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on January 3, 2013
6/13/2013 UPDATED entire review based on latest firmware update


1. Video Performance is excellent due to using h264 compression. Even when on wireless and running at 720p @ 30fps I get smooth motion
2. Web User Interface. Excellent! Very fast and easy to use and most importantly clean looking. You can toggle IR on/off.
3. Colors appear accurate
4. Excellent coverage for built in IRs.
5. Wireless signal is excellent. I am about 20 feet away with several walls on the way from the router and get strong signal. There has been numerous issues with WiFi disconnection in earlier builds, but this should be addressed in .12. It also depends on the router that you are using and I have not had disconnect issues with Netgear R6300.
6. Built in speaker is a nice feature to have, but see cons
7. Lens angle is good at ~70 degrees, I rarely us PT feature in cameras, so extra degrees always nice to have, but extra angle come with slight distortion at the edges.
8. Image masking is working well
9. Works in IE/Chrome very well after downloading browser extensions.
10. Setup was straightforward
11. Works well with IPCamViewer for Android. Most functions can be controlled via app.
12. You can upgrade lens on this camera. Although it will void warranty.
13. Able to set default position after restart with the firmware update
14. Using IPCamViewer for Android app and it supports all camera functions needed.
15. RTSP stream is now available after firmware .11.

1. Most important thing on any camera is the image quality and I really had high hopes for this one. Prior to the firmware update (2/1/13) I was highly disappointed with the image quality but Foscam has listened to the feedback and addressed IQ starting with firmware .10. It's not a groundbreaking improvement but for the price of this camera it's decent
2. Expected from the specs, but lens is not bright enough (F2.4 aperture) for night time viewing through the window without IRs. My Zavio F3206 with F1.8 aperture can handle this much better. Obviously if you do turn IRs on the camera and try to see through the window you won't be able to see anything at all. The workaround for me was to buy external IRs (about ten bucks) and put them outside the window. (UPDATE: You can upgrade lens yourself)
3. Limited video settings (can't do custom exposures) so not much image control other then color, brightness, sharpness.
4. 2 LEDs in the back camera that you can't turn off. I had to put a black tape over it.
5. Manual focus ring a bit difficult to turn and because there is latency on the displayed image it will take a few tries to get the picture perfectly in focus
6. Zoom up/down (should be called Zoom in/out) is a bit difficult to use. You have to right click on the image and then select zoom in/out and there is no control over how much you can zoom. So you have to click 52 times (yes I counted) if you want to zoom in all the way in and again 52 times to zoom all the way out. It should really be a slider on the left where all other image control settings.
7. Can't seem to purge the log it creates which is in just couple of days already at 14 pages. Clear/Reset button would've helped.
8. Issues with sending motion detection emails, it works a bit better in latest update, but still needs work
10. Update .10 Added mjpeg stream via url, unfortunately it's limited to VGA@15 fps.
11. Camera will not work in mobile browsers (iPad, iPhone, etc...). You have to utilized apps for that.
12. Camera is actually larger then most other PT cameras and I really don't like the design.
13. Can't control volume on speaker or microphone

1. Prepare to deal with the firmware issues. There are a lot of features that are either incomplete or don't work as advertised, before buying this camera visit Foscam forum to read the feedback. I am personally sticking with the camera in hopes that Foscam will address all major issues in future updates
2. As of firmware update .12 & .13 camera doesn't work with hidden wireless SSID. It appears it worked in .10 update
3. Camera occasionally locks up

MY IP CAM BACKGROUND: I've been testing various "HD" (at least 1MP) IP cameras over the years from brands such as Axis, Trendnet, Edimax, Zavio, Dlink and Zyxel, but stayed away from Foscam mainly because it had low resolution sensor and awful looking web interface. Foscam changed this with the introduction of FI9821W. Overall this is an ok entry to "HD" PT camera for the price.

SETUP: Setup itself is not much different then any other IP camera on the market. If you never done this before probably best to contact technical support to save you from frustration, but if you setup IP cameras in the past it should be no brainier. First connect the camera to the router using the Ethernet cable, insert the included CD in your PC and use the search tool to get the IP address and Port of the camera. Double clicked on the IP address found with the search tool which will open up a browser. You will need to install plugin/extension/activex control (depending on the browser) before you can see live image. Login with admin account. The rest of the settings needs to be customized to your preference and if you don't know what you are doing again I would suggest to get in touch with the technical support. At the very least you could go to wireless settings and connect to your wireless network.

CONCLUSION: I think this camera will deserve a solid 4 when they finally address most of the issues. When I bought this camera I couldn't find anything else for the price with the feature and extra resolution and Foscam has been consistently releasing firmware update that addressed some of the concerns, including image quality.

