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There is a long list of security cameras that have come out in recent months. These security cams aim to help you keep an eye on your room, house, or any other area that you want to protect and monitor.
The Amcrest ProHD is generally available for less than $100 (check this listing for the latest) and delivers high-definition streaming video. Is this the Wi-Fi security camera that you need?
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Key Features of the Amcrest Pro HD
Before you buy the Amcrest ProHD, get to know some of its features:
- Full 1080p high-definition video. The camera gives you a video resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels at 30 frames per second. That means you get a very detailed view of everything. The camera also uses an Ambarella processor, as well as a Sony image sensor. You get sharp and crisp recorded videos and live stream. Even the monochromatic night vision videos are very clear and deliver good contrast.
- Pan, tilt, zoom. Surprisingly, this affordable camera allows you to pan, tilt or zoom into something, giving you the flexibility to see more of the room that you are monitoring. If you want to see something out of range, you can just pan or tilt the camera. And if something catches your eye and you want to see more details, the camera offers 3x digital zoom. The pan, tilt, and zoom capabilities are usually found only in more expensive security cameras.
- A variety of access points. You can view the camera’s live stream from a variety of devices, including a smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer.
- Night vision. Amcrest uses 12 infrared LEDs that allow it to see in the dark. It can capture videos in low or no light settings for up to 32 feet.
- Two-way communication. Amcrest ProHD has a built-in microphone and speaker that allows you to have a conversation with a visitor even when you are miles away.
- Motion Alerts. The Amcrest ProHD has motion sensors that detect movement. Once it senses something moving in a previously set area, it will send you push notifications alerting you. The notification will include a snapshot that allows you to quickly see what’s happening. You can set up the detection zones, allowing you to have utmost control of what you want to protect. The zone will have its own sensitivity controls and threshold. For instance, if you have a safe at home, you can set the motion detector to its most sensitive setting. If you have pets, you can set a detection zone above their heights, so that if they get into the zone, it will not trigger the alerts.
- Secured and encrypted. One of the problems of earlier IP cameras is that hackers can easily intercept video feeds and hack into a camera system. This means that hackers can use your own camera system to spy on you. Amcrest ProHD prevents that by using SSL connections and AES encryption.
- Output and input ports. The Amcrest ProHD has a 3.5mm I/O audio jack and alarm I/O ports so that you can use an external speaker and alarm system with it.
- Cloud storage. You can record a video footage and store it using the Amcrest Cloud service. The service gives uses an easy way to find videos as well as download a video so that you could view it on your devices.
- A variety of local storage options. You can store your videos on a MicroSD card, an NAS, a network video recorder, your computer, or an FTP server.
Features at a Glance
|Field of View||Wide 90°|
|Zoom||3x Intelligent Digital Zoom|
|Night Vision||Up to 32ft|
|Two-Way Audio||Yes: Built-In Mic/Speaker, and Includes External Audio Jacks|
|Local Recording||FTP, NVR, MicroSD Card|
|Colors available||Black, White, Silver|
|Camera width (without base)||2.9 inches|
|Dimensions||4.5 x 3.9 x 4.0 inches|
What’s in the box
- Amcrest ProHD Indoor Camera
- Network cable
- 10-foot power supply
- Quick start guide and CD
- 1-Year warranty from Amcrest
Pros of the Amcrest ProHD
- Easy to Install: The Amcrest ProHD is very easy to install. You just need to download the mobile app and select the camera in the Device-Type menu. And the setup is pretty much a matter of following the next steps, changing the username and password, and connecting it to your Wi-Fi network. You can choose between a wired connection and a wireless one via Wi-Fi network.
- Sharp Images: Zooming in, the images remain sharp and crisp. When you pan or tilt the camera, it does not make any noise and is very smooth to control.
- Sensors Work Well: The motion and audio sensors also work quite well. More importantly, push notification are very prompt.
- Good Audio Quality: The audio quality of the speakers and the microphone are also top-notch.
- Warranty + Support: Lastly, the Amcrest ProHD has a one-year replacement warranty and lifetime support.
What could be better
- Cloud Service: The cloud storage service would cost you an additional $6 a month at the very least. That is just for 7 days of storage. If you want to get storage for 30 days, you pay $15 per month. All of these offers unlimited live streaming. It does come with a free service that allows you to store four hours’ worth of data for free as well as get 2 hours of live streaming per month. That may not prove enough, however, for most people.
- Still Requires Separate IP Config: Even with a companion app, you would still need to download a separate IP Config utility and use a Web browser to change settings for motion detection, specify areas for detection, and change the sensitivity of the motion sensors. It would have been better to be able to change these settings on the app itself.
- Needs IFTTT Integration: Speaking of motion sensors, the Amcrest ProHD does alert you when it senses motion, but that is it. If the camera had IFTTT integration, it could turn your smart bulbs on, or do something else to scare potential intruders. However, the Amcrest ProHD does not have integrations so it does not work with your connected devices such as smart locks, smart bulbs, or window sensors. There is no IFTTT integration as well.
- Limited to 90 Degree Visibility: The camera does have a rather limited view at only 90 degrees. It means that if you have a bigger room, you would need to position the camera at a corner to get a full view of the room. Or get more cameras to fully cover a big area. This is, however, not much of a problem because of the pan and tilt feature. If something is out of the camera’s view, then you can just move it.
- Only for Indoor Use: The camera is also limited for indoor use and is not weather-proof.
Should you buy the Amcrest ProHD camera?
The Amcrest ProHD is not perfect.
It has no integration with IFTTT and other smart home technologies, making it a letdown if you have a smart home and if you would want to integrate your camera with other connected devices.
Other Options? If you want a security camera that works with other connected devices at home, check out the Icontrol Networks Piper NV. Available for more than $200, you get a security camera that also controls your smart thermostat, switches, and bulbs.
Or you can check out Oco, which works with IFTTT and is compatible with more than 225 devices and apps.
It is also far from being intuitive and user-friendly, especially when you want to tweak camera and network settings. You would also need to read the manual in order to figure out how to set up camera and alert settings. The need to download a separate utility while having the mobile app is a bit of an overkill.
Bottom Line: Nevertheless, it is a camera that is friendly on your wallet. For a very affordable price, you have a security camera that delivers sharp HD videos and photos on top of a wide variety of features that you would expect only a more expensive camera to have.
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!