Foscam R2 Wireless 1080P IP Camera review

{ 19 comments }

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I’ve reviewed so many wireless IP cameras over the years that I’m rarely impressed when a new one is offered to me for review. I wasn’t all that excited when Foscam offered their R2 Wireless 1080P IP Camera to me, but once I received it and set it up, it quickly became one of my favorites even though it has some kinks that need to be worked out. Why do I like it and what are the issues? Keep reading to find out.

Note: Images can be clicked to view a larger size.

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What’s in the box?

Foscam R2 IP camera
Detachable WiFi antenna
Mounting Bracket
Power Adapter
Quick installation guide
Warranty card
CD <- ummm do people still use these?

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The R2 camera reminds me of R2D2. Not just because it has R2 in its name, but also due to the shape, color and fact that the camera can rotate both vertically and horizontally. The pan, tilt and rotate features alone make the Foscam R2 a step above the majority of other wireless cameras that are currently on the market. I love this feature.

The front of the R2 has the rotating camera lens that is surrounded by infrared LEDs for night vision. There’s also a microphone located along the bottom edge of the device for 2 way audio.

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On the back of the R2, you’ll find a speaker, power port, Ethernet port with status LEDs, and a WiFi antenna.

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On the left side there’s a micro SD card slot that can be used to store motion alert video clips, manually captured images and video..

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And on the right side is a reset button.

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The base of the Foscam R2 has a threaded socket that can be used to attach the camera to a wall or ceiling using the included mounting hardware.

Seeing up the R2 is easy. You just plug the included AC adapter into the camera and a power outlet and then wait for it to boot up. You’ll know when it’s ready because it speaks the status in a female voice. The voice startled me the first time I heard it because I wasn’t expecting the camera to “talk”. Be aware that the voice will speak the status each time the camera boots up, so you might think someone has broken into your house in the middle of the night if the power happens to cycle for some reason.

The next step is to install the app. I used my LG G3 and a QR scanning app to scan the QR code on the bottom of the camera. This caused the phone to download and install the Foscam app which then led me through creating an account and the camera setup process.

Once installed, you use the mobile app to watch a live view of the camera. There are on-screen controls to pan, tilt and rotate the camera. You can also create presets so that you can quickly move the camera to a specific spot. I placed the camera on a windowsill and created a preset to point the camera out the window and another preset to rotate around and view the room. Switching between presets is easy and relatively fast.

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You can switch to full-screen view with a tap of the screen. The video quality is really good. I think it’s the best picture of any security camera I’ve ever reviewed. Night vision is very good too. The image above is with the video quality setting set to HD.

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And here it is set to the lowest setting – Smooth. I think the Smooth setting looks just fine through my phone, so that’s what I have mine set to. According to Foscam, the HD setting requires that you have a 2Mbps upload speed. I have a T1 line at my house with a max upload speed of only 1.5Mbps. The Smooth setting only needs 1Mbps. When I had it set to HD, I had problems with the connection freezing and disconnecting. I found that setting it to Smooth worked much better.

Right now you can only view a live view of the camera. There’s no way to go back in time and view events from the past. As of the time of this writing, the Foscam cloud service isn’t available but it will be soon. Of course, there will be a charge for this service. I just don’t have the details on what the pricing will be. I’ll update the review when this info becomes available.

The camera does offer audio and motion alerts. By default, motion and audio detection alerts are just notifications on your phone. Clicking the notification really doesn’t give you anything useful though and I had a lot of troubles getting the alerts to even work. I had to hard reset the camera back to default settings and uninstall/reinstall the application on my phone to get the motion detection to work. Unfortunately, notifications stopped working again after I tried to get the email notifications working. I didn’t even know that email notifications were an option until I talked to Foscam support. There’s no setting in the mobile app for email notifications, you have to login to the camera through a desktop web browser using IE or Firefox. To get email notifications working you have to enter your SMTP mail server info. It took me awhile to get this working because I had to go into my Google account settings to turn on a security feature. A post on the Foscam forums helped me solve the issue. I can now receive notifications about audio alerts, but my motion alerts aren’t working at all. The audio alert emails each include three thumbnail images, but no audio clips. Weird.

The mobile app also allows you to manually snap images and record video which is saved to the micro SD card (not included).

I really like the Foscam R2 Wireless 1080P IP camera. It’s my favorite home security camera to date because I love the camera rotation feature and ability to use presets to quickly rotate the camera to my favorite viewing locations. But the problems with motion detection and email notifications keep me from loving this camera. I’m hoping Foscam will fix these problems soon because this is a great little camera worth the price.

Updates 04/26/16

I’m still using this camera along with Foscam’s FI9900P camera to monitor my home when I’m away. I stopped using Foscam’s app and switched to tinyCam Monitor Pro, which has many more features, is faster and more reliable than the Foscam app. At some point, I would like to have an outdoor camera that can pan and tilt like the R2.

Updates 08/17/16

I really like this camera but recently switched back to Drop cam / Nest cam because The Foscam app and tinyCam Monitor Pro apps just were not as reliable as the Nest app. I kept missing notifications, which is the whole point of a security camera. This doesn’t happen with Nest cams.

