Today I am reviewing the DBPOWER 720P 1.0 Megapixel IP Security Camera. In a world where technology allows us to wirelessly stream image and video, the idea of IP cameras is fast becoming very popular, with more and more people adopting them for many different reasons. Such reasons include Security, web chat, monitoring devices for children or the elderly and even watching cute little piglets at play in a pen. The camera IP camera I am looking at today can be used for most of those but its main focus and purpose is of course security.
This IP camera by DBPOWER has a sleek and stylish looking design that gives the camera that slight edge, whilst at the same time not allowing it to stick out too easily. Since it’s waterproof it can be used outdoors as well as indoors. I have it setup outside and with the past few days of wet weather, the camera hasn’t had any weather related issues at all.
I have two slight issues with the camera and they are related to the cable that runs from the camera. It’s a three tailed cable, with a cable for the plug, an ethernet port and lastly a cable with a reset button on the tip. The first issue is that the cable just seems too short, considering it has to be routed through a wall. The other issue is in regards to the ethernet cable. The tip of this cable is far too large, which means you have to drill large hole into your wall just for that one part of the cable, I was unable to do this so I simply pushed the reset button and the plug cable through, whilst I used waterproof tape to cover the ethernet port and leave it outside. Just a quick note, though, if you are going to tape the cable up, make sure you set the camera up to wireless first, you do need to ethernet port for the initial setup.
The camera has a removable WiFi antenna that can be set to many positions to ensure it catches your WiFi signal as good as it can. For me, the signal seems to be great and I have had no issues at all.
Setup and software:
While the camera itself is awesome, the software is a whole different story, it’s simply awful, horrible to use and so frustratingly annoying. So annoying in fact that I ended up signing up to a decent web service that stores the camera recordings in the cloud. There are three ways to use the software, number one is the web based client and by far this is the worst of all three, I have had so much hassle with it that I almost gave up even trying to use the camera. Number two is the PC application which comes on the disc provided, this is simply a PC application version of the web client, but it looks better and is slightly easier to use. In my opinion though this software in all of its forms is just useless.
Setting the camera up to work with WiFi is done with the following steps:
- Plug the camera into a mains socket.
- Connect the camera to your router using an ethernet cable.
- Using the provided disc find the ‘search tools’ program and open it.
- You will now see the camera listed. Simply click on it to open it in a browser. (The browser needs to be Internet Explorer)
- Now you will need to log in, the username is admin and the password is admin. (This is by default, you can change the password later)
- Once logged in click the settings tab and look for the subcategory titles ‘Network parameter’.
- Now look for WiFi setup and select it.
- Now simply enter the required details then press apply and the WiFi should now be useable.
While the settings menu is open you might as well have a look around and get yourself used to the many options such as setting up motion detection, recording times and so much more. The only time I need to use the terrible software is when I need to configure some settings on the camera.
Now when it comes to the hardware DBpower have done an excellent job, the camera works really well and produces great video quality as well as audio quality. It does sometimes suffer in the video quality department particularly when recording is done over a WiFi network. The quality, when viewed over a WiFi network, can sometimes be a bit pixelated, but this pixelation doesn’t have too much of a negative effect on what you can see.
The audio is excellent and the camera is able to pick up loud conversations and other noises you might hear wherever the camera is placed. I have it placed near a second level window and it is able to pick up conversations from the ground below.
Night vision mode is really impressive thanks to the infrared sensors that create a beam light only visible to the camera, this lights up the entire the view the camera has and allows it to create a black and white image that becomes what the viewer sees. The infrared mode on this camera is by far the best I have seen in such a cheap camera.
The camera has a built-in 8GB MicroSD card, I own a dome camera by the same company that also has this feature and on the dome camera the MicroSD card can be accessed and swapped with another one, I’m not quite sure if that’s the case here, but I do imagine so. Now as it’s only 8GB you will find it gets full very quickly, luckily the camera does have loop recording where the camera will just erase the oldest file and overwrite it with new data, of course, this does mean you would have to regularly backup the data in able to not lose any potential CCTV evidence if a crime has happened. You can also set the camera up to store the data to a NAS drive, but unfortunately, I’m not all that good with networking so haven’t yet done this.
I feel the hardware of this kit is the best part, it works well and looks good, it does have a few issues but nothing too major. The major issue though comes from the terrible software that the camera comes with. It’s awful and really needs to be redone.
DISCLAIMER: I received this product for free in return for my honest and unbiased review. This has had no effect on my overall opinion of the product.