Customer Reviews: VueZone System with 1 Indoor Motion Detection Camera (SM2200)
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on June 2, 2011
The good:
-Extremely easy to setup, was up and running in well under 15 minutes including unboxing time.
-Gateway grabs a DHCP address from your broadband router and connects to the my.vuezone site.
-Smartphone clients for Android, iPhone and Blackberry devices. (Update: Blackberry is no longer supported)
-Cameras are completely wireless, allowing for extremely easy installation
-Cameras seem to have a very decent range from the gateway.
-No line of sight needed for the cameras, no problems for me going through walls and floors of brick, wood and drywall. Metal building supplies may pose issues though, but this will be the case with any wireless camera.
-1 year of Premium service comes with the system, currently only $49.95 per year after that.
-Snapshots/videos are recorded out to the website immediately, and can be played back from almost any internet connected computer.

The bad:
-Motion sensing does not work through glass.
-Cannot set ignore times for motion sensing/alerting, it is either on or off for each camera.
-Low-light performance leaves much to be desired. Despite several streetlights, no picture was visible in an area easily visible to the human eye.
-Operating temperatures limited to 32º to 122º F, so mounting options will be limited to temperature controlled locations for most locations. (Update: per Avaak Tech Support, this is a limitation of the batteries, not the camera.)
-Cameras have no wired power option, so you'll be using up batteries even in areas where you could easily connect wired power.
-Fixed 60 degree field of view on the cameras is a bit limiting.

Overall, the system is good with a few caveats. With more camera options, it would be great. Unfortunately, it appears Avaak has gone the other way, as the Outdoor rated camera has disappeared from their site.

I would love to see cameras with an AC power option, an outdoor rated dome camera (Pan/tilt/zoom would be outstanding) and perhaps others integrated into the great gateway and website that Avaak has going for them.

Outdoor (waterproof) camera mounts are now available! This doesn't address the temperature restrictions of the batteries, but gives you a lot more flexibility in the mounting location. Avaak has changed their service plans several times from when this review was written, so check the latest account details on their site. They also run sales on the service renewal from time to time, so renew when the sales are going to save yourself a few bucks.

My concerns with eating through the batteries seems to have been unfounded, as I'm still on the original batteries in all the cameras. Also, the sticky-back on the mounts should be looked at as a BACKUP to the screw slot on all but perfectly smooth surfaces. I had a camera take a nasty 8 foot fall onto concrete which left a crack in the housing, but it still works perfectly.
1717 comments|219 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on June 16, 2011
I have had my VUE SM2700 motion detection camera system up and running for about a week now, and so far so good! Installation really is a breeze, and the wireless cameras (and their mounts) are so convenient to use. I have the receiver upstairs along with one of the cameras, and the other camera is downstairs. Both cameras have perfect reception and the viewing resolution is better than I expected. Also, there are three adjustable settings for the available lighting the room provides, which is accessed through the software so you can easily change the settings even when you are away.

I tested the motion detection once, and it worked fine. An email was immediately sent showing a video clip of the movement. This can be adjusted from a 10 second or 40 second clip. I will do more extensive testing at a later date, but so far it seems to work well. The 2x zoom function also works well. You get to decide what to zoom in on, and the resolution is excellent. The movements on screen are a little laggy, but that is to be expected and really its not that bad at all. If someone was removing something from your home, I think you would be able to get a clear shot at the persons face along some point of a 40 second motion video. A lot also depends on how far you setup your cameras from the objects they may be viewing. The brighter the available lighting and the closer the better.

I have had zero issues using the software on a PC, IPAD, and on my Android phone. They all three work perfect so far. This is great news, something that actually works!

So far I am very happy with this setup. I will say that this is NOT a high end surveillance system so dont buy it with unrealistic expectations. However, for basic home use I think you will be hard pressed to find anything better anywhere near this price range. I only wish a future firmware upgrade will add a schedule setting that allows the motion detection to turn off/on at a certain time. That way when you come home at 5pm everyday, you dont have to disable it manually.

Otherwise, no real complaints! Two thumbs up!
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on December 8, 2011
I have been using these cameras for several years and generally been pleased... until recently. This company is trying to now get me to pay for a yearly subscription to view my cameras on-line. I think this is a serious problem and it was not disclosed that I would need to purchase an additional service when I made my original camera purchase. I have three cameras in one location and to be frank, am not sure why I need to pay an additional $20 a year for something that was originally free and has minimal benefits. I have written to this company questioning this policy twice so far and have received unapologetic generic responses. I am very angry and am looking for another product to replace my VueZone.
1818 comments|104 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
VINE VOICEon June 22, 2011
Style: 2 Indoor Motion Detection Cameras|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It is very easy to set up the cameras and "gateway". No technical knowledge is necessary. The gateway has one USB port but the manual and web site do not mention any use of it. I wish the recorded video could be stored in a USB flash attached to the gateway. Lens are not wide-angle. To capture a view of entire room, the camera has to be placed high on the ceiling.

