Y-Cam HomeMon­i­tor Evo

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

The Evo is a new in­door se­cu­rity camera that’s part of Y-Cam’s HomeMon­i­tor range. It’s tiny and has a few handy new fea­tures that make it one of the best home se­cu­rity cam­eras around.

Like pre­vi­ous HomeMon­i­tor cam­eras, the Evo comes with free cloud record­ing that stores a week’s worth of videos for free. This is great news if you dis­like the idea of pay­ing a sub­scrip­tion as you have to with the Nest Cam. How­ever, the Evo doesn’t record con­tin­u­ously like the Nest Cam: it only records and saves clips when mo­tion is de­tected.

Fea­tures

The first thing to note about the Evo is that it’s tiny. It’s the small­est home se­cu­rity camera we’ve reviewed, and one that can be mounted al­most any­where with­out be­ing ob­tru­sive. Note that it isn’t wa­ter­proof: if you need an out­door camera, check out the Y-Cam HD Pro.

The stand is clever, too. In the box is a small bracket that’s de­signed to be screwed to a wall. As it’s mag­netic, you can easily pull the camera (with its stand) off this bracket and re­lo­cate it some­where else tem­po­rar­ily.

And as it uses a stan­dard tri­pod thread, you can use other mounts (but prob­a­bly not a tri­pod).

There are two other sig­nif­i­cant up­grades com­pared to the In­door HDS: Bluetooth and a speaker.

Bluetooth means you can set up the Evo from your phone. No longer do you have to first con­nect the camera to your router us­ing a net­work cable as with pre­vi­ous Y-Cam mod­els. The new app has a slick in­ter­face which makes phone-based setup a breeze: we had the Evo up and run­ning within three min­utes of un­box­ing it.

For those with­out an ex­ist­ing Y-Cam ac­count, you’ll need to al­lo­cate a few ex­tra min­utes to cre­ate a free ac­count.

The sec­ond up­date – the speaker – will en­able two-way au­dio, al­though this isn’t yet im­ple­mented in the app. An up­date is com­ing soon that will let you talk back, and this will bring the Evo more in line with the cur­rent com­pe­ti­tion, much of which al­ready of­fers two-way au­dio. With the older Y-Cam mod­els, you could only lis­ten in to what was hap­pen­ing.

As you’d ex­pect, in­frared LEDs are used for night vi­sion, so the Evo can cap­ture the ac­tion even when the lights are off.

A fea­ture in­tro­duced a lit­tle while ago is lo­ca­tion record­ing. This uses your phone’s lo­ca­tion to dis­able record­ing when you re­turn home and en­able it when you leave. It’s a good idea, apart from the fact that it doesn’t take other fam­ily mem­bers into ac­count so it works on the lo­ca­tion of only one phone.

Per­for­mance

When we first heard that the Evo – the first new camera in Y-Cam’s range for a cou­ple of years – wasn’t go­ing to have a 1080p sen­sor, we couldn’t hide our dis­ap­point­ment. How­ever, it’s worth bear­ing in mind that many 1080p cam­eras that record to the cloud don’t ben­e­fit from the ex­tra res­o­lu­tion as the video is stored and streamed at 720p (or lower).

Still, the ul­ti­mate se­cu­rity camera – as far as we’re con­cerned – would of­fer a way to record topqual­ity video lo­cally and only scale down qual­ity to steam it over your broad­band con­nec­tion.

If one ex­ists, we’re will­ing to bet it doesn’t work as well as the HomeMon­i­tor sys­tem. Y-Cam

re­cently re­leased a new app with an up­dated in­ter­face and it’s one of the best you’ll find.

The ‘home’ screen shows a thumb­nail pre­view from your camera(s) and you can tap the power button un­derneath to quickly dis­able or en­able a par­tic­u­lar camera. The thumb­nails up­date to show what’s hap­pen­ing live af­ter a cou­ple of sec­onds of open­ing the app. Tap­ping on the ‘play’ button brings up the live view along with a list of re­cently recorded video clips. A fur­ther tap on any recorded clip starts that play­ing and the new app lets you down­load it straight to your iPhone or An­droid device, a fea­ture that’s par­tic­u­larly handy and one you don’t get with many of the Evo’s ri­vals.

Un­like in the old app, you can now change most of the camera’s set­tings with­out hav­ing to use a PC or lap­top and use the web por­tal. In par­tic­u­lar you can set and ad­just up to two zones to mon­i­tor for mo­tion, and tweak the sen­si­tiv­ity us­ing your phone’s touch­screen.

It would still be nicer to have more flex­i­bil­ity when defin­ing the ar­eas to mon­i­tor: SpotCam and Nest both of­fer dif­fer­ent ap­proaches. With the Evo, you’re of­ten forced to se­lect a big­ger area than you re­ally want to be­cause you’re limited to hor­i­zon­tal and ver­ti­cal lines.

How­ever, it’s a mi­nor gripe as the mo­tion de­tec­tion works re­li­ably. Over the course of the last two years that we’ve been us­ing the HomeMon­i­tor sys­tem it has only missed a cou­ple of events, so the ab­sence of con­tin­u­ous record­ing isn’t par­tic­u­larly no­tice­able.

Clev­erly, Y-Cam uses a mem­ory buf­fer in the camera so it can record the few sec­onds be­fore mo­tion is de­tected in or­der for you to see the whole event. Our only com­plaint is that clips of­ten cut off af­ter 30 sec­onds or so. Typ­i­cally that’s long enough to see what you need to, but oc­ca­sion­ally it would have been nice if it had con­tin­ued record­ing.

In the app there’s a record button that lets you man­u­ally record what’s hap­pen­ing for up to five min­utes.

Y-Cam says video qual­ity is bet­ter than the In­door HDS and Out­door HD Pro, and it is. There’s a bit more de­tail and ev­ery­thing is sharper. A big­ger im­pact is the wider field of view from the new lens – now 100 de­grees rather than 87 on the In­door HDS.

The only op­tion miss­ing from the app is the record­ing sched­ule. Via the web por­tal you can choose when the Evo is on and off, but since you can easily turn it on and off through the app, it’s hardly a prob­lem.

In terms of alerts, you have the op­tion of a no­ti­fi­ca­tion on your phone, an email or both. You can se­lect all these op­tions via the app. Cur­rently there’s no IFTTT in­te­gra­tion so the Evo is very much a stand­alone prod­uct that works in its own ecosys­tem.

Ver­dict

The Y-Cam HomeMon­i­tor Evo is the best all-round in­door home se­cu­rity camera you can buy thanks to a com­bi­na­tion of hard­ware, soft­ware and the free seven-day cloud record­ing. Jim Martin

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