Source: The sample for this review was provided by Foscam. Please visit their site for more info and Amazon to order one.

 

Product Information

Price:$149.99
Manufacturer:Foscam
Retailer:Amazon
Pros:
  • Easy basic setup
  • Great video quality
  • Great night vision
  • Pan, tilt, rotate
Cons:
  • Motion detection and notifications are buggy
  • Mobile app is buggy
Posted in: Camera Gear, Home and Kitchen, Reviews
{ 19 comments… add one }
  • Aaron November 10, 2015, 11:11 am

    Hey Julie, I didn’t notice any details on the PTZ features of the camera. How was the control from the app? Does it allow preset locations? How does the camera’s field of view compare to say, the Foscam C1 which you’ve also reviewed? It sounds like this replaces the Dropcam (Nest) in terms of image quality but not user-friendliness?

    Thanks,
    Aaron

    • Julie Strietelmeier November 10, 2015, 11:45 am

      I did talk a little about the PTZ features in the review. They work great and the preset zones are a really nice feature. You can add as many named presets as you like. I wish there was a feature to change to the preset location based on time.

      I can’t compare the field of view. I didn’t review the C1. Ryan did. The R2 has a nice wide view that is similar to the Dropcam and the image quality is better than my Dropcam Pro.

      • Aaron November 10, 2015, 11:47 am

        Great, thanks Julie! Sorry I was reading fast and missed that part, distracted by the images! I’ll have to put it on my wish list!

        • Ryan Chapman November 10, 2015, 12:49 pm

          Looking at the screenshots, the C1 does have a wider field of view due to the wide angle lens, however, the C1 is stationary.. it doesn’t have pan and tilt like this one. 🙂

        • Julie Strietelmeier November 10, 2015, 12:53 pm

          🙂 no problem!

  • Ryan Chapman November 10, 2015, 12:50 pm

    Julie, I was able to view my videos from the web app if they were saved to the SD card! 🙂

    • Julie Strietelmeier November 10, 2015, 12:52 pm

      What webapp are you using? http://myfoscam.com? I don’t see that option.

    • Aaron November 10, 2015, 1:10 pm

      I signed up for the Foscam Cloud Beta for $0.01 w/7 days cloud recording. (http://foscam.com/index.php/Home/Cooperate/fc)

      It’s nice because you can view recordings from the mobile app and website and it handles viewing while outside the local network nicely.

      • Julie Strietelmeier November 10, 2015, 1:30 pm

        Is the speed of the app good? I noticed their web based browser was really slow.

        • Aaron November 10, 2015, 1:39 pm

          I agree about the sluggish browser playback. I physically removed the SD card from my C1 and plugged it into my computer to look at the recordings more quickly.

          The mobile app was surprisingly fast at playing back recordings. It might be because the recorded video is playing off their servers instead of the camera’s SD card.

          Overall, the app doesn’t have the polish of Dropcam’s. My biggest complaint is that every time I re-launch the iOS app it displays a “connection lost” error that forces me to navigate to the app’s home screen and tap on the camera again.

          • Julie Strietelmeier November 10, 2015, 5:03 pm

            The Android app also will say connection lost if you were on that screen before you switched to a different app.

  • Ryan Chapman November 10, 2015, 1:03 pm

    You had to get the IP of the camera..

    http://foscam.us/tools-support.html/

    I just type in my address bar: xxx.xxx.x.xx:xx — I used the search tool in the above link to find what the IP was. Basically, it’s the same place you go to set up the email unless they’ve changed it. 🙂

    • Julie Strietelmeier November 10, 2015, 1:05 pm

      Ok yes, I can do that… but that won’t work remotely will it? Don’t you have to be on the same network to use that?

      • Ryan Chapman November 10, 2015, 1:35 pm

        Hmm, I’ll have to test it outside of the network and see. Good point.

  • Prawnchen February 14, 2016, 5:58 pm

    Can i use the cam without w lan? For me ist is Important to have nearly Zero latenz. I Hope that lan Can Provide this.

    Cheers from Germany

    • Julie Strietelmeier February 15, 2016, 7:51 am

      The cameras have to be used on a network, either wireless or hardwired via a Ethernet cable. Latency is really low when you’re viewing locally but some there is a slight lag when viewed outside the local network.

  • John July 16, 2016, 7:50 pm

    This seems to be a lot like the Amcrest cameras. I need a four or so camera system that I can use to monitor my pets inside, my driveway area, front door, and maybe one other inside area. I don’t want to pay for cloud storage so a system that has local storage is on the list. It seems the Amcrest NVRs with four cameras would work. What do you think? https://amcrest.com/security-nvrs.html/

  • Kenneth Brooks September 7, 2016, 5:22 am

    If you use the Blue Iris program and input your foscam cameras you will have all of your video and audio recorded and store on your computer or external drive. I use Foscam cameras all around my home on a wireless network and they work outstanding with the Blue Iris software. You can also set up your storage device or computer to act as your camera server so you can view the cameras from anywhere with an internet access. Stop trying to use the Foscam app, the cameras are great with Blue Iris……

    • Julie Strietelmeier September 7, 2016, 6:00 am

      If I’m not mistaken, Blue Iris is for Windows only. I only run with Macs at home…

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