● Smart ther­mo­stat ● Withings IP cam­era ● Acer’s bud­get 4K mon­i­tor

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Fi­nally a cam­era that looks more like a home or­na­ment, but we ex­pected more from its head­line fea­tures.

£170 Man­u­fac­turer Withings,

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.

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