192 of 197 people found the following review helpful
Great system, just a few flaws,
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This review is from: Logitech Alert 700i Indoor Add-On HD-Quality Security Camera (961-000330) (Electronics)
I try to keep up writing reviews for products I buy, especially the items that I myself do a lot of research on, before buying. So I'll break this down as best I can. I live in a 2-story, 2800 square foot home. And for the longest time, I've wanted a surveillance system to make me feel safe both when I am at home and away. The Logitech camera system and software does it right, with only a few minor issues, and I stress minor.
I have an Apple router but run Windows 7 on my PC; I'm also using the free application on my iPhone. I had zero problems with the software install, even when it came to Window's firewall. I'm currently running 2 indoor cameras and 1 outdoor camera...but, I actually plan on using nothing but outdoor cameras for my entire system (to include for inside surveillance). And that's about the only real issue I have with the system. The indoor camera works awesome and does what it should. It delivers good quality color video and even over the iPhone application or over the web (from Logitech's website), all of my friends all have said, "Wow, that looks awesome!" BUT, and it's a big BUT, once the sun goes down, the indoor cameras are very limited. Shy of the bad guy turning on all of the lights in my house, then committing his crime, the indoor camera is of little use during nighttime hours. And at first, I was okay with that because I'm home at night and it's actually the daytime when nobody is home. But then I bought the outdoor Logitech camera and WOW, what a difference because it holds the very same quality as the indoor camera, but also does a phenomenal job at night. So with that, I'm going to return the indoor cameras and use the outdoor cameras for outside as well as inside. But I still want to give my review on the indoor camera as I've been using it for about a month now.
Color Quality. Again, great color quality. Even using the digital zoom, I was impressed at how good it looks. My wife being the glass half empty type of person commented that you can't see the face of the person all that well. But my reply was - but you can sure as heck see his race, clothing description, weight, height, hair color and most importantly you can see if he is or isn't wearing gloves...hence, you could see clearly where he may have left evidence (fingerprints, DNA, etc).
Included 2GB media card. This is a great feature!! This means that if bad guy breaks in and thinks he's outsmarting you by stealing your computer (with the footage of him), you can still revert back to the camera itself to retrieve the footage saved to the media card. Another great thing about the camera media card is that your home computer does not need to be always on to be recording. For example, my computer goes into sleep mode after about an hour of inactivity. So if my computer is in hibernate mode for a full day, the cameras are still recording footage and will sync to my computer when it awakes. For it to work seamless, I just leave the Logitech software running in the task bar (background).
Software. Logitech did it right with the software. It was a very easy install, features are clear and I love that you can customize each camera you have on your network. For example, out of the 3 cameras I have, I only want 1 of them to send off text message alerts. Again, it's nice that the alerts are not just a system feature, but rather an individual camera setting. You can also adjust the duration of alerts to save yourself from getting thousand texts. For me, a 5 minute window is perfect, just as long as I get the initial text, I wouldn't be concerned about getting 20 more in under a 5 minute or however long of a window you choose. I also like the way the software saves all of the recorded video. With 3 cameras going, I've been getting a lot of recorded footage. The software not only allows you to use choose a given date and time to research, but if you were to search out for that file in Windows explorer, the software does a great job by saving the footage under the name of camera (for example "Living Room"), then the month (10 for October), then the day within that month. Being a police officer, I really like that if I had to turn over crucial footage (if my home was burglarized, etc), all of the footage would have clear a folder structure and time stamp that would make sense to any other investigating officer.
Alerts. This feature sealed the deal for me buying this system to begin with. You select a zone in which if motion occurs, an alert will be sent. For example, although my camera has a pretty wide shot of my living room to include front door, my only concern is if movement is picked up at the front door. Once motion is detected, a text message is sent to my phone. The alert text message is awesome; it says what camera picked up what motion and at what date and time...simple and efficient. BUT, I will mention alerts in the Cons section, so please read on.
Camera size. Again, I have both the indoor and outside camera and was very impressed by how small they were. I also lucked out that I have power sources on top of my potter shelves, so I was able to plug in the cameras without any wires being run down walls, etc. And because the cameras are small, I've actually told friends that I have the cameras and it still took them a while to actually figure out where.
