on March 27, 2012
Let me begin by saying that I have used this camera every day for the past 10 months. When you read other reviews from folks that have had the camera for a few days please note the credibility of their review.
I will not bore you with hundreds of words involving detailed analysis and personal opinions - I will make this as short and sweet as I can.
Where and how this camera is being used: My wife operates a home based business with an entrance in the rear of our home. She needs to see the driveway so she knows when clients and others are in our driveway, coming and going with their children. It is primarily used in the daytime, but often times when it is dark as in the winter months. She views the camera image from her laptop and other computers in the home. Some using wireless and some hard wired.
The camera is easy to set up. I am using this camera with a POE switch (purchased separately), after poor performance with the Powerline Network Adapter. This camera is now on a gigabit network with a CAT6 cable. The software is OK, but for more functionality go out and buy Blue Iris software instead.
When the camera is connected to the software it gives a great image, the sound is adequate and motion detection is good as well. The lens has a wide angle view to it and I can see all of my 3 car driveway with it mounted under the soffit on one of the outside corners. The bracket is OK, but not real sturdy. You will need to modify the seal on the access door if you want to use a regular network cable.
The problem is the camera will not stay connected. It drops out and usually comes back in a few minutes, but not all the time. This happens randomly almost every day. Go ahead and Google this problem, you will find it is quite common.
New problem this week: the night vision is no longer working. Tech support is giving me the runaround even though it is under warranty. I do not have time for this and will simply go out and buy a better camera.
My home network is fine and functions well. I am an IT professional that works with business networks daily, so it is not my home network or wiring causing the issue.
The other feature that I think this camera lacks is a web based management interface. Unless you have a DHCP server at home you cannot assign a static IP address.
My summary opinion: I would not recommend this product. Not worth the money I paid for it. Take a look at Trendnet cameras or another manufacturer with higher reliability.
Cheers from Minnesota!
I started out back in the end of April trying to find some security camera to monitor problems I had with some neighbors. My first one was the Logitech indoor one, figuring I'd just hang it in the window on that side of the house and that would be sufficient. But my initial attempts met with failure, and disappointment on a number of levels. I wrote a 2 star review of the indoor master system because of the things that just didn't work. I tried three other systems after that, all ending even worse. About the time I was trying the fourth system, I received an email from the guy in charge of their quality division saying he had seen my review and wanted to know if I was willing to try again, since they wanted to use the problems I had to help them tweak things and deliver a better product. The fact that he contacted me simply because of the review I wrote intrigued me, and since I was not at all satisfied with any of the other systems I tried, I gratefully accepted the offer of help. So I picked up another system, this one their External master system. I went through the setup the same way I did the first time, and hit almost all of the same problems. Errors about updates and unable to get to the internet from the software, problems with the iPhone and iPad apps not connecting right, and the fact that I use my media center computer as the "master" that gets all the recordings, but still wanted to view it from another PC that ended up mucking up some things. But they helped walk me through the issues one by one, and got the system up the way I wanted it. The update problem turned out to be something they heard about from a few other people, and said that just renaming the folder for now that had the update program in it would alleviate the errors, and that they were working on a resolution for it for the next software version. They then walked me through some changes to the INI file on my second PC so that I could use it to view things without having it interfere with anything, since the cameras get their settings, download the video files, and everything based on the PC that touches them. I tried to minimize the problem by basically duplicating everything exactly with my second computer but that actually caused as many issues as it prevented. By basically nulling out everything I could in the INI file now, I can connect to the system without it causing the problems it was.
They didn't do anything specific for the iPhone issues I had, but over the course of a few days, eventually it started working more often than not, and the troubles I had were enough for them to graciously put me into their beta testing for the next version, which I am running now and is night and day compared to the old version, both in options as well as in reliability.
One trick I ended up learning - when adding a second PC, don't set up as a site, even a site with the same name. You can cancel that part and just view then. If you don't, like I didn't the first time, you'll end up with a second "site" on the logitech alert website when you view your cameras. I was seeing two sites, both named the same, but only one with cameras. It took a bit of beating up but finally I was able to remove that second null site.
I had a problem with the base module that plugs into the switch actually causing a broadcast storm or something since after it was running for 18 hours or so, everything on my home network would no longer work, although my VOIP phone system did. That was the only thing going straight into the router though, not into the switch everything else collapses into. As soon as I unplugged the network cable from the switch, everything started working again and a quick power cycle of the network piece of the Logitech setup would let it work again for another 18 or so hours. They promptly sent me a replacement and had me ship mine back to them for testing, and it has not happened again.
