At a glance, Aztech's latest wireless IP camera (WIPC411FHD) seems like it would be an excellent home-surveillance tool.
It supports full high-definition video, pan and tilt functionality and remote access, and is priced slightly lower than similar cameras.
But the user experience is disappointing. First, the setup process seems counter-intuitive for a wireless IP camera. Instead of using a mobile app to set up and configure the camera, I had to either connect the camera to my router with the bundled Ethernet cable, or use the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) feature supported by most routers.
Using this feature usually involves pressing the WPS button on the camera, followed shortly by the similarly labelled button on your router. This requires you to have your router within reach of the camera during the setup process.
Only after doing so could I connect my mobile device to the camera via the Aztech IP Camera App for iOS and Android mobile devices.
Thankfully, the next step is quick and painless: simply scan the QR code at the bottom of the camera with your mobile device.
You can access the live camera feed via a Web browser on your computer, which requires installing a desktop utility or the Aztech IP Camera App.
VIDEO RESOLUTION: Up to 1,920 x 1,080 pixels
VIDEO FORMAT: H.264
FIELD OF VIEW: 90 degrees
HORIZONTAL/VERTICAL ANGLE: 90 degrees/35 degrees
PAN AND TILT: 355 degrees/ 120 degrees
NIGHT VISION: Yes
MOTION DETECTION: Yes
MOBILE APPS: iOS and Android
VALUE FOR MONEY: 2/5
The browser interface offers more advanced camera settings, such as scheduling a recording. But the mobile app is more convenient, especially as you can get notifications directly via the app when the camera detects motion within its field of view.
The camera's motion-detection feature has different levels of sensitivity. At the higher levels, this feature seems to be easily triggered by slight movements in the camera's field of vision, so I'd recomend trying out the different levels before you enable the feature.
Up to four cameras can be viewed with the mobile app at the same time, so you can monitor a mid- sized home from a single device.
Using the mobile app, you can easily communicate with a person in the vicinity of the camera via the built-in speaker and microphone. But the camera failed to relay my voice a few times.
The camera felt responsive. There was just a slight delay when I used the app to pan and tilt it.
However, its cheap plastic body does not inspire confidence. It feels more like a toy than a $200 gadget. A mounting kit with a stand and screws is included.
Videos lookclear and bright at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, and are saved to the microSD card (supports up to 128GB, card not included).
Missing from the camera is a cloud backup feature. While the camera lets you save recorded videos to your own FTP server, this is not feasible for most home users.
• Verdict: It has decent specs, but its setup process, like its stodgy user interface, can be improved.