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Customer Review

on September 24, 2011
First of all, kudos to Amazon and Topsources for the fast shipping!

The cam is exactly as pictured. It feels sturdy and seems well-made. I was excited to unbox it and get it going. My excitement lasted three minutes.

I attached the antenna, connected it directly to my laptop with an ethernet cable, and plugged it in. The Infra-red LEDs came on immediately, and I watched in fascination as it went through a full POST (power-on-self-test). It panned and tilted through a full range of motion, then settled at "straight ahead" with a few degrees of up-tilt. So far so good! It answered pings on the default IP and the web interface worked.

I put the CD into my laptop and chose the advanced option. I'm a network ops manager and I refuse to do anything the "easy" way when it comes to networking :). The setup software found the camera and allowed me to configure basic network settings. I set the IP, netmask, and DNS for my network. I didn't see any wireless settings so I assumed that I would set that up later. I saved my changes and the cam rebooted.

And I could no longer get into the cam. It didn't answer pings on either the new IP or the original. I could not get into the web interface and the setup software could no longer find the cam. I tried a lot of things from the simple (different eth cable) to the advanced (looking for gratuitous ARP with a protocol analyzer - which, BTW, it does not do). Nothing worked. Not even the reset procedure in the manual. Holding the reset button for 7 to 10 seconds would re-boot the cam, but it would not default the settings.

Eventually I tried a re-set procedure that isn't in the manual but works on other devices: unplug the power, press and hold the re-set button, insert power, continue to hold re-set for 10 seconds. This time it went through a full POST procedure just like the very first time I plugged it in. It still was not defaulted, but it responded - on the IP address I had set it to! Go figure. I have had no further issues accessing the camera.

Operationally, the cam works well. It pans and tilts smoothly and the mechanism is quiet. Pan and tilt speeds can be changed from glacially slow to almost uncontrollably fast. Nice! IR LEDs come on when necessary and do a decent job of illuminating the area in front of the cam. Color reproduction is not so good. The default brightness and contrast result in excellent visibility in varying light conditions, but colors are way off. I was able to adjust brightness and contrast for better colors at the expense of some low-light performance. The tilt range on this cam is 90 degrees. I was expecting 45 degrees down and up, but it seems to be 90 degrees up. The lowest it can be depressed is level or maybe a couple of degrees down. I wish it could tilt lower.

The web interface is "kitschy". It works, but I prefer a more "industrial" or "professional" look rather than the jazzed-up pretty interface provided. I have encountered one very significant flaw - if I use IE 9 and choose the "Active X" option, my entire computer freezes and has to be powered down to recover (Windows 7 64-bit). I can use Firefox and Chrome with no problem, but some options like video recording are not available in those browsers. Motion alarms work. The cam happily e-mails pictures to me every time my kids or cats go up the stairs. I haven't tested FTP or the dry contacts yet. I should note that the motion detection does not follow the motion - it only snaps pics when it detects movement.

Wifi works well and is easy to setup if you know your wireless network settings. Auto detection did not find any of my three WiFi networks (I'm a network geek, remember?), but manual configuration was straightforward and worked on the first try.

Overall I'm pleased with the cam. It gets only three stars because of crashing IE 9 on two different computers and because it does not tilt down far enough. The issues I experienced during setup could be a fluke, and it seems like every cam of this type at this price point has setup issues. For $60 I think you get more than you paid for with this cam.
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Product Details

2.9 out of 5 stars