D-Link Mini HD Wi-Fi security camera (review)

Sometimes size does not matter. In the case of D-Link’s new DCS-8000LH, you get quite a lot in a diminutive 92 (h) x 38mm (diameter) package.

For starters, it is one of the new breed that works with OK Google, Amazon Alexa, and IFTTT (If this then do that). There is not a lot of functionality in that feature now, but you can get use OK Google to display the image on an Android TV. Alexa requires Echo Show and a Firestick TV to do that.

It uses the My-Dlink app for Android and iOS, but there is no mention of Siri compatibility (not tested).

In the box DCS-8000LH

  • The camera
  • A USB 5V/1A charger with attached micro-USB cable
  • Documentation

The first impression is that is it small, cylindrical, white and discrete.

Plug in the power adaptor (care that you don’t lose it as the micro-USB cable has a smaller grip that fits into the camera), download the My Dlink app, scan the QR code (on the bottom of the documentation) and select a Wi-Fi network/password. That is it – easy!

Features

For a little device, it has lots of features

  • Indoor use only – requires 5V/1A power (charger provided)
  • 1MP, f/2.4 (this is a little on the low side, but it is fit for purpose).
  • 720p at up to 15fps (H.264) video – depends on the bandwidth
  • 1280 x 720, 16:9, JPEG still
  • 4x digital zoom (useless as are all digital zooms)
  • 120° diagonal angle of view, 112° horizontal and 54° vertical
  • PIR motion and sound detection (effective and user definable)
  • Mono night IR vision to 5 metres
  • Wi-Fi N 2.4Ghz only (maximum 20 metres)
  • Remote access and configuration via Bluetooth and the My Dlink app
  • Browser support on Windows and macOS
  • Save snapshots and video to a smartphone (good)

What is missing

  • Micro-SD recording – there is no slot (cloud only at extra cost)
  • PTZ (not at this price!)
  • Ethernet port (no deal breaker)

Security camera 101

Most security cameras use a 1 or 2MP sensor and record at 1280 x 720p – often called HD. These cameras use the lower resolution as it creates smaller files and uses lower internet bandwidth – a still shot is around 250-300KB.

This is fine if you use the camera within that limitation. Place it as close as you can to the area you are monitoring, preferably at chest height and in front of where someone would walk – to catch as much of their front face details as possible. That can be a little hard as this unit needs a power point and sits on a desk or ledge – it has no wall or magnetic mount.

D-Link has a user-definable motion detection ‘grid’ that allows you to select just area you want to be monitored and you can tone down sensitivity. Use these to avoid false detections especially if there could be pets or flapping curtains.

The microphone can also cause feedback if your smartphone is in the same room. No big issue as there is a mute button (but then sound detection does not work).

The My-Dlink app

Another thing you should consider is using all the same brand cameras (different models are OK) as you can then see them in the one app. For example, we found the excellent D-Link OMNA uses its OMNA app – not the My D-Link which is a bit of a pain.

The app allows for pre-set actions for Home, Away, Bedtime and Wakeup. The rules are basically in a certain period perform an action.

The camera settings include a microphone, motion, and night vision settings. It offers limited configuration – to be fair there is not much to configure.

OK Google et al

OK, Google show me the upstairs camera on my TV (if you have a Google Assitant compatible TV). At present commands are very limited but expect this functionality to grow.

IFTTT (If this then do that) capability depends on connecting to a smart home hub that supports it.

Camera quality

A 1MP sensor provides video and stills that are fit for purpose – alerting you to a motion event or live streaming up to 720p @15fps.

The images are grainy – if you want better buy a higher megapixel camera!

Night vision was adequate. The images below show the same 5m deep room in day and night.

GadgetGuy’s take

Fit for purpose and part of the wider D-Link family of security cameras that will work with the My-Dlink app.

Pros

  • Saves video and stills to the smartphone – good
  • Easy setup
  • Fit for purpose as a small, discrete security camera

Cons

  • MyDlink cloud for live recording is at extra cost
  • About 50% of the time remote access over the internet failed, and it took several attempts to connect, but that could be the internet.

Price

A$149.95 online from D-Link or at major retailers.

Ratings

GadgetGuy reviews against practical paradigms where specifications are not necessarily indications of real-world performance.  By all measures, a 1MP camera should not rate well, but as we have mentioned, it is fit for purpose and does a good job.

  • Overall: 3.8 out of 5
  • Features: 4 out of 5 – does what it promises – would be nice to have a mounting system
  • Value for Money: 3 out of 5 – there are higher specified competitive cameras but remember you only want to use the one app
  • Performance: 4 out of 5 – Fit for purpose to 5 metres
  • Ease of Use: 4 out of 5 – Very easy to set up
  • Design: 4 out of 5 – small discrete white cylinder