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Foscam R2 Wireless 1080P IP Camera review: Strong on security, but definitely not DIY

Michael Ansaldo | Jan. 12, 2016
The R2 Indoor 1080P FHD Wireless Plug and Play IP Camera is Foscam’s latest entry in the DIY security sphere.

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The R2 Indoor 1080P FHD Wireless Plug and Play IP Camera is Foscam’s latest entry in the DIY security sphere. The $150 camera is exceptionally strong on security, but its complicated setup undermines its plug-and-play promise, and it’s hard to imagine anyone setting it up at home without at least one call to customer service.

What you get

The Foscam R2 sports a retro-futurist look that evokes a cross between Robby the Robot and R2D2—and, honestly, the fact that it’s named “R2” does nothing to dispel that impression. It’s available in black or white and comes with a removable Wi-Fi antenna, mounting bracket, and power adapter.

The camera has a 110-degree viewing angle and streams in up to 1080p HD. A ring of 11 infrared LEDs around the lens provide up to 24 feet of night vision, and a built-in mic allows two way-audio. But the camera’s standout feature is remote pan and tilt: A motorized mount lets you change the camera’s direction vertically and horizontally from the app or web portal. This allows you to get a better view of something or follow a moving object as you watch the live feed—a handy feature whether you’re monitoring pets or potential intruders.

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Motorized pan-and-tilt sets Foscam’s R2 apart from many similarly priced Wi-Fi security cameras.

The R2 also boasts motion and sound detection, and the former can be enabled to trigger recording of images or video. Recordings can be saved locally to a microSD card or hard drive or to the cloud via subscription. Doubling down on video storage is always smart, as that redundancy can preserve surveillance footage if an Internet outage cuts you off from the cloud or a burglar steals your camera along with your valuables. There’s no protection in the event of an electrical blackout, though; the R2 doesn’t come with a backup battery.

The camera comes with two optional cloud storage plans. For $4 per month or $40 per year you get access to the past seven days of alert video footage. You can extend that to 30 days of video for $10 per month or $100 per year. A free trial is included with purchase.

Setup and usage

The Foscam R2 is advertised as plug-and-play but it’s anything but. Shortly after plugging it in, a disembodied female voice intones “ready for Wi-Fi configuration.” To add the camera to your network, you’re prompted by the accompanying app—there are at least a half-dozen Foscam apps in the iOS app store, but you must make sure you download the one described in the installation guide—to scan the QR code on the bottom of the camera.

 

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