Price (RRP): $149.95
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
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!
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.