Imou Ranger IQ review: a cheap smart security camera packed with features

The Imou Ranger IQ has just about every smart security feature you could want, but is it maybe overstuffed?

Imou Ranger IQ smart camera review
(Image credit: Imou)
T3 Verdict

The Imou Ranger IQ works really well, and is great value, but it's just a bit too confusing to get an unguarded recommendation.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Excellent features for the money

  • +

    Works really well

  • +

    Video quality is good

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not always clear where to find things in the app

  • -

    Some small language issues

  • -

    Feature list might be overkill

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The Imou Ranger IQ has a lot of smart camera tech crammed into its little sphere, especially for the sub-£100/$110 price.

The Ranger IQ is a smart security camera with motors so that the lens can pan and tilt, following a person around the room if it spots them (returning to its original position after). That’s paired with being able to identify humans when they're in frame, so it won’t track the cat, unless you want it to. 

It also has two-way communication, so that you can yell at the burglar/cat from anywhere. You can view footage from it live (and can control the camera’s pan and tilt manually) in the app, and you can call up what it sees on Alexa smart screens (such as the Echo Show 5) or Google Assistant smart screens (such as the Google Nest Hub Max

It will notify you and record video when it detects motion, and there are smart features connected to the motion detection, beyond just the panning of the camera. You can choose specific zones in the frame you want it to monitor (so that it can ignore a window that people walk past often, for example), and you can set the sensitivity, so that small movements won't trigger it. It doesn’t have face detection of individual people, though this is due to be added later, we’re told.

The packed feature list is rounded out by colour night vision, geofencing (so it can turn off motion notifications when you’re home), offline storage on microSD cards as well as paid cloud storage, a siren, a privacy mode (that turns the lens downward inside the sphere so the camera can’t see anything), and a noise sensor that you can adjust the sensitivity for, so you can ask it to notify you when it hears anything, or only things that are loud enough to be alarms, for example.

It’s a packed list, and everything worked well for us. The HD video quality is good, the app is quick to respond and load cloud video, the alerts arrive in timely fashion… functionally, it’s great.

But we struggled with the app. Again, it works fine – it’s snappy and reliable – but we found the way it lays out its options to be quite unintuitive – actually finding all of the features above to customise and activate them left us scratching our heads a bunch of times. There were also some instances of the English in the app being imperfect, which can confuse things further.

And while it’s excellent value in terms of features per pound, it weirdly might do too much. It's entering a market where smart cameras with many of these features are under £50 – or, in the case of the T3 Award-winning Neos SmartCam, under £30.

These cameras won't come with the rotating lens, but still have wide fields of view. They may not have human detection, but they'll have good-enough motion detection overall. They won't have colour night vision, but they'll still have regular night vision, and that's enough a lot of the time. 

The Ranger IQ feels like it's landed in an awkward middle-ground where it will fit a certain niche. More expensive cameras offer the same (or more) features but with a better app experience. Cheaper cameras let you buy multiples for the same price, still with most of the features the average person needs.

Do you want all of the features the Imou Ranger IQ offers? If so, and you're the kind of person who doesn't mind figuring a slightly confusing app, we definitely recommend it – you could add a star onto the score, in that instance, really. 

But there are easier, simpler options we'd recommend for most people. Specifically, you should look at the Neos SmartCam, or the TP-Link Kasa Spot KC100.

Matthew Bolton

Matt is T3's former AV and Smart Home Editor (UK), master of all things audiovisual, overseeing our TV, speakers and headphones coverage. He also covered smart home products and large appliances, as well as our toys and games articles. He's can explain both what Dolby Vision IQ is and why the Lego you're building doesn't fit together the way the instructions say, so is truly invaluable. Matt has worked for tech publications for over 10 years, in print and online, including running T3's print magazine and launching its most recent redesign. He's also contributed to a huge number of tech and gaming titles over the years. Say hello if you see him roaming the halls at CES, IFA or Toy Fair. Matt now works for our sister title TechRadar.