There are so many home security cameras on the market, and at first glance they all seem the same. But they aren’t. They all have different features that make them suitable for different uses and they are all slightly unique.
Remocam is marketed as a family security camera and I can see why- you might even say it’s the Swiss army knife of security cameras. Although it can’t open a bottle of wine or cut wire, it can keep your family safe in many different ways.
Setting Up the Remocam
If you like to rip open the box and ignore instructions, Remocam setup was made for people like you. It’s super easy.
Place the camera on a flat surface, plug it into an outlet, and smile and nod as you are greeted by a friendly, mildly robotic voice. The cord is long enough that you don’t need to struggle trying to find a place for the camera. For creative camera placement, you can buy a mounting bracket for $5 and install it on a wall.
After you’ve found a home for Remocam, all you need to do is install the free app on your Android or iOS device. Once you’ve created your account and entered your Wi-Fi password, you connect the camera to Wi-Fi by holding your phone in front of the camera. That’s it. I was able to do it all while holding a squirmy baby in my arms.
What Does Remocam Do?
I could run through a list of all Remocam’s features, but it’s all about how you can use the features. Remocam is a great camera for families because it has so many different uses.
1. Baby Monitor – First of all, you can use Remocam as a baby monitor. This is thanks in part to the built-in motion sensor. You can position the camera facing your baby’s crib; when movement is detected, you get push notifications to your phone or tablet. The included mobile app lets you listen to or talk to your child, so you can soothe him back to sleep (or in my case NOT soothe him back to sleep).
Keep in mind that the motion detector doesn’t work well for squirmy sleepers. I ended up getting plenty of false alarms when my son moved – which he does – a lot. I found it more useful to listen to or watch the live video feed. As it has night vision, the camera gives you a clear view of what’s going on. When I think of night vision, I think of grainy video and fuzzy faces. Instead, Remocam has video that’s just as clear as it is during the day, only without all the bright colors.
2. Alarm System- As an alarm system, Remocam gets the job done. The motion sensor is different than others (Arlo, Canary, Piper) in that you can use it to monitor a whole room or a specific area of a room, meaning fewer false alarms. This features works similar to the Activity Zone feature that is included in paid services like Camio and Nest Aware. Setting the zone is easy – within the app, check off the areas you want detected and the software takes care of the rest by monitoring what you want and ignoring the rest.
The siren alarm is also a great feature that very few home security cameras offer. The alarm isn’t subtle. But who wants a subtle alarm? You can scare off a potential intruder by triggering the siren alarm when motion is detected or you can trigger it while viewing live footage from within the app.
3. Home monitoring- Home monitoring is one of the uses that appealed most to me. When you’re at work and your children are home, you can still keep an eye on things. Use the live feed to check in on them, or speak to them through the app. During testing live streaming was reliable with a couple gotchas.
First of all, it did take a second or two for the video to come into view but of course lag time will depend on your internet connection. When I was on my home network, I had almost no buffer time and the video was in real time though the audio had a second or so of lag. To me this was a non-issue. Two, the video quality is just ok- at 720P HD video, the picture isn’t always crystal clear. Three, I had a hard time making out the live feed when the camera was pointed towards a window; the glare from the sun threw off the picture.
Also, you can only check your live feed from an Android or iOS device. You can call me old-school, but I like having the option to see things from my computer using a web browser. For now, Remocam doesn’t work with computers or tablets. And though I believe the app supports multiple users, when I tried to use the app on two different smartphones, I would get kicked off the app on one of the phones (not every time, just occasionally).
For added protection when using Remocam for home monitoring, they offer the awesome ability to pan 335 degrees and tilt 95 degrees. It’s one of a select few smart home security cameras that can do so. I was surprised by how much of my house I was able to see using this one camera.
4. Record memories- The ability to record memories plays into the “family home security camera” label. There are plenty of precious moments that I’ve missed out on because I didn’t have my phone handy. When I was out and about and wanted to record a moment, I pressed a button within the app to record my choice of a photo or a video.
5. Protects privacy- Using cameras that stream live feed can be a little intimidating; the idea of someone hacking in and viewing my video feed gives me goosebumps. Remocam has done all it can to prevent this by offering 256-bit AES encryption – tech talk for “very, very secure.” It’s the same standard held at banks and using a little common sense combined with this encryption will go a long way toward keeping your videos secure.
- 720p Resolution
- IR Receiver
- Speaker & Microphone
- IR LED Night Vision
- Live Streaming
- SD Card Local Storage
- Cloud Storage
- Pan & Tilt
- Motion Sensor
- 256-bit AES Encryption
- Built-in Siren
Home Automation and Cloud Storage Ice The Cake
While Remocam is clearly capable of monitoring your home’s security, there are other features that take it to the next level. One ridiculously cool feature is the camera’s IR smart home capability. According to Summer Kim, who represents Remocam,
Remocam works with Infrared controlled devices such as TVs, audio players, portable heaters, A/C, or IR-controlled light bulbs. Remocam does not work with Smart Home devices operated with z-waves, zigbee, or other protocols. Users can program remote commands using the app and Remocam. This link explains more on how you can add commands.
While it isn’t a traditional connected device, it tries. I would like to see Remocam connect to more traditional home automation devices or even IFTTT. However, having the ability to control my TV from my smartphone was new to me, and I liked it. It was easy to set-up and worked great, even when I used the feature from remote locations where I was not connected to my home’s Wi-Fi. I couldn’t get it to work with my light bulbs but that’s because I don’t have the right kind of bulb or any outlets that work with a remote. Remocam does sell outlets and light bulbs that work with the camera.
Remocam offers both local and cloud storage. Cloud storage with Remocam comes at a cost. Their entry level plan, jog, includes three days of cloud storage with 3 GB of space. The cost is $3.99 per month or $39.99 per year. The second level plan, sprint, includes 1 week of cloud storage and 30GBs of space ($7.99 a month or $79.99 a year) or you can go for marathon which includes 30 days of storage with an unlimited amount of storage space. Marathon is $29.99 per month or $299.99 per year. This might lead you to ask, well how do I know if I have enough storage? This isn’t an easy question to answer as it depends upon your lifestyle. I can tell you that Remocam saves video feed from ten seconds before and after motion is detected (for a total of 20 seconds of video).
In regards to local storage, Remocam includes an SD card. Though one was not included, SD cards aren’t hard to find and the camera will accept any card up to 32GB.
Final Thoughts on Remocam
Remocam is at the same price point as other high feature home security cameras. It can hold it’s own against Piper, Canary, and Nest Cam in regards to features but missed a couple as well. It wins with free local storage and its unique ability to connect with remote controlled devices. Where it loses is that it lacks battery backup, cannot automatically arm or disarm, and lack of free cloud storage.
You can purchase your own camera from Amazon for $199.
If you want a home security camera with both local and cloud storage that can pan and tilt, Remocam is a great option.