Wednesday, 06 July 2016 15:29

D-Link security in the round (review)

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D-Link has nailed it with what is arguably the most fully featured prosumer security camera – it is a full HD, Wi-Fi AC, ultra-wide 180° angle, camera.

The DCS-2630L has as its main selling proposition a 180° ultra-wide angle lens. Compare that to a standard smartphone camera lens of up to 35° and you can see a lot more, in fact, typically a whole room width instead of a metre or so width.

 

“Fisheye lens” (usually from 100-180°) distorts the image, but D-Link has a de-warping technology that displays the image in reasonably “straight” format.

It uses Wi-Fi AC. Setup is either via an iOS or Android app or can be done at the MyDlink web portal. Note it does not support the Microsoft Edge or Chrome browsers at this time, but only IE, Firefox, or Safari.

I used the camera for two weeks to monitor the apartment. The app lets you remote view in real time (about a two-second delay), and you can even use its built-in speaker and microphone to talk to someone.

Image quality

It has an option for 720 or 1080p @30fps H.264/MJPEG video. For most purposes, 720p is fine and will reduce the data stream. It will also take a still JPEG image. Colours were realistic, and the app allows for brightness, saturation, contrast and sharpness. It has B/W mode, flip to turn the image upside down, and mirror to horizontally flip the image.

The lens has a 1/3” 3MP CMOS sensor, F/2.0 aperture, records 180° (H) x 180° (D) and 112° (V). It has an 8x digital zoom. IR will give up to 5M depth at night.

Recording

You can set it to record to a microSD card activated either by a schedule or motion detection. It will overwrite the card when full. A 128GB card will record about 7 days of 1080p video. You can then view the video on almost any device using the micro-SD card.

Cloud storage is expensive – D-Link has the right idea.

Motion/sound detection

You can select a part of the image to monitor for motion detection. Once done, you can select from 0-100% sensitivity to ensure that say a pet’s movement does not set it off. Also it has passive infrared PIR detection for night detection. Sound detection can be set similarly, though that is based on what comes via its microphone and is not based on room layout.

Detection can trigger an event – record, send an email alert, etc.

Wi-Fi

It has Wi-Fi AC dual band 2.4 and 5GHz. It first needs to connect to the router using WPS. The minimum data rate is 256Mbps. If you don’t have a Wi-Fi AC router, then you will need to get one.

Size/Weight/Build

It is 85.6 x 85.6 x 140.0 mm and weighs 345g. It is well built, and the stand can be screwed to a wall or placed on a desk. It allows for rotation and, with image flip or mirror, should accommodate most large rooms. One caveat - to transfer recorded video you remove the microSD card and place it in a computer. Don't place the camera where it is hard to get the card out.

Power

It uses a USB 5V/2A micro-USB charger (supplied) and has a 3M long cable. It will work with any modern 2A+ adaptor.

Uses

It is good for delivering live video images over the Intranet for remote monitoring, including industrial and public monitoring, homes, offices, banks, hospitals, child-care and more. It is not meant for outdoor use unless covered. Because it records locally, there are no ongoing cloud storage fees.

D-Link has other apps (at a cost) that allow for up to 32 cameras, recording to a hard drive and identity monitoring.

Cost/Summary

It costs $499.95 from D-Link online or good security stores – look online for a bargain but only if you are a dedicated DIY. Otherwise a security store may be a great option to look holistically at your needs and even install it.

Its selling point is the 180° ultra-wide angle lens. As far as I can find the nearest competitors have smaller wide angle lenses and can charge up to $400 per year for cloud storage.

If you have a use for this, then it’s a great buy. But if you don’t need one, have a look at D-Link’s Wi-Fi range as it has cameras starting from under $100 that do a lot of what this model will. It also has outdoor-rated cameras that may cover the back yard etc.

I would also look at getting a home NAS storage device. The DNR-202L Network Video Recorder supporting four cameras at $120 sounds pretty good.

There is a video here.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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