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Mi Home Security Camera 360 Review: Keeping an Eye on Your Home, no Complications

Home security products don’t necessarily have to be complicated to set up, bulky to install and expensive to maintain. Single cameras such as the Mi Home Security Camera 360 connect with your home Wi-Fi and stream the live feed to your phone, could be the ticket to simpler and cost-effective home security solutions.

Vishal Mathur | News18.com@vishalmathur85

Updated:October 3, 2018, 1:26 PM IST
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Mi Home Security Camera 360 Review: Keeping an Eye on Your Home, no Complications
Home security products don’t necessarily have to be complicated to set up, bulky to install and expensive to maintain. Single cameras such as the Mi Home Security Camera 360 connect with your home Wi-Fi and stream the live feed to your phone, could be the ticket to simpler and cost-effective home security solutions.
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Considering the times we live in, it is all but necessary to keep our homes protected. For that you need surveillance and monitoring tools. Unfortunately, the first thing that comes to mind when we discuss such solutions is the complication, the enormity and the monetary investment. Most home security and surveillance systems are complicated to set up, aren’t easy to get the hang of and do end up costing a lot of money to buy and maintain, while also incurring significant maintenance expenditure. However, there is a change that is slowly happening. Single unit security cameras, which pair with your home Wi-Fi network and can be accessed via your smartphone are becoming popular. For instance, D-Link, a company well known for its Wi-Fi routers and networking products, has the DCS-P6000LH Mini HD (₹2,995) camera in India, which is all about simplicity and ease of use. Now, Xiaomi has also joined the bandwagon and added the Mi Home Security Camera 360 to its product portfolio. It is priced at Rs2,699, and ticks off the boxes of simplicity and affordability. But how well does it perform?

Don’t exactly be surprised about Xiaomi making a home security camera, even though the company is best recognized in India for its smartphones. Xiaomi’s ecosystem of products includes everything from smart and connected lighting to rice cookers to water purifiers to laptops to suitcases. The Mi Home Security Camera 360 shares that one critical trait with the rest of the ecosystem—affordability. But that compromise on the performance?

As the name suggests, the Mi Home Security Camera 360 can rotate 360-degrees, tilt up and down up to an angle of 45-degrees and can either be placed on a table or a shelf, or wall-mounted. In fact, the wall mount mechanism is provided with the camera itself, which makes it pretty-much a simple do-it-yourself (DIY) job. It looks very good, to be honest, and there is a dash of futurism in there as well. Anyone who saw this installed at home immediately enquired as to what it is, what it does and how they can buy one.

Mi Home Security Camera 360-2

Setting up the Mi Home Security Camera 360 is quite simple. You need to download the Mi Home app (free for Android and iOS) and follow the on-screen steps to install and set up the camera. Post that is done, you can share the access for the feed with any family member as well, allowing them access to the feed too. The Mi Home Security Camera 360 connects with your home Wi-Fi network, to stream live audio and video of what it sees. The app has a D-Pad layout of keys, that let you pan and tilt the camera as you may wish to position it. The app also notifies you in case there is any new firmware update for the camera—we got the notification minutes after setting this up, and the installation takes a couple of minutes.

There is a built-in microphone to listen to any sounds in the camera’s immediate surroundings, and there is a speaker there as well that lets you communicate with the people near the camera at the time. There is a memory card slot just beneath the lens—though that gets hidden away quite easily—you’ll need to plug in a memory card to record the footage the camera records. Alternatively, you can also record the stream on your phone, via the app—these video files are saved in the gallery app (such as Photos on the iPhone, for instance).

Mi Home Security Camera 360-3

The Mi Home Security Camera 360 camera records and streams the feed in the Full HD resolution (1920 x 1080). The 2-megapixel wide-angle lens has a 110-degree viewing area and a focal length of 3.9mm. The video stream quality is actually very good, and the clarity doesn’t get compromised with uneven lighting or sudden changes in lighting. The biggest advantage is with the low-light camera performance, which a lot of security cameras tend to struggle with. If the ambient lighting reduces slightly, the Mi Home Security Camera 360 can still hold the colour palette, and only when the lighting really goes down is when it switches to the night mode. This has multiple infrared LEDs which can detect motion even in a pitch dark room.

D-Link, a company known for networking products including wireless routers, is selling a camera called the DCS-P6000LH Mini HD (around Rs.2,995). This camera could be the Mi Home Security Camera 360’s biggest competitor. It has a compact circular design, also connects to your home Wi-Fi and has a 120-degree viewing angle. The only limitation is that it streams videos at 720p resolution, though does well enough with night-time recordings as well. Through the mydlink app (free for Android and iOS), you can access live feeds as well as past recordings (depending on the cloud subscription plan; one-day recordings are available for free while longer term backup subscriptions start at ₹189 per month). At present, the Mi Home Security Camera 360 doesn’t have the cloud storage and streaming option, though we wouldn’t hold that against Xiaomi. The DCS-P6000LH Mini HD also works with the Amazon Alexa virtual assistant—relevant if you have an Amazon Echo speaker at home. It also sends near-instant notifications on your phone when motion is detected near the camera is its biggest strength.

Mi Home Security Camera 360-5

Speaking of which, the Mi Home Security Camera 360 is also quite sensitive when it comes to detecting motion in an otherwise inactive room. In our experience, the motion detection sent in notifications even if it detected the movement of a pigeon out in the balcony or the shadow of a bird zipping across a wall bathed in sunlight, as it fluttered across the sky. We genuinely don’t mind this sort of sensitivity, because it does provide a peace of mind that the camera will kick into action when some genuine movement happens. The sensors also detect the direction of the movement, and the camera swivels automatically in that direction to record and store that footage online.

Clearly, the Mi Home Security Camera 360 is a feature-rich camera. There really is no debate on that. The simplicity is what will endear the Mi Home Security Camera 360 to new users. It is easy to set up, uncomplicated to use, and simply does the job it is supposed to do—including motion detection. At this price, we really cannot hold it against Xiaomi for not offering a cloud-based backup and storage option (or even as an optional subscription), because that is an added complication most users would not want to get bogged down by.

The Mi Home Security Camera 360 will go on sale on 10 October, and his, we feel, is a must have device for anyone who is away from home frequently, has pets at home or simply wants to keep an eye on children who may be in another room at that time.

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