12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
I like it but I have some concerns,
This review is from: Logitech Alert 700e Outdoor Add-On HD Quality Security Camera with Night Vision (961-000338) (Electronics)
The attached video shows a STRANGER walking through my yard on Black Friday. This was a couple of days after I got my camera. It freaked me out so bad I brought several others. I have 5 cameras.
Below is my review but first I would like to update it now 14 months into having the cameras. Twice my cameras went offline and they had to be reset. I have my cameras mounted on the eaves of my house and there is no way to get to them without using an extension ladder. I made it inconvienant for a thif to be able to get to them and consequently it is hard for me also. I went without cameras for a couple of months because they went off line and it was too cold and the cameras were too high for me to get to. I had to pay someone. I found that since I purchased the cameras no tech support is available after 7 PM, you can write but it will take a few days to get a response. I stopped paying the commander price because to me it should be free. Nothing is stored on Logitechs servers...at least its not supposed to be. If I had to do it all over again I would buy Swann - 8-Channel, 8-Camera Indoor/Outdoor Surveillance System in Best buy for $480. I had a friend purchase the Swann setup the same time I got mine and he has had ZERO problems with his. I feel like I wasted my money on these cameras because I don't feel secure with them. If you read other reviews I am not the only one who had problems. They cost too much money to throw out and start over so I am stuck. I need two more camera and I will get a different brand. I am done with these waste of money cameras. Oh yeah and you have to have a router to view the video feeds online or on your computer. Not a hotspot but a hardwired Internet connection.
Here is my review I wrote when I first got the cameras:
* The system was easy to set up. plug in and you are done (update: unless the cameras go offline...be prepared to climb the ladder and make sure you have a mini screwdriver and paper clip with you)
* The picture is VERY clear. with the interior camera you have to have light on when the room is dark in order to see anything because they only work in lit areas....the exterior cameras are normal color in the day and b/w at night or in low light/dark situations
* The video feed is very good quality and clear as heck.(update but not if you have an indoor camera pointing out the window....you won't see jack at night)
* You can set the camera up to send you alerts and this is very handy if you have email that goes to your cellphone, even handier if you also have Internet access on your phone. From the software go to settings and alerts. In there you can check the box to send you alerts. What happens now is you get an email that says you have some activity and in the email is a snapshot of what set the camera off. If it looks like something you want to check out then there is a link that will take you to the specific feed for that alert on the Internet. Very cool. (update: but you can't review anything but a live feed if you don't pay the annual $80 fee)
* the interior camera is great for monitoring the kids. I have it mounted on the ceiling so they cant reach it and when they are in the room they constantly look at the camera, so it helps modify their behavior.
* You get to see what is going on around your property when you are not home. Just go to youtube and search for surveillance and you will see lots of videos where people recorded surprising things. (update: unless they steal your camera...then the video is gone for good)
* You can map out areas in the photo where you want the motion detector to react BUT you have to do it in squares and rectangles not round or freestyle areas.
* If you catch action close to the camera you cannot decipher a face clearly. Having a little distance between the proposed subject and the camera works better. i put my camera by my door on the eaves about 4' away and that is good... originally it was 2' away and all I got was blurs. You can always put the cameras far away and zoom in if you want to always record closeups.
* Sometimes normal walk speed close to the camera makes you catch a blurrrr instead of a person so I wish the camera had the ability to playback in slow motion. (update: you can slow the video feed down by adjusting the controls on the circle around the play button)
* If you point an interior camera outside you are only going to get a good picture in the day. At night forgetaboutit. Keep that in mind when deciding interior vs exterior. The ads say you can use an indoor camera and point it outside. I found that if the cameras are for outside use you should only buy outdoor cameras. I had to replace one of my indoor cameras for an outdoor because I could not see anything at night. I would recommend ALL nightvision cameras even if they are going to be in the house.
* The camera(s) records and stores all motion triggered activity no matter if you have the PC on or off,, ON THE CARD in the camera. Key words in that sentence is "on the card in the camera".
* I have concerns about the security. If someone snatches the camera down and they take the camera they have also taken all video proof. No way to recover it unless it is saved on your computer and your computer has to be on at all times for it to download to the computer.
* To review and save all recorded activity you must start the PC. You can't leave the computer on to wake when there is some activity (to record it) because it won't wake the computer. Someone said you can access it from work by using LogMeIn. I will not do that because then everything on your computer will get backed up on your work's servers as soon as you log into logmein from the job. I don't have anything to hide, it's just a matter of privacy. I don't want my job having access to video feeds in and outside of my house.
