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.
What’s in the box?
Foscam R2 IP camera
Detachable WiFi antenna
Quick installation guide
CD <- ummm do people still use these?
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.
On the back of the R2, you’ll find a speaker, power port, Ethernet port with status LEDs, and a WiFi antenna.
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..
And on the right side is a reset button.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.