Netgear offers tiny surveillance cameras with a magnetic personality
• Website: www.netgear.co.uk
• Required spec: Broadband internet service with Ethernet connection, Flash- enabled browser
• Product Code: VZSX2S00
I don’t normally associate Netgear with cameras, but surveillance networking is a sector it’s moving into with its Vuezone branding. To help me better understand these products, Netgear sent me a Vuezone VZSX2800 kit just before Christmas, and I’ve now had sufficient time now to play with it.
In the kit are two cameras (one for day and the other for night), a base station and an infrared illumination source for the night camera. What struck me first about the cameras are how small they are and their rather odd shape.
This is partly explained when you discover the strange metal magnetic hemispheres that you use to mount the cameras, as they attach magnetically. However, before you deploy the cameras, you must first attach the base station to your router using a LAN cable and create an account at the my.vuezone.com website using a unique code on the base.
With that connection established, each camera can be switched on near the base station and registered for use. After that, you’re free to place them anywhere within wireless range of the base station and access them from any point in the internet-connected world. Live connections to the cameras can be via a PC, Mac, iOS or Android device, and you can have up to 15 cameras and three different locations.
The quality isn’t incredible, but from a security viewpoint it’s acceptable. Video is either at 320 x 240 at 6fps or double that resolution at just 3fps. In addition to FLV format video, you can also capture still images at up to 1600 x 1200 in JPEG.
Both cameras offer motion detection, so you can get them to record activity when it occurs and contact you to review that footage.
The cameras have a 110° field of view and a fixed focus from 2ft to infinity, which is a typical specification for security imaging devices.
When you first get the system and register it, you get a free upgrade of your ‘Basic’ two-camera, PC-only service to ‘Premier’ for a month.
Premier allows for five cameras and smartphone access, plus 250MB storage for footage and email alerts. For those who want multiple base stations, 15 cameras and 500MB, there’s an Elite service.
Would I buy this to keep an eye on my pets, home and children, as Netgear suggests? No, because it’s excessively expensive. While I accept that some of that cost can be explained by the ultimate flexibility these cameras offer, much of the additional expenses can’t be easily explained.
That the basic service doesn’t provide smartphone/tablet access as standard seems excessively restrictive, and the amount of storage on offer is a pittance compared with what Google and Microsoft provides for free these days. I’m forced to conclude that wi-fi and battery power aspects of this solution don’t explain the high cost or the ongoing expense in getting basic access features you should get inclusively.