Uniden Guardian App Cam Spotlight security camera (review)

The Uniden Guardian App Cam includes a spotlight combined with a passive infrared motion detector and an HD weather resistant camera – it is a surprisingly good combination.

Who is Uniden?

Uniden is a Japanese company founded in 1966. It is most famous for its range of cordless phones but before that for its CBs and as a prime OEM supplier to the Realistic and Radio Shack brands.

Uniden is sold via major retailers, hardware stores and online. It has a reputation for quality products and support.

Review – Guardian App Cam Spotlight

  • HD recording (up to [email protected] independent of Wi-Fi or Internet conditions)
  • 32GB onboard (non-removable) storage
  • PIR motion detection up to 4 metres
  • IR night vision to 10 metres
  • Wi-Fi N 2.4GHz connection to the router
  • 6 x LED spotlight – 500 lumens
  • 2-way audio
  • IP54 weather and dust resistance
  • External power point required –  240V to 9V/2A
  • Operates via the Guardian App for iOS and Android

App Cam

Other Guardian App cam products

The Guardian Wi-Fi range has a Solo 1 camera, a pan/tilt camera, an outdoor camera and dome camera. All use the same app – important for whole of home coverage.

Mounting

It is IP54 meaning dust and weather resistant. Uniden recommends placement under an eve. A 240V power point is required (to 9V DC).

Supplied with a wall mount (screws/anchor plugs provided), and software that can flip/reverse images –  so you can mount it upside down or on its side etc.

It accurately states the maximum distance for Wi-Fi connection is 50 metres line-of-sight. It works reliably although that distance reduces to about 30 metres through walls or glass.

Setup

  • Make sure your phone in on the same Wi-Fi 2.4Ghz band as your camera will use
  • Download the app
  • Add the App cam
  • Scan a 3D barcode
  • Change the camera password from 00000 to a secure one
  • Alternatively, you can search for the camera and manually add the router password (P2P setup)
  • It is foolproof

Live view or recorded view

The camera does not claim to do more than 720p video, and it does just that. It has a ¼” CMOS and is capable of 1280 x 720p video at up to 25fps. Video is stored in H.264 format on the 32GB internal card. It takes 1280 x 720 stills as well.

Its f/2.0 lens produces reasonably natural daylight shots, good IR shots and the spotlight can wash out the night shots so use it sparingly.

It has a narrower 92° field-of-view than many other security cameras and does not distort the image.

App Cam

Daylight – good natural colour and details

 

App cam

IR light – surprisingly good (little dots in the water are ducks)

App cam

Spotlight washes out IR a little

Compared to the Arlo 2 reviewed here Uniden’s 1280 x 720 stills had more natural colour and slightly better detail.

The spotlight function provides 500 lumens (about 40W in old lightbulb terminology) – about 15% of the light output from the Ring Floodlight Cam reviewed here.

As such the light is more of a convenience factor providing light in a well defined 3 x 3-metre area. At night it tended to wash out the IR shot, but it did add detail to closer items.

The light can be programmed to stay on for a specific time from 1/3/10 minutes and dimmed to 25/50/75%. It would be very handy for a driveway or entrance monitoring where the light matches the PIR detection distance.

The app provides push and email notifications.

Speaker/Mic

It provides two-way audio that was not too bad as it does not suffer from more than a microsecond Wi-Fi lag (or internet lag if viewing remotely).

The app

Simple to use. It has

  • Motion detection on/off (useful for when you are at home). There are no armed/disarmed settings.
  • Video rotation (to allow for different mounting)
  • Network setup
  • Light settings
  • Firmware update

It is not as sophisticated as other brands apps that may support smart homes etc. But it does everything you need.

GadgetGuy’s take

It is refreshing to get a product that is not overhyped (Arlo we are looking at you). It is what it is, and it does it honestly and without fuss.

Pros

  • Easy setup
  • Delivers precisely what it claims
  • Clear day and night video from a f/2.0 lens
  • No ongoing costs – not a cloud storage device
  • Time and day stamp on photos

Cons

  • Not weatherproof – but resistant. Mount under eves
  • Needs local 240V power point
  • The app is capable but lacks the sophistication of other brands
  • Storage is inbuilt (not user replaceable)

Price

$164 from the Good Guys (good value as it includes 32GB storage and there are no ongoing cloud costs).

Ratings

As a 720p, Wi-Fi security camera with a spotlight

  • Overall: 4 out of 5
  • Features: 4 out of 5 – reasonable picture quality, onboard storage, the spotlight is handy
  • Value for money: 4 out of 5 – Includes 32GB storage
  • Performance: 4 out of 5 – Good daylight and above average night vision. Images best displayed at postcard size
  • Ease of Use: 4 out of 5 – Very easy to set up
  • Design: 4 out of 5 – keep it out of direct weather

 

Although the video below has a little hyperbole.

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