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Pros: This camera has a lot of really nice features, and if the quality of the image was better, this would be a great camera.
Out of the box, you may configure the camera to stream video or snapshots to an ftp or samba server, or you may have the files emailed to you. You may also watch and listen to a live feed using a web browser (but see cons) or a smart phone (watch those data fees). You may also provide your own micro SD card (up to 32gb) and record to it.
The camera can be configured to record all the time, or trigger recordings based on a preset time, when the audio level reaches a set threshold, or when motion is detected in any of a seemingly unlimited number of defined areas.
You may flip the image (vertically) in the setup, allowing this camera to be mounted upside down. You can also mirror the image (flip horizontally), although I'm not sure of the value of this.
You may configure 4 different image quality profiles, each with their own resolution, frame rate, and encoding. You may then choose which of these you wish to use for each function (sending to email, etc...). There is only 1 profile allowed for a smart phone though.
There is a very bright green LED on the side of the camera, but fortunately, it can be disabled in the admin setup.
Daytime images are good, although somewhat grainy for a nearly 1 megapixel HD camera
An NVR (network video recording) package called Pro View, is included (but see cons).
Live-view setup for Firefox was very simple.
In addition to listening to the environment where the camera is located, you may also broadcast audio from the camera, but to do so, you must provide your own active (self-powered) speaker(s).
Cons: The daytime images appear washed out. Setting the brightness and contrast very high (about 85 out of 100) helps.
The light sensitivity of this camera is very low. Daytime images are unusually dim unless the brightness is set very high. The camera also switches into night mode while it is still quite bright in the room. When testing at night, I turned on every light in my living/dining room (10 60W equivalent CFLs) and it still thought it was night time. I had to adjust the sensitivity from the default value of 0 to -4 on a scale of +8 to -6) for the camera to stay in day mode with all of those lights on.
Images in night mode are not very good at all, even with brightness set to 100 and contrast reduced to 50. This is likely due to the single IR LED. Even at close range, the image quality is lackluster. When used with another IR source, the image improves considerably, but it is unlikely that anyone would even consider doing that with this camera.
When the camera switches between day and night mode, there is a clicking noise that is rather loud.
The power cord is quite short (about 5 feet). This will be acceptable for anyone setting this on a kitchen counter or on an end table or something, but for any type of normal vantage point, you're going to need an extension cord. It is also unfortunate that the power cord is black, considering most walls are white.
If your router doesn't provide DDNS capabilities, you're not going to get much help from this camera, only 2 options are available, and one is a paid service.
Initial setup of the camera took a lot longer than it should have, due to it repeatedly rebooting itself and forcing your to way 70 seconds to continue with the setup.
Setup of the live-view feature for IE and Chrome was problematic.
- In Chrome, you are prompted to follow a link to install "camerastreamcontrol" which is downloaded from the camera itself. This installed with no issue, but upon restarting Chrome, the live video feed still would not appear. I could not find any reason for this in any of Chrome's settings, but I am by no means a Chrome expert.
- In IE, you are prompted to install an Active X control. When you click install, you are warned that you are about to install a program called "unknown" from an unknown publisher. Clicking OK, results in a security violation if you are using the default or more strict security settings in IE. To install this, you must change your security settings, or add the camera to the list of trusted sites.
The included NVR software (Pro View) installed easily enough, but the application would not log in to the service, despite fighting with it for an hour. I initially thought Windows firewall was blocking it, but even with that disabled completely, it would not connect. After about an hour, I gave up in frustration. The manual provided no assistance whatsoever.
Other Thoughts: If all you are looking for is a decent quality daytime image in a small form-factor device so you can see that your kids got home from school safely, this will do just fine, however there are much less expensive alternatives out there.
If, on the other hand, you are looking for more of a security camera that will be useful at night as well as during the day, this is not what you are looking for.
One final thought about privacy and their End User License Agreement: Like many other low-cost cameras with "cloud capability," your images are being broadcast to a server on the internet, and the EULA for this camera, which you must agree to before you can even configure it, does not instill a lot of confidence that these images are kept private:
1) Section 5 states that "some TRENDnet product(s) and TRENDnet Cloud service(s) are not encrypted and that information may be intercepted during transmission to or from TRENDnet company web site, the TRENDnet Cloud service(s)"
2) Section 8 states that "TRENDnet does not monitor, collect or record your TRENDnet Cloud family IP camera's video feed"
3) Section 3-ii basically states that you authorize TRENDnet to contact the appropriate authorities if they think you are using the camera for an "unlawful purpose." I am not sure how they could determine this if they were actually following their own rules stated in section 8.
Also be aware that according to section 1 of the EULA, "The TRENDnet Cloud service is currently provided to you free of charge; however, TRENDnet specifically reserves the right to institute a fee for this service at a later date."
