Homeowners are installing DIY wireless home security systems at a record pace. The latest systems offer app-based Wi-Fi door- and motion-sensor monitoring that alerts you when someone opens a door or trips a motion detector. The missing link, however, is the ability to actually see what’s going on in your home. That’s where a wireless Wi-Fi video camera comes into play. A remotely controlled IP video camera like the VTech VC931 rounds out your home security system to provide instant video access to your home. The VC931 comes with professional-grade features for a reasonable DIY price ($120). You can install up to four VC931 cameras and view them all on a single smartphone app.
I’ve installed a lot of wireless Wi-Fi security devices, from video cameras and Wi-Fi garage door openers to full-blown security systems. Most were incredibly difficult to set up. In many cases, I’ve had to call the manufacturer’s technical support center for help in linking the device to the app. VTech must have heard about those kinds of DIY frustrations because its VC931 Wi-Fi camera almost installs itself. Once you download the iOS or Android app, the screen walks you through the setup steps, and the camera even talks to you, telling you when it’s connected to your smartphone. The entire installation took less than 10 minutes, from unpacking to fully installed. No calls to tech support! I set it up at my son’s house and watched my granddaughter and her friend work on a craft project.
Pro-grade features for a DIY price
The motion-sensing ability immediately sets this camera apart from other home video cameras. Once you set up the motion alert feature, the camera sends you an alert anytime the camera detects motion. The camera accepts a microSD memory card for recording in the camera or you can record live to your smartphone or to the optional cloud-based service.
The 720p resolution and auto exposure control provide clear video with true colors. You can pan, tilt and zoom right from your smartphone screen. Plus, you can listen in or conduct a two-way conversation. I used the two-way conversation feature to talk to my granddaughter while she was playing with her friend.
Nighttime viewing built in
I didn’t have a chance to use the infrared night vision feature, but the VC931 comes with infrared LEDs to record in the dark, so you can see your video day and night.
Multiple ways to store images and video
VTech gives you three options for capturing and storing images and video.
- Store your stills and video on your smartphone.
- Place a microSD memory card in the camera and record to the card.
- Use the cloud-based service (for a small monthly charge).
Other standard features
- On-demand recording—Lets you record special stills and video with just the push of a button.
- Multiple camera app—Install and control up to four VC931 cameras from a single app for total home surveillance.
- Sleep-mode setting—Allows you to stop the recording, motion-detection and alert features when you’re home and active.
- Extensive camera controls—Pan side-to-side up to 270 degrees, tilt up-and-down up to 113.5 degrees, and zoom in or out up to 10x.
- Extended Wi-Fi range so you can place the camera where you need it.
- Full-time power with a long cord. No batteries to wear out.
- One of the best remotely controlled IP cameras for your home.
I’m totally impressed with this camera. It installs easily. It’s easy to use. It comes with professional-grade features and is reasonably priced. The smartphone app is easy to use. It’s the best Wi-Fi IP camera I’ve seen so far, and I’ve used plenty. To buy the VC931, or for more information, visit vtechphones.com/products/wireless-monitoring/ip-camera.
— Rick Muscoplat, Contributing Editor