Review based on firmware

Other cameras that I use:
My current favorite camera is Zavio F3206. It has bright lens and full 1080p resolution, doesn't have IRs though or PT, but picture and bright wide angle lens make up for it. Also, I use Edimax 7110PTn & 3115n. First one is PT camera like this one, colors are not that great, but has been a solid camera for baby monitoring and cheap 3115 is actually pretty decent one too for day light indoor monitoring. Dericam H502W is a good alternative but image quality a bit lower then on FI9821.
6565 comments| 356 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 16, 2013
I do a lot of product reviews and I purchase a lot of stuff here on Amazon. How do I know mostly of the 5 star reviews are fake? Easy...

1-click on "customer reviews"
2-Sort them by "newest first"
3-Right after the reviewer's name there is a link that says "see all my reviews", here you will see they have only reviews 1 product, theirs!. Nobody else's
4-Go on check the people that actually REALLY wrote a 2,3 or 4 star reviews that go really in depth. Click on their "see all my reviews", here you will see they have reviewed other products in the past. Those are legit!
5-I actually own a Foscam FI8910W and actually like, I'll write my review tomorrow.
7-Foscam, stop buying "customer reviews" from external websites that offer that service (yup, just did some research on this), or telling your employees to to post fake reviews. This is really dishonest as a lot of people rely on honest reviews to make their purchases.
8-Amazon, reviews should only be aloud for "verified purchases" only, that will greatly minimize these fake reviews.
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
on February 15, 2013
I've worked over two weeks on this thing and I'm totally disgusted.
I need 4 cams. I purchased and installed the cousin to this, two Fi8910W that work quite well except they are designed for a lower resolution. This (Fi9821W) camera works 'pretty well' as long as you don't try to use the Internet to access it. Staying BEHIND the (Ethernet Hard Wired) router most of the features work but not all. Wireless will bring up all kinds of problems with freezing and dropouts, so be ready.

Unlike their counter part camera I named, this one has 'two' ports (88 and 888) that need to be 'forwarded' through my router which is actually easy after a little education on port forwarding.

I updated the firmware to the latest which now seems to be removed from the manufacture's website. There is Firmware updates for Fi9820W but not for this one (Fi9820(1)W. The tech support seems like they are working hard to kill the bugs reported (and there is a lot) but it looks like this model should have never been released.

I like the higher resolution Image but I can live with 640x480 the cheaper and 'debugged' model has PLUS they are EASY to set up. My App for a smartphone won't work this camera but does with the other two. I've tried 4 different apps.

This camera doesn't seem to register itself with the included (DNS service which is free) that allows global connection from any Internet browser anywhere in the World. However my (cheaper) Fi8910W cams do just that but not this one.

I recommend folks bypass this specific model (Fi9821W) and go with their much cheaper Fi8910W model.

Foscam should be hanging their heads on pushing this on the market too soon. There will be a Foscam apology (watch the replies to comments here) and an offering to make things right and offer tech support, etc. etc... They are quite nice in this area. This camera will be pulled off line and I'll watch for a firmware update and try it again. They have a Forum that I wish I had found first that is full of complaints over this model.

Oh, there are problems between browsers, Firefox (latest Version) will load the EXTENSION they call a 'plug in' but when I access the camera it says to download the 'plug in' and I already have the EXTENSION add-on.So I have to use Internet Explorer if I want to use this cam but the other two named above work with either browser. No problem with the other two models that work with both browsers.

For info, for new folks: There is a web server inside each camera and you access that server's webpage to operate the camera. The camera can operate wireless (Wi-Fi) or with an Ethernet cable plugged into your router. Needless to say the smoother images are the hard wire setup.

Skip this one and go with another version (from the same company). This one is NOT ready.

Update Aug 2013: Be aware there is a newer version called "FI9821W Version 2" (I don't have one). It has a wireless setup button under the antenna otherwise it's a Version 1 which does not display any version. Mine are all the old 'no version' aka Version 1.
The firmware updates are different so use caution updating and you may want to go with the newer Version 2 if purchasing a new camera. I will wait for the Foscam FI9826 camera that has an optical 3x zoom lens to become available.
Remember you CAN FOCUS the camera lens by simply rotating it while watching a monitor. I have one camera that keeps changing focus (slightly) on its own while the other 3 I have don't. Strange is the world of Foscam.
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on January 15, 2013
First off, I own many Foscam IP Camera's and overall minus the lack of native SSL support they are great little cheap cameras for the price. This camera however is junk (at least mine was).

Setup was simple enough except Foscam is now introducing a new "Media Port" which means for port forwarding you now have to forward the new Media Port and HTTP port on your Firewall/SOHO Router (for TCP and UDP that is 4 ports total) per their new guide.

Now for the worst part.

When the device loses power it loses all of it's network settings.

After setting up devices for wireless I always cycle the power to ensure that after a power outage the device retains it's settings.

This camera did not, even worse, it would not let me reset it using the hard to toggle reset button on the bottom and many hard resets, so it is obvious my camera came with a defective reset button.

