I have reviewed a lot of home security cameras, but they all have rather similar features that I find nothing extraordinary to shout about. When D-Link announced the DCS-8515LH, one feature got me interested: it can auto track moving objects and follow them all around the axis. It retails at S$149 in Singapore.
Unboxing and Design
The DCS-8515LH is a refreshed design for pan-and-tilt Wi-Fi camera compared to the older models (like DCS-8525LH). It has a more unibody look and the moving components are not exposed. At first glance, it appears that the panning happens at the black half of the camera, but actually, the panning occurs at the base of the camera. This means that the entire camera body rotates.
I like that the camera is powered by standard micro-USB power rated 1.2A 5V, so it is possible to plug the camera to any USB power source other than the AC wall socket.
The micro SD card is located within the lens module which is exposed by pushing the module upwards to reveal the slot below the lens. This means swapping the micro SD card is only possible when you turn off the camera, not during operations, or when you use the app to manually tilt the camera lens upwards.
With the ability to auto track subjects, the angle of view remains a wide 120-degrees, but still not as wide as DCS-2802KT which goes up to 135-degres. The resolution is also just 720P instead of 1080P. It also does not come with free cloud storage subscription, but if you already have a D-Link Cloud Storage plan, it can be used to record the new camera.
Smart Home app enabled
The D-Link DCS-8515LH is part of the D-Link Smart Home ecosystem. Upon setting up with mydlink app, you can configure automation triggers with other D-Link devices like sensors or smartplugs. After connecting with Google Nest Hub or Amazon Echo, you can also ask to show live video feed from the respective devices.
The auto tracking is the star feature, and it works really well, but only if the scene does not have multiple movements. When that happens, the camera will pan around to change focus on different moving objects. Also, it cannot track objects that move too fast. With this camera, it can follow the subject all around 360-degrees and not limited to 120-degrees, or even 180-degrees.
A limitation is that the auto tracking only works in the horizontal axis when the camera is in the upright orientation. In order to support omni-directional tracking on both axis, the camera must be set under “inverted image” mode. In other words, it only works if the camera is mounted on a ceiling.
Like most motorised cameras, the video footage will pick up the motor sounds when panning. The motor sound is not loud in a normal home unless the room is soundproofed. Also, the camera should be used in an environment without a lot of traffic, for instance, public area. For that, it’s better to get a fixed camera with wide-angle lenses, like DCS-8100LH.
Of course, if you want to use the DCS-8515LH the usual way, you can disable the auto-tracking and fix the direction, like other security cameras. The camera supports both motion detection and sound detection.
Having said that, on the whole the mydlink app UI remains confusing. I am getting the hang of it only because I use it regularly and knows where to navigate to. The whole carousel-like UI probably works better with a navigation pad, but not for touch interaction.
The new DCS-8515LH marks a new design approach to the D-Link pan-and-tilt home security cameras. It looks nicer than the older models and slightly cheaper due to the lower resolution. With the auto-tracking feature, the camera can capture movements across the entire 360-degree horizon and 105-degree vertical.
Retailing at S$149, it remains affordable and I would recommend if you need to monitor a large area that covers more than 180 degrees.
- Auto tracking feature
- Supports Smart Assistant integration (Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, IFTTT)
- Motor is quieter compared to the previous pan-and-tilt models
- 720p video resolution
- mydlink app UI is not easy to use
- Vertical tracking only works in “inverted image” mode