I am not happy with the frame rate. Eight frame per second at 320 x 160? Come on, this is not in the 80s.

A nice feature will be providing advanced functions by connecting to the gateway directly, just like you connect to the web site inside a Linksys router and change the settings. This feature may be present but hidden.

Don't bother to view the camera at night. The FAQ web site says at least 40-watts light bulb is required. I tried it. The image was very grainy and painful to see.

Overall, the product offers basic functions of live video camera. Make sure you have adequate lighting, or preferably in bright daylight. Online registration is quick and easy. I can view the camera immediately after registration. However, if your network is down such as no Internet due to ISP (Internet Service Provider) issue, you're doomed. You can't view the camera.
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on January 20, 2012
Hidden fee warning: to use any mobile phone requires $5 / month fee. To share viewing with more than 1 person requires fees as well. Many negative reviews seem to have been updated because the company threw a bone at these customers and extended free service by 1 year, and raised fees for all others who are buying now.

If you read company rep's response to those negative reviews, it's a lie saying premium fee is required for maintaining quality of service. This camera should not be using any of the company's resources once installed at home, the fee is only good for keeping their profit and bonuses growing. I am a software engineer myself and I appreciate the need to make money, but requiring users to pay additional fee for some basic function that's highly touted in their product description is highly deceptive.

I almost bought this camera since the design looks very nice and the gold box offer is tempting.

Thanks to those who wrote 1 or 2 star reviews, I was able to see the proper warning. Since company now is engaging in trying to change those negative reviews to better by selectively offering additional benefits, I feel compelled to warn everyone else.

Hope this will save some people's trouble having to pay the return shipping when realized that it does not work with phones out of box.
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on December 20, 2011
It supported computer and iPhone surveillance in the beginning. However, a few days ago, it required you upgrade to "premium" membership in order to view though smartphones (like iPhone) which will cost additional $36.95 a year.

I am pretty mad about this new rule. It claimed at first that this device will support smartphones (or at least let me believe so). However, it started to charge additional fees. My purpose is to see my dogs through iPhone wherever I go. Now I can only see from PC. I wouldn't have bought this if I had knew this change of rule that requires hidden fees. This company should tell us in the beginning that there are fees for smartphones, rather than starting to charge after my half year of ownership. I am starting to consider purchasing a Panasonic camera (I will never pay such a "premium fee" for "additional" smartphone service).
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on July 15, 2011
I have been in law enforcement for over 35 years. Recently I purchased a condo in Florida. I was looking around for some type of security camera system for my condo that I could review over the internet. Having a second home I wanted to be able to view the cameras every day to make sure my property was secure from theft and/or damage from mechanical failure or weather related problems. Through my work I was involved with several projects dealing with camera web based technology, i.e., cameras in schools, malls, banks etc. that could be viewed by an officer from his car computer.
These cameras are excellent, inexpensive and efficient little security devices that works well in my condo. First the setup is simple. The system comes with two wireless battery operated cameras, a network gateway with its own AC power adapter, four camera mounts for mounting your cameras, and an Ethernet cable. There is little computer system setup on the Vue network gateway. All you do is plug it into your router and synch the cameras. You are able to view immediately.
I have recently purchased the new cameras that have motion sensors, which enables the cameras to automatically record videos or snapshots when they've been triggered by movements. Sensitivity for each camera's motion sensor can be adjusted on the web page. In addition to the recordings, I can receive e-mail notifications whenever motion is detected. Also I'm able to share the cameras with my family so they can view the property as well. I have recently recorded an alligator in the lake outside my patio window.
Living over 3,000 miles away from my property in Florida and being able to view the cameras a couple of times a day makes our family feel more secure about our property.
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on September 14, 2011
I bought this camera 3 days ago. I have a camera setup to view my backyard. Battery 100%. Camera working.

I left town and am 400 miles away. I log into myvuezone and nothing shows on my camera.

I call tech support/customer service. They say "you must resync the camera by moving it closer to the base station..." I ask why I must 'resync' the camera if it was working before. They don't know but will 'forward' my problem to the 'real' tech support who will get back tome in 24 hours (probably by email).

The reality is there is no tech support. There is only tech response by email. (support would be talking interactively to a knowledgeable person; not emailing every 24 hours back and forth)

This camera is at best unreliable and inconsistent. The tech support is non-existent. If you need to rely on the camera or the company for consistent and reliable operation you should look at other cameras. This camera and the company 'behind' it aren't setup to provide those needs.

PS. I just heard from Vuezone tech support. They state that when sharing a camera link with someone else, if the other person 'forgets' to close their browser, it could run down the batteries and result in a dead camera. This means that if you aren't at the camera location 100% of the time, you must 'educate' shared users about how to properly 'close' the camera viewing session so the battery isn't run down. This makes a strong case for getting an AC powered camera.