I then tried to figure out if it would just simply pull down another IP using DHCP but to my surprise it would not. I checked multiple times on my DHCP server and using Foscam's own IP Camera Tool (which I assume just uses Layer 2 Broadcasts to find all Foscam IP devices), I even went as far as to put the camera on a hub and attached another PC to the Hub and use Wireshark and at last, I could see it was not even sending network traffic, at all, nothing.

Reading the Foscam support forums people are having this and many other issues with Foscam support telling people to switch their Wireless networks from WPA/WPA2 (secure) to WEP (very insecure) which is unacceptable.

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on June 5, 2013
The good:
+ Great picture both day/night when there is no interference
+ Easy to swivel remotely
+ Good apps to control via iOS devices

The bad:
- Stopped working after 2 months; tech support said to return it, but it's outside Amazon's return window
- Picked up lots of audio/video interference regardless of where it was located in the house
- SD Card does not work with current firmware
- Email alerts never worked

This product is not ready for the public. I ignored all the bad reviews and now I'm out the cash for this product. Even after updating the firmware it was never fully capable of doing what it was advertised to do. Why put an SD Card slot on there and advertise the capability if it does not work? I should have returned it when I figured out it wasn't ready, but I kept hoping for a new firm ware release that would fix everything, unfortunately the camera died before it ever came. Do yourself a favor and go read the Foscam forums and you'll get all the information I wish I'd had to know to steer clear of this.
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on April 25, 2013
If you click on "see all my reviews" next to the persons who are leaving it all they have is one review for all of these
so be very cautious before buying

Read my comment updated! good camera after all....sometimes ya gotta roll the dice
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on February 7, 2013
This camera is about twice of the price of the F18 model cameras, I would not recommend this camera for the time being untill they fix a number of open issues.

I have two of the F18 mpeg cameras and have been pleased with them. I wanted one that would have a better resolution so I bought a F19821 and it was a huge step backwards. I have been playing with the F19 for about a week now and it should of never been shipped in the state it is in.

1) They changed the web interface, which in itself not bad, but took a while to figure out where certan settings were located. When reading the users manual, the description on some of the settings did not make sense.

2)The thing was buggy, it would not email the alarm pics, not matter what I did. You could not view any of the videos it would save.

3) If you use the builtin multicam and have any of the F18... cameras, they appear all washed out as if the brightness is incorrect. If you go to the F18 camera and decrease the brightness the video on the F18 will become to dark to see, but on the F19 the video will then look fine. If you share the video between the F18 cameras they look fine.

I upgraded the camera with a new version of the firmware which fixed a number of the issues I was seeing. However the brightness problem with shared video has not been fixed and now the Wifi network which was working before does not work reliable. If I have it next to my router it will work, but once I take it to another part of the house, I can get partly connected to it, but it will never connect completely. I even placed it next to one of my existing F18 cameras and the performance of the F19 was terrible.

Tech support comes from China, so don't always expect an answer that always makes sense.

FYI: I had put one of the cameras in a window looking outside, video was usable and made me realize how dirty my windows were. However don't expect the IR to work when it gets dark as it just reflexes off the window and you can't see anything.
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on January 11, 2013
I have set up Foscam Fi8910W with ease to be viewed via LAN and WAN.
But this camera just does not function as advertised. I spent five hours messing with it to try and get it to show up via WAN. A person should not have to do that with a product. Due to the issues it has, it appears to have been rushed to market. See the Forums for more information.
The camera was never viewable via WAN with a static IP address, even with port forwarding set correctly. It was only viewable via local LAN IP address.
The camera dropped off the wi-fi network, and then would reappear again on it's own.
The camera would lose date and time when rebooted.
The camera was not viewable using the Foscam Pro iOS software.
There was nothing but frustration trying to get it to work.

I am giving it two stars because when viewed via LAN on web browser, the feed was clear and controls were usable.

But if you want this for external viewing via WAN or via your iOS device, I'd wait several months for all the software and IP bugs to get worked out.

I am returning this item to for a refund and will purchase the FI8910W. That camera image is just fine, and it sets up and operates as it should.
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on March 18, 2014
I just got this today from Amazon hoping that the quality of video would be better than the one i have FI8910W but what a waste of time! I am returning this right away. This is the second foscam that I am returning because another one i had kept disconnecting from wireless and it came on once a day and would go offline and I would have to unplug and plug power on again and it was very annoying.
As for this model, as soon as I plugged it in, it was not showing up on my phone. The IPCam plugin will not install on IE. What kind of product doesnt support all browsers including 64bit? And what is up with the 5 star fake reviews of all the AWESOME CUSTOMER SUPPORT with their full name? That is VERY ANNOYING! I understand this is made by a Chinese company but selling it in US, at least the user manual can be DETAILED! and please sell product that actually works and after it has been tested! Very disappointing.
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on February 14, 2013
Received 2 of these 720p cameras. Only worked with wire and not wireless no matter what. Tried calling the company over half a dozen times, and waited over half hour each time, but no luck on even talking to anyone. Then I emailed their support team but no response either. Picture was good though.
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