The "wow" factor. I'll admit it, I'm that guy who loves his tech toys, who loves showing off new technology and how I make it work for my family's safety. The first day when I showed all of my police friends the system, everyone was amazed. I should get a kick back from Logitech on all of the potential customers I made for them. Being able to open the iPhone app and show my friends that I have 24/7 surveillance of my home, felt very cool. The iPhone app also works very well over 3g cell service (not just wi-fi).
Price. Well I mentioned the "wow" factor when I showed off the system to my friends. Well, I got the same expression when I told them how much. For me to get 6 cameras, all of them being the outdoor cameras, is a bit pricey. But, I will say that the software being free is nice. It's also nice to know that each camera comes with that 2GB media card (another plus that make the high costs seem understandable). And although I'm not that interested in audio, again, if you're going to pay the big bucks for a camera, at least it gives you color and audio as an option.
Night time quality. Again, if all you care about is crystal clear footage in the daytime, then the indoor camera is for you. But for me, I began to get frustrated that for so much money, I was only getting daytime footage. For a bit more money per camera, I feel that it was well worth it, to be able to see what's going on in my home 24/7.
Logitech server. This is a tough one to explain, but I'll do my best. When you install the cameras and software, the alert system is dependent on Logitech's servers / service. In the month that I've been using the camera, I only had 1 time that their servers went down. In that time, the cameras in my home were recording as they should BUT the alert notification system will not work if Logitech's service is down or disrupted. Although it was only down for a few hours, I was still very unpleased given the fact that the alert system is what it's all about. I don't want to come home to find my house has been burglarized and didn't get a text because the servers were down. Instead, I want to get a text message telling me someone is there, that way I can call the police and increase my chances of getting the suspect while he is still in the residence. The alert service has only been disrupted once, but makes me nervous for what's to come down the road as these cameras begin to sell.
Alerts. Again, read my Pros section about the alert function. Where I had a problem is how long it can take to get the alert text message. I've done some very extensive testing and it ranges between 40 seconds to 4 minutes from when my phone gets the alert text message. Now 4 minutes may not seem like a long time, but a skilled criminal can do A LOT in just a few minutes. I'm not too happy about the variations on alert times, especially since there appears to be no rhyme or reason as to why sometimes I get the notification in under a minute, but other times over 3 minutes. Clearly, it has to do with Logitech servers.
Plug outlet requirements. Although I get why you have to plug in your unit to the actual wall, it doesn't mean I have to like it. It's been a little bit of a challenge with some of my cameras to find a good discreet location coupled with having an available outlet there. I'm guessing that at some point, Logitech will begin selling overpriced extension cords or power bars that allow the cameras to work even without being directly plugged into the wall. I believe a read few reviews from people that have done this though; I would live to get their reply or feedback in this review thread.
Thanks for reading!
******Updated Review****** 12/19/11
So after more than a year of owning these surveillance cameras, I wanted to update my review.
Originally I purchased the indoor cameras, however, quickly realized that the outdoor cameras are your best bet - even if the cameras are all for the inside of your home. I still strongly stand behind that assertion. After a year, I've upped my system to 4 outdoor cameras that are placed in and outside of my home.
I have to say that after a full year, I'm still very happy with the system and I use it every day. One aspect of the system that did get a welcomed update is the iPhone / iPad application. The best part of the updated app is the ability to see all of your cameras' viewpoint without having to selectively choose each camera. Although I would regularly use TeamViewer to remote into my home computer in order to toggle on / off the `Alert' settings, I ended up caving and buying the 80-buck a year subscription that allows the iPhone app to quickly turn the alerts on or off. What's nice about the alert system is that you can selectively leave an alert on per camera. For example, I leave my alert on for our garage camera 24/7, versus only turning the alerts on for the other inside cameras.
Although 80 bucks a year is a lot, I find it to be money well spent - if not for the convenience alone of having the ability to playback footage from either a computer with Internet connection or my iDevice.
