Edimax IC-7000PTn v2
Flexible security solution; straightforward basic setup; quickly connects to WLAN; motorised pan, tilt and digital zoom
Needs Windows for advanced options; expensive; internet setup tricky
Today’s home-surveillance cameras are network-connected, remote-controlled and ready to show you what’s going on in your house no matter where you’re located – even while you’re out and about, using your iPhone.
Yet while it ticks all the boxes in terms of features, a fiddly setup and not-exactly Mac compatibility mar the overall appeal of the Edimax IC-7000PTn v2.
Designed to provide servo-operated rotation through 355 degrees, plus pan/tilt, the IC-7000PTn v2 offers either wired LAN or – and this is where it becomes highly appealing – 802.11b/g/n compatible wireless LAN connectivity. This means it can go anywhere there’s a power point.
Since we had a secured wireless LAN in operation and there are several WLANs in the area, we first plugged the camera into a wired Ethernet port and logged into its web administration interface from a separate system.
It’s important to note that while the camera does have a web interface, actually viewing the video through the administration console requires an ActiveX control be loaded under Internet Explorer – and that means running Windows on your Mac.
However, on the Mac we were able to adjust configuration settings through the Firefox web browser (but not Safari 5) and view the streaming video in a browser window. In other words, once the camera is set up, it’s easy enough to monitor from a Mac, iPhone or iPad – but you need Windows for the tricky stuff.
Once the WLAN security details were entered, we were able to unplug the camera, move it throughout the house, and plug it in to have it automatically reconnect to the wireless LAN anywhere within range.
Using Windows, the camera operated nicely, allowing us to pan, tilt and zoom. A motion detection option let us monitor for movement; if there are any changes, images or a video file can be emailed, uploaded to an FTP site or saved to an SD card installed in the unit’s internal slot.
Another option allows ‘guard tours’ that record specific alignments of the camera, then jump between them.
iPhone integration. One of the nice things about having a networked video solution is that you can see your camera over the internet. However, we found it pretty tricky to make this happen, with a requirement for a DynDNS account and a bit of port forwarding configuration in our network router. Not for novices.
Edimax does offer an eCam app that lets you view your cameras, and it worked fine when connecting to a camera over the local network. We could also control the camera by swiping the iPhone’s screen. However, we were unable to get it to work over the internet from an iPhone 3GS, either by using eCam or logging into the web interface from the phone. We were, however, able to log in from our iPad.
Video quality was good, although somewhat grainy in low-light situations and with a lack of definition in shadowy areas. The camera’s motors are audible when operating so it’s hard to expect stealth operation.
Australian Macworld’s buying advice
The Edimax offers all the features you’d expect from a networked surveillance camera and would be easy to recommend if Edimax hadn’t taken the lazy design choice and fallen back on Windows. That said, it’s a solid security camera that would be even more appealing with better documentation and a more capable iPhone app.
This review originally appeared in the August issue of Australian Macworld magazine.