The Belkin Wemo NetCam HD+ Wi-Fi Camera with Glass Lens and Night Vision (NetCam HD+) is the latest network camera in line with other NetCam cameras and it has, by far, the most advanced features. This is not a camera that we've tested in house so we sent two researchers off to dig through the latest and greatest reviews, talk to others who have tried the camera, and then work together to compile the most comprehensive review possible. This is the outcome.
- Decent Price for 720p
- Email Notifications are Free
- Works with WeMo
- Limited FOV & Cannot Pan or Tilt
- Push Notifications Cost Money
- May Require Use of Two Apps
NetCam HD+ Image and Video Quality
The name NetCam HD+ suggests that the camera can record HD+ videos. Although it has the ability to do so, NetCam HD+ only runs on 720p. Add that power to the glass lens used in NetCam and you have a fairly decent quality camera. A glass lens is common in better quality security cameras. Manufacturers choose a glass lens because it allows as much light as possible to pass through it, giving a crisp, vibrant video output. It has a viewing angle of 95⁰ diagonally, 76⁰ horizontally, and 57⁰ vertically. Though this may sound impressive, it's actually quit limited compared to other cameras but the price of the NetCam HD+ is more aggressive than other cameras balancing out some of the camera's deficiencies. While it's not the cheapest camera, it's not the most expensive either. It sort of sits in the middle usually priced around $130 depending on current sales and other factors.
In addition to having a limited field of view, the NetCam HD+ cannot pan, tilt, or zoom. In some ways this adds to the over all cost as you may need multiple cameras to cover the space that could potentially be monitored by one camera that has the ability to monitor a larger space.
The NetCam HD+ uses an H.264 video compression format. H.264 is the most commonly used compression format and is proven to compress and stream high quality videos while using low bit rates. A lower bit rate means that it is easier to stream without much buffering. NetCam also produces 25 fps (frames per second).
Finally the NetCam HD+ has limited night vision capability. How well can it see in the dark? It uses IR LEDs. The IR LEDs emit low intensity infrared lights that are invisible to the human eye. More IR LEDs means better illumination. NetCam HD+ has just 4 IR LEDs which work together to illuminate a dark room 8 meters from the camera. During night vision mode, the video switches from colored to black and white. Again, this is not a high-end camera but 4 IR LEDs is decent for a mid-ranged and mid-priced camera.
NetCam HD+ Contributes to Home Security
You’re not buying a network camera like NetCam just for fun. Of course, you want it to be a part of your home’s security. So how does NetCam HD+ contribute to home security? By simply having a camera in your house, it stands as a warning sign that says “This house is monitored, so keep out!”. Unfortunately, NetCam HD+ is not an outdoor camera nor does Belkin currently support an outdoor camera but the HD+ does a decent job of monitoring things that occur inside your home and there are several features that help it monitor and protect.
The NetCam HD+ has a motion sensor backed by customized sensitivity. It can be set to either have high-sensitivity, which detects even small motions or low sensitivity, which only detects large movements. It is a bit old-school as many companies have upgraded their cameras to have smart-motion detectors backed by some form of software. So having NetCam’s motion sensor activated in high traffic areas can be problematic. When motion has been detected, NetCam sends an email notification so you can promptly view it live using the included mobile app. When viewing live you have a few options. You can ignore the event, call for help, or use the two-way talk feature. Two-way audio uses a microphone and speaker in the camera itself. Using your mobile device, you can speak through the camera and scare off intruders (use your harshest voice) or even connect with loved ones on the other end.
If you want push notifications on your phone or any mobile device you must pay for one of their cloud storage plans. More on that later. In my opinion, this is the biggest issue with using the NetCam HD+ as a home security camera unless you live in your email and some people do. The alternative to this is to create an IF recipe through IFTTT. You can setup a recipe to receive a phone call when NetCam detects motion or to text you which is a better alternative than an email BUT you can only do this if you setup your NetCam alerts to go to a Gmail account. It works like this, setup an IF recipe to search Gmail for a specific phrase. When you get a NetCam email, IF will recognize it and will trigger a phone call to you.
Finally, the NetCam HD+ uses 128-bit encryption to help protect your privacy.
NetCam HD+ Software Behavior
The NetCam HD+ uses 2 apps, the Belkin NetCam app and the WeMo app. The Belkin NetCam app runs on Android (at least version 2.2 or higher) and iOS (at least 5.0 or higher) devices. This app does a number of things like setting up motion detection, live viewing which includes audio, and controlling all your connected NetCam cameras.
The other app, the WeMo app, can also be used if you have a NetCam HD+ and it focuses on home automation features. NetCam is a part of the Works with WeMo program, which is a group of products ranging from smart switches, connected lighting, to smart kitchen appliances. The WeMo app is available for iOS (at least iOS 7.0) and Android (at least 4.0) users. Within the app, you can control WeMo products and products that are part of the Works with WeMo program.
The problem with this approach is that the features of the NetCam HD+ are scattered across these two apps. So you may have to open either or both apps to fully use your NetCam.
NetCam Cloud Storage
The NetCam HD+ doesn’t have a slot for a microSD card or an option for local storage. The only storage option is cloud storage. Their Cloud+ Premium Service costs $9.99 a month, or if you want to pay annually, $99.99. What exactly does it do? First, you will be able to store motion-based recordings. When motion is detected, aside from the email notification, you will also be sent push notifications to your phone when subscribed to Cloud+. The camera also starts recording the motion and saving footage to the cloud for future use. Then, from the cloud, you can download your clips.
Belkin offers the Cloud Service Beta version for a free 30-day trial, but Beta version means that your videos will not be encrypted, so use if you must but I wouldn't recommend it.
All in all, I think the camera is nice. "Nice". Such a boring word isn't it?
The NetCam HD+ isn't packed with features but it's easy to use and relatively inexpensive. It’s a good addition to your already existing home security products, and it plays well with other home automation products as long as they are a part of the Works with WeMo program. It supports push notifications but only if you are willing to pay $9.99 a month for their cloud storage. They also offer free email notifications. Last, you may have to use two apps instead of one depending upon what features you want to take advantage of.
Compatibility and Pricing
NetCam HD+ is compatible with all products from the Works with WeMo program. This program consists of products like smart plugs, smart bulbs, smart coffee makers, and many more.
The NetCam HD+ works with the a Android and iOS app or using the browser of Windows phones.
Belkin NetCam HD+ on Amazon: $119.99
Belkin NetCamHD+ on Belkin.com is $129.99