The Vimtag 361 HD camera, formally known as Fujikam, is an IP home security camera that costs around $100. The camera comes equipped with all of the typical features found in home security cameras in this price range: two-way audio, live streaming via a mobile app, HD video, night vision, and built-in SD storage. And there are plenty of other features too. But, if you’ve used a home security camera before, you know that camera specs tell you very little. Some home security cameras have a long list of features, but don’t work well. While others have only a few features, but are outstanding at providing home security. So where does Vimtag stand?
If you were to believe Amazon reviews, you would assume that Vimtag is one of the best home security cameras available with thousands of reviews and an average of 4 stars. In reality, it's somewhere in the middle. It has some cool features and gets the job done, but also has some weaknesses.
Sometimes, I get so caught up in how cool and sleek new home security cameras look, that I forget that looks don’t necessarily equal functionality. I didn't have that problem with this camera. When I first opened my Vimtag Fujikam, I was a little disappointed. It’s bulky and gray, and reminded me of a cheap toy.
But, my disappointment was halted by an easy set-up process. After setting up the Yi camera a few months ago, this was dreamy. The camera is not completely wireless, but is straightforward. You connect the camera to your router with the included Ethernet cable and plug the camera into an outlet. Then, you download the app, scan the QR code on the bottom of the camera with your smartphone, and viola. Mine was up and running in minutes.
My first impression of the app was the same as the camera. It’s bare bones and looks like a highschool kid put it together. That said, it’s functional enough to get the job done.
Using The App
I started out testing the camera as a baby monitor. This was a great chance to test out both the app and the web portal. As I mentioned above, the app is nothing special. You select your camera and are taken to a live feed. From there, you can also:
- Guide the pan/tilt of the camera (mechanical)
- Take a snapshot
- Record a video
- Mute/unmute the sound on the live feed
- Use the two-way talk feature.
- View your recordings
You can also go into settings, where you can:
- Change the sensitivity of the motion sensor, with the ability to set different sensitivities for day and night
- Set the time
- Schedule a recording
- Set the speaker and mic volumes
- Change administrative settings
All of the app features worked well, except for the recorded video viewing. When I tried to view my recordings, I often had to wait minutes for the “sending request” screen to show me my recordings, if they showed up at all. That can be pretty frustrating if you’re trying to find out what triggered your motion sensor when no one is supposed to be in your home. And to be clear, I had issues when trying to view video at home and away from home. I found that my best bet was to take out the SD card and view the recordings on my computer. Not very useful.
How Well Do The Features Work?
This is the real question you should ask when you look at a home security camera. The first feature I tested was pan, tilt, and zoom. All three features were a little slow to respond to my touch (even when my phone was connected to my home’s Wi-Fi), but being able to view my child’s entire room with a 320 degree rotation was worth a slight delay. From a home security standpoint, this is extremely valuable. While the pan and tilt features are mechanical, zoom is optical and a little bit useless. Zooming in makes the image so grainy that it’s distorted.
Testing video quality was next on my list, and Fujikam held up its promise of 1280x720p HD video. The video was ok during the day and the night vision was clear as well - especially when compared to other cameras I've tested. There was also a very short buffering time to view the live feed, which only lasted one or two seconds tops.
Vimtag Video Storage
Although the live video was impressive, the video recordings of motion events were disappointing. As I mentioned above, I could view them - sometimes. The rest of the time, I had to stare at the screen while it loaded, and loaded, and loaded…until nothing happened. There’s also no cloud storage like offered for free with the similarly priced Blink camera system, which is a bummer, but if you only want local storage I guess the SD slot will do. If you prefer, you can connect the device to the Vimtag Cloud box (sold separately), which is a local storage device that can record from multiple Vimtag cameras. It is sold in a 1 and 2TB version.
Also not included is the actual SD card. But even without one, you can record a few snapshots. Though nice, a few snapshots isn't sufficient, so an SD card of up to 32GB is recommended. When the SD card is full, it automatically deletes the oldest videos to make room for new ones. You can’t delete videos from the app or web portal, but that didn’t matter to me since I could barely view recordings from there anyway. And then there was the little problem of quantity...
I had a lot of motion events to sift through, mostly because the motion detector is pretty sensitive, even when sensitivity is set to the lowest level. During the day, shadows would set off events and this was overwhelming. Though annoying during the day, this same level of sensitivity was handy at night. While other cameras have been unable to pick up the slight movements that my son makes right before he wakes up in his crib at night, this camera picked up those movements and always alerted me right before my not-so-sleeping angel woke up. And if I didn't feel like getting those alerts, I could just change the setting to less sensitive.
- App: iOS and Android
- Pan, Tilt, and Zoom
- Video Quality: 1280x720p
- Web Portal
- Storage: Up to 32GB SD
- Vimtag Cloudbox 1TB or 2TB Storage
- Supports Multiple Devices & Users
But What About Your Privacy?
After testing the camera, it was brought to my attention that some users have complained about security. Vimtag claims to use bank-level encryption, but they don't elaborate. And there is no explanation as to why one Amazon reviewer claims that she set up her camera only to have it mysteriously pan/tilt on its own, and to have her router show that there were multiple access attempts from various IP addresses.
What does explain the security breach is the fact that, when you view the camera from the Vimtag website, you are using a website that isn't encrypted. When you enter your password, other people might be able to see your password. I'd be lying if I said this didn't make my skin crawl. Even though I only used the web browser once for testing, one time is enough. And to make matters worse, some Amazon reviewers are claiming that the app isn't encrypted either. If you wanted to avoid any security issues, you can always set up your camera on a VPN- but not everyone can (or wants to) do that.
One reviewer has gone so far as to warn others,
As an IT security professional, I want to BEG you not to purchase this product. The actual camera and advertised ease of use are great, but the security is horrendous ... Telnet port 23 was left open ... Port 80 only here folks. I saw someone say that the "cloud" is nothing more than transparent dynamic dns. I did not check to confirm this, so not sure. Either way, passwords are sent plain text to the server/camera over the internet. Not only that, but the camera opens connections to Fujikam servers in California and in China. Video is constantly streamed to these servers, and as far as I can tell, that's unencrypted as well.
The user goes on to explain other concerns in technical detail, but the bottom line is he returned his cameras. Though he found them easy to use, the security concerns were too much.
Fujikam, Vimtag, whatever you want to call it, made an impression on me. It’s clunky and ugly, but it works. It’s simple and does everything a home security camera is supposed to do, but has two major flaws:
- viewing recorded videos is not functional
- camera is vulnerable, not secure
When I dug into the first issue issue, I found that the app’s latest update is causing issues with viewing recorded footage. There is complaint after complaint about the Android app on Google Play, all agreeing that the update has made things worse. More than likely this issue will be corrected, but what likely won't be corrected are the major security flaws. I would in no way recommend someone purchase a camera that might put their personal privacy at risk. Trust me, there are plenty of other home security cameras that cost about $100 that work and offer better security.
If you choose not to take my advice, you can purchase Vimtag here.