PSS. Non working issue resolved. I just got an email (2 days after first contacted): "We reviewed the data from your system and were able to replicate the same issue you described. While investigating the issue, it appears to have cleared. We are now able to log into your account and view your camera.

The issue may have been resolved by a server maintenance that was performed last night."

And this is their fix: "Sometimes, as you may be aware, electronic devices may require a power cycle in order to refresh and get out of a bad state. If, in the future, you need to power cycle your gateway when you are not at the location of the gateway, we would be happy to ship you an automatic outlet or lamp timer to use with our gateway. "

Really! So imagine this: I am watching and recording an important event and then the lamp timer kicks in, resets the gateway and kills my recording and viewing while it 'restarts'.

Dropcam Wi-Fi Wireless Internet Home Security Camera allows the user to turn on and turn off their camera via their view software. I don't get why Vuezone can not do the same thing for their gateway?
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on August 2, 2011
After much research into various types of video systems for monitoring my elderly father I finally chose the Vue system due to ease of installation and price. I researched several options including a hard wired security type system with DVR, IP network cameras and monitoring systems such as Logitech & Dropcam.

The Vue system is incredibly easy to set up- you hook up the base station to your router, insert the batteries into the cameras push a sync button and that's it. Placing the cameras and aiming them actually takes much longer than set up but even that is easy & really doesn't take long just take your laptop to check the angles of the cameras and you're done. Setting up a Vue account is simple & quick too - create an account -set up motion detection, email alerts and etc. There is also an app for your Android, Iphone or Blackberry this too is quick and easy. Total time invested for system setup, camera placement and account setup & Android app setup for me was less than an hour. I recently added a third camera -again insert batteries, push the sync button & place the camera - 15 minutes or so -most of that was camera placement and aiming.
The cameras are about the size of a roll of tape and most people don't notice them even when placed in plain site. The down side to the cameras is a narrow field of view. I have 2 placed in my dad's 10 x 12 bedroom and would need to add 2 more to capture all areas of the room. Note that there is no night vision capability, not a big deal for me but maybe for some. We've had the system for 2 months or so with the cameras running 24/7 and the batteries still show full charge. I bought replacement batteries just in case - they run around $18 for ten.
The VueZone app works great on my Samsung Vibrant phone I can access the cameras while on the go with ease. However, after installing the app on my wife's identical Vibrant she continually gets a "cameras disconnected" error when signing in on a "friend" account w/ permission to view the cameras. I have emailed VueZone about this & initially received several prompt responses (always within 1 business day) but have so far been unable to resolve even after removing & re-loading the app and following all other directions from Vue - finally they said they would consult their lab people and respond -it's been almost a month and no reply. I've sent follow-up emails which have been ignored. As with our IT guys @ work -silence usually means they're stumped & have chosen to hope I will go away.
Similarly I am unable to view the cameras from my work PC but that's likely due to our firewall settings.
This is a good, reasonably priced MONITORING system. If you want/need home security to be the primary function there are much better & more expensive choices out there. If you need to check on elderly family members, kids or pets remotely this is a viable, cost effective option - just be forewarned that their service & support has become somewhat suspect in my case.

Update 8/12/11: 2 days short of 30 days since my last inquiry into the access issue on my wife's phone I received the following email from Vue Zone Support: "Thank you for your patience as we looked into your issue. We were able to reproduce the issue you are experiencing in our labs, and this bug has been escalated to our development team. Thank you for bringing this issue to our attention.

Unfortunately, at this time there is no quick way to fix this issue. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience while our developers work on resolving this issue.

VueZone Customer Support"

On a positive note I must share that just this week I had a issue w/ one camera - the batteries ran down in minutes; replaced batteries they lasted about 10 minutes & died & motion detection quit working on all cameras - I emailed support @ 8pm on a week night & received a response within a couple of hours and was able to correct & re-set my system which is working fine once again.

I share this in hopes it helps someone with their purchase decision.
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on June 1, 2011
I have two systems in operation-one with 4 cameras and one with two camera. One of the cameras is their new motion activate camera. I tried several other types of systems to monitor my homes when I am away, but they were either too clumsy or too difficult to install and get them working. I returned these and found the Vue.

It is so simple to setup and operate and doesn't need line of sight to the gateway (most systems do) - doesn't even need to be hardwired to a gateway; and a computer system is not required. It is truly a wireless system; and each camera works the same as an intelligent laptop camera with WI-FI that can be controlled on your own designated web site with zoom and lighting adjustments by user. Because it is battery operated, you don't have to locate it near a power outlet- really gives you lots of flexibility in where to locate your cameras. Quality of the camera picture is excellent--as good as most hand held cameras. If you have a wireless router, you just have to plug in the gateway and mount the cameras -- about as easy as hanging a small picture on a wall, it's that easy.

Some insurance companies offer a discount on a home policy if you have a video monitoring system that can alert you if motion is detected; so the system could be paid for with Home insurance savings. Excellent product and great support if you need it. It is great to be able to check on my swimming pool when I am away for weeks at a time.
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