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Keep watch: 5 cloud security cameras for your home

Robert L. Mitchell | June 26, 2013
If you want to make sure nobody's making off with your valuables — or that your dog isn't chewing up the furniture — try one of these cloud-based cameras

Bottom line
Samsung has done a great job of making it easy to quickly create and configure alerts and alert notifications, and using YouTube and Picasa accounts to store motion-activated recordings could save you money when compared to the cloud storage service subscriptions offered by some other vendors in this space. The user interface is clean and easy to use, and configuring email, Twitter direct message and pop-up alerts for the portal and mobile apps is painless.

Unfortunately, I experienced too many issues with inconsistent performance and reliability of Samsung's portal, apps and plug-ins to recommend the Samsung SNH-1011n IP SmartCam at this time.

The D-Link 932L is the least expensive camera of the test group while offering the most robust set of configuration options. The flip side of that is that the portal software wasn't as easy to use as some other offerings. But if you're okay with a 640 x 480 pixel images, the 932L is a good value.

The $149 Dropcam offers 1280 x 720 pixel image quality, worked reliably in tests and was very easy to set up and use. It's an excellent choice for basic video security monitoring, especially for the less technically adept.

Samsung's portal for the 640 x 480-pixel SmartCam SNH-1011N was also easy to use, and its ability to upload video clips directly to your YouTube account could save you money on a cloud storage subscription. But the camera is quite a bit more expensive than its closest competitor, the D-Link 932L, and I experienced technical glitches when using the portal and mobile apps.

Logitech's 750n, which uses home electrical outlets and wiring as its network, avoids the interference and range limitations associated with relying on Wi-Fi. Given that mobile users will also be dealing with bandwidth issues and propagation delays associated with cellular wireless, the value of eliminating Wi-Fi cannot be overstated. The camera's software also allows for recording and playback on a PC or Mac without the need to pay a monthly subscription service.

The VueZone is your best bet if you need to place cameras in areas where a power outlet isn't accessible. It offers the only service that can monitor the location of your iPhone and turn itself on and off when you leave and return home. And if you're planning to keep many images and video clips, the sortable library and image thumbnails provided by the premium subscription service make finding stored videos much easier than trying to pull them off a timeline.


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