That last one is still in my house, and you’ll see it as part of this review. What we’ve got here today is effectively the newer version of that one. It’s available right now on Amazon for a mere £35.99 with free delivery and is ideal if you’re going away and want to watch your house from afar. It is, quite definitely, an indoor camera and isn’t weatherproof. You do, however, get a wall mount so that you can position this in a corridor, in your garage, on a shelf or somewhere more permanent.
This one is the full 1080P and produces some excellent HD footage. It does, like the ANNKE Sparkle we looked at some years ago, the clever pan and tilt trick, and you can fully control the thing with the “MyANNKE” app which is available on your friendly smartphone store. This one, however, is far faster and a lot more precise – easily swooshing around when you slide your finger across the smartphone screen. It’ll let you zoom in on part of the image very quickly.
But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. This, then, is a remotely controlled home or office camera. You can plonk it in your kitchen and keep an eye on your dog, you can mount it in your nursery and check on your baby while you’re downstairs making tea. You can put it in the window of your office and check whether anyone is there – no matter where you are in the world.
There’s two-way audio communication so that you can hear and speak back, plus you can record footage, take photos and use the motion detection system to let you know when something is happening. This can be set on a scheduled basis too, so if you’re expecting movement you can disable this. Ideal if you’re using the camera to monitor the kitchen downstairs but you expect people or pets to be there in the day but not at night for example. Saving footage can be done either to your phone via the app, onto the microSD card (not supplied), on an ANNKE “storage box” (sold separately and to be installed on your network) or via the ANNKE cloud (which is an additional cost). The cost for the cloud storage is currently, for a 7 day loop, $2.99 per month. You can buy 12 months up front for $29.90 and there’s a free trial. I’ve got to say, that’s really not bad.
The cheap option is to get yourself a microSD card and set the continuous recording on – just like a dash cam. This will record a constant loop to your card and you can then set the motion detection to kick off a recording if something moves between those certain times and you can adjust the quality to help extend the amount of footage you can fit too.
This camera is fully customizable, with the sound and microphone volume adjustable, the motion detection (and smart tracking) plus the on screen display text.
The app will also let you set the date, time, timezone, password and whether to reset or update the camera.
But wait! How easy is this to setup? Well, very. First of all, when you unbox the thing, you’ll find yourself an Ethernet cable. That, and the Ethernet port on the back, will instantly make you think, “Hang on, isn’t this wireless? I don’t want to have to faff around with the cable before I switch it to WiFi!” Well, good news. You don’t. I left the Ethernet cable in the box and went straight to WiFi. That’s not, of course, to say that the Ethernet route is bad – it’s just that most people will want the freedom of installing this where they see fit, and WiFi gives them that freedom.
First of all then, you need to grab that “MyANNKE” app. Just head to the store for that one. You’ll then need to create or login to your “MyANNKE” account. I had a previous one here so that bit was fairly simple..
Next you need to choose the type of device you’re adding. They’re called PTZ (Pan, Tilt, Zoom) Cameras, so hit that. Note on this screen that you can add the other ANNKE kit including that “Cloud Box” that lets you keep video footage stored locally.
On the base of the ANNKE camera is a barcode – just scan that so that the app knows which device it is and how to set it up.
Next, choose what sort of connection you want. I chose WiFi here and then got told off because the camera wasn’t powered up. It’s fed from a microUSNB cable which is pretty long. You can use the included wall charger. Don’t forget, if you do use the included wall mount and screw this onto a wall, you’ll need to find a socket close-by.
To kick the setup process off properly, you’ll need to press the reset button. Click this and then a voice will emerge from the built-in speaker (which you can use later to talk to people with) telling you that the camera is “ready to receive configuration”.
This is a pretty clever bit, because the phone – provided you’re near the camera – will find local WiFi hotspots and you’re then prompted to plonk the password in. Do that, then the app will scream out an audio data message for the microphone on the camera to pick up. It’s a little like an old Spectrum 48K or old-style internet modem, concerting data into sound. The noise is a little annoying but it’s a good way to transmit the WiFi keys to the camera.
I found the camera accepted the WiFi password but seemed to freeze mid-way through me setting a name for the camera. I aborted the setup of the camera, whacked refresh on the app and then it popped up as “complete” so perhaps something to bear in mind. During the setup you’re also asked for a timezone and then, if all is well, it’ll be added to your app.
Within the app you can then simply hit the preview picture to see a live shot, take a picture, record a video or move the camera around. As mentioned before, it responds very quickly and is far more accurate than earlier models. I’ve got some footage here from the camera …
When things get dark, if you’ve got it in “auto”, it’ll switch to night mode using the infrared LEDs. Night vision is outstanding even in the pitch dark, but it you’re pointing it out of a window as I am here, you’ll find that those IR LED’s bounce off the glass. Perhaps best to use this if you’re not pointing the camera through a window. I set mine to be “day mode” all the time and the actual quality of the image was still very good – I could see streetlights and the moon instead of utter blackness which was good.
The camera integrates well with Alexa so that you can see the live view on your Echo Show or Echo Spot. I also found that the tracking and motion detection was really rather good, with the camera tracking a moving object and moving the camera to track and follow the person or object. Very good.
There’s a range of uses for this one – from security to just keeping an eye on your pets. I love how easy it is to setup, how quick and accurate it is and the range of options you get. Very nicely done, and very cheap too. Nice one ANNKE.