Devolo dLAN LiveCam review
The Devolo dLAN LiveCam is a HomePlug-enabled IP camera that lets you view the world through its lens exclusively through an iOS or Android app. In the box you’ll find the LiveCam and a regular HomePlug. Sadly, the HomePlug doesn’t have a pass-through socket, so it’ll tie up one of your plug sockets.
Unlike many other IP cameras, you can’t use the LiveCam as part of a closed network. It must be connected to the internet in order for you to use it, but setting it up is pretty straightforward. Once plugged in, the LiveCam pairs with the HomePlug and you can secure the powerline network using the security button on each device. From there, you must download the dLAN Cockpit app to your smartphone or tablet from Apple’s App Store or Google Play and enter the LiveCam’s unique code and password, both of which are located on the underside of the LiveCam. Be warned - if your eyesight is anything less than perfect, the process of reading the codes and typing them into a smartphone can be challenging.
The dLAN Cockpit app for iPad
The LiveCam’s sensor sits on a mount that can be swivelled 270 degrees and you can move it vertically by 90 degrees. It’s also wall-mountable, so there’s a good degree of flexibility in where you can place it. Unlike some of the better IP cameras we’ve reviewed, the LiveCam you can’t move the lens remotely, you must do it by hand.
Graphically, we’re impressed by the dLAN Cockpit app. The interface is clear and the icons are fairly large, which is good, but the iOS app is incredibly slow. Animations are very jerky and the app can freeze for up to a minute while entering information or setting options. We tested the dLAN Cockpit app using a third-generation iPad and an iPhone 4S, and the performance was the same on both.
Options are few, but you can adjust resolution, switch infrared on and off, change the image’s orientation and choose a new password. Altering the options proved tiring because of the app’s slow response to your commands. The dialogs were graphically incongruous with the rest of the interface and the text in them appeared minute, even on an iPad.
Happily, the LiveCam’s video feed could be viewed full screen and the image quality’s good for an IP camera. The Live-Cam’s resolution ranges from 160x120 to 640x480, and you can select one of three quality settings, from ‘Low’ to ‘High’. Focus must be adjusted manually using a lens ring, but we were never entirely satisfied with the focus, which was always too soft for our liking.
It’s worth noting that the LiveCam doesn’t have a microphone, so you can’t monitor audio in the vicinity of the LiveCam, although we hope this will be a feature of future LiveCams.
The Devolo dLAN LiveCam is an interesting product, but it lacks desirable features such as motion detection and audio. The poor response of the dLAN Cockpit app is infuriating, but this is something that can be improved, and soon we hope. A HomePlug IP camera is a neat idea, but the wireless Edimax IC-7110W is a better option if you need features such as recording, audio and email alerts.