The Good: Between 720p HD quality, 7 days of free recordings in the cloud, great night vision and a solid microphone setup, the HomeMonitor HD packs plenty of value.
The Bad: There’s a delay of around 10 seconds when viewing live footage via the iOS apps, and it’s quite pricey at £149.99.
The Bottom Line: Besides the 10 second lag during real-time viewing, I find it difficult to fault the camera. HomeMonitor HD is a wireless security camera that’s easy to set up and use and with all its added perks, it’s definitely a recommended buy.
Since getting Y-cam’s HomeMonitor HD in for review a while ago, I must admit that I’ve enjoyed having an additional layer of security at home.
I was always under the impression that a dedicated home security system would cost a bomb, and while £149.99 isn’t exactly cheap for a one camera setup, the HomeMonitor HD wireless camera packs a bunch of features to make it worthwhile.
Here’s how my experience has been with HomeMonitor HD after a few months.
Design & Build Quality
Ethernet and power ports around the back of the HomeMonitor HD.
Covered in a glossy white plastic shell, the HomeMonitor HD has a very simple design that’s sure to blend in to almost any home environment, with just the lens itself and the 30 surrounding Infrared LEDs standing out. Funnily enough, people found it hard to believe that it was a camera at all — until they inspected it closely that is.
In terms of build, the HomeMonitor HD’s casing feels strong, but Y-cam have managed to keep it lightweight which is a good thing if you decide to mount it up on a wall using the included mounting bracket and screws.
If you choose to use it on a flat surface like I’ve had it though, then things are bound to get a little tricky. I had the HomeMonitor HD connected physically to my router for an optimal connection (my Wi-Fi at home isn’t the strongest), so the camera would regularly get tugged across the glass surface by the ethernet cable.
Setting It Up
Regardless of whether you’d prefer to set up the HomeMonitor HD through Wi-Fi or with a wired connection, Y-cam have made the initial setup extremely easy for both options with the included documentation. Just plug the camera in to your router with an ethernet cable, visit the HomeMonitor website and follow the simple account setup process.
Setting the motion recording zones via HomeMonitor’s website.
From that point onwards, it becomes a matter of configuring your personal preferences for the camera, including: motion recording, where you can specify up to 2 ‘zones’ you want HomeMonitor HD to track movement for; a motion recording schedule, so that you can leave it scheduled only between 9-5pm when you’re at work; and the ability to configure whether you’d like push notifications to your devices when there is any movement.
My favourite part about setting up this camera is that you don’t need to be a nerd to figure it out; Y-cam have made it simple enough that pretty much anybody can pull it off.
HomeMonitor App & Performance
Once you’ve configured the HomeMonitor HD camera via the web interface, the dedicated mobile app for iOS (also available for Android, Windows Phone and Roku) allows you to access live footage, watch recorded events up to 7 days old and toggle between the ability to receive notifications or not.
HomeMonitor app for iPad.
The notification system actually works really well. In fact, it works so well that I frequently need to turn it off because of all the notifications I get about movement in my living room! (Where I was testing it.) That’s certainly not a bad thing from a security camera — it’s reassuring that it picks up on movements that well — but it just means that you’ll need to carefully consider and set the zones you want tracked for movement, just to avoid being pestered by constant push notifications.
What’s also useful about the app is that you can have up to 3 additional users receiving push notifications, making it ideal for a family environment.
My only qualm with the performance of the HomeMonitor HD camera is the delay of around 10 seconds I’ve experienced watching live footage on my iPhone or iPad. It isn’t a large enough delay to be a real deal breaker, but it’s still surprising given that the delay happens even with a wired connection which should, really, reduce any lag in comparison to a wireless connection.
Watching live footage directly on the HomeMonitor website was far better, with a minimal delay of 2-3 seconds.
Brushing that small caveat aside though, I’ve been impressed with the 720p HD quality of the HomeMonitor HD’s recordings, and even in low light situations the camera’s 30 LEDs surrounding the sensor give it the ability to see up to 15m away.
The integrated microphone is equally as impressive; there were several occasions where, rather surprisingly, it would pick up on conversations from the corridor and the kitchen next door.
You might be hard pressed to call the HomeMonitor HD “cheap” at £149.99, but I’ll be honest, the simplicity of setup and use alone probably makes it worth it. It’s the kind of product that I could ask my sister or mum to set up, and they’d probably get on just fine without me — that’s arguably the biggest complement I can give it.
There’s certainly room for improvement — particularly with that 10 second delay with the apps — but besides that I’ve been really happy with the HomeMonitor HD’s functionality and would highly recommend it for anyone who wants a quick & easy way to keep an eye on their home.