The D-Link HD Pan & Tilt Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-5222L) has some interesting features, but what caught my attention is its price. We have not hands-on tested the D-Link like so many other cameras but we did spend a considerable amount of time researching and comparing the facts and specs to the cameras we have tested. This is what we learned.
- Mechanical Pan and Tilt
- Local Storage
- Smart Motion Detection
- Poor Video Quality
- Confusing Mobile App and Setup
Image and Video Quality of the DCS-5222L
The price of the DCS-5222L is considerable less than Dropcam, Piper, and other popular IP cameras. It kind of makes you wonder, what's missing?
The DCS-5222L actually has the same resolution as Dropcam. It records in 720p. 720p produces videos with a resolution of 1280x720. Not bad for surveillance cameras, but wait until you see the actual output and the output is what differentiates it from the Dropcam Pro. Unfortunately, many users complain about the video quality being fuzzy and grainy.
Moving on, the DCS-5222L has 10x digital zoom for close up viewing. The zoom works while streaming live video. On top of that, the DCS-5222L has the ability to pan and tilt, an advantage over other cameras. The DCS-5222L can pan 360⁰ and tilt 20⁰ below the center and 100⁰ above. The pan-and-tilt feature is true pan-and-tilt and it gives the user a chance to see not just a portion of a room but an entire room. There is nothing more frustrating than worrying about your home but not being able to check out the entire scene with your camera.
The DCS-5222L includes night vision as well. It uses IR LEDs (Infrared Light Emitting Diodes) that emit infrared lights which are invisible to the human eye. So when these IR LEDS are switched on, they can light up a dark room providing up to 26 ft visibility at night.
The DCS-5222L as a Home Security Camera
The DCS-5222L has multiple features to help keep you safe. While it can only monitor indoors, it can monitor during the day and at night. The camera is designed to sit on a shelf but you can also add a wall mounting kit for even greater visibility of your home.
The second home security feature included is built-in motion-detection. It’s not just a motion-detector, it is an awesome motion-detector. Why? First, it has a built-in PIR sensor which is more effective than other types of motion sensors. A PIR sensor, or Passive Infrared sensor, measures infrared light radiating from objects or people in its field of view. So even in really dark conditions, the DCS-5222L still senses motion effectively. Second, you can create zones for your motion detector. It can be pretty annoying to receive false alarm notifications because your motion detector thought your pet cat is an intruder or because you are trying to monitor an area that is naturally high traffic. With the ability to set zones, you can avoid some of this by creating areas that the camera should monitor and ignore. For example, maybe you want to keep an eye on your couch but ignore the rest of your living room. Just set the camera to monitor the couch using your included mobile app and the camera will take care of the rest. While you can still see the whole room while live streaming, it will cut down on the amount of notifications received.
In addition to its motion detector, the DCS-5222L has audio detection, notifying you when sounds are heard. Audio detection can be set to detect soft sounds for higher sensitivity detection, to loud sounds for lower sensitivity. The camera uses a built-in microphone and a speaker which means that you can also use the camera for two-way audio.
From a privacy perspective D-Link provides 2 connection options. One is using a 10/100 Ethernet connection, and the other is wireless 802.11n with full WPA2 security. WPA2 uses 128-bit encryption, which is secure enough to keep your videos from being stumbled upon by hackers if you also protect yourself but using a secure connection and a strong password.
Finally, the DCS-5222L is a team player. Some Wi-Fi routers cannot cover the whole house, so users have to make sure that all their network cameras are within range of their connection. The D-Link HD is equipped with a Wi-Fi extender. Once connected to your Wi-Fi router, it creates its own Wi-Fi range, passing on the signal to other cameras that are out of your router’s range. More cameras = more security.
- Record video continuously
- Record video according to a weekly schedule
- Record video when motion is detected
- Upload snapshots/video clips via e-mail
- Upload snapshots/video clips via FTP
D-Link's Mobile App
The DCS-5222L uses a free app called mydlink™ Lite or tablet users can download mydlink™+ for just under $1.00 which adds multi-camera viewing. D-Link supports apps for iOS, Android, and Windows phones which is great news for Windows phone owners as it's difficult to find supported security products.
The apps control the essential features of the camera like live viewing, pan-tilt-zoom, motion detection, push notification from cameras, push-to-talk and playback SD card recordings.
- View live video
- Supports H.264 video streaming
- Save snapshots to your phone's gallery
- Pinch to zoom in an out.
- Adjust camera from day to night mode or set this up to be automatic.
- Setup/Customize motion and sound detection.
- SD Card Playback
- Upgrade Firmware
- Setup Push Notifications
Video Storage for the D-Link HD
D-Link has “cloud service” but it's a private cloud and not a public cloud that most people associate with the word "cloud service".
The storage feature is called ShareCenter™. It’s not a cloud server, instead, it is a local storage device powered by hard drives. When using the ShareCenter™, you are simply uploading videos and files to these hard drives through your network. This means that you have to purchase the unit and set it up to be able to use it, unlike public cloud services that are pay-to-play.
If you prefer a public cloud, the DCS-5222L works with some 3rd party cloud services. One that I’ve found is CamCloud, which offers cloud monitoring for as low as $8. The features are as follows:
|Unlimited Live Viewing||Unlimited Live Viewing||Unlimited Live Viewing|
|Supports 4 Cameras||Supports 10 Cameras||Supports Unlimited Cameras|
|Stores 5,000 Still Images||Stores 30,000 Still Images||Stores 100,000 Still Images|
|Mobile App Notifications||Mobile App Notifications||Mobile App Notifications|
|1 Day of Video Storage||1 Week of Video Storage||1 Month of Video Storage|
To briefly explain D-Link HD, I’d say it’s inexpensive but not lacking in features. The video quality leaves something to be desired, but it does offer decent night vision, pan-and-tilt, and smart motion sensors. The motion sensor is one of the most advanced features because you can create zones and monitor only the important areas of your home.
Compatible Device and Pricing Comparison
The D-Link HD is compatible with, Windows phones, Android and iOS devices. IT also works with the following web browsers.
- Internet Explorer v6
- Mozilla Firefox v.3.0
- Google Chrome v2
- Safari v4
The D-Link HD Pan-and-Tilt Wi-Fi Camera is sold on Amazon.