I am always on the lookout for the perfect surveillance system for monitoring my home and cats while on vacation. The first thing I tried was a webcam connected to a computer that I would view from an app on my phone. Next, I tried an IP camera that could be remotely controlled by my phone, but the user interface was lacking. A few months ago, I picked up the Foscam C1 Wireless IP camera and have been generally pleased with it, but unsure if I wanted to buy another, since it is a static camera and cannot be adjusted remotely like the previous one I had. I recently had the opportunity to add a second Foscam C1 camera, so let’s see if it was worth it.
In the box you’ll find the camera, mounting supplies, instructions, Micro-USB cord, and a plug-in adapter which varies based on your country. I was a little confused on the USB cord initially, but it is actually useful to be able to plug it in directly to a USB port and have it power on. On my last trip, I used that option and plugged it into a charging dock I have and it worked fabulously.
The camera itself can be customized to different positions by two pivot points. They are easily adjusted by twisting the screw and tightening it back up which was very straightforward. You can mount the camera directly to a wall or ceiling by removing the base plate, screwing it into position, and replacing the camera on the base plate. You can then turn the camera around and adjust it as needed.
So now, how was using the camera? First off, I was very surprised with how much of the room was visible with the wide angle lens. The sides of the video had a slight fisheye effect, but I could see nearly all of my dining/living room within the frame. I had no need for remotely controlling the camera, since I could see the window my cats sit in on the far left, and their cat tree on the far right. I set up the second camera in my computer room, where the cats and dog hang out to look out the window, and it easily showed the entire room. I also used the camera to look out the same window that overlooks our driveway, and I could easily monitor the front of my house during the daytime. At night, the night vision would reflect against the glass.
There is a microSD card slot on the bottom of the camera. You can also see from the above picture a completely different position you can have the camera at. I think the flat (or slightly tilted downward) position above may work well for mounting above doors.
Within the Foscam app you can add each webcam to your network by scanning the QR code on the back of the camera. You can then rename the camera, enable motion detection, and take pictures and video. One of my favorite things about the app was the ability to talk back and forth with anyone in the house. I held a small conversation with my sister and also was able to say hello to my cats.
The front screen of the mobile app will show a picture of what it first saw when you last viewed the camera. When you open the app, wait a few seconds and the banners on the top right of the cameras will turn from off to on. The only time I found this app to be buggy was when I would keep a camera on and switch between apps. When I came back to the camera, it took a while to reconnect. Also, with the new iOS 9 update, the app works just as well as with iOS 8.
The web client is not as clean as their app, but you can go into more detail within the settings, such as adding an alert email that will alert you when motion is detected as well as send a picture, view your IP cams, and most importantly, view saved files on the SD card. The web client interface could definitely use some TLC, but overall I was able to do all I needed on the web client.
Within the camera you have the option to record video and pictures with a motion detection alarm. You can save these via FTP or a microSD card. Anything on the card can be viewed online using their web client for the C1 camera. I used the microSD card for my motion detection since it was the easiest to use.
The playback tab is where you’ll find all your videos stored on the SD card. You can search by date within the web application. If you are on your home network and want to view your recorded files with your local media player without removing the SD card, you can do so with the web application. It’s under the settings -> record -> storage location section. From there you can watch the video or save it to your computer. It took me a while to figure it out, so I thought I’d post it here for anyone who may want to know! You cannot view your videos from the mobile app.
The video quality impressed me. The camera records video at 720p and has a resolution of 1280 x 720. It was much better than my previous camera. Above you can see a video of my cat getting on the table early one morning. As you can see, the night vision worked quite well. It even picked up my solid black cat doing the same thing the next night.
Overall, I really think the Foscam C1 is a solid IP camera. Sure, you can’t remotely change the viewing angle, but the wide angle lens makes that almost unnecessary. The mobile app made checking in on my house while on vacation so easy and gave me peace of mind that my cats, family, and home was safe. Other than the web application being slightly buggy, I was very happy with this camera and at the price range it is at, recommend it to those who want to monitor their pets or home while away.