Amcrest Pro HD 1080Pstars43 Rating 4.3
Reviewed by Paul
The Amcrest ProHD 1080P is a bestselling wireless HD IP camera that has a lot of things going for it but it isn’t without a few problems that you need to be aware of before you buy.

This is a camera that gives you a number of choices as to how you get a clear view of what is going on at home when you’re not there. You also can store video a number of different ways, all making it one of the most versatile cameras available.

In this review we look at those good points but also talk about how it can be difficult to personalize the functionality to suit your particular requirements.

Some of this I think is down to the all of the choice you have been given in personalizing the camera. This choice is for when you want more than just the basic requirements of being able to have a live view of your home and/or record what is happening there, whether that is checking in with your children, pets, people working in your home or when there has been a break in.
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Installation

To set up and install the camera quickly you need an internet connection, with 1.0 mbps download speed, 2.4 GHZ WiFi (802.11 b/g), WiFi password, a smartphone and to download the Amcrest View Lite App. It can all be done successfully in a few minutes.
The camera can be mounted on a wall or the ceiling using the mounting bracket. If mounted on the ceiling it is possible to invert the image so you view it right way up using the web interface of the camera in a supported web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari).

The quick start guide goes through the steps needed to set up camera using the App on WiFi, desktop access, adding camera to other smartphone devices, setting cloud access and web browser access. It is step by step but there are quite a few steps to complete all this and you do need to go through it steady to prevent mistakes but it can be done in less than 20 minutes.

Although much of the set up of the system can be done through the App there are actions like setting up a camera for motion detection you need to do through Desktop Access.

As default the live stream of camera is set up in standard resolution on the App and HD for the desktop – both of which can be changed.

There are videos that help with this on the company’s YouTube channel and articles to help on the company’s site.

In summary the basic initial set up can be done quickly and easily, it then gets more difficult when you want to add more phones to the camera, set up video storage. Once you get into changing settings the owners guide can be difficult to understand if you aren’t very technical but it is possible if you take your time and read the instructions very carefully, but it is understandable why some people get frustrated. It’s a bit like video recorders used to be but worth the time to understand.

Contract

Amcrest Pro HD 1080P priceThere is no contract or fees to use the camera on an ongoing basis. This includes the basic App (Lite) and up to 4 hours video storage online for one camera on the company’s cloud servers.

If you want to store anything more than that or for additional cameras you are required to pay a monthly fee. There is no contract to be signed as it is on a month by month basis and can be cancelled at any time. The fees work as follows:

4 hour plan, free, up to 2 hours live streaming. Total up to 4 hours stored.

7 day plan: $6 per camera, with unlimited live streaming. Any recorded video up to 7 days is saved.

14 day plan: $10 per camera, with unlimited live streaming Any recorded video up to 14 days is saved.

30 day plan: $15 per camera, with unlimited live streaming. Any recorded video up to 30 days is saved.

Support

There is a CD user manual and quick start guide included in the package. In addition there a videos and FAQs available on the company’s site and YouTube, plus a user forum which can help in resolving issues.

In addition you can email them or phone them on a toll free number between 8.00 am and 7.30 pm CST Monday to Friday.

These hours are not the best if you are working and in the time zone but are longer than others.

Most people find them responsive and very helpful when they are called. They work through any issues and get it sorted.

When I contacted them by email for this review they were slow but they did provide reasonable answers to my questions.

Camera

Amcrest ProHD 1080P cameraThe camera has a 90 degree view with a 4 mm lens. If installed in a corner of a room would give you a complete view of a room. In addition it is possible to pan the camera 360 degrees. Video can be at HD 1080P and 30 fps but you can adjust that downward to make it easier to view or for storage. It gives a good clear image when viewing live and recorded.
As well as video you can listen and record audio which is easy to hear, and you can speak to the room too using the App or Desktop/Web Browser to keep your pets in line or check in with your children and other family members or workers in your home.

At night the IR LED give you a maximum of 32.8 feet which gives you 46 ft wide view from a static view (you can still pan and tilt if you want

To give an understanding of the clarity of the image it is expected that your camera when in 1080p it can see car license plates clearly up to 25 ft and blurred up to 30 ft, and you can see faces clearly enough to recognize up to a maximum of 30 ft. Although this will depending on where the camera is situated and the environment they are monitoring. When viewing in 720p you can see license plates clearly up to 15 ft and blurred up to 20ft, and recognize faces up to 25 ft.

