The Good Can connect to a network of up to 16 cameras. Smooth wireless performance. Motorised panning and tilting. Physically intimidating. The Bad Defaults to Internet Explorer. Probably the first thing that thieves will smash or steal.
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D-Link has seen this gap in the market and produced the DCSg - a souped-up webcam that promises wireless security coverage of your home. The possibilities here are endless: no more roaming the house with a five iron in my hands after hearing a strange noise in the middle of the night and finally a chance to find out what makes those animal noises are bottom of the garden. D-Link is quick to point out that this is designed as indoor equipment rather than nature hunting outside but still it would have been nice to have that option for the price.
The easy set-up guide seemed the obvious place to start and apart from the fact that there was an entire page of settings not covered, I managed to get the camera installed. The configuration processes use a web browser interface and an Ethernet cable, but beware, in tests we had some trouble with network addresses - mainly that the software automatically assigned an address to the camera, which was already occupied by another PC on my network. Once this was overcome however, the rest of the setup was relatively straightforward.
The bundled software suite consists of two applications: one to monitor the camera and another to play back any recorded material. Both these were user friendly and easy to configure. My initial feeling on seeing the picture from the camera was that the image quality was quite poor - especially as D-Link are keen to point out that the is a security camera and not a regular webcam. The digital zoom, like most cameras, was a bit disappointing and the picture quality suffered greatly at maximum range.
The inbuilt microphone was more than adequate for security monitoring, however an external microphone can be added if required. The whole unit can be attached to a TV and video, both for viewing and recording, although most users will take advantage of the hard disk recording capabilities of the G as a means of storing the footage produced. The manual was a bit sketchy on the whole idea apart from pages and pages of info on settings and more acronyms that an episode of ER and I finally resorted to phoning the D-Link support line.
Forty minutes on the phone to a helpful chap called Walter, and I soon had the camera operating wirelessly. Its full potential became immediately apparent. The camera can also be configured to record snapshots in a staggeringly comprehensive combination of schedules and intervals. These can then be saved to hard disk or even emailed to an account of your choosing. It also comes with a small infrared remote to pan and tilt the camera. With correct settings, the camera is also accessible from any computer via the web, so the possibilities for keeping an eye on things back home especially with the prospect of 3G phones linking directly into your home security network via the web are truly amazing.
A major concern we have with this camera has to be what can be achieved when this sort of equipment falls into, shall we say, less salubrious hands. Here is a unit that can be placed anywhere within a wireless network range, is remotely controlled and accessed, and that you can set up to look inactive even while recording no telltale LEDs.
Dubious build quality and to a certain degree the price: this is surely being aimed at the home or small office user. In addition, the manual was not that easy to follow in my opinion this apparently due to it being translated, badly, from Taiwanese… and I always prefer a proper book as opposed to the PDF versions.
Networking experts will have no trouble though and will almost certainly get the most from this piece of kit. Ethical objections aside, the DCSG is a useful addition to any wireless network, however probably not for the uninitiated. One thing to note is that even with that disclaimer, it's still worth doing a few self tests, printing out some still frames with pictures and making sure that the footage produced will be clear enough to count as admissible evidence in a British Court, if you don't want a conventional CCTV system.
Verdict A major concern we have with this camera has to be what can be achieved when this sort of equipment falls into, shall we say, less salubrious hands.
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D-Link Securicam DCS-5300G – IP Camera Review
Trusted Reviews may earn an affiliate commission when you purchase through links on our site. Learn More. Axis Communications may have had the network IP camera market pretty much to itself for many years but not any longer as a number of big players have recently joined the game. It offers remote pan, tilt and digital zoom functions, automatic patrolling, wired and wireless access, motion detection, audio capabilities and a claimed 30fps video streaming as well.
D-Link DCS-5300G Quick Installation Manual