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Netgear VueZone Home Video Monitoring System - 1 Camera Kit
  • Access live video anytime, anywhere - Supports iPhone, iPad & Android  devices
  • Motion Detection Email Alerts
  • Free Mobile Apps
  • Installs in minutes - Just click, stick and view

3 out of 5 eggs Acceptable solution if easy & quick setup is your primary motivation.. 01/07/2013

This review is from: Netgear VueZone Home Video Monitoring System - 1 Camera Kit

Pros:

Very quick and easy to setup, took less than 30 minutes to place the camera, connect the base unit and access & configure the website account.

Quick Install instructions are clear, concise, accurate and very well-illustrated.

Attractively designed; the beige, gray and black color-scheme, along with flowing curves, makes the components rather pleasing to view and not so utilitarian.

Camera is small enough to be inobtrusive.

Rubberized grip-surfaces on the camera make it very easy to handle and position.

Normally acceptable video-quality for the intended usage of this system, but only just barely.

Remote-monitoring using an iPhone, Android-device or any internet browser is extremely convenient.

VueZone monitoring website (or mobile app) is fairly easy to navigate and offers several control options for camera settings.

Motion-sensor only activates camera when there is (presumably) activity taking place, preserving battery life. Once activated, the user can be emailed with a still-shot or short video clip of the activity.

Magnetic-hemisphere mounting system is very innovative, flexible and quite secure. You can shake the mount pretty vigorously and the camera will not budge loose, no persistent vibrations or slamming doors will shake the camera from the bracket.

Camera mounts can be "permanently" attached to smooth surfaces with the included adhesive pads, or you can also temporarily attach them via a keyhole-slot to a screw (or other similary-sized protruberance,) two (2) drywall expansion-plugs and screws are included.

Power supply is small and innocuous.

Available accessories include a table/ceiling sphere mount, indoor suction-cup window sphere mount and outdoor clamshell weather-resistant housing.

Includes all batteries and cables, everything required to setup and begin using right away.

30-days of Premier monitoring-account time is included.

Adequately packaged to prevent damage in transit.

Cons:

No audio! In fairness, this is only marketed as a video system, but how much more functional would this device be with a simple audio feed along with the live video? Video only monitors a specific area, but with audio you can practically listen to an entire house. Huge oversight, in my opinion.

Expensive; at a starting price of $200 (at the time of this review) for the basic package, this is not for the frugally-inclined. Decent video-monitoring is never going to be cheap, but you definitely shell-out for the convenience of this system.

After the first 30 days, all but the most basic monitoring of this system (PC-browser only) requires a Premier subscription plan at either $5/mo or $50/year (equating to $4.17/mo.) Larger systems (more than five cameras and/or one base-unit) require an Elite plan at $80/year ($6.67/mo.) While none of these are extraordinarily expensive, the high initial-cost of these units should at least allow viewing via mobile device at no extra charge, which is one of the primary selling-points.

Barely-acceptable image quality, especially as light diminishes, definitely takes a lot of shine off the apple.

No local monitoring is possible, all feeds upload to the Netgear VueZone website and can only be accessed from there, period. Some clever hacker might possibly find a way to circumvent this, but it would undoubtedly violate some (or many) portions of the User Agreement, endeavor at your own risk (not recommended.)

Camera battery-cover release and power switches are overly small and difficult to manipulate.

Base-unit seems exceedingly large for this device -- I've seen highly-functional WiFi routers barely bigger than a matchbox -- Netgear should have easily been able to trim the size by 20%-30%.

No internal PSU, powered by the ubiquitous "wall-wart," of which the DC power-cord seems a bit on the short side, as well.

Cameras have a lower operating-temperature range limit of 32F, which means if you have one of the outdoor housings there's no useage during the winter, unless you live in a warmer climate.

Camera motion-sensors will not work through glass, so the window suction mount is not well suited to viewing outside in the automated fashion, only remote activation via browser/webapp will work.

Cameras rely on CR123A batteries, life will vary based on useage. Replacement batteries run between (approx.) $1.25/ea in bulk to $6.25/ea in pairs, not including shipping if you can't find them locally at similar prices.

Reviews on the Netgear VueZone website seem like "shills" or negative reviews were removed. After scanning Newegg reviews, user opinions seem at a great disparity between the two sites. There is also no obvious way to add reviews of your own. Are these then true reviews, or simply biased promotional material?

Other Thoughts:

When I first discovered this system, I was at first very excited at all the possibilities, but then rather disappointed once reality hit home.

My initial thought was "hey, great baby monitor! As soon as baby (or grandbaby, in this case) stirs, I get an email to let me know he/she is awake. Or, I can just click-in and see/hear what baby is doing." Does that make me a lazy grandparent? Once you hit the big five-oh and have to suffer through significant knee-pain every time you traverse up and down steps because you THINK you heard something, we can talk. Until then, rest assured that our grandkids are in good hands.

Moving on, once I realized there is no audio feed from this device, its value for the aforementioned task rather plummeted, as sometimes babies just cry and move very little, which will not activate the camera and may not even be apparent in a video-only presentation. Sure, I could incorporate an audio baby-monitor into the mix, but I was hoping for an all-in-one solution here, not a mixed-media substitute. There are also audio/video baby monitors out there, but none (that I've seen yet) which can be viewed on your own mobile device(s.)

On the other hand, I can see where this system could be very useful for monitoring a teen or older adult, a quick, temporary setup for a workshop, garage or jobsite, checking on pets or a vacation home, etc. (assuming internet connectivity and power are both present.)

Due to the questionable video quality, I wouldn't be highly optimimistic about positively identifying an intruder, either; rather, only knowing an intrusion was occurring or had occurred. Unless a perpetrator stood facing the camera for several seconds, all you're likely to view is a motion-blurred image, but stranger things have happened. At the very least the police could likely identify clothing, general build and possibly gender and race, which could definitely assist an investigation.

As long as you understand the limitations, don't mind buying & changing batteries every few months, don't mind the subscription fees and don't have unrealistic expectations, this system could be a viable solution for your video-monitoring needs. If you place a premium on ease of setup and useage, that's a big checkmark in the "Pros" column.

I'm also a bit troubled by the "reviews" on the VueZone site, as most buyers have come to trust true reviews as open and unbiased opinions from a broad range of actual users, not hand-picked or fabricated testimonials which tout only the benefits and none of the pitfalls or caveats. This is not a product without benefits, but it is also not a cure-all for every monitoring need.

Once you've identified your needs and understand what this system can and cannot deliver, it may still be satisfactory, and you are unlikely to find anything else this easy to implement.

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  • John W.
  • EggXpert
  • Owned For: 1 week to 1 month


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