The Remocam Smart Home Security Camera bills itself as a super versatile, next generation home security camera. I tested it out at my home, in my office, and while on the go over the last few weeks. Here’s how the Remocam performed, and how it stacks up to the competition.
What It Is
The Remocam is a home security camera, with integrated pan/tilt motion, IR illumination, wireless connectivity, audio, and local storage. It pairs with its own mobile app.
“Remocam is a Smart Home security camera that can monitor your home, business, or vacation home. It sends live video feed and motion detection alerts to the Remocam app on your smartphone. It’s also equipped with a Smart Home capability that lets you control your electronic devices.”
Who It’s For
The Remocam claims to have lots and lots of functions, from home video monitoring all the way to controlling your tv from afar. It’s marketing to and situated for the home use, who wants to be able to keep casual tabs on what’s going on in their house while they’re away. It would be great for a family with young kids and hectic schedules. It’s not ideally tasked for corporate users, 24/7 security monitoring, or multi-camera integrated systems.
I tested the Remocam in my home. I first had it setup on my fireplace mantle, where it had a view of the entire living room and kitchen. From there, it was setup with a view to my outside porch, and then setup in my office with a view over my entire office area. I had it running on my own home WiFi, and tested the mobile app with my Apple iPhone6 on AT&T.
On unboxing the Remocam, I was actually surprised by its size. It’s a little larger than I had expected, but given its large range of functions, that’s understandable. The camera is solidly built and reasonably heavy. Setting it up above my fireplace, it sits solidly, and the small tug from the power cord isn’t enough to move it at all. The box also contained the power cable, and a weird piece of lens protection film, which was never fully explained.
Setup was easy, and in a few minutes I had it connected to my home wifi. It didn’t come with its own SD card, so I used one I already had. It also did not come with any cables for connecting the audio input or outputs – which are not essential for operation.
Once I got it setup, I had a bunch of questions about its operations – so I fired off a few queries to their support email. These questions were asked on 2016-02-08, so features may have been changed/updated since then.
Here’s what I asked:
- Q: Howdy guys, I’m loving my Remocam so far. and love checking in on the camera with the iPhone app. However, there are cases when I’d like to be able to check in on the camera on my macbook, using a normal web browser. How do I do this? I can’t seem to find any sort of functionality on the website – and of course, this is a super important feature.A: I’m happy to hear you are enjoying your camera!! We currently do not have Remocam accessible from a web browser. You can only view the camera’s feed from our app on Android or iOS phones or tablets. However, we are working on making it accessible via website browser and hope to offer this in the near future!
- Q: Hey guys, I just installed my Remocam to test it, and it’s working great. For permanent installation, I’m thinking about putting it somewhere where I have some other gear installed. Unfortunately there’s no proper electrical outlet nearby, but there is an avaiable high-power USB port I could use. Is it possible to power Remocam via USB, like most other electronics? I see that the power adapter is 5volts, 2 amps – so that seems like it’s low enough power to be supported by USB. Is there a Micro-USB or USB-C version?A: If you would like to power Remocam via USB, you will need a 5V/2amps USB charger. We only provide the power cord that comes with Remocam, we do not supply the USB chargers. Does this answer your question? [ed: No, this didn’t answer the question – since the Remocam has no Micro-USB or USB-C input port, it’s not possible to power it via USB. Even with the existing power input port, they didn’t supply any sort of USB adapter cable – so no, it cannot be plugged into a usb charger, even if the power rating is correct.]
- Q: Hey guys, I noticed on the back of the remocam that there’s a line in and line out ports – but there doesn’t seem to be any documentation on these ports anywhere – how exactly do they work?A: Thanks for emailing in about this. The in and out ports are for external speakers/microphone that you can use. If you have an external speaker or microphone, you can plug it into Remocam so that the noise is louder when someone speaks through the camera and when noise is picked up from the room Remocam is in.
- Q: Hi guys, how do I get the remocam to loop or cycle record on the SD card? I’d like it to be recording video locally, and overwriting the old video when the card fills up, so I can always see the most recent stream of video, in case something happens, or if the network goes down, etc. How do i get the remocam to do this?
