Last updated on November 24th, 2017 at 05:24 am
Smart home security seems to be one of the main areas driving the smart home revolution, and Y-Cam is another brand trying to make a name for themselves.
Competing with big names like Netgear Arlo, Nest, Neatamo as well as more traditional CCTV brands like Hikvision, this is a hard market to crack, but Y-Cam has some immediate selling points.
They don’t sell just cameras, but they have a smart home alarm system which integrates with their app and can provide test and phone call alarm notification. Bundled together this provides one of the most complete home security packages out there.
The camera range includes 3 different indoor cameras and one outdoor. This review focusses on the Y-Cam Evo which is a very small and quite attractive little HD WiFi (only) camera. All the cameras include free rolling 7-day cloud storage for 3 years. Unfortunately, after the 3 years, it will switch to live view only or you must upgrade to one of their plans which costs from £5.99 per month or £59.99 per year.
Priced at £129.99 it is quite competitive, with it being one of the cheaper indoor cameras I have reviewed. Only the Blink home security costs the same.
Physical set up is very simple, the camera just screws into its mount and away you go. It has a very long micro USB charging cable so you have a lot of leeway with mounting it where you want. If the cable is too long you can just use a shorter one. The base of the mount is magnetic, and Y-Cam includes a small metal plate that can be screwed into a wall. This allows the camera to be easily mounted to a wall and removed as and when needed.
Set-up, in theory, is quite simple. Download the app, sign up, switch the camera on and go through the basic set up procedure. I had some issues with this, at first, I tried to set it up in my garage, as I recently had a bike stolen from there. Unfortunately, it appears my WiFi signal is not good enough there, this caused issues with the app it would just freeze up scanning for networks or trying to pass the details over to the camera itself. This meant I had to force close the app, which then also meant I had to go through the sign-up procedure again. Even with good WiFi, the whole scanning procedure seems to be very slow. Not a major issue, you just need to make sure your WiFi signal is good.
Once you do have the WiFi working on the camera, you go through a couple of more setup steps which includes setting up motion alerts. You can select a detection area and sensitivity, similar to the Arlo. You can also set up a second detection area too, so for example in a hall, you could watch 2 doors.
When everything is set up you will be shown a link to the camera, which you can then select to see its live view, and below that is a list of the clips it has recorded. The app seems a little slow and clunky compared with some competitors but it works fine.
Image quality is quite good, it uses a wide-angle lens so it looks a little odd at first, but this is obviously a good thing as it gives you a wider angle to detect motion. I opted to have it point outside a window (facing my garage door) and during the day it works great. Night time is an issue with this style of set up as the IR light reflects off the glass making it virtually useless. This is not a flaw of this camera itself, but something all cameras will have an issue with.
Under the activity feed of the app you have a date list of videos and from here you can download a video for archive if you need. This seems to work well and will be essential if you have an intruder.
You can also access your cameras via a normal browser if you go direct to Y-Cam. The design for this is quite basic, but it is functional and give you access to all the settings minus the motion zones. You can also download the videos from here.
Downloads are in MP4 format, so you should be able to play them on most devices.
The motion detection performance is good, but as always with things like this if you are viewing outside it is heavily prone to false positives. Wind, birds, leaves, etc can all trigger it. Using the zones does help minimise these issues a lot and I found a lot of the false positives seems to record 20seconds, whereas real results were longer than this. This made it a lot easier to find movement.
Overall, this is a good camera that is priced competitively. It doesn’t have some smart features like Alexa or Google integration, but I can live without that. Individually it is probably not as good as some of the others, the blink myself is certainly appealing compared to this or for £30 more the Arlo Q is superior. However, if you want a complete system then this combined with the outdoor cameras and alarm system is going to be hard to beat.
You can buy the full range of Y-Cam products direct from Y-Cam here.
The Y-Cam Evo can be bought for £129.99 here