The camera can pan 360 degrees and tilt of 45 degrees. It does come with a digital zoom where you can zoom in on the image but the lens itself doesn’t move.

When panning remotely there can be a lag between panning on your phone and it actually happening making it difficult to get to where you want as you may try to move it before it has processed the first instruction to move. To help with this you can set up pre-set pans so that it moves a set amount by tapping rather than swiping making this much easier to do.

It only tilts down a slight amount making difficult to see lower down items close to the camera. If you are wanting to use as a baby cam (which it is effective at) you may find you need to prop it up to make it look far enough down to see into cot.

The noise of the motor when moving the camera is fairly quiet and shouldn’t disturb a baby in most cases but it is probably best not to move it unless you need to just to be on the safe side.

The camera is for indoors use as it isn’t weatherproof. It is specified for use between temperatures between 14 degrees and 113 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it can be used outside if you can keep out of direct weather such as under the eaves or on a porch where it can keep an eye on any parcels that have been left there or be used to see who comes to your door.

If you want to use it to keep an eye on the outdoors by having it look through a window, which it really isn’t designed to do, you may get a reflection off the glass during the day and definitely do so at night from IR LED. If you are wanting to use it at night these need to turned off (which is done through the system menu) and have an alternative way of lighting the area being monitored.

If you want a better solution where a wireless camera can be put outside in the elements to monitor an area then Arlo Smart Home Camera Security Camera System is worth checking out. It can be put anywhere as it is battery powered – which is an advantage in that you’re not restricted by having to plug it in to a power source but does mean you’ve got to change the batteries. It also means it is restricted to motion recording and limited live streaming. Also, to have this flexibility and outdoor rating it does cost 2 -3 times more than the Amcrest. You can read the full review here.

Video Storage

Amcrest Pro HD 1080P side viewThis camera gives you some of widest choice in where you store your video. Unlike many that just give you the option to save to their cloud server (and charge you a monthly fee) you can also store the video on the devices of your choosing from 32GB Micro SD card, Amcrest or ONVIF NVR, FTP, blue iris and the company’s cloud server ( 1 camera free and 4 hours stored is at no charge) .

When stored in the cloud the videos are stored on a timeline making it easy to jump through continuous recording or see where/when there is a motion video captured to watch. You can download this to your phone or desk top.

You can also playback in slow motion, backwards, and frame by frame

When recording to an SD card you can designate what happens when it is full between overwrite or stop (you can set the system to send you an email when it is getting close to full).

An SD card will give you up to 4 days of video before it is filled. You can set it to stop recording or to record over the oldest video.

Video stored on the SD card can be viewed remotely either through the Amcrests View App or through a web browser using the cameras web interface.

Alarms

The system doesn’t come with an audible alarm but can send alerts to your and others smartphones. It can work well hand in hand with wireless security systems, where you get an alert and then use the camera to see what is happening and/or record the alert.

There are a number of self-monitoring systems that can be used in conjunction (but not necessarily wired to it) with it. Three to consider are:

Pisector GS08-M – cellular and/or landline system that provides with motion sensors, entry sensors, audible alarms and send alerts to your phone.

Fortess Security Store GS-08M – A similar system to PiSector at about the same price but with slightly older technology but with better customer support

Scout Wireless Alarm System – an internet based system with easy set up and its’ own App. It does mean you need to swap between the Apps to use.

These three systems are DIY Wireless home security systems that you self-monitor so there are no contracts or ongoing fees. THey’l lwork to detect an incident from the moment a covered entrance is broken into, as well as detect movement. An alarm will dound and notfications sent to your phone.

You can wire the camera to your alarm system using the port on the back of the camera for it to work with it to detect a security event for it to record and notify you. You’ll need to check with your security system provider to determine if you can wire it to the camera.

Notification

As well as being notified as to when motion has been detected you can set it to send notifications are SD card getting full, someone trying to access the camera with the wrong password.

Email notification set up is completed via the desktop and the process to set up is dependent on the email provider needing their SMTP Server and port. There are instructions online but this isn’t most straightforward process but there are instructions on the company’s site that help you through the process. There is a maximum of 5 people that can receive email.

Push notifications can only be set up using the Amcrest View Pro App, it is not available with the Lite version.

There is not a limit on how many can receive a push notification of a motion event.

Remote Monitoring

It is possible to access the camera from anywhere in the world you can access the internet with your smartphone to monitor your home.

This gives you the chance to see and talk with your children or pets from work. You can also check up on anybody working in your home while you are absent or use it to monitor areas they aren’t authorized to access.

