Zosi C296 5MP Smart IP camera review – “Big Brother” your own stuff!

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REVIEW – Once the stuff of George Orwell, video cameras are everywhere as crime deterrents, keeping an eye on kids or pets, and watching for package deliveries. Zosi’s C296 high-resolution camera packs a ton of features at an attractive price. Please join me for a closer look!

What is it?

Zosi’s C296 is a high-resolution, app-controlled, wi-fi-connected video camera with motorized positioning.

Hardware specs

  • Model: C296
  • Dimensions: 8” x 7” x 4”
  • Weight: 1.98 lbs
  • Resolution: 5MP (2880 x 1620 pixels)
  • Night Vision: Color and black-and-white with infrared LED illumination
  • Motion Sensor with automatic tracking and AI human detection
  • Controllable through the Zosi smartphone app
  • Wall mount
  • Motorized, remote control swivel, 355° horizontally and 140° vertically
  • Two Way Audio & Remote Access, built-in microphone, and speakers
  • Person Vehicle Detection & Real-time Alerts
  • Record customized voice alarm
  • 4GHz Wif
  • On-board SD card storage (not included)
  • Optional cloud storage for an additional fee

What’s in the box?

  • Zosi C296 5MP Smart IP camera
  • Power adapter
  • Mounting screws and wall anchors
  • Mounting template
  • Ethernet waterproof cover
  • Warning sticker
  • Two Wi-Fi antennae
  • Quick-start guide

Design and features

And here’s the box…

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The Zosi C296 5MP Smart IP camera’s packaging is sturdy.

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Snuggled inside are the camera and accessories.

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I usually start reviews by reading the manual. I have to admit, this one is particularly sparse. The vague instructions have a QR code to add the Zosi app to a smartphone and some general descriptions and mounting instructions but not much else. Fortunately, the setup isn’t onerous.

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Zosi’s security sticker to warn potential perpetrators of their personal pilfering peril…

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The Zosi C296 5MP Smart IP camera is powered using the included AC wall wart. The adapter doesn’t appear to be waterproof so use appropriate measures if planning to use it outside.

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If the Ethernet port is not going to be used and the camera will be outdoors, the waterproof cover should be installed.

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Mounting screws and a template sticker are included. I wish every wall-mounted gadget came with these!

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Before installing the Zosi C296 5MP Smart IP camera, connecting it to Wifi while it’s in a convenient location is warranted. The first step is to install the Zosi app.

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Registering an account was simple. I received a follow-up email with a confirmation code in a few seconds.

Tapping on the “Add Device” starts the process. With the limited info in the manual, it took a few times to get it right. After each successful step, the C296 verbally announces the status. Here’s what worked for me:

Pick the camera model from the list…

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Scan the QR code on top of the camera and select “Add device via AP,” add the Wi-Fi credentials and a QR code is displayed to “show” the camera.

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The Zosi C296 5MP Smart IP camera is added to after a short delay.

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Camera configurations are plentiful.

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Access to the camera can be password protected if desired.

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Smartphone push alerts can be configured to arrive every minute, five, ten, or 30 minutes.

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The Zosi C296 5MP Smart IP camera can automatically follow moving objects, thanks to the very wide range of motion. The movement is a bit jerky but works well.

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Should it be necessary to prevent recording in a particular area, a “Privacy mask” blocks the selected area.

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Zosi has some slick AI algorithms up its sleeve at additional cost (after a three-month free trial). Motion, human figures, faces, “alien” (strange or out of place) sounds, and vehicle detection can be tweaked individually.

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Night vision can be set for color (turns on bright LED lights adjacent to the camera’s lens), black and white (uses infrared LEDs), or automatic (toggles between the two modes depending on motion).

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Here are the white LEDs in their glory…

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And the infrared (they are more visible through the camera lens than with the naked eye)

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The C296 timezone can be designated to any time zone or match the smartphone.

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If it’s necessary to mount the camera in a different orientation, the rotation mode is adjustable.

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The Zosi C296 5MP Smart IP camera is mounted on a rotating swivel. camera aiming can be automatic or moved through the app. When the camera is moving, there are some low-volume whirring sounds.

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The recording includes continuous (full-time) or motion-triggered modes. I don’t need cloud storage so I’ll be conserving SD card space using the latter.

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The SD card can be reformatted in the app.

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SD card storage is located under a rubber cover. Right next to it is the reset button that can restore the camera to the defaults.

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Voice prompts can be customized with prerecorded or personal announcements through the camera’s speaker. That’s a feature I have not seen before! As an enhancement, the triggering of the declarations can be fine-tuned when motion is detected through an image reference line.

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An exceptional feature is the transference of ownership through email. Brilliant!

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With all of these juicy qualities, you may ask, “How’s the quality?”  It’s great!

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Single tapping the image opens controls for pausing the video, muting, toggling resolution, and switching to landscape mode.

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Under the image from left to right are icons for the microphone, still photo, video “snapshot,” sounding the alarm from the camera speaker, and movement controls. A double tap on the image zooms the image 2x.

In landscape mode, there are duplicate controls, plus a pad for camera movement.

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Recordings are separated by a toggle between cloud and local storage. Cloud storage is at an additional cost.

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A convenient calendar makes archiving easy.

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After selecting the day, the hour and minute are selectable.

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Scrolling through videos is effortless.

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What I like

  • Email device transfer is a fabulous idea!
  • Customized, adjustable announcements
  • Great resolution
  • Tons-o-features! I love the camera positioning!
  • Reasonably priced

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What I would change

  • The manual could use some enhancement

Final thoughts

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In 1949, the words “Big Brother is watching you” was an ominous message, but in 2023 it’s not such a bad thing. I enjoy being my own “Big Brother!” Heck, I even use my cameras for keeping an eye on the weather and my 3D printer when I’m away from home! Zosi’s C296 camera is reasonably priced, has splendid features, and has great resolution. Thank you, Zosi!

Price: $69.99
Where to buy: Amazon
Source: The sample for this review was supplied by Zosi.

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