Foscam C1 Lite HD Wireless Camera: Good hardware, poor control

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Pros

  • Camera easy to connect to app
  • Wide field of view

Cons

  • App regularly loses connectivity
  • Image stutter
  • Difficult to manage over 4G

The Foscam C1 Lite indoor camera potentially could be a great camera for monitoring the interior of your home. It can be used as a baby monitor, home security camera or door intercom.

The IP camera has 1280 x 720 HD video streaming over 115 degree field of view. It has digital zoom up to 6x and H.264 video compression.

It will support up to 32Gb of storage using a Micro USB card. There is no night vision with this 'Lite' version of the camera - however, the C1 camera does have infrared functionality.

The camera comes with a two metre USB power cable and a USB power adapter. There is also an installation guide and a mini driver CD in the well-packaged box.

It has motion and sound detection, notifying you by email when something triggers an alert in the vicinity. The Foscam cloud service means you can communicate by audio through the camera from your phone.

The app is easy to install on Android and very straight forward to connect to the camera. Scan the QR code in the instruction leaflet with the phone which takes you to the Google Play store to download the app.

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To connect the camera, use the add camera function on the app. Scan the QR code on the camera which connected to my phone within a few seconds. The camera arm allows quick positioning of the camera.

Once connected to the app, the camera then needs to be connected to the Wi-Fi network. This connected quickly over 2.4Ghz. It will not connect over the 5GHz Wi-Fi frequency at all.

The 'My Cameras' screen shows you a list of all of the cameras you have connected to the app. Select the camera you want to monitor and press the play button for a live feed. You can use the talk button to speak into your smartphone. Your camera then runs the audio clip.

There are function icons to talk, take an image, record a video clip, rotate the image, adjust the brightness, film in HD, and manage your online storage subscription. Monthly costs apply if you use this function.

The camera works well over Wi-Fi, video streaming is clear, with a slight stutter of the image. Latency however was dreadful. From inside the house it took less time to go into the room where the camera is, than wait for the image to appear on my smartphone using Wi-Fi.

Trying to use the camera from outside the house, on 4G, was incredibly slow. The connection dropped regularly and audio did not work at all.

Powering the camera on and off did reset the camera and restored connectivity. This could not be done of course when I was outside the house.

All in all, the camera was not worth the effort I made trying to get a connection. It was too hard to use the camera for monitoring when I was out and about.

Sure, it was fine when I was inside the house and needed to see into another room, but I could have stood up and walked into the room instead. I was really disappointed with the app, and how often the connection dropped - even when I was in the house close to the Wi-Fi router.

I think I would prefer to pay extra and get a wireless camera with night vision and better connectivity. Although the images, stills, and video were good quality, something was missing.

I want an app that automatically retries the connection to the camera and does not fail so often.

Getting a notification that motion has been detected is one thing when I am out and about. Actually connecting to the camera and taking a video recording, or an image of the room is what I want.

I would prefer a camera that lets me do this when I am actually away from home.

Topics: Hardware, Channel, Mobility, Reviews, Security

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