People looking to protect their home or business are increasingly investing in security cameras as an alternative or supplement to an alarm system. A quick online search reveals an almost overwhelming number of different brands and options on the market. Based on its list of features and the sub-$100 (£110) price tag, the EZVIZ C8C seems like a slam-dunk option for home and small-business owners. But is it?
EZVIZ C8C Security Camera review: Design and features
The main selling point of the C8C is its pan-and-tilt, 1080p camera. Using the app, the wide-angle camera can pan 350-degrees horizontally and 95-degrees vertically. Recorded in either high- or standard-definition, footage can be saved to a microSD card or EZVIZ’s cloud-storage system via Wi-Fi or an ethernet cable plugged directly into your router.
The C8C is a bit larger than a softball and likely designed to be conspicuous; just the sight of it on or near your property could be a great deterrent for would-be thieves. Mounting the camera was a breeze requiring just a few screws.
The C8C’s build quality seems solid, but I have some reservations about the durability of the power cord, which doesn’t look as if it were designed for outdoor use. It has a IP65 rating, meaning it’s water resistant, but the company suggests not exposing the wires directly to the elements.
I was a bit disappointed that the Active Defense option merely flashes a light at a would-be intruder rather than a siren or other deterrent. Unlike some of its competitors, there’s no two-way microphone that would allow you to talk to the person on camera.
EZVIZ C8C Security Camera review: Set up and performance
There’s a quick-start guide in the package, along with a QR code for what we thought would be a more robust owner’s manual. However, the manual is just six pages long and left us with several unanswered questions during install and routine use. (A company spokesperson said they were working on an owner’s manual update.) Customer support is by e-mail only, with no phone or online chat options.
Connecting to the camera was as easy as downloading the Ezviz app, scanning the C8C’s QR code (either on the back of the device or in the quick-start guide), and connecting to your home Wi-Fi. After a few misstarts, I was up and running in less than 10 minutes.
I tested the C8C in both the front porch and back deck of my 1,600-sqaure-foot home, and it worked well in both places. For best results, the camera and router should be in fairly close proximity. If you want to place the camera farther away, let’s say on the other side of a much larger property, it may not work.
You’re going to want to play with the detection sensitivity. I was nearly overwhelmed by the amount of footage the camera captured at its most sensitive setting; wind blowing our rose bushes was enough to trigger recording. If I had the detection notification activated, my phone would never stop dinging. Luckily the app makes it fairly easy to adjust the motion sensitivity, by using your finger or clicking on the grid.
Using the pan-and-tilt via the app was easy, but I wonder if most users would need it after the initial set up, particularly since it doesn’t automatically track people who enter your security grid.
In the daylight, the video is top notch. The camera has caught me walking to the mailbox, doing yardwork, etc., and you can make out nearly each grey hair in my beard. Using the app, you can zoom in up to 8x, but the video quickly loses its crispness.
As it gets darker, the video isn’t as great, but you can’t realistically expect that either. At night, you have the option of using the camera’s infrared night vision or a spotlight. You can see farther using infrared, while the spotlight illuminates maybe 15 feet in front of the camera.
I tested the C8C during its seven-day free cloud-storage trial period. EZVIZ has multiple pay tiers for cloud storage, ranging from $4 a month for access to three days’ worth of recordings to 30 days’ worth of recordings for around $160 annually. If you don’t want to pay for cloud storage, you have the option of using a MicroSD card (up to 256gb). However, the camera can be triggered so easily, it’s entirely possible that the footage would be overwritten by the time you could access it.
EZVIZ C8C Security Camera review: Verdict
The EZVIZ C8C isn’t perfect and does require some fine-tuning during set up. After those initial headaches, the device offers excellent video quality that can be reviewed on an easy-to-use app. While the pan-and-tilt is a great feature, I wonder if it’s really needed by most users, particularly if it isn’t able to automatically track people entering the security zone.
EZVIZ C8C Security Camera review: Alternatives to Consider
I’ve used Arlo security cameras at my home for several years and the Arlo Pro 3 is currently our top pick. The wireless cameras are rechargeable and unobtrusive, plus there’s no fee for limited, basic cloud storage (at least for my older version).
When it comes to in-home security cameras, Amazon’s Ring series, such as the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery, are undoubtedly the industry leader. It has plenty of advantages – such as a two-way microphone and robust customer support – but a seemingly equal number of privacy concerns.