A well-built IP camera with all the features we'd expect, plus a clear and comprehensive manual, but it's too expensive for the average home user.
The Y-Cam Bullet Black is an intimidating piece of kit, with its matt-black steel casing and ring of LED lights around the camera lens. If part of your security plan is to scare potential thieves away, then the Bullet is a deterrent – as long as it’s not within reach, as clever thieves can simply unscrew the WiFi antenna.
The Bullet is connected to a small control box which has a network port, power input and a control port that can be used to hook the Bullet into an existing home security system. There’s less than a metre of cable between the Bullet itself and the control box, so you’ll have to drill a hole in your outside wall to fit the camera properly.
You’ll need to connect via the LAN port initially, and run a software utility on the supplied disc. This scans for supported cameras, and takes you to the camera’s web interface, which only works in Internet Explorer as it uses an ActiveX plugin. Hidden in a small menu at the top right of the page is a link to a Wizard, which will take you through some basics: naming your camera, selecting picture quality, checking the time, and selecting which wireless network to use.
You can view your camera’s feed over the internet from any location, although you may need to set up Dynamic DNS if you don’t have a static IP. There are three available feeds: primary, secondary and mobile. Each can be configured with separate bandwidth allowances, resolutions, frame and bit rates, and audio settings.
You can set video to record to the internal SD card or a NAS device on your network, or it can be sent to an FTP server or via email. You access the internal Micro SD card (not included) by unscrewing the front of the camera, but it’s not clearly marked and cards are limited to a maximum of 32GB. More practical is the NAS option, but to set it up you’ll need to change Windows’ backslashes into forward slashes when you specify the path.
Periodic Sending can be configured to take a snapshot at any interval between 200ms and 24 hours, and you can also set up schedules. For example, you could set up a schedule from 9am to 5pm, and have the camera take a picture every hour during this window. If you want to save images to the local storage you’ll need to use the separate Snapshot at Interval setting, and these images can also be backed up to an FTP server periodically. Setting up DDNS, configuring FTP servers and trying to access video streams aren’t trivial tasks, but the manual on the CD is clear and comprehensive.
Y-Cam’s Bullet Black has excellent build quality and is designed for outdoor use. It’s expensive, though. Solwise’s outdoor SEC-C1002-IR is less than half the price, even with the optional mounting bracket and wireless access. The Bullet may have some extra features, but we still don’t find it good value.
|Maximum image resolution||640×480|
|Ethernet connection speed||10/100Mbit/s|
|Wireless networking support||Yes|
|upload images to FTP server||yes|
|Video recording format||MPEG4|
|Movie frame rate at max quality||30fps|
|Power consumption on||4W|
|Warranty||one year collect and return|