● Smart thermostat ● Withings IP camera ● Acer’s budget 4K monitor
Finally a camera that looks more like a home ornament, but we expected more from its headline features.
£170 Manufacturer Withings, withings.com
Features 5-megapixel CMOS sensor, 1080p HD video camera, night vision, 135° viewing angle, 2W two-way speaker Networking Ethernet, Wi-Fi
The connected home is coming of age and affordable home surveillance systems are becoming much more than a plasticky webcam stuck on a shelf somewhere. Withings knows about style and this HD camera with builtin air monitoring has an excellent build quality and looks that suit modern or period homes.
The cylindrical camera is covered in a lightly toned wood cladding and it can be twisted to hide away the lens when idle. At the bottom is the colour-changing light which acts as a night light for a nursery or ambient glow for any room. The camera then sits on a magnetic dish, which enables you to easily rotate the camera and, crucially, keeps it stable. On the rear are three ports (MicroUSB power, Ethernet and USB 2.0) and two environment sensors. Set up is done using a companion iPhone app and Home is ready to start monitoring in minutes.
Still images are merely satisfactory in image quality. The 12x zoom is a nice idea, but not when it’s so blurry. Equally, the two-way audio feed is just passable, and the events that trigger video recording are often quite delayed. Only action very close to the camera seemed to trigger it. We got rather sporadic air quality readings, going from good to medium in a living room that was unoccupied all day. As the sensor is supposed to detect volatile organic compounds (namely toxic liquids such as paints) we were surprised by that fluctuation when there was nothing obvious to detect. However, we got the warnings we wanted when using it in a garage with the lid off some nasty creosote!
We really weren’t wowed by the tech here, but the companion app’s clever features make Home attractive above similar systems. It keeps a diary of observations, snapping a photo when there’s movement and video if it detects heavy movement or sound, and it produces a 12-hour summary each day, with up to two days of recordings. Initially, the app was prone to crashes and random disabling of some functions. Most problems have since been fixed, but detection issues remain. Christian Hall
Fine-looking for an IP camera!
Easy to set up and use
Poor audio quality
Some oddities in readings
The Withings Home app displays video recordings, still photographs
and air quality measurements.