We can all all agree that a home security system is not complete unless you have good camera. Automated lights, locks and thermostats all sound fancy, but if you want to ensure that you catch the intruder, you need a little boost. Dropcam is one of the most popular security cameras today, it’s literally everywhere – I’ll give them that. It can be set up by anyone, it’s easy to use and it doesn’t need supervision to perform (most of the time that is); this is the kind of simplicity you want from a camera. Compliment this with a useful app and regular updates and you have yourself a winner.
As with any other device in the security market, many newcomers are out to get Dropcam. One of the latest to enter the scene is the OCO Wi-Fi Cloud Camera, priced at $149 (you might also want to check out Oco2). Today we’re going to take a closer look at the camera. Can it handle the heat? Does it work? Is it easy to use? ...Oooh the questions. Let’s unlock the answers.
- Good Value for HD Resolution
- Easy Setup
- Does Not Play with Others
- Night Vision Issues
Design and Setup
The box will come with everything you need – a power adapter, USB cable and even mounting hardware. Setup is quite simple. You remove the camera from the box, plug it into a circuit using the USB cable and then install the app – nothing more, nothing less.
Overall the design of the camera is simple, with the front housing the CMOS sensor, the infrared and indicator lights, and the lens. On the back you’ll find the reset button, speaker and mic - all arranged in a simple manner. However, it doesn’t really matter how everything is laid out – chances are you won’t interfere with the hardware once it is set up, or at least that should be your aim. What’s important is the image and video quality, software, and storage capacity.
Image and Video Quality with Oco
The more resolution your camera has, the better it will be for you to see every inch of your home; every pebble or every person. The Oco Wi-Fi Cloud Camera comes with HD 720p (1280x720) resolution – not too shabby. With this, it can to capture detailed images and accurate video feeds so that you can easily identify intruders. It is equipped with a microphone and a built-in speaker that supports two-way talk. This push-to-talk feature allows you to converse with your family directly.
Oco Wi-Fi Cloud Camera comes equipped with 11 infrared LEDS for night vision and the lens offers a wide 120-degree view. This allows you to receive clear footage even in areas of your home with minimal lighting. The black and white night vision video is quite impressive; my only concern is that the camera tends to switch to night vision mode even when there is still adequate light around. This can be a nuisance and if this happens, you’ll have to visit the settings to disable night vision. Based on my knowledge, it seems that the camera’s light sensors are a little too sensitive and unfortunately it does not give you the option to adjust light sensitivity. However, do not write Oco off for this as it would be an easy fix for them in the future.
The Oco features noise and motion detection sensors which will send a notification directly to your smartphone, via the app, when triggered. These work well, but if you have a pet at home you may way want to adjust the sensitivity. It has 8X digital zoom that works with the app on your iOS or Android phone but will not work from the web browser on your PC (more on this later). We get asked a lot about the difference between optical and digital zoom.
Essentially, optical zoom is what most photography cameras have. The lens physical moves to zoom in on an object. Most security cameras use a digital zoom lens. As Oco uses such a wide angle lens, you are getting a large picture of a large area. What if you want to take a closer look at something within that shot? This is where digital zoom comes into play. You can take a closer look at objects within your field of view.
One feature that I really love about this camera is that it can swivel in a complete 360-degree circle even if it is mounted to the wall of your living room or a bookshelf. However, if you care about aesthetic appearance you should find a way to hide its bulkiness. Of course, there are bigger cameras on the market, but it’s in no way small. It’s a camera that can be easily noticed, and to me this may or may not work in your favor. An intruder might notice the camera and decide to leave but may return after devising a plan to “take care” of the cameras.
Oco Software Behavior
Since the Oco Wi-Fi Cloud Camera is a product of Ivideon it does not use its own proprietary software like Dropcam. Instead, everything from setup to monitoring is done using the Ivideon app. A little icing on the cake ... Ivideon and Oco make this process so simple that it would be hard for you to mess up. Everything can be done using your smartphone so you don’t need a computer. A little sprinkle on top ... Ivideon makes a solid app that is consistently rated over 4 stars on both iTunes and Google Play.
To get started, ou register for an Ivideon account, power up the camera by using the USB to plug it in, and wait for the indicator light to come on. Once you’ve done this and installed the app on your cellphone, you will be prompted to enter your Wi-Fi password and select your desired plan. From there a QR code will display on your cellphone. Place the QR code in front of Oco for a quick scan. After this, your task is over- everything else is done automatically and you can start using the camera. The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. There is also a web version of the software that you can access from any web-enabled device. There is also an Ivideon Client for Windows Phone in the works but it is not ready yet.
Through the app you can watch live video footage from anywhere in the world. You can also customize the camera and control the camera through multiple pages on the app interface. You can modify the night vision, the video quality settings, and adjust the sound and motion detection sensitivity.
On the app events page you will see a thumbnail image of sound and motion detection events. From the feedback page, you can send suggestions and comments directly to your camera, and with App Settings you can change push notifications and the quality of your video. With this you can select which events you receive a notification for on your cellphone. You’ll find the push-to-talk button for direct communication with your family at the bottom of the live feed page and a snapshot button to take photos that will be saved on your cellphone. The company is also working on facial recognition, which will certainly earn them some customers.
If you have a cloud package you can also control advanced features like downloads, video share, and adding other users.
With Oco you do not get onboard storage. To store and record videos you will have to subscribe to Ivideon cloud. If you are familiar with Dropcam you will have an idea of what I’m talking about. Whenever the camera detects motion or sound it will begin recording a video of the event which will be stored on the cloud for you to review, download or share with other users based on the plan you choose. You will have four different plans to choose from.
First, there is a free plan that limits the use of the camera, notifications, and encryption. In addition to restricting online video storage, you will not be able to embed the camera on social networking sites.
Next is the 1-Day cloud plan for only $3.99 per month. With this, you’ll be able to import up to one hour of video coverage that you can share with up to four private users. With the 1-day plan you can store up to one day video coverage on the Ivideon cloud.
Third, the 7-Day cloud plan for $9.99 per month provides the option to record two hours of video coverage, share with up to eight users privately, and store up to seven days of video in the cloud.
Finally, the 30-Day cloud plan goes for $19.99 per month. It gives you the freedom to share four hours of video with up to sixteen private users and use the cloud to host up to 30 days of video coverage.
Compatible Devices and Pricing Comparison
Wi-Fi cameras should provide homeowners with an affordable means of securing their home. Oco seems to have followed this trend. The camera offers a good value vs the resolution and included features. This is compared to veterans on the market such as the Nest Dropcam Pro which is available for $199 and iON The Home that is sold at $179.99.
On the other hand, Oco doesn’t play well with other home automation and security devices.
A Quick Summary
Oco is definitely attempting to challenge Dropcam and every other product that threatens its position on the market. Overall it is easy to set up and can deliver quality surveillance coverage during both day and night. The noise and motion detectors work efficiently to identify threats in your home and two-way talking allows you to talk directly to your family. Pair this with an app that has great features, as well as reasonably priced subscription rates, and you have a camera that offers a decent value.
On the flip side, the light sensor is a tad too sensitive, you cannot record without subscribing to the Ivideon cloud, and it doesn't play with other. While Oco cannot connect to other home automation devices, it can potentially connect with other cameras through Ivideon's service. Ivideon supports multiple cameras including webcams, IP cameras, and CCTV. In general, you will need either an RTSP or MJPEG URL to a video stream in order to connect to Ivideon.