The cameras run a bit more toasty than I would've been comfortable with normally, but even the three I have outside now, in the 100 degree weather we've had recently, have had no problems. I'm even thinking it might help me in the winters, if the heat is enough to dissipate any snow that ends up on them... :)
The night vision is quite impressive, although the detail isn't as good as it is during the day. But it's easy to see and recognize people even from 30 feet away as they walk down the sidewalk here, although that recognition is mostly from size, shape, and movement recognition, not face. But close up the faces are easily visible and recognizable. The problem with night vision for me is bugs. Seems a lot of insects love the little red emitting spots on the front of the cameras, so they play havoc with the motion detection. If you leave it set to record during the night, you'll see a lot of bug activity. But i've also got some great shots now of lightning strikes nearby that I pulled from the recordings the cameras have made during storms at night, so it's not all negative. :)
Motion detection overall is really the biggest weakness it has I think. The majority of my recordings are things like bees flying past, or birds. There is an option for sensitivity, but it's never made any difference for my setup. The one thing I'm hoping for in a future upgraded software version is a way to specify the size of something to trigger the recording, so that the birds hopping slowly across my front lawn doesn't get the recording going every time, but the person does. Also, rain storms, headlights flashing across the lawn, or lightning all will trigger the recording. Even the reflection of a car on the wet sidewalk as it drives past will be recorded if it's in a motion zone.
Another nice bonus I hadn't known when I started was that the system will backfill a bit when recording is triggered, so when something crosses the motion detection zone, it'l actually also add to the recording about 5 seconds or so of the cache prior to the trigger activity. That way you can see what "lead up" to whatever happened within the motion zones, and it also does the same for after, giving a few more seconds after the motion zones have been left.
Since I have it running on my media center PC, one feature I like is that when it's open on the desktop, if you're using a camera with sound enabled, you hear the sound, but if you minimize it, it stops playback of the sound through your system - which is nice for someone like me that is using the system on the same thing they use to control their TV. Little touches like that really help show how much effort they've put into polishing this system. And the fact that I could email them saying "this is happening," and get a reply saying they've found whatever it is to be an issue, and are already addressing it for the next release...
In fact, the system has impressed me so much that I now have a total of four cameras on my system, three external and one internal. And it is amazing how much of a deterrent they are for the stupid actions of my neighbors. After getting the first two cameras installed, my life here has become much more enjoyable just for that factor alone.
In the back and forth email correspondences I've had with two of the people involved with the product now, the things that aren't present or not quite what I would have preferred I've found are at least on the table for changes, if not already actively being changed. One of their big requests is an easy way to stop recordings. It's simple to stop the alerts and emails, but recordings you have to go and set the sensitivity all the way to Zero individually on each camera to disable them from recording motion. I was originally doing that every night just so I didn't have to watch the bugs when I went through the videos, but I'm hoping that since it's such a popular request that one of the feature enhancements in the future will be an easy way to set a schedule, so that, say, from 12 to 3 on Saturdays when I cut the grass it knows not to be throwing hundreds of files on my hard drive of me doing so. Another thing I would love to see is a way for another computer to view directly the feed without causing some of the issues I've hit because of the commander software trying to update settings in the firmware of the cameras. Although even better than that, would be a way for an iPhone or iPad to directly access it to view realtime, since with either the software or just a web browser, you're seeing a delayed feed due to the fact that the traffic has to pass from your site to the logitech servers, then to your device you are viewing with. So there's anywhere form a 5 to 10 second delay to as long as 35 seconds I hit one weekend. They've told me that the direct view from an iPad or iPhone is something they're considering. I hope that one becomes a reality since I think that would be a great feature. Another possibility they're talking about is a Mac version of the software, which I would like as well since I run the system on a Mac Mini that is running Windows 7 boot camp for my Media center, but I also have a new 15" Macbook Pro that I'd like to use more than just the web version on.
I spent about 2 1/2 months using the system and the default free web service, but I got on the $79 program a week or so ago, and have to say that I wish I had done so sooner. It made it so much better to be able to control everything from anywhere else. One of the nice things with the iPhone and iPad is that the software doesn't change, so you don't have to download another version. it simply offers the extra features if you subscribed to it, no new app needed. And even from a web page, you have pretty much all the control and settings options that you have from the commander software. It's very well done and certainly something I'll keep subscribing to as long as I have my system, especially if the newer versions have some of the fixes and additions I hope to see.
I love being able to see all around my house, in every direction, from the couch. And not just to see what is happening with the people and kids around here, but even for weather. We've had a lot of storms lately, and I can easily see when the bad stuff is heading this way from any compass point now through the cameras. It even helps at night when I'm laying in bed reading on my iPad and wonder if I closed the garage door or not. I just open the software on the iPad and take a look at the camera showing my driveway, since the field of view includes enough of the garage that I can see the bottom of the door if it's closed, or the seam in the garage if it's not.
And when I have it on my TV, it's easy to jump full screen for a nice shot of all four cameras at once, or just double click any of the camera views to bring that one full screen by itself. Double click again to go back to the four screen view, and pick another. Changing cameras positions in the grid display is as easy as simply clicking it and dragging it to another square.
