I’ve not seen the need to get a security camera. I neither live in a huge, obviously-full-of-expensive-things home, nor in one of “those” areas where break-ins are common. But I do have this cute little dog, and when I’m gone, I often wonder just what he’s up to – when he’s not sleeping in his favorite chair. I’ve seen various cameras here on our site, as well as on other gadget or home security sites, but have never been tempted. But when Julie offered the team the iZon view camera, which I’d seen often in my local Apple Retail Stores, I thought I’d get it to see if I’m missing out on anything. (I actually have an ulterior motive as well – I think Jack practices his cute face in the hall mirror and want to catch him at it!)
Note: Photos may be tapped or clicked for a larger image.
The izon is a white cylinder, about 3.25” high and 1.25” in diameter. There is a USB to miniUSB cable that has a rather large plug on the miniUSB end to fit into a recess in the camera to provide power.
This extra large plug prevents you from accidentally plugging the cord in upside down. The base of the unit is concave, and magnetically fits on a 1.75” diameter base that can be attached to about any surface. There is a backing piece on the base that can be removed to attach it to your desired location. The convex magnetic base holds the camera steady at whatever angle you choose. It’s easy to move in large or tiny increments in order to focus on your exact area of interest, and through software, you can turn the picture right-side-up, if you need to mount it from the ceiling. Other than connecting power and aiming, the camera is setup, controlled, and viewed from your iOS and Android devices.
Security cameras have seemingly all moved to being web-centric. This one is nice in that it can be accessed only from an iOS or Android device, and only from within your account. Changing the password on any device immediately stops the video feed on all other connected devices, so if you’re at all paranoid, you can change it at will.
Activating the camera is probably the most difficult task of setup. You first must download the izon app and create an account. Once you’re ready to add your camera, you must power it on, and the front LED will blink with a color pattern. Choose the pattern that is displaying from the ones offered in the second screen, and you’ll be asked to enter your network name and password. This is then encoded into a QR code and displayed on your device’s screen. You have to hold the screen 4” from the camera for a minute or two while the camera reads the QR code’s info, restarts, changes the flashing pattern a few times, and finally moves to the auto-setup stage.
Once it’s showing on your account, you have various settings you can change to have the camera activate and notify you, or even invert the image if the camera needs to be mounted on a ceiling. Notifications can be for sound and/or motion, and you can even set a certain area of the screen to be the focus of activity, in case you’ve got, say, a rogue tree that you can’t adjust out of the frame. Choose to view the rest of the frame only, and you won’t get a notification every time the wind blows. If you’d rather not alert anyone to the presence of the camera, you can disable the LED recording light. You can also activate see-in-the-dark mode, which works surprisingly well.
All-in-all, I liked the camera. I left it sitting out in my office and in various other places around the house. Most times I would come back and find it had been turned away from the area of focus by one of the family members who value privacy more than gadgets. If we were in a place where it needed monitoring, I would probably place this near the front door. It would be great, especially since I work from my home and often cannot answer the door. This election season, I’d get one or two pollsters or candidate advocates a week, and stopping my work to go answer the door, just to say “I’m working, please go away” with my nice-guy face on got a little old.
Benefits are many: once it’s set up, you can just log in to your account with any iOS device, and the camera(s) are right there, ready to view. You can add as many cameras as you want to your account, and name them according to location, focus, or name. Each has a unique serial number that identifies it. I signed in from an iPod touch after using my iPhone for a few days, and the camera was immediately viewable. (Guard your password!) I could see this having very good applications in small businesses, delivery locations, etc.
Drawbacks are few: You always have to have the device plugged in (there’s no battery at all), but it doesn’t have to be to the power grid. I ran it for several days off a 1 amp phone charger without a problem. But that long cord is a pain!
Solid four out of five stars.