IP Cameras Keep Watch (Part 2) - Trendnet TV-IP572WI, Axis M5014, Trendnet TV-IP322P

11/8/2012 9:16:26 AM

Description: Trendnet TV-IP572WI

Connect the TV-IP572WI ($170) wireless day/night camera to your 802.lln network, and it will record video at a high-def resolution of 1280 by 800 pixels at 30 frames per second. The company's earlier cameras in this price range were limited to 640 by 480 pixels.

The TV-IP572WI comes with Trendnet's SecurView Pro desktop software, which can monitor up to 32 cameras. SecurView Pro supports just about any feature that any Trendnet camera offers with a button, slider, dial, or control. (And that's fine: It's better to have such overkill than to be unable to use every feature a camera has simply because the software fails to expose it.) Also available is a free SecurView Pro app for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.

The TV-IP572WI delivers slightly better video quality than the D-Link DCS-5222L does, but its footage isn't nearly as crisp as that of the much more expensive Axis M5014. This Trendnet camera has a smaller footprint than either of those rivals; but since it's a fixed-position model, it can't cover as much area as they can. If you like this camera's feature set, and if you have a Power over Ethernet switch, you should also look at its PoE cousin, the TV-IP572PI. It's identical to this model, except it doesn't rely on an AC outlet, and it costs $30 less.

Axis M5014

Description: Axis M5014

The $595 Axis M5014 pan/ tilt/zoom network camera is a solid value for businesses seeking a discreet, ceiling-mounted dome camera.

Small enough to fit in the palm of your hand, it stands just 2.2 inches high. A bonus; Its IP51- rated enclosure keeps it dust-resistant and protected from dripping water, so it won't fail if your sprinklers turn on.

The M5014 uses Power over Ethernet exclusively, so you don't have to find an AC outlet to operate it. Although this design simplifies installation since you have just one cable to run, it also means that you need to obtain a Power over Ethernet switch for your network. Unlike most IP cameras, the M5014 supports both IPv4 and IPv6 to provide a degree of future-proofing during the transition between the two Internet Protocol standards.

The built-in microphone and motion detector can trigger the camera to record video, either to local storage (the camera has a MicroSD slot, but you need to provide the card) or to a shared folder on your network.

Axis uses a quarter-inch image sensor that requires just 1.4 Lux of illumination to capture the action, even though the M5014 is not labeled as a day/night camera. The camera can record M-JPEG or H.264 video with a resolution of 1280 by 720 pixels at 30 frames per second.

The intentionally oversimplified Axis Camera Companion software leaves a bit to be desired, as it doesn't expose advanced camera features. Its playback window, on the other hand, is just about perfect, with a simple timeline that shows recorded events for each of the cameras it's managing.

The Axis M5014 provides especially good image quality, and its motor moves the lens around the dome quickly without generating a Lot of distracting noise. This model is pricey, but its feature set, robust build quality, and extensive third-party software support more than justify the cost for business users.

Trendnet TV-IP322P

Description: Trendnet TV-IP322P

The $580 Trendnet TVIP322P is optimized for use outdoors. It offers a higher resolution than most at 1280 by 1024 pixels, and it has an IP66-rated weather- and vandal-proof enclosure that keeps dust and high-pressure water from getting inside.

This camera can operate on Power over Ethernet, so you don't need to install the unit next to an electrical outlet. Operating by PoE isn't a requirement, however, since Trendnet considerately supplies an AC adapter too.

The TV-IP322P has strong night-vision capabilities, working at distances of up to 66 feet. Its comprehensive features include two-way audio with ports for an external mic and speaker, as well as general-purpose input/ output ports for integration into an alarm system. The camera can generate SMS and email alerts, and it can stream video to a smartphone or tablet in real time without requiring a host PC. Equipped with a MicroSD card slot, it can handle cards as Large as 32GB.

As noted earlier, Trendnet's powerful SecurView Pro software for the PC can support as many as 32 Trendnet cameras; the company also offers a mobile version for Android and iOS. Even better; Trendnet has designed its cameras so that you can mix and match this more expensive outdoor camera with other. Less pricey models in the line.

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