Field of vision is very impressive, and the ability to zoom, pan, all digitally, so that people you may be monitoring aren't even aware of it, since there's no motor moving a camera around, no lens spinning as it zooms, like so many other systems out there had. I'm amazed at how much I can see to the sides, although there is the fisheye bending effect at the very edges of it.
If you have a camera that ends up out of time sync for some reason, the trick is to get onto the windows machine, go to the time settings, and if it wasn't already, set it to sync with an external internet time source. Close the Logitech Commander software, then do the "sync now" option. When it shows that it successfully synced the time, reopen the Logitech Commander software, and the camera should now be in sync again.
I have to say that the people at Logitech that I've dealt with have been top notch and helpful way above and beyond the call of duty. It was their initiative that got me to try the system again, and helped me work through my issues and concerns enough to now have four cameras going. I've got several clients (I build networks and support servers and such) that have seen me checking out things remotely and are interested as well now in using these, since the ease of using the electrical system in place of running coax cables is blatantly obvious to them.
I'm ultimately very glad that I had bad experiences with the other systems I tried, so that I did end up coming back to these logitech units. None of the software or features on the other units had the power and flexibility I have now. And if Logitech ups the ante by doing some of the things I'd like to see added, then it's going to put them so far out of reach of the competition that there will no longer even be a way to compare them to the others.
Edit - My comment about the idiots next door having stopped their depredations because of the cameras doesn't seem to hold as true anymore, evidently they read the review and today decided to be even more idiotic. I finally got tired, called the police, and their "but we didn't do anything but ride around" defense fell flat when I could show the police exactly what they were doing and saying for the last few hours. So while it may not have stopped the stupid behavior, at least it helped show it when needed for law enforcement.
Edit 6/10/2012 - I'm now up to six cameras, three externals, three internals with night vision as well. Really looks great on my 55" LED TV when I have the view maxed, like a nice high tech security center.
Edit December 2012 - Now there is a "Mac Commander" program so you can use these with a Mac system. There are some really nice improvements with the Mac version - you can "pop out" each camera and size it differently and float them at different points on the desktop - the Windows version is a fixed format, can't resize, only pick what shows and how they're laid out. More control immediately from the main window as well in the Mac version - what I absolutely HATE about it though is it does *NOT* connect locally to the cameras. For some unknown lame reason, Logitech has decided to force it to go out your internet to pull the video from *THEIR* servers - so your cameras are using bandwidth sending the video signal to Logitech, then you double that by pulling it back into your system. I don't know how much bandwidth they're using outbound, but inbound it sucks about 350Kb of bandwidth for me to watch the feed - and there's a 5 to 6 second delay as well. So without an internet connection working, you may be out of luck. They claim that it will fall back to a "local" connection if your internet is down, I haven't tested that out yet but will and report back here. But the whole "send the video to Logitech then send it back to the user" is just a total waste of bandwidth. I'd rather direct connect to the cameras with the Mac the way the Windows version does. Their plan is to move the Windows version to be like the Mac version so at some point, if you stay current, even the Windows version is going to waste bandwidth and force you to watch everything time shifted as well... I'll be sure I don't upgrade my Windows side that controls everything when they make that boneheaded move... Meanwhile the system is still working great and I absolutely love it.
on June 23, 2011
NB: LOGITECH DOES NOT SUPPORT THIS PRODUCT RUNNING ON AN APPLE COMPUTER. HOWEVER I'M RUNNING IT INSIDE OF A VIRTUAL MACHINE, VMware, ON AN iMAC. MOST OF THE ISSUES, EXCEPT FOR ONE ON WHICH I REPORT, HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS WAY OF RUNNING LOGITECH'S PROGRAM. ONE PROBLEM DID RESULT FROM MY COMPUTING ENVIRONMENT (the software update) AND LOGITECH'S SUPPORT PERSONNEL RESOLVED THAT FOR ME AND IT'S NO LONGER AN ISSUE (see emails below).
I'm going to mention mostly the negative things about this model; please look at the four and five star reviews on Amazon.com to find out what people say they like about the Logitech Alert 750e. I've had another brand of camera running for over a year now, the Aztak Mole, a WiFi camera, motion-sensing. I've tried several others in 2010 which I've returned because of poor ease of use, setup difficulty and other irritating features:
Foscam FI8908W Wireless IP Camera
Axis 207W Wireless Network Camera
This cam is hefty and if that's an indication that it's well made I probably believe it. It's pretty, too, and it has colored indicator lights that tell you what it's doing. That comes in handy if, for example it's mounted under the eves and you can see that from your window. The Hardware is very well thought out and plugging everything together took longer than in Logitech's promo video, only because I examined everything carefully and marveled at the attention to detail that is embodied in this product.
However... The screw-mounting hole on the case is not attached near the cam's center of gravity. So, if you want to use it, say, on a window sill using a small camera tripod (it fits), then the camera will tip over.