* All cameras have to be on the same line in the electrical circuit breaker box. usually not a problem but in older homes where the house has been added on and have more than one box. That's a problem.
* You can back everything up to the "cloud" but it only saves a day worth of video and you have to have the computer on for it to synch to the cloud. To save more than a day's worth you have to pay and I think the price is a bit steep. Logitech should give you a weeks worth of storage with the commander free. I pay $70 a year just to review and I can't save anything??? Not cool Logitech. And there should also be some way to save the video feeds remotely. Every time an alert goes out it should record the whole episode to the cloud. Oh and with the free cloud they offer you...it will not save an entire days worth of feeds so if you have any activity that goes beyond the free storage is deleted and therefor lost.
* You have to click every single option in the commander software to know what you can and can not do (including clicking advanced). I can see by the reviews that this is an issue because several people complain about not being able to do certain things and the options to do so are there. (ie adjusting the sensitivity, turning on the microphones, getting email alerts)
* There is a date and time stamp on the video feed but it is hard to decipher without looking real close. For instance my feeds say: BACKDECK_2011-11-25T10:43:16.351096-05:00 I deciphered from that the camera location, date, time and the video was 16 seconds long. not sure of the rest.
* You can not add other cameras other than Logitech Alert cameras to the system and use them with the included Alert Commander software. I have one other camera that I wanted to integrate and it wouldn't pick up in the software, and when I called, Logitech tech support said it can not be done. I tried downloading the Blue Iris software as suggested by another reviewer and it picked up my non logitech camera only. I gave up. Not even worth the frustration!!
* Read all the reviews as there is a lot of helpful information in here.
* If you see anything you want to save make sure you move that video feed segment into another folder. You have to go to my computer to do this. at the top of the feed is the date and time and you will have to go into the folder for that camera and find it. The file names correspond to the date and time. Don't make the saved clips folder in the camera folder or else it will count towards your storage space. I saved mines under the Logitech folder
* After you set up everything check out the email alerts, review video clips from your phone, go the the alert website and log in, check out things from there also. The last thing you want is to find out you don't know how to log in when you get an alert you want to check out. Make sure everything is set up correctly and avoid a panic attack later. LOL
* Also AFTER your cameras are set up, go to settings/security/advanced and click on secure local camera network and put in a password. why? well if you have an unscrupulous friend/jealous mate/nosey neighbor/or whatever they can download the Logitech software and if they are in range of your computer network they can wirelessly access your feeds and download them to their computer. In other words all they have to do is start the software on their laptop and all of your feeds will go to their computer. thats not cool at all.
* All of my exterior cameras had to be reset within a few days of being set up. If you see a red light on the bottom of the camera and it is either not saving the feeds or has a really crappy signal you have to take the camera down unplug the network cable, stick a pin in the hole, hold it for a few seconds and give it about 5 minutes for it to reset. I would not put the back screws back in until I was sure it was working. Its a pain to screw, unscrew,screw, unscrew,screw, unscrew,. You get the picture. I had to do this once for each of my cameras and had no problems since.
* Make sure you record the serial numbers of all your cameras. I took a photo of the serial numbers with my cell phone and saved them to my computer under the name of the camera, then emailed the photos to myself. If I am talking to tech suppoert and they ask me for the serial number I don't have to unmount the camera to get it, if my camera gets stolen I have the serial number to give to the police, if my computer gets stolen, I have the serial number photos in my email.
* I read where people said they wanted to hide their cameras around their property and I thought that was a good idea as well but I changed my mind on that. Why? Because when people know you have a camera on the property that knowledge is a big deterrent. I noticed that no one wants to be on camera.. I put the stickers by the front and back doors, on a no trespassing sign as you come on my property and on a no trespass sign at the back of my property. It has worked better than a fence. Also it is very clear and so I did not have to buy Logitech's $30 signs they want to sell you. Alarm companies give you a yard sign for free and Logitech should also give you one if you buy 3 or more cameras!
Would I recommend this system to anyone else? no
I have a friend who owns the Swann system sold by Bestbuy and he loves it. The biggest advantage Logitech has over it is that it is plug and play and wireless. (you can have someone set up a wired system by having all the wires in the attic and the cameras mounted on the house eaves. The advantage Swan has is that it is constantly recording and if you have a break-in they have to find the dvr and take it in order to steal the video... you don't have to have a router, and you don't have to constantly reset the cameras by climbing the ladders to get to them.