You can have as many people you want viewing the camera when they download the Amcrest View Lite App and know the password for setting up but only one can control the pan/tilt and zoom at one time.

You can also monitor as many cameras you want in different locations with the App, making it great for monitoring your home, a business and a vacation home all from one place. If you want cloud storage for more than one cameras you’ll need to pay a monthly fee per camera.

You can name the cameras to make it easier to chose the one you want to watch or which one that has sent you an alert.

Setting up much of the remote monitoring needs to be done via the desktop rather than with the App which more of an old style menu system which is basic and a little confusing. You’ll probably need the manual to be able to work through the menus and some patience.

The App itself is serviceable and good for viewing recorded video and live stream but using it for setting up anything more can be a frustrating experience as it isn’t the most user friendly. This is something you would expect to improve over time.

You can monitor with a iOS device, Android device, windows or Mac using most web browsers except for Chrome which does give you the flexibility to choose how you monitor when you are away from home.

Battery

The system is powered using the house supply. There is no battery backup for when there is a power outage. During this time you won’t be able to view your home.
It does re-boot itself when the power comes back on so there is no need to be there to re-set it.

Sensors/Detection

Amcrest Pro HD 1080P boxIt uses changes in pixels to detect movement in the cameras range of view to start motion recording. There is a delay between detecting the movement and when it starts to record resulting in you possibly missing capturing what caused the alert.
The length of time the camera records when on motion detection can be set from 5 seconds to 10 minutes. If during this time the camera detects further motion it will restart and continue recording for the time set. . You will only receive one email alert during this time for the initial movement detected. It keeps doing this until no motion is detected. It then resets itself ready to start recording again when motion is again detected

To help in preventing false alerts you can split the view into 4 zones and change the settings in each quadrant as to how much movement is required to set the camera to record. If part of the camera view includes a window you may want to turn the sensitivity threshold down so that things that everyday things that happen outside, such as a tree moving in the wind that don’t trigger an alert and the camera to start recording. The good thing with the zones is you can make them the size you want and name them to make it easier to recognize them.

This set up needs to be done using the desktop access, so that does need to be set up first before you can set up the motion detection.

When motion is detected you can set the camera to email you, to pan and tilt round the room to see everything happening in the room, take a snapshot.

In addition to motion you can set to be notified when the camera detects tampering (movement) or noise. You could set it for noise in your baby’s room to send you an email when noise is heard.

Setting The Camera

The camera can be set to be motion only, record continuously, record manually and this can be set to a schedule. The schedule can be set up to be different each day of the week to take in to account that your own /family/business schedule will be different on the weekend than during the week or day to day.

The App or through the Web interface can be used for turning the camera on or off.
However, things such as schedules and setting motion zones needs to be done using the desktop account.

Camera Ports

Amcrest Pro HD 1080P backThe front of the camera has the lens surrounded by 12 IR LED lights similar to many IP cameras with night vision. These LED lights aren’t bright so are unlikely disturb someone sleeping nor are the bright enough to be a night light for a sleeping child. However, they can be seen even if faint so can’t be used as a covert camera at night.

On the back of the camera it has the following ports/slots. On the left is power port for connecting it to the house supply. Next to this is the audio in/out for external microphone and speaker. Below it is the micro SD slot for the memory card to store video.

Further to the right in the center are the alarm input/output ports for wiring it to an alarm system. Then there is a reset button that is used to reset the system (restore default settings) or for WPS (wireless protected set up) rather than WiFi (not needed unless you know about this type of set up). Final slot is where the Ethernet cable is plugged if you want to connect to the router by cable rather than wirelessly.

Amcrest Pro HD 1080P Coverage

The distance you can have the camera from your router will depend on the strength of your WiFi but for most homes it seems to work fine. If you have problems with WiFi coverage in your home you’ll have issues with the camera. It is possible to increase the distance the camera by buying a repeater that boosts the WiFi Signal. (Having said that, a small minority of people find they can’t get the camera to work even with a strong WiFi signal for other devices.)

If you are wanting to install in a shed or barn or separate garage or locate away from the house the WiFi signal needs to reach that far otherwise it won’t work or it might work intermittently due to weather conditions affecting the signal.

Wireless or Wired

The camera can be used as a wireless or wired camera. In both cases it does need to plugged into your house supply for power.

When wired you need to plug it in to your router using an Ethernet cable. This can be a good option if you have problems with your WiFi.