There is no paper manual. There is a quick start guide, which is well designed and was enough for me to plug things together. As for sitting down with a book and reading about the features and limitations before or during the use of the camera, forget it. There is a HELP feature - see below.
There was a glitch in an otherwise clean install. At one point the the software complained that it couldn't detect the camera. After wasting about half an hour, I saw an on-screen note that, for PoE cams, this message can be ignored. I didn't know what PoE cams are (I found out later), so I continued and everything went swimmingly.
TIME STAMP -
There is no time stamp on the images! -- this is one of the most important features a security cam should have, for legal reasons, amongst others; That's what I think. And it's almost impossible to tell what time a video was taken from the file names which the camera produces.
VIDEO ACCESS / QUALITY -
The picture quality (720x960) is good and there is some spherical distortion, as can be seen on the online adverts for this product. This is normal and can be expected for wide angle security cams.
The zoom is only 'digital', however -- it's not a real optical zoom. This means it only makes a subset of the image bigger, but the detail, the resolution, is as it was before the cropping and enlargement: enlargement are 'grainy' (as they often call that these days -- a term borrowed from film photography which actually had grains of silver halide on the surface of its film). This kind of zooming business ain't nothin' to write home about but this wasn't made more or less clear to me in the advertisement for the camera.
The current view is NOT shown when the cam is in replay mode, so you can't see what's going on, say, if a burglary is in progress, while playing the video -- until later. There's no option for that, although space is available if not all cameras are used. You'd have to pull up a web browser window to do that.
Resizing the picture area to be monitored (Zooming) carries along the active motion sites which have been outlined by the user, if any. It's desirable to select the motion-sensing area to omit triggering the camera due to the motion of leaves, for example, and this does the job at any magnification.
MOBILE DEVICE ACCESS -
It prevents access to your other security cams when trying to access them from a mobile device like an iPhone: I use Aztak Mole cameras in addition to this Logitech model. After I key in its URL, [...], sign in to see the camera's live view), I either get a screen from Logitech [sic] advertising 'Commander' software for sale or download, or I get a message saying that I can't connect to my Internet wirelessly! This happens with all the browsers I've tried - Safari, Opera and Terra. I hate this feature. Logitech should not block this Internet access from my iPad.
Logitech provides, for free download, its app for mobile devices and it works. It gives the save view and options (none) as when accessing the am cir a web page. In both instances however the pop-up message "Press to continue" appears, ad nauseam, so you can't sit back and enjoy the view as if you were watching some other thing on your computing device.
The iPod app downloaded (free) from Apple is made for a display the size the iPhone. When expanded on the iPad to full screen size the picture is of course quite low-res. If the this is an example of the software that Logitech sells as adjunct to the camera, then I don't want it. I've been afraid to buy it to try.
On the subject of browser access - I'm used to accessing the old (2010) Mole cam from my office via Internet Explorer or Opera or Mozilla, to view what happened - did the mailwoman leave a parcel on the stoop? Are the horses in the barn or are they out? That web based screen gives me the option of seeing previously taken pics stored on it's on-board SD card. You can't do that with this Logitech camera.
BAD HELP -
HELP tab in Logitech Alert Commander opens the familiar (Windows) help feature but using its SEARCH feature causes Logitech's system to stop responding: The message "Logitech Alert Commander Help (Not Responding)" obtains in the title bar at the top of its window. Next, the Help window itself grays out and then the perpetual revolving circle cursor appears whenever the mouse is hovers over this window or over the Logitech Alert Commander window.
Windows 7 offers an option to search for a solution to THIS problem, but when selecting that option Logitech Alert Commander commits Rapture -- it closes and one has to re-start it afresh.
The support web page at Logitech.com asks for a username and password, but it won't accept the one I've set up in the software and in product registration. After another laborious account setup procedure and after having to make up and remember yet another new password, all I got was a email: "Thanks for submitting your question. Use this reference number for follow up: #110615-003872". And that was four days ago.
A MAJOR Failing -
No Time Stamp appears on videos, as is featured in all security cams I've seen. From looking at a frame, one has no idea of when that picture was taken, not even approximately. The user-given name of the cam is identified, however, a small perk, since it's usually / often obvious from the scenery around one's house. When saving a frame from the playback, no time or location annotation appears in the resulting jpeg picture. You lose provenance, so to speak. Try showing THAT to the police, or to an insurance company to prove how your property looked before the mishap happened. I still have no idea when my video snippets were taken.
SOFTWARE UPDATES - please G o o g l e nowscape+suck+logitech to find my web page about that.
Program pop-ups keeps pestering for 'firmware updates' but updates don't work -- the old version remains and the new version is not updated. To obtain this null result a long time is needed. I have version 3.0.176. I ma running under VMware on iMac.
