Home security starter camera for $25 or less
When you were a child, if your mother didn’t have eyes in the back of her head – an unlikely possibility – you knew another child whose mother had eyes in the back of her head. There were a bunch of them there. Still are, I suppose.
Since dads don’t have those hindsight eyes, the electronics industry has come up with the next best thing: remote, reasonably priced surveillance cameras.
I came across a cheap one a few months ago: the Merkury Innovations Smart Wi-Fi Camera (about $20-25). It stands about five inches tall and looks like a lollipop, or maybe a golf ball perched on a very high tee. It has many features that should satisfy most users, even with its low price.
This “tee” is very flexible, allowing the camera to be mounted on a vertical or horizontal wall. It can even be mounted upside down thanks to its mirror image feature. The camera is available in two resolutions: 720p and 1080p. The lower resolution provides a clear and crisp image.
It has night vision, but it cannot be mounted behind a window as the infrared light will wash out the image.
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It connects wirelessly to a home Wi-Fi system (2.4 GHz; it is not compatible with a 5 GHz network). It uses a USB connector (supplied) for power – so it must be connected to an electrical outlet.
As it is connected to the home Wi-Fi system, it can be accessed from anywhere using an app (the Geeni app) available for Android and Apple phones.
And it has both a speaker and a microphone, so the user can not only hear what’s going on, but also make noise about it, although the response will be relatively low.
The camera can send an alert to the phone when it detects motion. It will also take a photo that can be viewed with the phone app. Reviewers have noted that the image may or may not be helpful. The camera tends to take the photo when motion is first detected. The object may not be fully visible when this happens.
But using a microSD card, the camera can also record motion-activated video. Map is not included. Safewise, an online security site, noted that cards up to 128GB are supported, “which can take months before it starts overwriting old recordings”. Merkury Innovations said the camera uses about 1 GB per day for motion detection recording.
It is also possible, with a subscription, to record videos on the cloud.
In summary: a great value video webcam for those starting a home security system and monitoring a home while they’re away. Good quality images at an affordable price.
It’s like having eyes in the back of your head.
Lonnie Brown can be reached at [email protected].