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Foscam FI9826P review

Richard Easton
2 May 2015
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
114
inc VAT

The Foscam FI9826P has useful pan-tilt-zoom controls, but its controls are complicated

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Specifications

Sensor: Size not disclosed CMOS, Viewing angle: Horizontal 300 degrees, Vertical 120 degrees, Diagonal 70 degrees, Video recording frame rates: 1,280x960 (30fps), Night vision mode: Infrared LEDs, Size (HxWxD): 120x135x105mm, Weight: 360g, Warranty: One year RTB

The Foscam FI9826P records video at a resolution of 1280x960, which is higher than that of many of its rivals. It's a highly manoeuvrable camera. Not only does it have pan and tilt capabilities, but it also includes 3x optical zoom to let you get a closer look. 

The FI9826P is available in either black or white. Our review model was the former, and we found its design functional if unexciting. The camera looks similar to other pan and tilt models. It has a large flat base that the main spherical camera housing sits on top, allowing it to rotate horizontally 300o and tilt vertically by 120o, giving you a wide field of view. The camera lens is surrounded by 11 infrared LEDs that allow the camera to see in the dark at up to 8m distance. The camera's articulated stand allows you to tilt and pivot the camera and to mount it at different angles on a wall or upside down from a ceiling. This allows for very flexible mounting, especially when paired with the camera's pan-tilt-zoom functions.

Foscam FI9826P camera

Although the FI9826P is described by Foscam as a ‘plug-and-play’ camera, this really only applies to connecting the camera to your iOS or Android smartphone or tablet, as you’ll still need to use a computer to perform some of the configuration, such as setting up an email address for alerts. You can handle most of the basic tasks with the app alone, however.

The camera’s quick connect instructions run you through the process of connecting the camera to your router, and by far the easiest method is simply to use push-button WPS pairing. Otherwise, you can connect over Ethernet, but this will involve running cables around your home.

Foscam FI9826P app

Once your camera is connected to your network, you can then use the Foscam Viewer mobile app to get a live view. This simply requires you to scan a QR code on the base of the camera, which in turn pairs it to the app. The app itself is unattractive and can be a little daunting at first. The app's live video tab lets you toggle between a full-screen view as well as a command centre-style overview showing up to four cameras at once, which is useful if you have multiple cameras installed.

In the Video tab you also have full control over the camera’s pan-tilt-zoom movement. We found that our control inputs were followed by the camera almost instantly, but the live video feed lagged considerably behind the real world, at times taking close to eight seconds to update. We found that video viewed remotely wasn’t completely smooth, independent of the camera’s frame rate, as the live feed would work in bursts. This meant that video would work for a few seconds at a time before intermittently freezing and then updating again, making for a jarring experience.

It’s possible to incrementally adjust the camera angle, and we were pleased to see that the camera supports preset angles, so you can quickly switch between them with a single button press rather than having to adjust the pan and tilt manually. The Foscam app also lets you configure the motion detection, but we were disappointed in how it worked. As with many other IP cameras, you set the detection zone using a grid interface to select the area you want to monitor for movement. With most cameras, the grid is laid over a live image, making it easy to select specific areas such as a doorway. This isn’t the case with the Foscam, so you're left to blindly try to guess the location of real life objects, leading to a lot of unnecessary trial and error.

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