Posts Tagged ‘dlink’

Following on from our review of the D-Link Smart Home Plug, we have decided to take a look at the other products in the ‘mydlink Home’ range. In this review, we’ll be looking at the Monitor HD video camera.

The PIR Sensor will be covered in an upcoming review.

Introduction

The Monitor HD is a 720p video camera that can be used anywhere in the home. The camera has night capabilities with IR LEDs capable of illuminating  up to 5m, and so for the purposes of this review, I will be installing it in my nursery as a baby monitor.

First impressions

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It’s a nice looking camera with a gloss white finish which should compliment most interiors. On lifting it from the box, the first thing that hit me was just how incredibly light it is. This may sound odd, but before I even start to use it, I want to weigh the thing down!

Setup

Sure enough, after plugging the mains cable in and positioning the camera where I wanted it, the slight curvature of the mains cable angled the camera away. It took a few attemps to get it to sit still in the right direction. Fortunately you can mount it on a wall using screws and D-Link kindly provide a drilling template in the box should you wish to go down that route.

As with the other products in the range, the camera has a WPS button on the side which when pressed in combination with the WPS button on your  router, will connect to your home Wi-Fi network.

D-Link advertise the camera as for use exclusively with it’s mydlink Home app (available on iOS or Android). Indeed, for most people, this will be what they use and it will be more than satisfactory. However, after digging a little deeper I discovered that it’s capable of operating as a standard IP camera over HTTP/S, RTSP and UPNP. It’s worth noting this as I don’t think D-Link are doing themselves any favours by ignoring traditional IP camera sales when it works so well.

So just to reiterate, you can view the video/audio stream in the mydlink Home app, or any IP camera app. The initial setup of the camera and any firmware updates will need to be done in-app though.

Firmware updates are applied in-app, automatically…

 

 

Performance

Here is a full colour daytime shot taken from the nursery window:


And a full colour daytime shot in the nursery:


This is a split view showing the D-Link DCS-935L operating as a traditional IP camera alongside a Foscam IP camera on the fantastic LiveCams Pro app.

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Top: D-Link DCS-935L (IR LED on). Bottom: Foscam 9804W  (IR LED on).

Extras

Audio is provided via a built-in microphone, but there’s no 2-way baby-soothing audio functionality.

Summary

As a starter camera, I can honestly think of nothing  better due to its integration with the mydlink Home app and the provided setup wizard.

It really is the kind of thing you could buy for your grandmother and she’ll be able to configure it for herself. Dig a little further though and D-Link have provided the features to make this a good investment as a standalone IP camera too. It’s a product that will grow with you if you’re new to this sort of thing.

 

TheTechSpy rating: 8/10

Continuing in the world of home automation products, today we are reviewing the D-Link ‘mydlink Home’ Smart Plug.

Introduction

What can be said about such devices? They are an evolutionary step forward from those old timer sockets used to fool burglars into thinking you’re at home by turning a lamp on a preset times.

In addition to being able to set a schedule, with these new breed of products you can also remotely turn on and off any mains-powered device from your phone or tablet manually, from anywhere in the world.

First impressions

The unit comes in a neatly presented box containing just the unit itself, instructions and quick install card.

The smart plug is a actually very nice looking. Long gone are the days of companies doing the bare minimum in design for devices that will, in all likelihood, be hidden behind a cabinet.


Setup
This really couldn’t be simpler. The unit has a WPS button on the side which, when pressed immediately after pressing the WPS button on your home router, connects directly to your home Wi-Fi network. Most modern routers have this functionality and it really does make setup a breeze.

Once it’s connected,  it’s just a case of downloading the iOS or Android app to your smartphone or tablet and creating yourself a mydlink account (in-app).

The app will find your device providing you are on the same Wi-Fi network. Then, all that needs to be done is to give it a name and choose an icon for it. After the initial setup, you no longer need to be on the same network to control your Smart Plug.

In my case, I have the Smart Plug controlling my tumble dryer.

See the little power icon below? That’s it. That’s how you remotely turn it on and off. Simple.


There are two reasons I chose a tumble dryer for this review:

1) I wanted to try a high current appliance. Pulling nearly 3KW through the Smart Plug should give it a good run.

2) My 3 year old twins have a terrifying desire to climb into things while the other closes the door. Boxes, cupboards, and yes, the tumble dryer once too. With the dryer under the kitchen unit and the mains socket located behind it, the ability to switch it on and off at the mains is difficult. 

The D-Link Smart Plug provides me with a means of doing just that, easily.

Here it is when ON:

Extras

You can view the current load and temperature of the plug in the device information page:


You can also set rules, such as turning appliances off automatically when a preset consumption limit is breached. Email alerts and push notifications are also supported. As previously mentioned, scheduling is supported for making burglars think twice when you’re away from home by hooking it up to a TV or lamp.

Summary

All in all, it’s an excellent little device that delivers on it’s simple objectives. I have noticed that it’s a little bulky though and so doesn’t play well with other plugs in my 4-way gang lead. 

It handles my tumble dryer with no problem, and like I say, that’s a very high load appliance, so top marks there.

At around £39.99, it may be a little much for some, but with D-Link pushing the range which now includes home cameras and PIRs, it’s well worth a look if you’re looking to automate your home.

TheTechSpy rating: 8.5/10