- Sensor: ¼ Megapixel Progressive CMOS
- Minimum illumination: 0 lux with integrated IR illuminator (range 10M)
- Weatherproofing: IP-66 Standards
- Video format: Simultaneous h264/MPEG-4/MJPEG, h264/MPEG-4 Multicase streaming
- Dimensions: 176.5 x 65 x 80.5mm
- Weight: 510g
- Power: 5v DC
- Simple setup
- Robust construction
- Easy to use app and web interface
- The standard LAN and power cables may need extra care
- If you need a simple security solution that won’t run your bill up with installation fees, this is a great answer.
The home and things inside it comprise the largest chunk of the average person’s investment. We’re not just talking about the amount of money we pour into our homes and belongings. The home is the one place where our identities are most concentrated. In it, we express our wants, needs, desires and interests. The amount of time and cash we put into making our homes “just right” is astounding; just take stock of how much you have spent on yours. Now, we do our best to keep the premises safe: we keep things well-lit, we lock up at night before going to bed, and we make sure not just anyone gets in.
As life goes, though, we just can’t watch over our homes 24/7. We have work, family and vacations. Next to leaving word with the neighbors or convincing a friend to house-sit, the average family has few options. Some families have the help stay home to hold the fort, but the problem here is that sometimes, whether by malice or negligence, things go wrong. By the time you find out something has gone wrong, it may have been days, even weeks too late to really do anything. CCTV is an option, but most families don’t feel the need for a CCTV system at home, primarily because of the prohibitive cost and troublesome setup.
D-Link, one of the leading names in networking, has taken their broad expertise in creating solid, reliable network devices, and given everyone access to a more secure life with their DCS-7010L Outdoor Cloud Camera. This camera brings peace of mind at a price that won’t leave you with a semi-furnished home. The camera itself is a simple little weather-proofed deal that comes in a shade of industrial silver. There really isn’t much in the package, just the camera itself, a LAN cable, power adapter and installation CD. There is also a mount and template for mounting the device onto an outside wall.
The beauty of this bullet cloud camera is the ease with which it can be installed. While I like my gadgets, I don’t really have a degree in anything electronics-related, and if there’s the least bit of soldering required, I’m going to think twice about starting a project. The D-Link camera was utterly painless to set up. All I had to do was plug the device in to the same router to which I was connected, pop in the installation CD and follow a few quick steps. My laptop found the device in under a minute, and in roughly five, it was live. The exact number of people needed to get the thing running: one. Just me and my AB Philosophy degree. It was that simple. A few extra steps were needed to get a little more functionality from the device, though, thankfully, it was all just a web-based account setup that connected the camera to the cloud for easy viewing. This is much simpler and more affordable than traditional CCTV solutions that cost an arm and a leg for both the devices and necessary installation fees.
Once the account was up and running, all I had to do was head over to the necessary website, and I could see our office kids downstairs, hard at work, right where I had pointed the cam. To get even more bang for the buck, I installed the appropriate app for both my Android and iOS device, both of which allowed me to see what the camera was up to just by having a data connection and launching an application from my home screen. These apps also allow users to zoom, activate night mode, and control the quality of the streaming video, or take screenshots of the action as it unfolds. All these features proved exceptionally handy when we wanted to spy on the office as we were out on our yearly Gadgets roadtrip. The camera, in turn, lets people on the ground know it is working thanks to a little LED indicator on the front.
The D-Link bullet camera did very admirably. I had set the device up indoors, and despite the low-light conditions of the dungeon wherein we keep our junior staff, I was clearly able to identify the websites they were browsing from about 10 feet away. Though the device does allow you to zoom, it’s really just a software zoom that crops the image, not an optical zoom that brings the image closer, but for the ease by which this camera goes up, putting cameras in several spots to provide an overlapping field of view should be no problem whatsoever. The device also comes with a slot for a microSD card for short clips, and the capability to store and archive footage on a networked hard drive.
Though I did set the device up indoors, it is rated to IP-66 standards, which means it is completely impermeable by dust, and can withstand water up to anything short of immersion. This rating, I imagine, only covers the device though. You still have to be careful about both the power and LAN cables, as they re the standard, “indoor use only” variety, and are the weakest links in the device’s weather-protection chain. The device also comes with inputs and outputs for audio and digital optical connectors, presumably for a more traditional CCTV setup.
Make no mistake, despite how easily this device can be made operational, it is no toy. It’s built solidly, and performs as promised. If you are handy with a drill, can lay some basic wires and have a working index finger for manipulating a mouse, you should have no problem with the D-Link DCS-7010L Cloud camera.
First Published in Gadgets Magazine, May 2013
Words by Ren Alcantara