D-Link has launched DCS-6501LH, another affordable Wi-Fi camera that can pan and tilt in 360-degrees. What’s amazing is that it costs only S$49, more than half the retail price of earlier D-Link pan-and-tilt IP cameras. Prices of IP cameras have fallen to quite insane levels, and that can only benefit consumers.
The DCS-6501LH has all the specs that a homeowner would need:
- 1080p FHD resolution at 15fps
- Pan-and-tilt up to 360-degrees
- 100-degree field of view
- Auto-pan motion tracking
- 5m infrared night vision
- Built-in microphone and speaker for 2-way communication
- Supports cloud recording and microSD card
- Sound and motion detection
- WP3 security
- Works with Google Assistant and Alexa
- Privacy mode – camera lens hides inside for peace of mind
Compared to the DCS-6101LH, the DCS-6501LH seems like a better value, especially when it’s only S$10 more. The additional features are the ability to pan-tilt, 2-way communication, and local microSD storage. If you turn on privacy mode, the camera actually turns and hides, giving homeowners a peace of mind. The microSD slot is hidden below the lens. To access, lightly push up the dome to expose the slot. No harm is done to the motor as long as you do it with the power turned off. On the other hand, the DCS-6101LH is much more compact and fuss-free to operate.
The DCS-6501LH swings left and right through the base plate where the micro USB cable is attached for power. The motor is very quiet compared to the noise level of the home appliances like fan. It’s not possible to hear the motor operate unless you are in a very quiet room. The video records in 1080p resolution, and the image quality for both day and night are clear enough to see the activities around the house.
The IP camera is only as good as the app the operates it, so I will share more about it. The mydlink app usability is very much improved in recent months, which is good news for D-Link owners. While the functions are similar, the UI design is cleaner and less buggy compared to what I have experienced in the past. Through the mydlink app, you can configure automation rules to determine under what event would you want an action to be triggered. For instance, when motion or sound is detected, trigger rich notification on the smartphone and do video recording. You can also set schedule on when the automation should be triggered, e.g. only during 8am to 6pm. Finally, you can add automation to scenes so that you can quickly enable or disable several rules, e.g. turn on privacy for all cameras when select “Home” scene.
Besides configuring automation rules, D-Link owners can directly access the individual camera or smart home device and operate them remotely. On the DCS-6501LH, you can view live feed, adjust the camera angle, turn on microphone to listen in, and also conduct 2-way communication.
The DCS-6501LH also supports auto-tracking, where the camera will pan towards the area where there is motion. The camera will return to a default position when no movement is detected. When enabled under “Motion Settings”, there are no other fine-tune options available. When this feature is disabled, you can define action area and sensitivity to trigger the motion recording.
I would wish there are more settings available to configure the Auto Tracking feature. Currently, it lacks the intelligence to detect the object that is moving and often result in false positives, for instance, shadow or light changes. Also, if there are many movements in the same frame, the camera may get confused and pan towards one of the objects and moving out of frame from the primary area. The lack of additional config option makes the auto-tracking feature a hit-and-miss depending on the location, but nonetheless a nice-to-have feature to try out.
Reviewing the past-recorded footage can also be laborious, as I need to scroll down to find the right time of the day. There is no option to jump to a specific hour. Hopefully, future software updates can improve this.
The D-Link latest Wi-Fi cameras are affordable and full-featured. The DCS-6501LH retails at S$49 with pan-and-tilt, offering greater versatility for remote surveillance. The camera moves into hidden position when Privacy Mode is enabled, offering greater peace of mind to homeowners. The option for microSD recording lets you store footage without cloud subscription, but I find the cloud storage is more secure and faster to access. Through the mydlink app, you can conveniently manage all your D-Link smart home products.
For full product information, visit the official product site.