World’s First Over-The-Door Smart Camera
I can’t say enough about home security and how important it is to keep families safe. The other night we had a serious concern that we might have an unwelcome guest on our property. To help combat that, we kept a close eye on our surveillance cameras. It gave us a strong peace of mind to be able to see what was outside of our house at a moment’s notice. There are a lot of options out there for video surveillance. Some are very easy to integrate into your home’s infrastructure, but others are not. I was really happy to find that Remo+ (Remo Plus) now has an option that requires very minimal installation and can be easily added to any home — the DoorCam, the world’s first over-the-door smart camera.
This special security camera option is designed to hang over at door and not interfere with its natural operation. The device features a high definition video camera with a 160-degree wide-angle view, which is the same wide-angle vide that the Ring Video Doorbell has. The DoorCam also has 2-way audio that allows you to speak and listen to your visitors with full duplex audio using the app. There is a PIR sensor to capture any motion detected by the camera. You can customize your motion sensitivity inside the app. The camera is battery operated and requires three D-sized batteries (included). Remo Plus states that three D-batteries should last approximately one year. DoorCam also takes advantage of night vision, which allows you to be able to see well even in low-light situations.
One of the best features of the DoorCam, as is the case with all Remo Plus products is their Cloud Recording. Like many video recording systems, Remo Plus offers a Cloud recording plan. The ‘free’ option still allows for instant alerts, live view, 2-way talk, activity log, and all listed activities are time-stamped. The next level up from the ‘free’ plan is the ‘basic’ plan, which is actually included for a 30-day free trial period with every Remo Plus product. After those 30 days, you can choose to keep it for $3.99 per month or $39 per year. There are two other plans above that and you can read about them on the Cloud Recording page on the Remo Plus website.
With the Basic plan, which is probably enough for most people, you get:
- Instant Alerts
- Live View
- 2-way Talk
- Home Automation
- Activity Log
- Watch Recordings on Mobile Devices
- 3GB (~1,300 videos)
- Videos stored for 3 days
- No Cancellation Fee
Now, one of the reasons that I wanted to spell out the details of the cloud recording from Remo Plus is because many video surveillance options have different ways of handling it. Even if you don’t subscribe to one of the more premium plans, you can still have the security from notifications from the free option.
The DoorCam comes in a Remo Plus branded box. It has a nice featured photograph of the product on the front and some of the basic details on the box itself. The camera does not require any special assembly, which is really nice and it’s packaged with a 3-pack of D batteries, a quick start guide, and some tools including a hex wrench to tighten the camera to your chosen door. Other than that, there isn’t much else to note with the packaging.
One of the things I really appreciate about Remo Plus is their ease of use. I wasn’t really familiar with the company until a couple of years ago. One of our writers, Brian, had the opportunity to try out their Remo Bell (doorbell camera). He had pretty good success with it, which made me excited about the DoorCam. As I mentioned, there isn’t any assembly required aside from installing the batteries. I really appreciated that Remo Plus actually provided a set of them so that users could start using the product right out of the box.
Once the batteries are inserted, you go through sort of a standard set up for WiFi devices. Make sure you have the Remo Plus app installed on your phone. You will select “Add Device” and then choose the device you have (RemoBell, DoorCam, or Chime). From here, you will connect the camera to your WiFi network. This process requires you to connect to the camera as your WiFi Network. Then, the camera connects to your actual network.
And that’s it. Once you’re connected, you can then access your camera through the Remo Plus app. You can view the battery level of the camera, select the video quality, manage push notifications and the motion sensitivity. While the devices itself seems to be a pretty solid piece of equipment, the app could use a little improvement. When you first open the app, the app will automatically log you into your account. Then, the next screen you see is Recent Activity. There is an option to delete these videos or open the menu, which gives you the option to view devices, viewers, cloud, account, about, or support features. When you select devices, you will see your list of Remo Plus products, in my case, the DoorCam. But, when I select the DoorCam, all I can access are the device’s settings. You are supposed to be able to view live video and I’ve not been able to find a way to do so.
Another issue I ended up having was with installation of the DoorCam. Even though you should be able to slide the apparatus over any door (that opens inward), I had problems with it working with my door frames. I’m not sure if it’s because I have an older home (built in 1969) or because the DoorCam is just not designed to be universal. The process is easy enough — you just slide it over your door with the camera pointed outward and then close your door. I was able to do that, but when I went to close the door, it wouldn’t latch closed completely. I ended up having to tilt the backend (where the batteries are kept) a bit so that the camera would actually fit and the door would close.
Even though DoorCam is meant for use at the front door, I did try it with many of the doors in our house and had issues with all of them. That leads me to believe that the issues are caused by the design of our house and not the device itself. Also, I noticed that with our front door, we had a second problem and that was that our screen door, which is an older heavy metal/glass door, caused some issues with visibility. The night vision camera’s light would shine and make it very hard to actually see. I think this camera would work best on a front door that does not have an outside screen door. I think it would work very well in an apartment building.
I have included an example of video captured with the DoorCam below. In this video, we are walking into the house from outside. The door swings open and then closes once we are inside. You will notice that there is some artifacting in the video, but other than that, you can see what is going on quite well.
Despite the issues I found with the device, I think the concept is great. It makes it very easy for someone to include a video camera into their home security. Set up is very easy and intuitive and even though I do think there is room for improvement, the product itself seems to be quite robust. I believe that Remo Plus can remedy the app problems I had with a simple software update. This is a nice product with a bright future.
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