In the last year, I've recommended this system to ALL of my law enforcement friends and they too have been pleased with the product. Although I think some of them haven't found the software setup as easy as I did. So if you're reading this Logitech, feel free to throw a brotha a free camera, haha (just kidding - well maybe not all the way kidding).
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Showing 1-10 of 37 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 19, 2011 12:19:42 PM PST
Mary Snare says:
Posted on Mar 31, 2011 4:15:55 AM PDT
Michael A. Chavez says:
I am hoping you could answer this simple question for me real quick, do you or don't you need to have a computer present to record the footage. I am looking for a security camera for my bedroom when I am not there and I'll probably have my laptop with me.
Thanks for your review. It was very helpful.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2011 8:40:48 AM PDT
W. Nichols says:
Not sure how this rambling dissertation really applies to the overall review that I wrote. Sounds like your comments should be directed to Logitech.
In reply to an earlier post on Mar 31, 2011 8:46:03 AM PDT
W. Nichols says:
Mike, thanks for reading. Yes, I have a computer running Windows 7 that has the Logitech software installed. You would still be able to access the web footage from you laptop from anywhere in the world with an Internet connection, but you would first have to install the software on a computer inside the residence where the cameras are. What's nice about the software is even if my computer sleeps or is turned off, the camera's still record footage. When the computer gets turned back on, all of the recorded footage syncs to the computer. You can choose how much footage you wish to archive; I chose 160GB which on average allows me to go back 4 months on all of my cameras.
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 10, 2011 6:07:19 PM PDT
NO - I run my system without the computer. Once it is set up you just need to have 110 volts for the receiver and camera and a connection to the router. I am away for months at a time and even if you lose power everything boots up again.
Posted on Sep 14, 2011 1:28:53 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Sep 14, 2011 1:34:33 AM PDT
I have been researching this system all evening. I thought I had satisfactory answers for all my questions and was about to order, but then I read these comments and suddenly I have a real show stopper of a question. Can someone please tell me if the Powerline Adapter can be plugged into a power bar or extension cord? My impression from some of the comments here is that the Powerline Adapter MUST be plugged directly into a dedicated wall outlet. Is this true? I'm an IT consultant, so the majority of this system will be no problem for me, but this is my first exposure to electrical wiring network nodes. I will need to install three cameras around my garage. There is only one outlet available, so I was really counting on being able to use a power bar or two.
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2011 2:16:51 AM PDT
B. Nukic says:
I tested it in both wall and extension cord and there were no problems
In reply to an earlier post on Nov 2, 2011 5:10:57 PM PDT
Since I originally made this post I have moved ahead with deployment of five of these cameras, with plans for a sixth. The software can be just a little squirrely at times (in fact the only weak spot in the system as I see it), but overall I'm very very pleased with the system. While I have been fortunate enough to find actual wall sockets for all of my existing cameras, I have also tested with a normal extension cord just in case I should foresee that situation coming in the future. It worked just fine. I would not plan for nor use a power strip nor surge suppressor as there is really no need to when a simple, "no frills," much cheaper extension cord will do the job, and likely even better due to its simplicity. After all, it has no extra voltage control nor filtering features, simply a literal extension of the wall socket itself. I can see why Logitech would add a caveat about extension cords, power strips or surge suppressors as a CYA measure for warranty reasons, but I wouldn't worry in the least about a simple extension cord if it is an absolute must.
Posted on Feb 12, 2012 2:43:23 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 12, 2012 2:46:45 AM PST
Mikey z says:
I use the same system but only have 2 outdoor cameras, only have one set up just got the other one in the mail aweek or so ago, but as you said the outdoor camera's are better, I also have the indoor wilife camera's that are in the windows looking out there nice too, but only in the day time, but I'm selling them and going with all the alert camera's, if I can fine someone to buy them, if anyone would like to see them in the day time I can give you my password to see them on any computer like windows 7, like I'm using, I'm asking 300.00 for the two wilife indoor camera's USA only..
In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2012 4:37:27 PM PST
Hi Mikey - Depending on what models you have I may be interested in buying them from you. I also have some questions about the WiLife gear that I'm sure you can answer. I don't see a way to contact you through your profile, so let's figure out a way to discuss.