D-Link DCS-2802KT security cameras and base station
4.1Overall Score
Name: D-Link DCS-2802KT security cameras and base station
Price (RRP): $799.95 (street price $579)
Manufacturer: D-Link

These days security ecosystems are firmly in two camps. Base station versus Wi-Fi and local versus cloud recording. D-Link with its range of Wi-Fi cameras and its base station DCS-2802KT has a foot in both camps.

This article is a review of D-Link Omna Wire-Free Indoor/Outdoor two Camera Base station kit – DCS-2802KT. But, it doubles as a discussion about surveillance ecosystems.

We also have a D-Link DCS-8100LH HD-180° indoor Wi-Fi camera for review and there is a new 135° outdoor version DCS-8600LH.  Last year we reviewed the D-Link Mini HD DCS-8000LH and D-Link Omna 180° DCH-C310. There is a good choice of cameras for the D-Link security ecosystem.

Let’s start with an update to Security Camera 101.

  • Most security cameras have a 720p (HD), 1080p (FHD or 1K as we will refer to it) and some are 2K (1620p) or 4K (2160p) at a range of speeds from 7 to 60 frames per second.
  • While the higher resolution/frame rate is best for detail and colour, it does generate substantial file sizes that need to go over the home network to a cloud or for remote viewing. 1K produces a file size of about 15MB a minute (10GB/hour), and a 4K can be 60-90GB/hour.
  • Cameras either connect to the home network router via Wi-Fi/Ethernet or to a Base station which in turn connects to the router. The latter keeps camera Wi-Fi traffic off the home network accessing the Internet via the router. This can have significant advantages if you have a lower powered router or a crowded network.
  • Some cameras are for outdoor use and have an IP rating (from rain resistant IPX5 to rain/dust resistant IP65 or more).
  • All require power. Some have removable batteries you charge in a dock. Some use micro-USB (few use USB-C), solar power or are mains powered (via a DC adapter).
  • All use an app for Android or iOS – some support Windows and Mac via a browser. Look for fully featured apps instead of dumbed-down ones.
  • Many now have a basic level of integration with Apple Home Kit (Siri), Google Assistant or Alexa Amazon.
  • Then you have 4G cameras but let’s not go there.

It is very confusing to a buyer, but we have some sage advice.

  • At a minimum 1K cameras that actually transmit 1K video (many use a 1K sensor but fall back to 720 or 480p). 4K is best for detail. Fit for purpose depends on the purpose.
  • Stick to the same brand if you want to use one smartphone app to see all the cameras. It is a nightmare to mix cameras and apps, ergo a brand with more options in the security ecosystem is better.
  • If reliability and quality is the aim, a base station system works better than Wi-Fi connected cameras.
  • The jury is out on cloud versus local recording. The former has annual fees, and the latter has the initial costs of buying microSD or SSD storage. If you are aware of the costs, we have done our job.
  • Don’t expect seamless voice assistant integration. Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant integration depend on the quality of the makers programming. Apple Home Kit is a late starter, and we don’t hear many success stories there yet.
  • And don’t believe a word of most companies marketing hype – there is no such thing as crystal clear HD vision day or night, true two-way communication, batteries that last six months etc. Its all a load of theory and we regularly call companies out over this.

Review

D-Link Omna Wire-Free Indoor/Outdoor Camera Base station DCS-2802KT $799.95

Website here

In the box:

  • DCS-H100 Hub
  • 2 x DCS-2800LH cameras
  • Power supply for hub 12V/1.5A with pin plug
  • Power supply for camera 5V/2A small micro-USB head
  • Magnetic wall mount with screws
  • ¼” mount with screws
  • Ethernet cable
  • One year’s premium cloud recording
DCS-2802KT box

Positioning

A pair of 1K indoor/outdoor cameras that connect to a dedicated base station. The MyDlink app allows a mix of these cameras and D-Link Wi-Fi cameras. We expect in the future the app will support its growing range of smart home plugs, sensors, environmental monitors, etc., and these, in turn, will be available via a voice assistant.

It is most comparable to the 1K Arlo Pro 2 base station camera (GadgetGuy review here) but is not comparable to the Arlo 4K Ultra base station system (GadgetGuy review here).

First impression

A modern design, compact hub that looks good in most decors. It requires an Ethernet Cable to the router or use a pair of D-Link PowerLine AV2 2000 Ethernet over Power adaptors ($229.95) to place it anywhere, preferably nearer to the cameras.

I must congratulate D-Link for having detailed specifications on its website. It makes our job easier than spending hours wading through mounds of marketing bovine excrement and FCC ID’s to get to the core issues.

For example, I can tell you that the Omna Indoor/Outdoor camera has a ¼”, 2MP, 16:9, progressive CMOS sensor, f/2.2, 1.9mm (focal length infinity), 115×64° (135° diagonal) angle of view, 4X digital zoom, and four IR LEDs for mono night view. Thank you.

It admits that the camera tries to record [email protected] up to 24fps before dropping back 15fps, then to [email protected] up to 15fps and the app tells me exactly what speed I am getting. Thank you.

DCS-2802KT app

It gives accurate power consumption figures – around 1200mW daylight and 1880mW using IR. Now we can calculate accurate battery life. Thank you.

Setup

Download the MyDlink app, scan the Hub barcode and setup is foolproof. Ditto to connect the two cameras in the kit. I have never had fewer issues in setting up a system – five minutes and viola.

DCS-2802KT QR

D-Link has thoughtfully made it optional to add either micro-SD storage to the hub and throws in a 12 months premium cloud recording subscription as well (to get you hooked). Thank you.

Camera DCS-2800LH

Approximate additional price $279

DCS-2802KT camera

You can connect up to four cameras to the hub. We cannot ascertain if you can have multiple hubs, but the MyDlink app seems to support it (number unknown).