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).

Battery

The battery is a 3.7V, 6700mAh, 24.79Wh using 2 x LG 18650, 3350mAh cells. In theory, it should be replaceable by a smartphone repairer with a heat gun and spludger.

The charger (one for two cameras) is a standard 5V/2A micro-USB so as long as you have a spare ‘small’ head cable, you can use any charger. It will accept 5V/3A – the maximum over micro-USB.

In two weeks of testing it (5-10 events per day and two to three live views), it used about 20%, so this should last about 2.5 months.

I have read other reviews that claim they use of between 1 and 2% per day (100/50 days) with is about 3/1.5 months.

Recharge times are about 6 hours at 2A and 4 hours at 3A. The LG batteries are particularly good and will handle 3A charging.

PIR (claims sensitive to 7.5m)

PIR detects heat changes that is interpreted as motion. In our tests, it was reliable to about 4 metres with the caveat that we are testing in Winter at 9-11°.

Picture quality

The 2MP, ¼-inch (4.5mm diagonal, 3.6 x 2.7mm, 16:9) progressive CMOS sensor is used by dozens of security cameras. If it is the sensor we believe it is, it has larger 2.2um pixels coupled with an f/2.2 aperture (for distance and fixed focus). This should be good for low light, although it needs IR LED illumination.

Subjectively you can’t get great pictures 1K pictures from a ¼” sensor.

DCS-2802KT outdoors
D-Link Good colour and definition as well as reasonable detail in shadows
DCS-2802KT
Arlo Pro 2 – colours are off, loss of detail

You can view and record up to 4 cameras at the same time through the included Mydlink app.

Night vision – claims up to 7.5m

It has four LEDs and the practical distance is about 2 metres.

DCS-2802KT dlink
D-Link – usable mono IR vision
DCS-2802KT arlo
Arlo Pro 2 – a little brighter

Mounting

I love the flat magnetic back (like the Arlo Pro 2). It means you can move it easily around placing it on metal poles, door frames, rainwater pipes etc.

Otherwise, it has a half golf ball mount and a ¼” tripod style mount.

IP65

The first number 6 means no ingress of dust; complete protection against contact (dust tight). The second number is water projected by a 6.3mm nozzle against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects. While not waterproof it is weatherproof and should stand up to rain, snow and dust.

Two-way voice

I wish all manufacturers would stop promoting clear two-way voice. It is at best echo ridden and laggy sound. Respond, wait a few seconds, rinse and repeat.

Lag is caused by the signal having to go from the camera to the Hub, the hub to the internet to the cloud, the cloud to the internet and then finally to the phone – again rinse and repeat. Painfully slow – but then all brands are.

Hub/siren DCS-H100

The siren claim is 100dB volume. Our tests got to 93dB – it is loud enough, but the hub is somewhere inside the house, so it is more of a deterrent once you get inside.

Storage is via micro-SD. We tested to 128GB, and with a 2TB WD My Passport external USB-2.0 hard disk and it worked well.

DCS-2802KT base

Distance from hub

The Hub receives video data on the 2.4Ghz band, and the camera uses a type of Bluetooth to signal the hub (e.g. on/off, battery life, signal strength etc). Maximum signalling range is 20m but in practice around half that for maximum signalling reliability.

The 2.4Ghz transmit power is approx. 100mW (-20dBm). Dedicated routers can have from 100 to 500mW, especially those with multiple active antennas. Our reference D-Link AC5300 has 250-500mW transmit power.

Maximum hub to camera range is in theory about 30 metres but coupled with the signalling range means 10-15 metres is about it.

One camera is outside about 15 metres from the hub. A bi-fold glass door does affect the 2.4Ghz signal – so its two bars. Most of the time it connects in a few seconds but occasionally times out as it is at the extent of the signalling range. Then you can try again a minute later, and it connects.

The other camera is inside in a foyer about 10 metres line-of-sight from the hub. It has four bars signal and connects every time.

We repeat warnings with any brand of camera setup – plan for placement as close to the hub or router as possible. And don’t use Wi-Fi-based cameras if you have an old router not up to the job – use base station connected cameras.

The app

DCS-2802KT app  1

One Tap

You can customise the app to arm or disarm the camera (away), set them to home mode (privacy), bedtime, wake up, panic or custom with its one tap (shortcut) features.

DCS-2802KT one trap

Schedule

You can set schedules to arm or disarm as well as use templates for weekday, weekends, vacation, holiday, privacy or other.

Automation

Using IFTTT, you can link to other IFTTT devices and set up complex command structures including geofencing etc.

Voice Assistants

We set it up with Google Home, and it was as usual, flawless. The cameras can be given a name and allocated to rooms. Once done you can access them via voice, cast to a TV or screen. If you want to know more read here.

Alexa connection is here and uses IFTTT as well as an Alexa skill (not tested).  

Recording packages

If you need a cloud – and you really don’t.

MyDlink cloud recording offers free and paid subscriptions with pricing details as follows:

Note there is a complimentary Premium package for the first 12 months. It enables remote playback of recordings in the cloud or to download video clips to a mobile device from anywhere, anytime, through the Internet. Sorry, the prices are in USD – Aussie costs use the exchange rate of the day plus GST.

Item Free Basic Premium
(free for the first year)
Pro
Video clip recording period Rolling 24-hours 7-days 14-days 30-days
# of Supported Cameras Up to 3 Cameras Up to 3 Cameras Up to 5 Cameras Up to 10 Cameras
Monthly Fee 0 USD2.49 USD4.99 USD9.99
Annual Fee 0 USD24.99 USD49.99 USD99.99

GadgetGuy’s take – good value, base station style, security system

I am warming to base stations as they do keep video traffic off the network and offer increased reliability via correct placement.

I like the options of local or paid cloud storage, and one year’s service is free. Not wanting to take revenue from D-Link but I think local storage is fine!

For sheer image quality, Arlo’s new Ultra 4K is superior, but you will pay $1049 for a dual camera setup and $449 for each extra camera.

The Arlo Pro 2 is the closest 1K comparison, and the two-camera kit is on runout for $699.

While D-Link has an RRP of $799.95, you can get it online for as low as $579. That is a bargain and gets extra points from me.

The MyDlink app has come a long way and is comprehensive and easy to use. I also like the flat magnetic camera back for quick mounting. I like this as it can become part of your smart home via a voice assistant.

It is a competent 1080p (1k) camera kit from a good company with great after sales service and support.

D-Link DCS-2802KT security cameras and base station
Name: D-Link DCS-2802KT security cameras and base station Price (RRP): $799.95 (street price $579) Manufacturer: D-Link
Reasonable 2-3-month battery life and 4-6 hour rechargeImages as detailed as any 1K cameraFree first-year premium cloud storage or local storeEasy setup and voice assistant compatibleConvenient magnetic or ¼’ tripod mountBase station keeps traffic off the home network and provides local storage option
No word from D-Link if this is a one-off kit or whether new different cameras can use the HubThe app is comprehensive but needs a little clarification
Features
Value for money
Performance
Ease of Use
Design
4.1Overall Score
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