If you’re like me and looking to get security cameras to help not only protect yourself but your property monitored for anything suspicious but also safe, it can be an absolute mine field to try and find the best one – especially if you’re renting and don’t have the luxury of being able to have a wired security cameras solution.
That’s where the IMILAB EC2 Wire-Free Outdoor Camera & Gateway bundle twin pack comes to fill in the void, being a somewhat wire free solution to help ensure you can monitor any suspicious activity or unwanted guests from just gaining access to your property without your knowledge. Heck you could even ensure your in-laws don’t just turn up without some prior warning 😛
So what does the IMILAB EC2 Wire-Free Outdoor Camera & Gateway bundle twin pack of security cameras offer to help you keep an eye on your own personal security either inside or outside your home? Let’s have a look shall we.
The cameras and design
Opening the package, it’s one big long wide box, which houses two separate boxes. The first one is for 1 camera and the housing/bridge unit whilst the second is just the additional camera.
Opening these boxes, the main box as stated comes with one wireless security camera, the housing/bridge unit and a 3-4 metre micro USB cord.
The second box comes with just a wireless security camera and again another single 3-4 metre micro USB cord.
Sadly there is no included charging base to plug into your wall or power board, so I utilised a spare Samsung charging base I had laying around.
There is also an included 2-3 metre ethernet cord to enable you to connect the housing control unit to your Wi-Fi modem and a wall hanging kit that includes the ability to screw into certain walls or bricks but if that can’t be done, some double sided tape that can hold on certain walls only, just not bricks.
Now in terms of the security cameras, you will need to charge the cameras up which again you can utilise the 2 included micro USB charging cords before you connect the housing/bridging unit.
I would suggest doing this overnight before hanging them up where you require or need them to be hung up on.
Both cameras seem to be made from a polymer plastic which is very smooth and include microUSB charging points under a waterproof housing guard, next to a power/pair button.
Behind each camera there is a screw in point, which then goes into an additional housing mount which can either be screwed or double sticky taped to walls etc.
Each camera also comes with speakers and what seems to be a microphone to enable you to listen in but also talk to anyone who might be approaching your door.
The front of each camera includes the main camera, alongside a motion detection sensor and single LED light.
There is also a microphone to enable you to listen into any conversations.
Each camera device also comes with a 5100mAh rechargeable battery which can run for about 120 days.
Granted I haven’t had the device for that amount of time, you can also check and get low battery notifications via the Xiaomi Mi Home app.
The housing/bridge device, which is much smaller than the two cameras both singular and combined, is also made of a polymer plastic and includes a microUSB port to enable you to use one of the charging cords to power it.
At the rear of the housing there is also a MicroSD card slot that you can also have all videos downloaded too. The MicroSD card slot can take a 16 to 128GB microSD card. There is also an ethernet port to enable you to connect your housing/bridge box to your Wi-Fi device which is required.
There is also a single small LED light which is on the front and tells you the status of the connection and cameras.
What is it good at?
The IMILAB EC2 Wire-Free Outdoor Camera & Gateway certainly does as described and keeps you informed and up to date on any potential visitors, guests or intruders.
The cameras are capable of recording in full HD (1080p) which I wasn’t quite expecting and again both day and night are very clear in the recording I have gotten that have been placed into the cloud.
Another thing is that when it comes to storage, yes whilst you can record to an MicroSD card, but you can save these videos for free into the cloud storage. Though I am not sure how long these recordings will be available in the app.
The night vision is also very good and quite clear. Given we live next door to a street light I was a little worried the cameras at night wouldn’t be as clear but I certainly was wrong on this part.
What’s it not so good at?
Notifications can be a bit of an issue. Now whether this is because of some setting I might have missed, but it would seem that any movement regardless of how far away it might be, triggers a notification and recording.
Given the cameras only record when they find any movement nearby that can be an issue, especially when the postman arrives to deliver mail or when our next door neighbours builders come to complete the building work they are doing.
Secondly, the microphone and ability to talk to anyone who comes into the yard and sets off the motion detection is very much a miss. Whilst yes I could hear them chatting, I couldn’t exactly talk back or be heard and whether this could be considered an issue is well up for discussion but it is worth noting.
I also found the instructions to connect the security systems housing/base device a little confusing as it originally only stated you needed to put the power cord in to get it connected via the Xiaomi Mi Home app.
Sadly what it forgot to mention was the need to also plug in the ethernet cable to my home Wi-Fi network as well and this took about 10 mins for me to realise that what needed to also be completed.
There’s an app for that
The IMILAB EC2 Wire-Free Outdoor Camera & Gateway Bundle security camera pack can be controlled via the Xiaomi Mi Home app and once connected which is pretty straight forward, you can control the notifications, check for security updates and patches, and review what movements or motions have been detected.
You can also watch live feeds for each camera, though only one at a time and separately, not combined which I think is a little bit of a disappointment but honestly, I wasn’t even expecting the possibility of being able to review live feeds.
You can also use the app to add more security cameras from Imilab/Xiaomi should the need arise to expand your home security system and I like this. You can also name each camera to state where they are. I.e Front garden, Back Garden, Lounge room, etc. You get the idea.
The bonus though is that there is no cost involved for having your videos saved in the cloud and whilst yes you can insert a 16GB to 128GB microSD card into the main housing/bridge unit but personally I think this kind of memory could be taken up quite quickly should you have multiple cameras around. Whilst the videos will save into the cloud via the app, you can for additional privacy and back up, overcome this and upload any saved videos to your own private server or to say Google Photos or Google Drive.
Should you consider buying it?
After having the cameras for a few weeks, I can certainly say I am impressed but also frustrated.
The main frustration stems from the multiple false app notifications I get for the cameras being triggered for just about anything, even if it’s human or not.
Not sure how this could be fixed. Maybe a few tweaks made to the actual cameras or the software – i honestly don’t know. To be fair some other brands of wireless cameras including Mirabella and D-Link have the same issue of high number of false notifications
Granted yes you can turn off notifications within the Xiaomi Home app, but then what’s the point of having a security camera if you cannot be notified of potential intruders or unwanted guests.
Editor’s Note: Ausdroid finds it hard to recommend these cameras unless a software patch fixes this problem.
With the high number of false positive “Boy who cried wolf” notifications generated you’ll likely ignore the notifications after a while or turn them off. To be fair some other brands of wireless cameras including Mirabella and D-Link also have the same issue of a high number of false notifications.
You can purchase the IMILAB EC2 Wire-Free Outdoor Camera & Gateway twin bundle pack via the Xiaomi Australian and PC Byte websites for $299.95. Should you need additional cameras as part of your set up, they are an additional $219.95 from the same websites also.