When used as a wireless camera it works with your WiFi working on 2.4 GHZ frequency. It does not work on the 5.0 GHZ frequency that some routers use.

Dimensions

The cameras dimensions are 74 mm wide by 114.7 mm high. The base of the camera is 101.6 mm

Features

Amcrest ProHD 1080P contentsThe box contains the following components:

1 Amcrest Pro HD 1080p camera

1 Power Cable – 10 ft long

1 Ethernet Cable

1 Manual CD and Quick Start Guide

1 Mount and hardware

Accessories

There are no accessories specifically for the camera.

Pros

Good clear picture during the day but only acceptable at night

Basic Set up with smartphone App is easy and can be done in minutes

Camera pans through 360 degrees giving you the ability to see all the room

It can be used as a wireless or wired camera with your router on 2.4 GHZ

Ability to store on a range of different mediums – SD Card, Cloud, using FTP, NVR and NAS

There is a lot of flexibility system to set it up how you want to watch it, how it responds to motion, setting up various scheduling

You can view the camera from anywhere in the world you can access the internet

Camera can send you email or push notification when it detects motion

Unlimited people can be added to the camera to help with monitoring your home or business

It comes with 4 hours free cloud storage

You can view it with an iOS, Android, web browsers (except Chrome) or desktop

Camera is wireless so it is easy to locate it where you want it or take it with you when move house

Can listen and speak remotely to people or pets

Records audio as well as video

To compensate for delay when using the pan function you can program pre-set pan points so you don’t pan too far due to the wait between the command and the camera moving

Power cord 10 ft long giving you a good range to install where you want

Cons

The App and making changes to settings can be confusing as it is not user friendly

Not all functions of the camera like motion detection and scheduling can be done using the app as you need to use your desktop to do this.

The instructions for setting up camera once past the basic live stream are not written clearly and take some time to get through and understand

The camera comes with a lot of functionality but much of it may go unused due to complications in the way it needs to be set up and lack of clear instructions.

Camera doesn’t notify you when it loses power or the internet connection is lost

Does not tilt down much past horizontal making it difficult to see things close and below camera

Digital Zoom function gets blurry once at 4 times

Amcrest Pro HD 1080P Consumer Ratings

Amcrest Pro HD 1080P reviewThe customer reviews are overall are positive. However, there are 2 parts to this story.

Firstly, people are very happy with the quality of the camera , this covers the components and image quality. They feel it is robust and durable. The camera is quiet when it is panning and tilting. They like the clarity of the picture during the day and night.

Where it doesn’t quite make the grade for a number of users is with the App and programming it. The Lite version of the App has rating of 1 and the Pro version has a slightly better rating of 1.5 on the iTunes App store.

The reviews don’t like the fact that to use all the functionality of the camera you are expected to pay $0.99 to get the ability to receive notifications when the camera detects motion after already spending good money.

Although the basic set up is reasonably straightforward with using QR code it gets less user friendly after that in configuring the App for schedules, alerts, motion and users. There are instructions and videos that can help it just isn’t that user friendly. You do have to battle your way through it a bit. The documentation isn’t that clear either. Having said that there are plenty of users that do manage to work with it.

Amcrest Pro HD 1080P Price

This is an affordable IP camera that provides clear quality images and can be used without any additional cost. But if you want the full remote access using a smartphone you need to spend $0.99 for the Pro version of the App. Also if you want to store more than 4 hours video on the company’s cloud server you need to pay $6 per month. Also you can only have one camera on the cloud server for free. Which still leaves it as very good value but you need to take this into account if you want more than one camera and/or want to access more than 4 hours video on line.

However, you can store the video locally on micro SD card but that needs to be bought separately. There are also other options for storage using a NVR or FTP

When I checked for the best discount price Amazon had the best deal where it also qualified for free shipping and Prime. To check out the latest deal and availability click here: Amcrest Pro HD 1080P

Summary

Although the App isn’t great to use, I am sure this will get better, it is worth persevering as the camera itself is great and the quality of the images are clear so you can see what is happening at your home or business when you’re not there. It does need the internet work for remote monitoring.

Set up for basic live streaming is quick and simple – it can be done in minutes. It gets more complicated when you want to add more people to the camera, record to the cloud, set up notifications, set up motion recording etc.

They do need to work on making the set up and use of the camera simpler but most people can get what they want from the camera it is just harder than it needs to be. The camera itself is rated highly and with a little patience you get a very good IP camera system to monitor your home etc. This all makes it very good value for your money.

Filed under: Reviews

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