The D-Link DCS-8630LH Outdoor Wi-Fi spotlight camera is a little different to your run-of-the-mill FHD outdoor security camera – it has a built-in smart home hub connects to other mydlink smart devices.
At the moment, that means you can redeem either a D-Link smart door/window sensor (DCH-B112) or a smart motion sensor (DCH-B122) and link these to the camera hub and the mydlink app.
But that is not the main reason to buy. Although, there is a compelling reason to have the same app control cameras and other smart home security devices.
Warranty: One-year ACL or 2-years if the product is registered online
Country of Manufacture: China
D-Link, est. 1986 is a Taiwanese multinational networking company headquartered in Taipei, Taiwan. You can trust D-Link and your privacy.
Colour night vision (most only do IR mono)
Person detection and zones
Glass break detection
1080p at 25fps (30fps is for countries with 60Hz electricity)
12V/1A – 3m power cable (indoor wall charger) and 4m extension cable outdoor cable
Half-duplex two-way conversation
microSD (up to 256GB) or cloud storage (at extra cost)
Google Assistant and Alexa support
Terrific D-Link support
Let’s start with the Zigbee Hub – Not the sole reason to buy
Zigbee is a smart home communication protocol. It is very low power and for transmit/receive of small packets of data rather than audio or video. It can transmit up to 100metres which is far beyond the Camera’s Wi-Fi capability of 30 metres line-of-site or about half that if the signal passes through walls, glass or floors.
Now the only catch 22 with this offer is that it only talks to D-Link devices supported by mydlink app – and that is currently only the two mentioned above.
Setup – PASS
Download the mydlink app for Android or iOS
Set up an account if you don’t have one (D-Link has a high degree of trust for personal information)
Power up the camera
Scan the barcode
Select the Wi-F 2.4Ghz SSID to use
And that is it
Simple and foolproof! And we repeat – privacy is not an issue.
Placement – PASS with caveats
This is mains powered. It has a seven-metre cable and an indoor 240V plug pack at one end. To be clear, the camera can go outside, but the wall charger cannot.
It has a 360°, non-removable, integrated mount (not a ¼” tripod mount) that requires you to screw it to a wall or post. A pair of cable ties is in the box for temporary fixing.
It is IP65 weather resistant meaning a casual hose or rain strength water will not affect it. It is technically not waterproof (IP67) – and we recommend placement under eaves etc. Having said that it is likely able to take most weather.
Voice Assistants – PASS
mydlink integrates with Google and Alexa. The command set is fairly limited
Turn on camera name (it should be on 24/7 anyway)
Display/cast to a TV or smart screen (this may require Chromecast)
Other commands added over time
The key issue here is that a voice assistant can use different brand devices and allow you to view them instead of in their respective apps.
Night Vision – EXCEED
It has a 400 lumen LED (115 nits) that is roughly equivalent to office lights. It is good out to about 5-metres. With these activated, you get a colour recording.
Otherwise, it has Infrared LEDs (number not specified but guessing 4-6) that enable mono night vision to about 3-metres.
Sound/mic/siren – PASS
While 100dB at the source sounds, it drops to 75dB at 1m and 65dB at 3m. The siren is more of an audio deterrent.
Sound is half-duplex – walkie talkie style and depending on signal strength can have up to five-seconds’ lag.
Like all external cameras, the mic is affected by wind, and you are best to turn it off.
Video quality – PASS+
It is a large 1/2.9”, 2MP, f/2.0 Sony CMOS sensor. We tracked down the specs, and it has
Auto Gain Control, Automatic White Balance, Back Light Compensation, Day/Night, Digital Noise Reduction, Flickerless, Mirror, Motion Detection Tracking, On-Screen Display Menu, Privacy Masking, Weather Resistant, Wide Dynamic Range.
In theory, it can record at up to 25 frames per second (the website says 30fps, but that is for 60Hz power). Like all Wi-Fi cameras, resolution and quality depends solely on bandwidth and signal strength. The further away from the router, the lower the resolution and frames per second. This, like all others using similar sensors, will drop to 720p/25fps or even lower.
In short, it is not a cheapie with a plastic lens.
mydlink cloud – PASS
Storage is H.264, and you can save to a 256GB microSD (not supplied) or the cloud at extra cost. It is fully editable.
The cloud price is reasonable although these are US dollars – divide by .7 and add 10% GST if applicable.
Field of View – PASS
It is a 16:9 image – Horizontal is 123.8°, and vertical is 65.4°. There is minor fish-eye at the bottom edges.
Wi-Fi – PASS+
It is 2.4Ghz that allows up to 30 metres line-of-sight from a router. If the signal passes through walls, windows, floors etc. you can halve that. We found that at 20m the signal was quite strong but persisted to 30m.
This is the key limitation of all Wi-Fi cameras except Arlo that can have a dedicated base station allowing for higher bitrates over longer distances. You can cure that by adding a Wi-Fi extender or three.
PIR – PASS
Motion detection claim is 10m. We found that it was reliable under 7m. But as it is a 1080p camera, details are lost too far away.
Glass break detection works on the sound, so if you want this, leave the mic on.
Person detection works on a rough outline of a medium height person and is quite effective. You can also set zones to help prevent false detections from pets etc.
D-Link DCS-8630LH – image quality – PASS+
GadgetGuy’s take – D-Link DCS-8630LH Outdoor Wi-Fi spotlight camera is a quality product fro a good company
We don’t usually bother with 1080p security cameras any more as they all tend to use the same innards and do the same thing.
This uses a premium sensor, does more things, and the smart home hub may be useful to some.
My only big gripe is that it should have a waterproof external 240V plug pack. That would have made it perfect for outdoor surveillance.