Protecting your home with a smart home camera which affords you remote access has grown in popularity, but most cameras are fixed in a single direction. The Ezviz C8W Pro can pan and tilt to a direction of choice, or follow subjects using on board AI. That’s a nice option for someone who doesn’t want to install too many devices but likes to check over a wider area, since the image isn’t overly distorted like a very wide angle lens.
The C8W Pro is not Ezviz’s first pan-and-tilt camera; this model actually addresses some issues with its cheaper predecessor the C8C. As well as boosted resolution, this version builds the antenna inside the body which looks better, and includes a MicroSD card slot for those keen to side-step the cost of cloud subscription, and an LED for color night vision.
EZVIZ C8W Pro: Specifications
Video resolution: 2560 × 1440 (2K)
Video format: H.264 / H.265
Connection: WiFi 2.4GHz b/g/n
Night Vision: Mono or Color (lit by floodlight)
Field of view: 340˚ Rotation / 80˚ Tilt
Motion sensor: 10
Temperature limits: -30 to 60 ˚C (-22 to 140 ˚F)
Dimensions: 112 x 171 x 156 mm (main body)
Weatherproof: Not stated
The C8W Pro is a powered pan-and-tilt WiFi or Ethernet security camera which has AI human and vehicle tracking. That means the camera can turn to follow subjects it identifies as well as being re-positioned remotely using an on-screen joystick. That feature is part of the iOS or Android app – which also lets you create pre-set positions, talk to anyone nearby using the microphone and speaker, or just activate a siren.
The camera offers traditional black-and-white IR night vision and color night vision from a built in LED floodlight. It also has a speaker and microphone for two-way talk. The camera can also create a 360˚ picture which can be used to create a tap-to-turn screen.
Finally for those wishing to side-step a subscription fee for cloud storage, the camera has a MicroSD card slot for local storage.
Build and handling
The CW8 Pro has an immensely practical feel. It doesn’t have the luxurious packaging of some products, and is made of plastics – including the bracket – but it feels functional. The included drill template is appreciated too, and the bracket can be mounted to a surface above it or to a wall behind it, and has handy cable channels. Although the camera has WiFi, the dangling cable has both Ethernet and barrel power connectors. If you opt for wireless, the kit includes a power adapter and an extension lead, and the cable is conveniently narrow for installing on walls.
Once plugged in and connected to WiFi (a painless process, we should add), the camera can be controlled via the Ezviz app (which will also give you 7 days to sample Ezviz’s CloudPlay service). The very wide pan is impressive (though risks the lens getting caught looking at walls); the camera itself has a 105˚ (diagonal) field of view.
Video samples from the EZVIZ C8W Pro at night
Image quality is good – not least because the system can reach up to 30fps. The camera offers three choices of image “Definition” – Full HD, Hi-Def and Standard – though the recorded sound was very dubious. Nonetheless the speaker is loud enough for two-way-talk to work, if not beautifully. The lights were effective for a few meters, covering a small front garden for color night vision. Black and white IR night vision has no issue extending that to around 30m (98ft), and the automatic switching seems to choose wisely.
The app provides plenty of options, including nice features like pre-setting positions and creating a 360˚ Picture to act as a tap-to-turn tool. They are not terribly well organised though, and at times the live view panning tool was a little slow to respond.
There is also no ‘sentry’ mode, in which the camera keeps looking around from place to place. Instead if person tracking is enabled, the camera would follow people who walked into view, before returning to the previous position. That said, when recording clips, this makes a lot of sense, but it’d be nice to have the option.
EZVIZ C8W Pro: Verdict
The C8W Pro is a bit of a mixed bag. We were surprised by the quality of the video, and by some handy features like the high-speed review of overnight video. It’s also fast, albeit a little jerky, with AI tracking (it turns more slowly under manual control).
The app offers a lot of functionality but could stand to be a lot tidier. Some titles turn out to be buttons; while the bottom menu bar extends beyond the screen, none of which amounts to an ideal user experience.
The cheapest cloud service is £3.99 or £2.99 a month for a 3-day history. This is more than Google, Ring and others (and a lot more than Apple HomeKit). Reviewing events isn’t as easy as it could be – animated thumbnails would be a nice addition – but they can be downloaded. Another concern is the lack of a formal ingress protection standard, though it is described as “Weatherproof.”
Concerns aside, the camera is reasonably priced and, using the MicroSD card, can be very cost effective without the cloud. If you’re not looking for a slick user experience, it might be worth a look.
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