When you were a kid, if your mom didn’t have eyes in the back of her head — an unlikely possibility — you knew another kid whose mom had eyes in the back of her head. There were a bunch of them out there. Still are, would be my guess.
Since dads don’t have those rear-view eyes, the electronic industry has come up with the next best thing: remote, reasonably priced monitoring cameras.
I ran across an inexpensive one a few months ago: the Merkury Innovations’ Smart Wi-Fi Camera (about $20 to $25). It’s about five-inches high and looks like a lollipop, or perhaps a golf ball perched atop a very tall tee. It has a lot of features that should satisfy most users, even with its low price point.
That “tee” is very flexible, allowing the camera to be mounted on a vertical or horizontal wall. It can even be mounted upside-down using its flip-picture feature. The camera is available in two resolutions: 720p and 1080p. The lower resolution provides a clear, crisp picture.
It has night vision, but it can’t be mounted behind a window because the infrared light will wipe out the picture.
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It connects wirelessly to a home wi-fi system (2.4GHz; it is not compatible with a 5GHz network). It uses a USB connector (provided) for power — so it needs to be tethered to an electrical outlet.
Since it is connected to the home wi-fi system, it can be accessed from anywhere using an app (the Geeni app) that’s available for Android and Apple phones.
And it has both a speaker and a microphone, so the user can not only hear what’s going on, but make some noise about it — even if the response will be comparatively faint.
The camera can send an alert to the phone when it detects motion. It will also take a picture that can be viewed with the phone’s app. Reviews have noted that the picture may or may not be helpful. The camera has a tendency to take the picture when motion is first detected. The object may not be in full view when that happens.
But using a microSD card, the camera can also record video that is activated by motion. The card isn’t included. Safewise, an online safety site, noted that cards up to 128GB are supported, “which can last for months before it starts to overwrite old recordings.” Merkury Innovations said the camera uses about 1 GB a day for recording with motion detection.
It’s also possible, for a subscription price, to record video to the cloud.
Summing up: A value-priced video webcam for those starting a home security system and for monitoring a home while away. Good quality pictures at an affordable price point.
It’s like having eyes in the back of your head.
Lonnie Brown can be reached at [email protected].
This article originally appeared on The Ledger: Gadget Daddy: Home security starter camera for $25 or less