- FHD Video
- Free Cloud Storage
- Low Lag Time
- 72 degree viewing angle
- Difficult Installation and App
- False Alarms
- Doesn't Record Sound
Before we begin, take a breath, because you will need it to say this cameras's full name. Now ... the Amcrest ProHD Outdoor 1080P WiFi Wireless IP Security Bullet Camera is an outdoor security camera that fits most budgets, priced at around $120. While it might be within your price range for a camera, that doesn't mean you should whip out your debit card. Sometimes an affordable camera does just as well as the expensive cameras, sometimes an affordable camera is missing too many important elements to be effective. So, how does Amcrest perform?
Amcrest ProHD Outdoor Specs
The Amcrest ProHD Outdoor camera offers live viewing as well as recorded footage of motion events, all done in 1080P FHD video at 30FPS. The camera works through a web portal or through an app (for Android or iOS phones and tablets). It records to an Amcrest or ONVIF NVR, FTP, or Blue Iris software. There’s also an option for paid or free Amcrest Cloud recording. Without a cloud subscription, you get four hours of recording time that you can view from the web portal or the app. Additional 7-day, 15-day, and 30-day storage plans are available starting at $6 per month.
Although the camera is relatively low-frills, it does have a few neat features:
- Motion alerts via smartphone notification or email
- Night vision up to 98 feet
- 1080p HD video
- 72 degree viewing angle
- Digital zoom
- Weatherproof/Waterproof (IP66)
Installation and Set-Up
Although you might think an indoor and outdoor security camera only differ in that the outdoor camera is waterproof, there’s a lot more to it. With indoor cameras, the biggest challenge is usually finding an outlet to plug the power cord into. But outdoor cameras usually get mounted on a wall and even if you have an outlet nearby, you probably don’t want power cords hanging in plain site. So, installing an outdoor camera is typically challenging and the Amcrest ProHD was no exception.
We decided to mount one camera above the garage. (We being me and my team of handymen aka my family.) In order to make that happen, we had to go into the attic and drill holes for the power cord. We ran wires so the camera could connect to a power source- no easy task in a stiflingly hot attic...in Florida...in August. The process definitely left me wishing I had purchased a battery powered camera or at least that I had waited until winter. It's also important to note that there is a POE version of this camera, but wires are still required.
Immediately after setting up the cameras, I wasn’t happy. It took three tech-savvy adults thirty minutes to figure out how to connect the cameras to the app. We were setting up three cameras and the NVR, and there wasn’t much direction given. Despite the difficulty, it looks like connecting only one camera without an NVR should be an easy process. There are prompts on the app that tell you what to do; it’s as simple as scanning the QR code. Things get tricky when you have multiple cameras connecting to the NVR.
Amcrest ProHD Mobile App
The app has some really cool features, but finding those features is tough. I had to do some serious exploration before I could figure out how to do simple things like set motion event notifications. It was so confusing that I watched a Youtube video (below) detailing some of the features before I could fully understand the app- a first for me even after testing multiple home security cameras.
Although I would prefer a more user-friendly app, the features were (maybe) worth it. You can set six different motion sensitivity settings (although there’s no way to stop cars from triggering a motion event), create a recording schedule, and enable cam masking alerts (an alert if someone tries to cover the camera). The six different motion sensitivity settings are defined within zones to help reduce false alarms. For example, I can set a zone for my driveway (low sensitivity), my porch (high sensitivity), my front door (highest sensitivity) while ignoring anything that happens on the street. In theory, this is great. In reality, the zones were not useful. Even with zones set, the camera still considers any change in light or movement from branches a motion alert.
The only thing that was easy about using the app was getting the alerts. You can set the app to send push notifications to your phone, and you can choose what happens when you click on the notification. You can set it to go to a snapshot of the event in the app, the recorded footage, or a live view. Have such a choice makes determining what’s going on very simple, and in the case of an intruder, it might just give you the few extra seconds you need to alert the police.
- Smart Motion Alerts-push notifications sent to your phone.
- Zone Detection
- Recording Schedule
- Masking Alerts
- Timeline Playback
A Closer Look At The Features
The Amcrest ProHD Outdoor Camera has good video quality. But it’s not only about the resolution; the buffering time matters too. And this is one camera that doesn’t have a buffering problem. Whether I was on a separate Wi-Fi connection or the same one as the camera, I was able to pull up live footage with only a few seconds of buffering time.
The motion sensor was inaccurate as already discussed. Having the different sensitivity settings was useful, but I tried every sensitivity setting and still had false alarms. On top of that, there’s no software for smart detection. With an outdoor camera that may be facing the street or swaying tree branches, this can make motion alerts useless. This was the case for me. One camera was facing the street and the other the entryway to the house. Every few minutes, I would get a motion alert from cars driving by, shadows passing the entry, or wind moving the leaves.
When you have an NVR for the Amcrest ProHD camera, the camera is constantly recording. This makes up for the almost useless motion alerts in that you can always go back to a time and check out the action.
Working with Other Devices
If you are looking for a home security camera that can connect to other devices, the Amcrest ProHD Outdoor is not the camera for you. It does not connect to other smart home devices nor do they manage an IFTTT channel. However, you can control multiple cameras from one app access including the indoor Amcreast Pro HD.
It’s hard to find a good outdoor security camera, and the Amcrest ProHD Outdoor is far from perfect. After all, it is a mixed package. If you’re looking for a home security camera with reliable alerts, this camera isn’t a good option. The software just isn’t good enough to weed out false alarms.
That said, the Amcrest ProHD is useful for surveillance, if you buy the NVR. Not all cameras offer continuous recording, and this feature could be all you need if you only want to be able to view what happened in front of your home while you were away. You can purchase your own for around $120 here.