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Does what it promises, but OLD technology
on June 25, 2013
Whether you're happy with this or not depends on your expectations. I guess if you come from the old-school technology world it's just fine; but for me coming from the modern digital world, I found a number of aspects unsatisfactory and wish I'd know about them earlier.
Don't be fooled by the use of an SD card. At its heart this is old school technology. The CCD is 640x480, not high-def, and in low-light it shows the characteristic noisy artifacts of old school CCDs. There is no built-in display, rather you set it up (and view it if you wish) by connecting an old-school video cable (no HDMI here) sending an NTSC or PAL signal over the wire. Configuration is done using 5 small buttons on the back and will take you back to the days of configuring VCRs or similar consumer electronics in the early 80s --- the sparse display, the clicking of buttons in some non-obvious way to get anything to happen.
The biggest problem with this scheme is that when you want to mount the box, you will have to make allowances for some way to run the video cable from where the box is to a TV in order to see that it has view of the area that you want. This may not be a problem if you plan to have it connected to a TV full-time, and are running cable through a wall or whatever, but it's a big problem if, like me, your plan is to use it essentially as an on-going recorder, and to only need to view the footage in the (hopefully unlikely) case of an incident.
The other worrying aspect about this being old school tech onto which modern technology has been crudely bolted is that I have no reason to believe that the recording to the SD card is done by code in any way written by someone who understood the relevant issues. What you would like in this scenario is the use of an extremely careful file system which ensures that under no circumstances will the file system and files ever be corrupted (even if the bad guys yank power from the device as soon as they see it). This device appears to promise nothing of the sort --- the manual specifically includes warnings about how you can corrupt the SD card is you do things in the wrong order, like remove power before telling it to stop recording. I mean, WTF? The single most likely response to the device being discovered is having its power yanked, and you're telling me that in that case all bets are off and its recording may be useless?
Bottom line is that if you were hoping for a security box appropriate for 2013, this is a disappointment. It does what it promises to do, the old-school stuff, fine; but its pretensions of being relevant to the computer age are just pretensions.
One final point to keep in mind is that the box is bigger than it looks, in particular it is quite a bit deeper than it seems from the photos, and the mounting system adds another two inches or so to its depth. It doesn't mount flush against any wall!
The mounting bracket is superficially nice --- it allows for a fair bit of tilting the camera angle. However it is tightened simply by twisting a handle as tightly as you can, and to my eye looks like it will wear itself loose and have to be retightened every few months. I do wish a slightly more robust mount had been included --- this always seems to be where device makers skimp.