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Annke makes solid external security cameras -- but the CZ400 PTZ security camera I reviewed at the start of 2021 was really difficult to set up. Now the latest cameras in Annke's line-up show that the brand has listened to feedback and has made some changes -- but has it gone far enough?
The recently released Annke NC400 and NC800 bullet camera models use a feature that Annke calls NightChroma. This feature adds colour to night vision images improving the colour in its video image. There are a lot of other features added to these cameras too.
Made from heavy-duty aluminium, the Annke NC800 is a 4K security camera with a 2.8mm lens, horizontal field of view of 102 degrees and a vertical field of view of 52 degrees.
It will capture human and vehicle motion and will detect movement if someone crosses a pre-defined line. It uses a 1/1.2 inch STARVIS progressive scan CMOS and will record an image of up to 2688 x 1520 at up to 30fps.
It will detect objects at up to 0.0005 Lux and will detect objects up to 130ft. It also has an LED spotlight that invokes when something crosses into its field of view.
The Annke NC800 bullet security camera is a fairly compact camera at 78.8 x 78.6 x 215.2 mm. It's well-built and weighs 860g. It has impressive image enhancement techniques, using WDR (Wide Dynamic Range), BLC (Back Light Compensation), HLC (Headlight light correction) and DNR (Digital Noise Reduction).
Annke does not explain any of these acronyms on its website -- but assumes that everyone who wishes to purchase one of its cameras already knows what the acronyms mean. That may be annoying for first-time buyers.
It uses a MicroSD card up to 256GB for local storage, or you can connect it using a NAS or 4K PoE (Power over Ethernet) NVR (Network Video Recorder). It is rated at IP67, so it's waterproof and dustproof and can be used outside or inside.
Inside the box is the NC800, a pack of waterproof connectors and a screw fixing kit. A camera quick start guide and a user guide explain which cables are which and show how to attach the camera to the network video recorder (NVR).
There is also a mini-CD -- presumably with documentation -- but I could not confirm this as none of my current PCs have a CD slot.
You need to download the 'SADP' -- whatever that is -- software from Annke's download centre. The user guide does not explain what the SADP software is. I took a punt and downloaded the 'Annke sight' software.
This did not work due to a missing DLL file. I then tried to install the Guarding Vision software – and also installed the Annke vision app onto my Android phone. This was all guesswork on my part, as the documentation did not mention any of this.
I finally searched the support site for mention of SADP and got to an article that linked to the download of the SADP tool.
This is a very clunky process, and setting up the management app is nowhere near as simple as most other security systems I have reviewed. The install process uses Internet Explorer, which hangs and needs to be stopped using taskmaster.
The Guarding Vision software added the client, storage server and streaming media software onto my PC. The software quickly picked up my network connected camera and allowed me to add other devices to the group.
The Android phone software quickly connected the camera to the app and gave a live view of the camera. You can add up to 16 cameras in the group and monitor them simultaneously.
You can configure various settings, such as the local time zone, microphone, image encryption, and other formats. You can also link cameras together in zones.
You can customize voice alerts and other parameters such as alarms and Wi-Fi settings. There are several other features you can tweak too, depending on your setup. You can digitally zoom the image up to 8.0x, and the image is fairly crisp and clear – even at low light.
It picks up sound from up to 20 feet away and has noise cancelling features to pick up clear and distinct voices.
The Annke NC400 bullet security camera is a well-built camera with an aluminium body. It is smaller than the NC800 with dimensions of 68.4 x 65.2 x 161.q, and it weighs 430g. Like the NC800, it is rated at IP67, so it is dustproof and waterproof.
Its image sensor is a 2.8mm lens 1/2.7 inch CMOS sensor, and it will detect movement in light levels down to 0.001 Lux. It has an LED spotlight. Its resolution is 4MP 2560 x 1440px at up to 20fps.
Like the NC800, it has a horizontal field of view of 102 and a slightly larger vertical field of view of 54 inches. It will detect objects up to 100 feet away. The NC400 also has 4MP QHD colour night vision.
Inside the box, there is the NC400, a pack of waterproof connectors and a screw fixing kit. There is also a screw fixing template and a quick start guide explaining how to connect the NC400 to the NVR (sold separately).
You can connect the camera as an analogue system and connect the NVR to a router so you can access the NVR through your mobile phone. There is no option in the NC400 to add a memory card to the camera.
The NC400 does not have a QR code to add the camera to the app easily. However, scanning the bar code does cause the app to beep -- however, the camera fails to connect.
Only after using the SADP device manager and adding the camera password and security details did the camera appear in the list of cameras. It is a really clunky process and not something that I want to do often. The Reolink range of security cameras are far simpler to set up.
Other features are common to the app -- like the 8.0x digital zoom -- and not specifically the camera itself.
All in all, these are well-built cameras that are sturdy and strong with great image features. The SDAP software needs to be refreshed and updated as it looks outdated, and Annke could spend time making the user guide far more comprehensive.
The NC800 is offered for sale at $350and the NC400 at $130 -- good mid-range prices for the camera build and quality.
Be aware of the desktop app limitations and the extra security hoops you need to add to make the product secure, and you could get a great security camera system for your business or home.