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Security camera with a user-friendly app

The TP-Link NC450 HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera can be mounted on the ceiling and the app can flip the images so they do not appear upside down when viewed.
The TP-Link NC450 HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera can be mounted on the ceiling and the app can flip the images so they do not appear upside down when viewed.PHOTO: TP-LINK

Setting up the TP-Link NC450 HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera was a bit more of a hassle than with other security cameras I have tested. Usually, I scan a QR code with a smartphone app to get things started.

But, for the NC450, I had to place the camera physically near my router, because it uses either Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) or the method of plugging an Ethernet cable between your router and the camera.

For the former, it involves pushing the WPS button on the camera, followed shortly by the WPS button on your home router.

You can place it anywhere in your home that has a Wi-Fi signal - but only if the camera has been properly configured.

Thankfully, the tpCamera mobile app (available for iOS and Android devices) helpfully guides you along the set-up process.

Feature-wise, this app does not do anything unusual. It supports multiple cameras, as well as different TP-Link camera models. It alerts you via app notifications or e-mails if the camera detects any unusual activities.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $139

    VIDEO RESOLUTION: Up to 1,280 x 720 pixels

    VIDEO FORMAT: H.264

    FIELD OF VIEW: 75 degrees

    PAN/TILT RANGE: 300/110 degrees

    NIGHT VISION: Yes (up to 8m)

    MOTION DETECTION: Yes

    MOBILE APPS: iOS and Android

    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 3/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

Both motion and audio detection are available and you can adjust the sensitivity of these features to reduce false alarms.

But the app interface is clean and very responsive. You can also use a computer browser to access the camera settings.

The NC450 has a pan and tilt functionality. You can adjust it to face your desired spot with the app, or even have the camera move automatically along its horizontal or vertical axis.

The camera moves smoothly without jerking, though its motor produces a soft whirring sound.

At its highest 720p quality, pictures look decent from a distance, though the images lack detail when zoomed in. Night vision is supported and works well enough for distances of a few metres.

The microphone was able to pick up audio clearly from across the room. Two-way audio is supported on the app. During tests, there was the expected lag of about 1-2sec when using this feature, but this delay was actually shorter than those of some other cameras I have tested.

Because the camera can be mounted on the ceiling, the app can flip the images so that they do not appear upside down when viewed.

Photos and videos from the NC450's 720p camera can be saved to your mobile device using the app. But I would recommend using an SD card (up to 32GB storage) to save your recordings.

Unlike some security cameras, the NC450 does not upload recordings to a cloud server.

This can be good or bad, depending on your stance on the privacy versus convenience debate.

At $139, the NC450 is slightly more expensive than the D-Link DCS-936L ($109), but the former performs better and has a more user-friendly app.

•Verdict: Its excellent mobile app makes using this TP-Link security camera a pleasure.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 22, 2017, with the headline 'Security camera with a user-friendly app'. Print Edition | Subscribe