I called Logitech Support(888.469.4543) early afternoon and Darren answered right away, no waiting, and he is a friendly fellow. He sent me an email which delineated some steps (10 steps) to try to get the update to take, but to no avail; it did not work, but later Logitech did send me an email which took care of the problem (please g o o g l e nowscape+suck+logitech to find my web page about that).
I asked if the new versioned software would have a timestamp and Darrin said no. Darren probably thought that I'm a space alien from the planet Kolob, judging from his reaction. He said some people use this camera to watch heir goldfish -- a time stamp really isn't needed for that and I think that's probably so. But it's needed for the things for which one actually buys a security camera, as evidence in court, after apprehension of a thief! I had this need a few years ago, but I didn't have a security camera; that's why I have cameras now and I want this timestamp feature, especially for a camera in this upper price range; it's not asking for much.
Formatting the supplied SD micro card takes approximately 45 times as long as it takes my regular camera to do a deep format.
Running the diagnostics produces a file which shows what problems, if any, were found. However it does not detect, apparently, that there is something amiss with the format. I can hear the camera click when it makes an image, but that image does not appear in Logitech's directory on on the C drive. However formatting the SD card seems to fix that.
MOTION SENSING -
When the motion sensitivity is set to its factory default position, walking 15" in front front of the camera at a normal pace ACROSS its field of view it does not trigger picture taking. This obtains, especially after it has just captured a video and its red light has ceased blinking and returned to a steady illumination, indicating that it's ready for more action.
The Logitech Alert Commander software is pretty and has some good utility. However the "Display" feature of this Alert Commander is awkward gad confusing and sometimes wrong. Sometimes it won't show files (its function is so select files for viewing) unless one restarts the program. Maybe this has something to do with the reformatting problem mentioned above, I don't know.
THE GREEN TIMELINE BAR of the Alert Commander Software -
The "Display" feature of the Alert Commander has a timeline view where "<" and ">" symbols bracket a green timeline bar, which when clicked advance the the time display forward and backwards. The green bar shows where, along the displayed time line, videos were taken. However during playback of the files, clicking this not only moves the time window left or right but it causes the displayed file to jump from place to place. Deleting a video can be accomplished by right-clicking (but not by using the delete key). More than one file segment cannot be selected for deletion, say by dragging the mouse along the line which represents those segments -- something that is common in audio and video editing software. It's not intuitive. When deleting by right-mouse clicking, it's not obvious what's to be deleted. On the green timeline, a red cursor follows the current time-position of the frame being displayed. This green bar can be stretched or compressed, a nice feature -- but because of that it's never clear the extent to which a deletion will take effect, because that extent always show as green, like the rest of the bar's extent that is associated with video clips. The extent does NOT change color when right clicking, so that one might have a preview / clue of the range of the imminent deletion.
When using the "<" and ">" of the timeline bar to slide the green time line bar left or right, its associated red cursor becomes disassociated -- it does not move with it. Instead, it stays positioned relative to the screen, not not in relation to the time at which it had been stationed. Thus you lose the spot which you were reviewing, only because you wanted to move the timeline. The same happens when you want to increase / decrease the resolution of the displayed timeline, a feature which is provided so that you can spread the extent of the time display from hours to seconds.
During display playback, the red cursor which shows what time is playing on the timeline and displaying on the screen, can sometimes march off into the future, ad infinitum, on its own -- a time where there couldn't possibly be a video -- because that time hasn't happened yet! How could this have escaped Logitech's 'quality control'? And when you manually stop the cursor there is no button to cause it to go 'home'.
Sometimes, when playing material, it does not play for an extended period of time, instead showing a blank screen, even though no files have been deleted and the timeline that shows playable files are present. Repositioning the red cursor, manually, at a point in time before this malfunction allows the material to be displayed.
Another problem with Alert Commander's green timeline bar is that sometimes, when one clicks a spot (file) on it to select one video segment, it turns white, indicating that there isn't a video recording after all! Who would what such a feature? I'm guessing that this happens because the user has deleted videos in the default folder to which the cam has saved its output. The cam does not check to see if the files are sill there -- it assumes that they are -- and it keeps the green colored segments in the display. I suppose that's because the programmers didn't think to check from time to time if those files still exist -- something which they could easily do since they do it once already. That's my opinion. At least this should be done shortly after booting up the Alert Commander software.
It seems that the green bar can confine video material from the onboard SD card as well as from the default video directory, but I'm not sure. In any case, one can't be sure of what the source of the video on the green bar is. At least I can't tell. So, If I delete something, say, a pic of me embracing my girlfriend, can my wife later find it anyway?
STILL PICS -
I don't see an option to take only pictures -- snapshots; only videos seem to be produced. Still photos would conserve a lot more storage space and are suitable and more convenient for many situations. It's not too difficult, at least conceptually, to provide, even AFTER the fact, pictures of the scene BEFORE during and after motion has been detected.
