Review: UCam247i Internet Security Camera
The UCam247i is the latest wireless internet security camera from the people behind EyeSpy247 range of security cameras and is designed to be easy to install and simple to operate.
There are pa couple of models available in the UCam247 range and in this review we will be taking a closer look at the UCam247i. The particular camera on review is designed for indoor use (hence the ‘i’) however the UCam247e is also available and is for outdoor use (and has a longer night vision distance).
In the Box: UCam247i
In the box you get the camera itself, a stand (with mounting screws as the stand can be wall mounted), network cable, power adapter, and a quick install guide/warranty information sheet.
The camera itself is a 1/4” CMOS with 310,000 pixels, focal length of 3.6mm and an aperture of f2.0. The viewing angle is around 60 degrees horizontal and 45 degrees vertical.
In the indoor model night vision is included with a decent range of around 8m which, particularly on the higher quality video recording mode, works well thanks largely to the twelve LEDs surrounding the lens.
The camera also has a micro SD card slot for recording directly to memory card (although a memory card is not supplied).
Additionally, the camera has a socket for a speaker connection so sound can be output, from a remote location, although a speaker is not included in the package.
The quick guide is a single sheet which tells us “Wondering where the intricate installation manual and bloated software CD are? You don’t need them really, as you can start viewing your camera in just 3 easy steps.”
The three steps for the basic, wired, configuration are:
- 1. Connect the camera to a home network and power it up
- 2. Download and install the free app for iPhone, iPad or Android
- 3. Add the camera within the app using the user ID and security code from the label on the camera itself.
In Operation: UCam247i
Configuring the camera for its basic configuration was as straightforward as the three step set-up process described.
For this review the camera was connected to a BT Home Hub 3 for configuration and for testing the camera and app were tested on a number of devices included an Apple iPhone 4S, Apple iPad 2, Apple new iPad, Samsung GALAXY Note (Android), and StorageOptions Scroll Engage Tablet (Android).
Usefully, the iPad app includes a QR code (a two dimensional barcode) for configuration so it was simply a case of loading up the app then pointing the camera at the code which prefilled the configuration options leaving only the password to be entered manually.
The camera is designed to operate without the need for any fiddly setting so there is no need to worry about dynamic DNS or port forwarding which helps keep things simple.
It is possible to setup the camera for use over a wireless connection and activate other features – information for all these are included on the Help section of the Ucam247 website. Essentially, setting up the wireless connection is achieved from within the app by selecting the blue arrow (on the iPad app) next to the listed camera and heading into Advanced Settings where you select a wireless access point for the camera to use.
Note: the app works on the iPad but is clearly designed with the iPhone in mind although you can use the 2x scaling to make it larger.
Video Quality can be set to one of five options ranging from Min (160×112) to Max (640×480), video can be flipped, and the environment mode set (Indoor Mode (50Hz), Indoor Mode (60Hz), Outdoor Mode, and Night Mode), motion detection can also be configured (if supported), and if a Micro SD card is used the recording mode can be configured.
Within the app you can opt to hear audio received from the camera and you can also send audio to the camera however this needs an external speaker.
According to the company there is currently no limit to the number of cameras that can be installed however you can only access the video stream of each camera on an individual basis (though this may change in the future as wireless network technology evolves).
Images and video clips captured from the camera, especially on the maximum quality mode, are quite clear even using the night mode setting and it’s good to see the app works pretty consistently between iOS and Android.
The maximum frame rate at the the maximum quality setting is 640×480 at 30 frames per second.
Accessing the video feed from a mobile device also feels very natural – other types of cameras usually require access to a web browser.
It is possible to access the UCam247 image feed from a web browser but you will need to dig into the configuration settings for this – however if you have a mobile device handy there will be little need.
The camera includes a motion sensor which can record directly to an installed memory card – these clips can also be emailed or sent using file transfer .
In Summary: UCam247i
The UCam247i is a fascinating product and an ideal solution for those requiring a security or monitoring solution that is simple and straightforward to install. There are enough configuration options for those wishing to look under the bonnet whilst the app does a good job of hiding away all the technicalities for those who just want to get a solution in place.