D-Link Singapore has just launched the latest wireless camera kit that does not require power cables. The camera units are operated by rechargeable battery, which means you can place them anywhere without worries of power source.
Zero-wire home surveillance video cameras have been in the market for many years. I have reviewed a couple of them a while back – like Blink and Freecam, but mainstream brands did not seem to pick up the trend. Finally, D-Link has developed battery-operated IP cameras to expand their Smart Home ecosystem.
DCS-2802KT comes with a hub (DCS-H100) and two camera units (DCS-2800LH), whose pebble design resembles the Arlo Pro, a very popular brand for battery-operated home surveillance system (Arlo was a subsidiary of Netgear but recently became a separate business entity). The battery (6700 mAh) in the camera units is not removable, and there is a recessed micro USB port protected by a rubber cap to charge the camera, ensuring the unit is IP65 water resistant. The camera can be mounted via a magnetic dock, or via the standard tripod mount, allowing great flexibility with after-market accessories.
The hub is relatively huge, but lightweight. The Ethernet cable must be connected from the router to the hub to get the camera system online. The USB port is for connecting to a storage device, like hard disk. An alternative storage medium is the microSD card located at the side. A button on top of the hub will turn off the siren if it’s activated.
Setting up for the first time is very easy. Just connect the hub to the power and LAN cable, install the mydlink app, and follow in-app instructions. The 2 cameras are already paired to the hub from the factory, and the Hub supports up to 4 cameras for simultaneous monitoring.
The camera kit comes with free 1-year cloud subscription, which you can activate as part of the setup process. I recommend enabling it because it is faster when accessing the recorded clips. The footage is stored up to 14 days.
As part of the camera setup process, one automation rule would have already been pre-created. This automation will trigger video recording when movement is detected. The app will also push notification.
For users unfamiliar with mydlink app, you will take some time to get the hang of it. It is not the easiest app to use to manage the Smart Home devices. The menu selection is done in the form of carousel, and the functions are scattered in different menu items. But here is the gist of it: Device menu is where you can manage the configurations of the hardware, Automation menu is where you configure rules to trigger action based on events supported by hardware, Schedule menu is where you determine the periods where the automation rules are effective, and only one schedule can be turned on at a time. Finally, One-Tap menu is where you quickly enable or disable defined automation rules or actions, overruling the existing schedules.
For this review, I have left the video recording rule active for 24/7, just to test the battery life and the performance of searching large database of video footage. I was pleased the the app is able to scroll through the list of recorded footage stored on the cloud. Playback is also quite fast and more reliable than retrieving video via local storage.
Under the camera device setting, you can adjust the motion sensitivity, enable night vision, rotate the orientation with ceiling mode. The “Enable Camera LED” does not make the camera go completely dark, as the green LED light will still turn on when it starts recording. I guess this is a privacy feature, but you could easily circumvent it by sticking a tape over the LED. I find it distracting to see the light turn on and off.
Privacy Mode is an option to prevent the camera from recording or displaying any live view. By enabling it, other users with access to the surveillance account will not be able to see anything. This mode can also be changed via automation rules, schedules, or One-Tap.
As this is a review unit, I did not do any actual drilling or mounting, or else I would mount one outside my door (currently I am using Aztech Blink, which is lighter hence I could mount it with just a 3M tape). The 2 cameras were placed in my living room and study room. The horizontal angle of view is 115 degrees, wide enough to see the whole room when placed at the corner
The live camera view has few options: speaker to hear what’s going on, and microphone to broadcast the conversation. The resolution is fixed. The icons in the video indicate the Wi-Fi signal, battery life, and recording format (Cloud, MicroSD, or HDD). The mic broadcast quality is good enough for the person to hear clearly. During live view, I can zoom in digitally via pinch and drag.
I like that the camera switches from normal view to IR night view silently, achieving maximum range of 7.5 metres. In many other camera models, this mode-switching will generate an audible snapping sound, which can get irritating if the camera detect light condition changes, even though at times it’s still visible.
The hub supports alarm feature, which is high pitched and beeps every 2 seconds instead of persistent blaring. The alarm can be triggered either by motion or manual, and can be disabled from the hub or from the app.
The camera system supports Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and IFTTT, so there are many possibilities on integrating with your other smart home devices. You can also stream live video to the respective platforms, like Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV.
After about a week of usage, the battery level is about 92% (motion detected on weekday evenings and weekend whole days), so it seems the cameras can last about 2 months of heavy usage. You should get more mileage if there are few activities detected by the cameras.
Among all the D-Link IP cameras I have reviewed, the DCS-2802KT is probably the most stable in performance and video capture, and I certainly won’t expect anything less, especially with a steep price. This camera system is ideal for homeowners who need to monitor activities outside the house exposed to weather elements and lack of access to power plugs. The cloud storage capability prevents intruders from destroying on-site recording evidence. Instead of investing in a full-fledged security system which may require electrical works, the D-Link DCS-2802KT can be set up easily with just a simple electrical drill to mount the camera.
If you just need individual battery-operated camera for the home, there are other less costly options, like Blink and Freecam C330A. Blink runs on replaceable 2x AA Lithium batteries and lasts about 10 months, while Freecam has a built-in rechargeable battery of about 1-week battery life. Both are not weather-resistant.
The D-Link DCS-2802KT retails at S$649, available at all good electronic outlets like Challenger, and online sites like Hachi.Tech and Lazada.
- Easy to deploy without worry of power sockets and wiring
- Supports standard tripod mount
- Supports multiple recording platforms
- Switching Passive InfraRed mode does not generate sound
- Loud alarm to deter intruders
- Free Cloud Storage for 1 year
- Smartphone app has steep learning curve
- Expensive compared to other battery-operated surveillance cameras
- Battery is not removable, so there will be down time during charging
- Video compression: H.264, MJPEG
- IR LED illumination range: 7.5m
- Focal length: 1.9mm
- Aperture: f/2.2
- Angle of view: (H) 115° (V) 64° (D) 135°
- Wireless: 802.11 g/n
- Weight: 240g (camera), 195g (Hub)
- Water Rating: IP65