When one deletes the videos in the directory in which the software has saved them, Alert Commander software doesn't notice that and continues to show a green bar-timeline which represents stork data, which, of course when attempting to play it, happily displays a blank screen. It doesn't skip that green colored area with no data. Seemingly Alert Commander doesn't refresh itself before it begins playing. Alert Commander acts as if it's playing a movie snippet even when it has nothing to play!
There is no way to turn the camera off remotely. It's always on.
DIGITAL ENVIRONMENT -
In the two years that I've been using my present computer, I've never had Windows-compatible purchased software behave so badly, except for this Logitech Alert Commander thing. Perhaps many of the problems I see are addressed in the new updates which won't update to my machine. I have version 3.0.176. At time of this writing (June 2011), version 3.0.196 is available, presumably 20 releases newer as mine, but as mentioned above, this won't update on my computer. I run Windows 7 via VMWare emulation on a 27in iMac. Everything works, except this software. I don't think my configuration is the problem; if so, Logitech should have mentioned this in its systems requirements, but I'm willing to be educated about that, if anyone knows for sure. I've contacted Logitech about this problem several days ago and have received no reply. I've also asked them if I could do this update outside if theta commander software -- no reply.
I am disillusioned and very very tired of having to spend so much time fiddling with poorly thought out and sloppily implemented software that doesn't work out of the box and I feel obligated to warn others about what may happen if they buy these things. I hope that manufactures read user reviews / complaints and take away from them what they can do to make it better. Please feel free to contact me, thanks.
* To find this review as well as email correspondence online, please g o o g l e nowscape+suck+logitech
****** Update ******
After futzing around with this, trying it for about two weeks, I found this thing too difficult and inconvenient to use for the reasons above. I returned it to Amazon and uninstalled the software. Then I scanned my C drive for "logitech" and about 30 Logitech files still remain. I don't want that stuff to waste space on my hard drive. What Am I supposed to do now?
on September 2, 2011
I'm highly dissapointed that the software doesn't allow you to serve a feed from your own computer and only offers you the ability to get your security feed over the web if you subscribe to the monthly service. There's no reason they can't let you use your own computer as the server, at no cost to Logitech.
The software is poorly designed. The layout is thoughtless and unintuitive. Controls are hidden or haphazardly placed. They should give you an option to enable and disable the alarms bases on schedules. I dont need an alert when I'm walking around my house during daylight hours. I would, however, like a notification if there is movement around my house at 3AM. Don't tell me I should have to manually do what software can do in 2011.
Another problem is that the camera frequently disconnects, and the only solution is to unplug the wall unit for 10 seconds. I have to do this about once every other day. Keep in mind this isn't wireless, this is through copper. It should be able to reestablish itself without my intervention.
On the plus side, the camera is HD, the night vision is great, and it comes with a long, thin ethernet cable that run beneath a closed window.
As a toy, this thing is too expensive. As a security device, it's not accommodating nor reliable enough.
on February 25, 2011
Before I can review this product I need to share some perspective. A friend of mine is getting divorced from an abuser. Since he can no longer hurt her physically he has launched a unending barrage of terror and harassment against her and her kids. Her house has been broken into. Her car and house have been vandalized repeatedly. She is often watched and stalked. Her kids are approached by strangers in cars who ask about personal details. Until she can get some proof the police can't do anything to help.
I'm an IT guy - I know how to use technology. I bought the best video capture cards available. I bought a variety of cameras, looking for the best one. I bought the best surveillance software I could find. What I've ended up with is a tremendously flexible but not very stable system that is hard to support. I can use it, but she can't. I simply can't keep the system running for her. It requires restarts and troubleshooting. Not what you need to deal with in this situation.
I also tried a pre-packaged DVR with cameras from one of the security companies. It's works, but the camera resolution is quirky, and it's not a windows system. She can use it, but not easily. The video is not accessible via her laptop or the web.
Out of sheer frustration I bought this Logitech system with an extra camera. I had her set it up with me - she did most of the work. Twenty minutes after opening the box she had two cameras working perfectly (one issue I mention below). This system is far less flexible than the one I built. But it more than makes up for this in reliability and ease of use. She can easily manage the software. She can easily find and view recordings, and see when motion detected recordings were made on a calendar/timeline. I'm ordering 4 more cameras.
There are a few issues: this system is limited to 6 cameras. Given that I have it hosted on 6-core processor system, it seems limiting. I apparently can run two systems on the same house wiring, but this requires two different PCs. I would prefer one PC, but can live with this limitation.
The install process the system asks for a "homelink password" with no explanation as to what this is or why you want or need it. This was confusing. Even worse, after entering a password the system could not find the cameras. Apparently entering a password caused a firewall issue that I easily corrected. Most people would never suspect that it was firewall issue. Logitech needs to do a better job on documentation and help with this feature. I still don't know why I was asked to enter a password or what protection it adds. This was a minor issue included here in case it's helpful to others.
