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HomeMonitor HD review

Richard Easton
24 Apr 2015
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
150
inc VAT

The HomeMonitor HD is incredibly easy to set up, and its free cloud storage makes it fantastic value

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Specifications

Sensor: 1/4in CMOS, Viewing angle: Horizontal 80 degrees, Vertical 45 degrees, Diagonal 87 degrees, Video recording frame rates: 1,280x720 (15fps), Night vision mode: Infrared LEDs, Size (HxWxD): 85x85x30mm, Weight: 150g, Warranty: One year RTB

The Y-Cam HomeMonitor HD is a relatively expensive network camera, but the additional outlay is to a certain degree offset by its excellent free cloud storage package. Unlike with cameras such as the BT Smart Home Cam 100 or Philips In.Sight HD, there’s no need for an ongoing subscription in order to save your video to the cloud. As part of the free package, footage is kept for seven days, and you’re allowed unlimited downloads of recordings if you want to keep the footage permanently.

For those who want to store their video for longer, the Plus Package is £30 per year, and it provides 30 days of cloud storage. This cost is per camera, however, so you’ll be paying more if you have multiple cameras in your home. Even with multiple cameras, the HomeMonitor's cloud storage is great value, compared to the equivalent package from Philips, which is £30 per month for 30 days' storage, or BT (£7 a month for 14 days).

The HomeMonitor HD’s small, boxy design is inconspicuous. Around the lens are 30 infrared LEDs to assist with night vision. The front of the HomeMonitor also has a light sensor, microphone and status LED. The camera is small enough to be hidden away out of sight reasonably easily.

HomeMonitor HD angle

The setup process for the HomeMonitor was largely straightforward. You just need to connect the camera to your router with the included Ethernet cable. You then use a web browser to access the setup wizard, which takes you through the process of registering for a remote access account and configuring the camera with your Wi-Fi details. At this point you can also assign a unique name to the camera, which is useful if you plan on installing multiple cameras through your home.

The HomeMonitor comes with a mounting stand that can be screwed into a wall, and screws are included. The stand has a ball head that lets you adjust the angle of the camera. You’ll need to use a coin to tighten the screw on the back to lock the camera into place, but it holds firmly and we weren’t worried about the camera angle changing after installation.

In terms of apps, the HD is incredibly well supported. Alongside the usual iOS and Android apps, there's also support for Windows Phone, and even a Roku channel for monitoring.

You’ll need to get the camera in position before the initial setup process, as the wizard will also let you set up the camera’s motion-detection zones using a live video feed. The guidance is nicely detailed and runs you through any potential problematic detection areas, as well as helping you fine-tune the camera’s sensitivity to avoid erroneous detections. The motion detection zones function like trip wires, so motion is detected when someone crosses the borders of a specific zone.

You can set up to two detection zones in specific areas, such as doorways. When motion is detected the HomeMonitor system sends an email to your registered address. We would have liked the option to push notifications to a smartphone or tablet, too, as these tend to be more noticeable than an email notification. At the same time as it alerts you, the HomeMonitor HD will begin recording. Usefully, the camera also pre-records 10 seconds of footage at al times, meaning it will also capture the moments immediately before motion detection is triggered.

HomeMonitor HD scheduling

You’re also able to schedule the camera’s motion detection operation times - a feature we found frustratingly missing from a lot of other IP cameras. This means you can schedule it to only detect motion during set periods, such as when you know you’ll be out of the house. This avoids errant notifications or having to manually turn detection on and off, which can be inconvenient and brings the risk that you'll forget to turn it back on before you go out. Although there is a microphone, the HomeMonitor HD won’t trigger on sound detection; a useful feature on cameras such as the BT Home Cam 100. We found motion detection worked well, and adjusting the sensitivity enabled us to fine-tune when it would trigger recording to suit our needs.

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