This review is from: Comfort Zone CZQTVV5M Ceiling Mounted Quartz Infrared Heater
Pros: Comes down as fast as it went up.
Cons: After using these heaters another time, I have determined that they are completely useless for my situation, and have initiated an RMA.
While reading the manual, looking for anything to explain the poor performance, I found "Do not use outside" in the list of warnings. So, what is normally referred to as a "patio heater" can't be used outside. OK, maybe that is the problem. So I took them down, and tested one of them on the floor of my garage, angled up at 45 degrees. I then measured the temperature delta of the front side of a thin piece of brown cardboard placed directly in line with the heater at various distances. Here are the results:
(all temperatures in Fahrenheit)
3 feet: 74 -> 95 ( delta: 21 )
4 feet: 74 -> 85 ( delta: 11 )
5 feet: 74 -> 81 ( delta: 7 )
6 feet: 74 -> 78 ( delta: 4 )
7 feet: 74 -> 77 ( delta: 3 )
8 feet: 74 -> 76 ( delta: 2 )
>8 feet: no different measured
Remember that the manual warns you that all items must be at least 3 feet away from the front, back, and sides of the unit.
Given my mounting height of 8 feet, my seating height of about 3 feet, and a mounting angle of about 45 degrees, I am about 7 feet from the heater. This equates to a temperature increase of 3 degrees. And this only applies to the 1 person directly in the path, not even the person sitting next to them. This is certainly not worth the cost of the heater, plus $0.20 per hour to operate it, in my opinion.
Also of note is that the description for this heater on another popular online web site states that this can be wall-mounted. While the bracket will allow this, the manual specifically says not to do it.
Other Thoughts: The measured power consumption of this heater is 1350W. I tested only with the included halogen light turned off. The manual states that this should not be replaced with a bulb larger than 50W, so I assume it will add another 50W to the total load.
I measured the temperature of the unit in many locations after about 30 minutes of use:
Front of unit in black frame area:
top - 222
left - 83
right - 86
bottom - 120
Front of unit in silver frame area:
top - 425
left - 141
right - 165
bottom - 167
top - 141
left - 82
right - 81
bottom - (couldn't measure here since it was sitting on the garage floor)
Back of unit was 85, and just for laughs, the elements were 900.
This review is from: Comfort Zone CZQTVV5M Ceiling Mounted Quartz Infrared Heater
Works, sort of.
Light and easy to install.
Cons: To call this low quality would be the understatement of the century. I would be hard pressed to find a way that they could have further reduced the cost - a shorter power cord is all that comes to mind.
The "Durable metal housing" is very flimsy, and very poorly assembled.
The pull string attached to the switch is made of a material very similar to yarn. When it is pulled, it just stretches, and it feels like it could break at any moment. I pulled from the very top to avoid breaking it. Since I have these plugged into switched outlets, I just leave the pull-switch in position 2 (both heating elements on, light off).
The included halogen light is blinding, and as such, I don't anticipate ever turning it on. It was likely included to overpower the post-apocalyptic orange glow cast from the heating elements.
The heating capability of this unit is very, very limited. If you are within about 4 feet of it, you can feel the heat. Any farther than that, and it diminishes very quickly. I have 2 of them mounted on an outdoor 9 foot ceiling (it is actually about a foot lower than the ceiling), and when sitting in a lounge chair directly in the path, it is barely noticeable. It warms decently if you are standing directly under it, but there is very little noticeable heat when you move even slightly out from under it.
Considering that this is designed for ceiling mounting, I expected that there would be a heat shield of some sort on the top, but there isn't. After about 30 minutes of use, the ceiling was quite warm. I would definitely heed the manual's warning to never leave this heater unattended.
One of the units I received was banged up pretty good, despite the box and the Styrofoam packing showing no damage. So it was either used and perfectly repacked and returned, or damaged before packing (thanks).
Other Thoughts: 5 foot cord may be a pro or a con. In my case, I designed my gazebo to install an infrared heading devices at some point, so I already had 2 switched outlets where they would go. This made the cord too long for my needs, but it was easy enough to bundle up and tie-wrap it. For most retrofit jobs, however, a 5 foot cord would be nowhere near long enough to reach from the ceiling (3 feet from the wall) to an outlet a foot above the floor.
When I saw these heaters for this price, I knew they weren't going to be super high quality, but I took a chance in the hopes that they would be decent. Knowing what I know now, I would not purchase them again, but I don't dislike them enough to pull them down and return them.
If you have a small area to heat, and will be within about 4 feet of the unit (like standing at a workbench, or sitting on a stool), this will likely work well for you, and you really can't beat the price.