Security

Zmodo Pivot Review – Does this Smart Camera Compete with the Rest?

(Last Updated On: April 17, 2017)

There’s a whole category of stalk or fixed based cameras on the market, but smart home owners are always after more.

People want multiple cameras, they want the ability to focus on different places or only react to activity. Some cameras offer some features, other systems rely on a cluster of cameras.

Enter the Zmodo Pivot that can sense what’s going on around your room and then focus in on any action. That means you could get away with using the one camera to monitor a small property.

Key Features of the Zmodo Pivot

The Pivot is a $99 camera system (As of this writing – check here for latest pricing) that ticks most of the typical smart home boxes.

  • Comes with Multiple Sensors: For a start, there is is more than just a camera in the kit. It comes with a pair of Zmodo door or window sensors to increase its utility. Then there’s the housing of the camera itself is pretty special.
  • Plenty of Onboard Capacity: The Pivot’s case is a stocky 75 mm round and 135 mm high. Inside the mounting is 135-degree wide angle 1080p camera that comes with 16GB of internal storage, so there’s no need to rely on the cloud or pay for a subscription to see what goes on in your own home. So far, so normal, all powered by a standard micro USB adapter.
  • 360 Degree Sensing: But, rather like the 360-degree  microphones in an Amazon Echo, the Pivot has a 360-degree microwave sensor that can detect disturbances around the round. Place the Echo somewhere central and the camera unit can tilt around to focus on the activity and provide you with a smartphone alert.
  • Strong Home Security Value Proposition: That’s a pretty neat trick, and since the Pivot will also alert you to opening doors or windows, that’s a lot of home security for not much buck. If they are in the same room, then it will focus on that area, with up to four-times digital zoom, so you can see what’s happening. At night, infra-red LEDs kick in to provide night vision up to 32 feet away from the camera.
  • Environmental Monitoring: As a bonus, it can also read temperature and humidity to act as an environmental monitor, and there’s the speaker so you can talk to your pets or whoever happens to be at home. If it is someone you don’t want on the premises then you can call the police and tell them reinforcements are on the way.

Pros of the Zmodo Pivot

  • Easy to Setup: The Pivot is an easy unit to set up, all it needs is an account, access to your WiFi and connection to the iOS or Android app. That only takes a minute or two, and you can then go about taking control of your home security.
  • Updated Apps: The apps, for iOS 7 or Android 4 or above devices, are regularly updated for bug fixes and improvements.
  • Smart Learning System: The camera’s software is designed to focus on new or unusual activity, so once it has seen the dog or cat traipse around the room a few times, it should ignore them. However, as with all these systems, there’s no guarantee of the odd false alarm.
  • Encrypted Connection: The connection is encrypted with AES 256-bit encryption and Transport Layer Security for extra security, so on one should be able to monitor what the camera sees. That’s all in the background, as the real star of the show is watching the Pivot spin around to see what’s happening when it detects some motion Notifications will alert users when you’re out of the home.
  • Attractive Pricing Relative to Peers: The best news is this product was costing around $200 on launch and is widely available for $99 (check this listing for the latest prices), making it quite the bargain in the smart home security stakes. This compares attractively to others like the Nest Cam and Canary Cam.
  • Cloud Storage Available: Finally, if you do need cloud storage for clips, a recent update to the Zmodo app and service enabled this feature, plus the ability to create and share clips if it catches something funny happening.
  • Speaker Capability: With the speaker also able to play your music, although nowhere near as good as an Amazon Echo or dedicated speaker, and with the environmental sensors, there is a lot that the Pivot can do, making it a compelling purchase.

Cons of the Zmodo Pivot

  • False Detection May be an Issue: As with many other devices of this type, the number of false detection’s will vary with the type of room and environment you place it in. That’s really outside the device’s remit, but the software does appear to try hard to limit repeated false alerts.
  • Software isn’t Perfect: However, the software isn’t brilliant with repeated connectivity issues and reports from users, while the app itself does seem prone to crashing, which may be linked to the connectivity problems.
  • Can’t Track Specific Movement: Buyers should also note that the Pivot won’t actually track a person moving around the room, although you can manually control where the camera is pointing.
  • No Removable SD Card: Another issue is that the 16GB is part of the unit, and not an SD card, so you can’t remove it to save the footage elsewhere, or replace it with a bigger card to cover longer periods of time. That may be the company trying to nudge people to cloud storage, but seems like something of an oversight.

Final Word on the Zmodo Pivot

Those few points aside, which we can level at most smart home security cameras, the Pivot is a well-built piece of kit that performs well in operation, and it does an awful lot for your money. The door sensors alone plus a hub would cost that much on their own!

With the price cut seemingly widespread, we do wonder if a second generation model is on the way, but at the current price, buying one or more, which you can run from the same app, seems like incredible value.

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Zmodo Pivot Review
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About the author

Patrick Sinclair

Patrick Sinclair is a geek; make no mistake about that. He runs All Home Robotics in his spare time so he doesn't have to think about his depressing cubicle and it gives him an excuse to buy expensive gadgets to review!

1 Comment

  • Patrick,

    A little more on the tech specs would be nice. When you say TLS is that TLS 1.0, TLS 1.1 and TLS 1.2? For security you want something that supports TLS 1.2 and only TLS 1.2 since there are vulnerabilities with the earlier protocols. Hopefully SSL 3 is not supported at all. Does it support WPA2-PSK or WPA-PSK as well? I went to their site and even they are a little short on the real technical specs. Many devices still support SHA-1 and there are already proven vulnerabilities with those ciphers, so hopefully they don’t solely rely on them or at all.

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