WARNING: adding a Homelink password made it nearly impossible to add additional cameras. The system is looking for cameras with the same password, which new cameras don't have. If you remove the password you have to reset any existing cameras to remove the password. This feels like a quickly implemented feature that is poorly documented and not very well thought out. I would avoid using this feature - it cost me about 3 hours of troubleshooting and angst. Logitech, you can do better than this. (I reduced my review from 5 stars down to 4 for this reason alone. When they get this fixed I will gladly add back that 5th star.)
I would like to see a pan/tilt/zoom version of the external camera. It would make them just that much more useful.
The cameras seem somewhat expensive. For what they cost I can get an excellent internet cam. However, internet cams don't offer the ease of use and consistency of the Logitech system. After having spent far more time and money than I ever expected playing with security systems, I can say that this system is a good value. It's easy to install, it works well, and anybody can understand it. You are paying for ease of use, reliability, good video quality, and a company that will answer the phone when you call.
For somebody who is terrorized this system (should) offers some piece of mind and comfort. This is more than worth the additional cost over individual components or cheaper systems. If you need something that will get going quickly and reliably, that can be installed by a non-technical person, this is the best system I've found by a mile. I'll update this review after a couple of weeks.
March 28 update: Now down to two stars. The cameras are fine. The software is terrible. I fight with it every night to keep the cameras connected. There is one camera the software will keep connected reliably. The others are intermittent and often require a reset of the camera to get the connection. Having to get physical access to ever camera every day is simply ridiculous.
I recently discovered the these cameras work seamlessly with the BlueIris software, a 3rd party package that is far more flexible than the Logitech software (and without some of the convenience features). I have not had a dropped connection since connecting my cameras to BlueIris. I have no idea why Logitech can't get the software for their own cameras to work correctly, but I have given up on it. It's been too frustrating for too long. BlueIris also does not have a 6 camera limitation - I believe it will support up to 64 cameras.
Given this, I can't recommend this package. The software is easy to use has a good user interface. It's a nice package all the way around. Unfortunately it's been terribly unreliable. The cameras work well when connected to BlueIris, but other cameras work well also. Logitech has some work to do on this product before it's ready for to be used where security is a priority.
Logitech Alert 750E and 700E security system
The Logitech Alert Commander software was easy to install on my PC, however, the hardware portion was a bit overwhelming and confusing at first. It runs on a Powerline network that eventually connects to your home LAN. While you could follow the instructions, a beginner/novice to computers may want to seek the assistance of someone more knowledgeable in PCs.
The actual network connection is fairly slow. It takes awhile to update the Powerline firmware and Camera firmware. However, once that is out of the way the interface is actually quite easy to use. The camera quality is exceptional, and the motion sensing technology is very customizable. You can adjust the sensitivity to prevent leaves and small animals from setting off the camera, and you can draw your own motion sensing zones so as to avoid trees or other objects that frequently move.
The videos are stored in MPEG-4 compression, which one can open and view via DivX codec equipped PCs or Macs. It does not continuously record, but instead only records when motion is detected. The audio recording is acceptable (better than nothing) and the cameras do not have motor control, they are fixed. The night vision seems to be active infrared which produces a monochrome image with a shallow field of view. It's not bad, but it's not great either. The indoor camera does not have night vision capability.
The installation of the outdoor camera can be a hassle as you need to route the wire through the wall and into an adapter that plugs into an outlet. You cannot connect the adapters into surge suppressors or back-up UPS due to the powerline networking, which makes the Logitech Alert useless during a power outage unless you have the entire house wired to a backup generator.
The Logitech Alert app for my Android smartphone (Motorola Droid 2) is very neat. I confirmed that it can provide real-time access to your feeds via the 3G network with some minor lag. However, the Logitech Alert app appears to have been designed for the iPhone or Android phones without hardware keyboards since I slid my keyboard out and the screen remained in the portrait mode.
Overall: 3/5 stars, relatively simple to install, offers robust features for the average user, offers flexible on-board data storage options via micro-SD cards, can be accessed via a Smartphone!
I have experienced severe water intrusion with the outdoor camera. After using it for about a week, it has rained and snowed several days and caused the lens to fog up. I removed it for inspection and it was full of water. Apparently the rear gaskets aren't sufficient to prevent water from seeping in via the ethernet cord or the rear housing. Upon removal, I have noticed one of the screws not even being secured with a waterproof gasket/washer! The good news is that the camera functioned fine even with the water inside. The bad news is that it seems very difficult to dry out the lens area.
There have also been server issues causing difficulties accessing the camera via my Droid2 smartphone.
