Good value CCTV system for your smartphone, but remote viewing of recordings costs £9.99/month
Have you ever left to catch a plane, but returned home almost immediately to re-lock the door/check the oven is off/stroke the cat? BT says most of us are regular fretters about home security while we’re travelling. Its research says that almost half of us worry about burglars, a quarter agonise over whether or not they locked the door, 29 percent are concerned about their lonely pet, and 17 per cent think they may have left the oven on. Whether that’s you is not for us to say, but BT’s answer is the BT Smart Home Cam 100 cloud camera.
Featuring an HD quality video camera, the BT Smart Home Cam 100 cloud camera constantly monitors what’s going on within its wide field of view, using a reasonably high maximum 1280×720 resolution video and a night-vision mode, and can send you alerts each time it picks-up sound or motion in its view. The image quality is excellent, though there’s a slight curved-at-the-corners fish-eye look to it.
No iPad app
The free BT Home Cam app for iOS and Android is available only for smartphones (there’s no iPad version), which is a shame. The app can either watch live video, capture images or record video. Pay £9.99 per month for the Premium service and it will also automatically store clips when motion is detected. Perfect viewing for the beach!
Of almost identical design to the more expensive Belkin NetCam HD+, the BT Smart Home Cam 100 cloud camera measures 184x184x102mm and weighs 147g. It’s powered by an L-shaped cable that stretches 240cm, so it’s simple to set-up well away from a power point. A ball-and-socket joint attaches it to a small desktop stand that doubles as a wall-mount.
Set-up is a cinch, with the BT Smart Home Cam 100 producing its own Wi-Fi Direct network – called HomeCam – that needs to be attached to using a smartphone. Once it;s connected to your phone, it then needs your home’s Wi-Fi password to get onto the internet at large. It’s fairly simple step-by-step process via the app, though there is a page of login details that is unresponsive, slow and extremely fussy about what characters and spaces used for login names and email addresses.
The app is a based on the same app inside the Belkin NetCam HD+, so see our review of that for the detail. The only difference on the BT Smart Home Cam is that there is a fourth choice for resolution – the tiny 160×90 pixels in addition to 320×180, 640×360 and the HD-quality 1280×720. Why anyone would choose less-than-HD is beyond us. Annoyingly, the app defaults to a frame rate of just 15fps, which is virtually unwatchable. The maximum is 25fps.
Having signed-up for the 14-day free trial, the BT Smart Home Cam worked well, sensing a cat coming through the cat-flap and uploading a 30-second video that was viewable on the app. The video actually started the very second the cat appeared the other side of the cat-flap; we’d set the Motion Trigger Size to Medium (Child), which suggests that the X Small (Mouse and Small (Dog) modes are even more sensitive.
Settings aren’t saved
One of our bug-bears about the BT Smart Home Cam – which is near identical to the XXX is every way, from hardware design to the excellent XXXX app – is that the configurable settings don’t appear to be saved. For example, by default video is recorded in 640×360 quality at 15 frames per second in a 4/5 quality rating, and changes to those setting – though easy to make – aren’t saved.
The provision of a 14-day free trial to remotely store videos from your BT Smart Home Cam is short, and the jump to £9.99 per month after that is pricey indeed. However, since it’s near identical to the Belkin NetCam HD+, but cheaper, the BT Smart Home Cam remains a good value cloud camera that’s easy to set-up and use.