A: Remocam is not able to loop or cycle recordings on the SD card. Whenever the SD card fills up, you will need to manually delete the videos you would like to delete.If you would like to always see the latest videos and have old videos automatically recorded, I would suggest using the Cloud recordings. Then, you will see the videos from the app, and the oldest videos will automatically be deleted.Update 2016-03-29 – After sending this post over to Remocam, I received this update regarding cycle recording: When the microSD card is almost full (with 500MB of storage left) the oldest videos will be automatically deleted and replaced with the newest motion videos. You will receive motion push detection at all times as long as the push notifications and motion sensor are turned on. You will receive the push notifications even if your microSD card is full.
- Q: Hey guys, I love the remocam, but I currently use a self-managed cloud server to record security camera footage. How do i configure the remocam to stream its video to a different server, other than to Remocam?A: Remocam can only include to our Cloud serve that we provide. It is unable to be configured to stream to a different server. Sorry about this! Hope it is not too inconvenient for you!
- Q: Hey guys, the place where I’m going to install remocam has one very bright lightsource, but the rest of the scene is darker. I need to adjust the exposure on remocam to be correct – its automatic exposure is making everything too dark, because the 1 light source is so bright. How do I do this?A: Currently, you can not adjust the exposure of Remocam’s video feed. This is something we are working on offering in the future, however it is not currently available. Sorry if this is an inconvenience. Is the video feed view-able near that light source?
- Q: Hey guys, I noticed in my Remocam box there’s a yellow piece of paper with a circular clear sticker attached – what is this for? There’s no mention of it in the documentation.A: This sticker is just to protect the lens. We just include it for customers who would like to protect the lens, however we do not recommend using the sticker while using the camera as it can make the feed blurry.
- Q: Hey guys, I noticed that there’s no documentation of the format of the MicroSD card. Can the remocam support Exfat? HFS+? FAT32? Where is the info on this?A: Remocam is compatible with micro and ultra micoSD cards that are 32GB or less. This information can be found here on our shop page for Remocam. We only support fat32, not HFS+ or exfat.
- I love the pan/tilt features. The camera has a great range of motion, which makes it easy to monitor an entire room, and makes it very easy to setup.
- The ability to record to an SD card directly on the camera is a cool way to backup the cloud recordings.
- The ring of infrared LEDs really help illuminate the room during the night.
- Pairing the camera with my TV remote was cool – I love being able to control gadgets from afar. I’m not sure these things need to be paired, but it’s still cool.
- I love that the audio listen/speak features are complimented with proper line in/out ports – makes for very flexible installations.
- The only way to monitor the video feed is through the mobile app. There’s no online browser-based access. So if I’m without my phone, I can’t get to the feed.
- No way to cycle record on the SD Card. That means the SD card is really only good for actively storing moments I trigger myself, or via motion, but can’t be used as an always-on recording so I can go back and see the last however many hours of footage. This forces me to rely on Remocam’s (paid) cloud recording service. This also makes my home monitoring entirely dependent on the wifi. If wifi goes out and something happens, there’s no way to see what happened – the camera has to be connected to the internet to record (save for spot-recordings on the sd card)
- No USB power. I know this is a small one, but in the age of higher and higher power usb, I hate getting yet another wall-wart that’s good for only one gadget. I know it would be expensive, but Remocam should power this via USB-C, and really future-proof that section of the product.
- Another small thing, but that polished surface on the top of the base is going to show dust really quickly.
Should you buy it?
While the Remocam is a good quality camera with a fairly wide range of features, I’d say wait on buying this. The hardware/software integration is not as tight as it could be, and a couple critical features to make it a truly great and reliable security camera are missing. The camera is certainly a fun gadget to play with, but unfortunately, the entire package is not at the level of design and engineering inspiration that makes me want to add it as part of my home.
Remocam is coming out with a doorbell soon, and based on the experience with the
Find It Here
I’m sad to not have the greatest review of Remocam, because this little camera is trying, very hard, to be great. However at this point I feel like there are too many half-baked features being packed in. All of the features basically work, but none really shine.
Remocam is coming out with the Remobell soon, and given the solid first try with Remocam, I’d reconsider the Bell. Don’t write off the whole company – they clearly have vision and drive, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with next in this highly competitive market.