After disassembling the outdoor camera in March, I set the camera above my fireplace to help accelerate the drying process. Once it was all cleared up, I used extra duct tape and electrical tape to seal up the potential water intrusion sites on the casing. After re-installing it, it has been operating without problems for almost a month even with severe winds, snow, and heavy rain.
I found it frustrating to download/manage the video files stored on the mini-SD cards in the cameras. I don't see any easy way of doing this besides going into the review function of the Commander software and waiting for the files to download in random order. The files are stored as indiscriminate file names rather than a more sensible approach like YYYY-MM-DD, TIME, and CAMERA NAME.
After sporadic functionality of the outdoor camera, it is now longer functional. The water intrusion seems to have been resolved with copious amounts of electrical tape, the SD card is no longer recognized and the camera no longer records. Sometimes I can't even view the live feed with Logitech Commander. Overall, the quality of the outdoor camera is not very good especially at the price.
New overall rating: 2/5 stars
on March 26, 2011
I got my camera two days ago, the setup was very easy, hook it up to power and the computer (need a free router port), start the software and it is running. It could not be much easier.
The problem is really the software in the camera and also the monitoring software. To me it looks as if this is another product that got rushed out the door without any quality testing (except for the poor customers in the field). The software lacks a lot of functionality and even the functionality that is being advertised, does not work:
1.) There is no scheduling - if you set up alerts for motion detection, you get them 24x7... quite annoying
2.) The camera (in the last two days) did not switch back to daylight (color) mode in the morning but stayed black/white until I manually pulled the power and recycled it.
3.) The motion detection zones that can be defined instead of the whole picture, are useless because the camera and software actually ignore these and still interprete motion in the complete picture.
4.) Deletinng recordings does not work correctly - you "delete" them and a few minutes later, they are back in the overview
5.) Copying files from the camera's SD card to the PC is copying it, not moving these (most likely the reason why the delete function does not work.)
6.) The best (local, not via internet) streaming frame rate that I get out of this setup is 11 fps which is choppy but good enough for me
7.) The night vision is pretty much useless, passing cars are just dark shadows, people look like ghosts and I do not think that you would ever be able to recognize anybody on these pics unless that person is within 3 feet of the camera.
8.) Be aware that for all web/mobile phone functionality except for alerts and live viewing, Logitech wants to charge $80 on an anual subscription basis.
On a more positive side, the daylight pics are amazing. I uploaded several pics - have a look at them!
on October 16, 2010
I've had my system plus one add-on camera for 6 months now.
Overall its a disappointing experience.
The cameras need to be regularly manually reset. Meaning you have to go power them down wherever they are setup because they will no longer connect to your computer. I also need to reformat one of my camera's memory card almost every few weeks because I will check and the camera has stopped recording.
pretty much a pain to use and very unreliable.
Avoid these until they come out with a fix.
on June 19, 2013
The camera is non-functional and will not reset, so I have been told it is a "hardware issue." Dealing with Logitech's support is frustrating. So far, it has taken 2 days for them to believe that I am entitled to support through requested screen shots of my Amazon order history and invoices. And, despite the fact that I subscribe to the Commander management subscription, they didn't seem to know I was a registered customer to begin with. Once I get a return authorization from them, I get to mail out the dead camera and hope that a working unit comes back in the mail...I would expect this underwhelming support if the camera were $50-$80, but not a $300 "security" camera with a $80 yearly subscription. I was going to add more cameras, but no way am I going to do so now. Logitech - if your support were more proactive and, well, supporting of a security function like this, I would have purchased 2 more cameras on the spot. I thought I was paying more for value, but I guess I was mistaken.
Updated 7.23.2013 - Logitech has had the defective unit since July 9th. Still no replacement shipped. I do not recommend anyone buy this product any longer given the divestment in support and in this line by Logitech. It is too bad seeing as it is a pretty good system.
Updated 7.29.2013 - Still no replacement.
Updated 8.5.2013 - Replacement received, but it took 2 months??. To be fair, it took me 1 week to ship the defective once I had an RMA#, but this whole experience was poor. Given this experience, I will never purchase another Logitech product...just not worth the hassle.
on January 11, 2013
Do not buy this product.
I purchased this system 18 months ago. Here are my takeaways:
1. The camera does not communicate with the network 95% of the time. Even though it may record to its internal SD card, it does not send video feed to the computer. I hoped that one of the MANY Logitech updates would fix this. Yeah, no.
2. There isn't an "always on" feature. In other words, you are hostage to the motion sensing capability of the camera. And, to speak frankly, the motion sensing function isn't capable at all. More on this in point 3.
3. Motion sensing: I tested the camera by walking in its view and even walking right up to it. What I found was terribly disappointing. It took a long while for the camera to sense motion in the first place. When it did finally detect motion, it cuts off prematurely. So if there was an individual was moving in front of the camera, it would cut the video off amid motion. Completely unreliable.
4. I have not "seen" the camera feed on my pc in over a month.
When it works, the video looks great.