I recently jumped into the market for a decent wireless IP camera however found that there was very little reviews on the newer released products. Seems the market is only small at the moment but has the cheaper options from the likes of the expensive Cisco IP cameras.
I plan to use IP cameras at a race track (motorsport) and have them covering all the angles, as it will be a single person job (me) I needed them to have support for PTZ/Pan–tilt–zoom wirelessly.
So I decided to get one of the new cameras and do a half decent review on it so it could help people making up their mind in the future.
Box / Unboxing
First impression of the box it has a simple professional design while giving you the facts you want to know such as 720p HD, night vision and MicroSD card support with the support phone numbers (no manual included) and default login information for the device.
Supplied in the box
•1x Tenvis iprobot ip camera + WiFi antenna (7-8dB by the drop at range)
•1x Driver/Software CD
•1x AUS AC power adapter (input 100-240v, output 5v-2000mA)
•1x Mounting bracket
•1x Nuts/Bolts for mounting bracket
•1x Screws (for bricks/concrete/walls)
•Static IP or DHCP (Static Default)
•Ethernet Port (10/100Mbit)
•Wireless Client (Security Modes WPA2-PSK, WPA-PSK and WEP)
•DDNS Compatible (If you don't have a static IP address for internet monitoring)
•Multicast (Can change IP and Port)
•SMTP Mail client
•Alarm In & Out (With physical in/outputs on back of device)
A problem I had was that it was supplied with no manual or setup instructions so I had to assume the process, which is a good time to see how easy it is to setup that's claimed by the box.
The default login information sticker on the box said it has a static IP address of 192.168.0.233 along with user name of admin with no password. The router I used was a Linksys WRT54GL running tomato firmware, it was configured to use the same network as the IP camera (192.168.0.0/255.255.255.0).
When the camera was plugged into power it started to move, which I presume is a start-up diagnostics to make sure the camera's tilt and pan motors are working. Once it had finished I opened Google Chrome and entered the supplied IP address, I was shown a login box with user, password and language.
Below the login form there was some info regarding which browsers to use, IE is said to use full features while Firefox/Chrome will only support live video. Using the supplied login credentials on Chrome I was asked to install the latest version of Quicktime which is to be used for the live video feed.
I had a few issues getting the stream to work in Chrome (didn't like quicktime I think), so I ended up using Internet Explorer. The camera's controls from the web GUI were responsive even over wireless compared to other IP cameras I have used.
Image: http://iforce.co.nz/i/zoh3jsig.ump.jpg (Controls)
With my experience with other IP cameras (re-branded Foscam / eBay no-branded) I found that over time mostly at night using the IR night vision mode causes the camera to get quite hot, I would say this is due to the extra processing the camera has to do. However the iprobot3 does not have this issue at all.
As we know Australia has mostly poor internet connectivity which means good compression is necessary and the iprobot3 doesn't disappoint, using H.264 video compression codec which is also used by the popular streaming sites such as YouTube and Vimeo. You can modify the video bit-rate so if your internet connection isn't up to it you can optimise it better, I tested the camera using an Optus 3G connection (roughly 2.5Mbps down/0.9Mbps up) and using the default settings it worked perfectly (200-300Kbps with audio).
The device lets you capture images at 1280x720 at roughly 40Kb, pictured is a snapshot taken with a completely dark room. Similar results on live video.
Image: http://iforce.co.nz/i/nm33cvpr.esl.jpg (Completely Dark)
Below is a recorded video controlled using the PTZ feature of the camera at night.
As you can see it is fast moving and quick to change from normal to night vision mode, in which it will use 10 IR LEDs which light up an area of about 10-15 metres and perhaps more depending on the objects the IR can reflect off.
The camera will only turn on the IR LEDs on when it detects the darkness, so it won't use excess power. In testing I found it used roughly 2-3W when in normal day mode without the IR on and around 5-6W with them on. I tested this using a power gadget from Jaycar Electronics.
It claimed to work with most smart phones, using an Apple iPhone 4S and from the app store an application called “iprobot3” I tested it to work without any problems. The app actually detected the camera so I didn't need to put any IP addresses or port numbers in, you could also take snapshots of the feed too.
The temperatures here at night are sub-zero and I thought it would be a good time to test how it handles the cold weather, left it running for one week undercover outside it performed without any problems. During the test it was configured to use motion detection and it had recorded 117 clips of people leaving and entering our front door, these were stored on the MicroSD card inside the camera and only used roughly 500MB of storage space.
I was in the market to buy some IP cameras to use for live streaming at motorsport events and unsure of which models to buy due to not many reviews.
Overall I think the Iprobot3 is a great IP camera however I feel a little more can be done with the GUI/Web Panel in the terms of visual quality.
I had a few problems getting the live video feed to work from the browser and using the supplied “DVS Client” software but this was due to my computer using K-Lite codec pack, was removed and worked fine.
Some of the current IP Camera software do not support it yet I would say this is because it has only been out for a few months now, though it shouldn't be long until it is.
If you plan to use this to do live streaming like I am, Wirecast works perfectly with it as a video camera source over WiFi.
It retails at roughly $100AUD on eBay so it's a little more expensive than the current range of IP cameras on there but they're not HD. Mostly 640x480@15FPS/30FPS.
If you have any questions please ask I can answer them, I'll be getting some fixed wireless cameras down the track and I'll review them as well.