times out a LOT after 5 minutes or less of streaming.
If you need direct connection or ability to monitor this camera longer than 5 minutes, Then this camera is not for you.
If you peek a little now and then at the image and dont want to mess around with ports DNS ect, then you could use this.
For me, I need continuous viewing and this camera could do it till their firmware update killed direct connection.
Their customer service give platitudes but nothing is being done or will be done to correct this.
I personally will never by a Belkin product again after this.
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on December 4, 2012
I foster dogs and got this camera to watch them when I'm out of the house. It's really great for my needs. I put it on my mantle in my living room and the view is pretty wide so I can see the whole room. I have an iphone and nexus7 and it works on both. I setup the notifications and was getting them every few minutes when the dogs moved, so I stopped using it but it seemed to work really well.

The only reason I'm giving it a 4 not a 5 is the audio could be better.
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on June 14, 2014
I have been using this for front porch security - packages were being stolen. It decides by itself to just stop working. And, it will record video of very car that goes past my house, but somehow missed the person stealing a package from my porch.

Useless.

Their support is manned by people who don't understand English very well and if you get someone to contact you after posting on Facebook out of desperation, they write back with a canned response for idiots. I KNOW how to set up the camera - what I don't know is how to keep it working all the time.

Belkin sucks. Do not buy! You have been warned.
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on June 3, 2014
I did give this 2 stars before but now, (after a recent turn events) I have to change my review
here are things that they can Improve:

1. incomprehensible Customer support Just takes me from confused to angry.(I don't like it when I end up serving the customer service by teaching or over explaining for lack of solid English skills and then I still get a repetition of the same answer....Is that a tactic to get me to give up and hang up ???) #please hold---come back---give same answer--- repeat<-----

2. You get alerts when the subject enters but 9 times out of 10 you are unable to sign in to view/record it live before the culprit leaves.
(Their underhanded way of getting you to purchase cloud service i'd assume)

3. Highly visible shape and color. (the camera could stand to be a little more inconspicuous)

4. Blurry Video/Snapshots (apparently "Minecraft" characters have been coming into my home when i'm not there)

5. *****Needs to alert you at the times where your cameras goes offline!!! (maybe an online chart with times should be made available to catch patterns of blackout periods... but then... that would make them look bad because of the EXCESSIVE amount of times they go offline... so I doubt that it will ever happen.

6.Disobedient. (some of the items in settings are shoddy and takes a while to kick in) still not sure if I am causing this though because of the terrible support. (see #1.)

7. Time stamp/counter option on photo should be made available.(especially since clocks in the background appear blurry see #4.)

8.Tired of cameras randomly going offline. (This is NOT my internet service because I have 3 Netcams and its usually 1 or 2 at a time that goes offline at critical moments)

9.*****They need to make/sell an "at home" receiver that can store your own data in the case that your WiFi or the internet service goes down .***** then it should immediately kick to local signal recording (to a box kind of like the belkin WiFi extender with a sd chip and an internal dvr until it senses that internet is available again) just a suggestion.

10. Slow to connect (if it were a conversation it would go like this...(Belkin cam says:) Hi,just letting u know that someone is in your house.. (You say:) OMG Really? connect me, please!! so that i can watch and record!! (Belkin cam says:) No... I'm on break. Why don't you try back in like 10 minutes. (you say:) But they could clean me out by then!!! (belkin says:) Look sir Give me a few dollars a month and I "MAY" be able to tell you what i saw... But for now I'm on break! click* [goes offline] )

----For every 2 of these issues addressed i will add one star... I'll add one for being awesome if all are addressed.---
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on October 6, 2014
I wish there was a ZERO that I could give to the Belkins Camera. I installed two of these at a vacation home. They are not working after first 8 hours of operation. Spent hours trying to make them work. I have bought other wifi cameras from other companies in past more that three years ago that work great. I thought that now technology would have been much better now...But not at Belkins. They are in dark ages of technology.
THIS IS A WORTHLESS PRODUCT. amazon should not sell it. Unfortunately I have thrown away the packing. I don't know whether I can return without packing. DONT BUY THIS. I WILL NEVER BUY A BELKINS PRODUCT AGAIN.
Trust me...based on my experience with this product, this company is heading towards extinction.
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