Tech review: D-Link Wire-Free security camera easy to set up

The camera is equipped with a passive infrared motion sensor that detects heat from people and animals, which should reduce false alarms from moving objects such as fans.
The camera is equipped with a passive infrared motion sensor that detects heat from people and animals, which should reduce false alarms from moving objects such as fans.PHOTO: D-LINK

Wire-free home security cameras are among the hottest gadgets in the home security field. Made popular by Arlo, these battery-powered cameras are compact, weatherproof and can be placed anywhere in or around the home as long as within range of a Wi-Fi network.

Unsurprisingly, other manufacturers have taken notice. D-Link recently launched its own version, the mydlink Pro Wire-Free camera kit (DCS-2802KT).

This kit, which consists of two cameras and a hub, seems to be inspired by the Arlo Pro 2 two-camera kit. For instance, D-Link's hub, which connects to your home router via Ethernet cable, has a built-in siren that is just as loud (up to 100 decibels) as Arlo's.

Each camera comes with a wallmount kit with screws. The camera attaches magnetically to the mount.

D-Link has opted for a larger, non-removable battery in its camera, unlike the removable battery in Arlo's. As a result, the D-Link camera is larger and heavier. The battery is said to last for months, based on a daily average use of 10 minutes.

The camera is equipped with a passive infrared motion sensor that detects heat from people and animals, which should reduce false alarms from moving objects such as fans. It can also work in the dark, with a range of up to 7.5m.

When motion is detected, the camera automatically records for 15 seconds, though this can be extended (up to five minutes a clip) if it continues to detect motion.

  • FOR

    • Cheaper than rivals

    • Free one-year cloud subscription

    • Camera kit pre-paired

    AGAINST

    • No AI smarts

    Specs

    Price: $649 (two-camera pack), $249 for each additional camera

    Video resolution: Up to 1,920 x 1,080 pixels

    Video format: H.264

    Field of view: 140 degrees

    Night vision: Up to 7.5m

    Motion detection: Yes

    Mobile apps: iOS and Android

    Weight: 240g (camera)

    Rating

    Features: 4/5

    Design: 4/5

    Performance: 4/5

    Value: 4.5/5

    Overall: 4/5

    ST Tech Editor's Choice

Recorded videos are uploaded to the cloud. The camera kit comes with a free one-year subscription to D-Link's premium cloud recording plan (worth $70), which stores unlimited motion-triggered videos for up to 14 days or 10GB worth.

A higher-tier plan that supports up to 10 cameras and 30 days of video recordings is available for US$99.99 yearly (S$135). However, D-Link does not have a continuous video recording plan, unlike Arlo.

If you are uncomfortable uploading videos to a remote server, you can store the videos in an external hard drive (connected to the hub's USB port) or a memory card in the hub's microSD card slot.

Compared with its rival, D-Link's camera is easier to set up, mainly because the hub and cameras are paired out of the box, thus removing the syncing process required by Arlo's cameras.

All I need to do is to download the mydlink mobile app (available for iOS and Android), create a free account and scan the QR code at the back of the hub.

I managed to set up both the cameras and the hub in minutes. Each hub supports up to four cameras and you can view the live feeds from all four cameras on the same page in the app.

The app lets you customise when the cameras are active and their behaviour if motion is detected. But D-Link does not offer any artificial intelligence feature, unlike Arlo's paid service, which can distinguish humans, animals and vehicles.

The D-Link camera produces images and videos that are slightly curved at the sides, likely because of its wide field of view. Video quality (up to 1080p) is decent enough, but there seems to be more noise and artefacts than videos recorded by Arlo's camera.

D-Link's two-way audio feature, which lets you talk to someone on the other side of the camera, fared well in my test. There was little lag and the audio was clear enough, though it picked up ambient noise like the whirl of fans.

Cost is where D-Link clearly has an advantage. Its camera kit is priced at $649, though it can be found at $599 in stores. The Arlo Pro 2 two-camera kit is available at $799. It is also cheaper to buy more D-Link cameras ($249 each), compared with $399 for Arlo.