Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p review: A basic, yet powerful CCTV for your home

deccan chronicle

Technology, Gadgets

Xiaomi has taken into consideration affordability and basic needs of the consumers’ surveillance needs.

The Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p is an internet-connected camera and works only if you have an active internet connection at home or in the room where it is deployed.
Rating: 4/5

If you are hunting for a security camera for your home or tiny business, look no further as Xiaomi has you covered. The renowned tech brand from China has entered the home security division in India a while ago and has now brought in a very affordable security solution for all those who need basic surveillance. With the introduction of the 360-degree camera last year, Xiaomi showed its consumers that it can help you keep an eye out on suspicious activity in your home. And now, with the introduction of the Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p, Xiaomi has taken into consideration affordability and basic needs of the consumers’ surveillance needs.

However, though the Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p falls into an affordable space of Rs 1,999, it still somehow competes its own product that is far more superior, sports a 1080p 360-degree view and priced just Rs 700 more (at Rs 2,699). But let’s check out what the Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p camera has to offer and how it fares better than its rivals in the market, namely Yi Technologies’ Yi 87001 Home Camera 720p Wireless IP Security Surveillance System that is priced the same.

The Mi Home Security Camera Basic sports a full HD 1080p sensor that also has a viewing angle of 130 degrees and helps you capture a wider area of your surveillance spot. It runs off any 5V smartphone charger and also bundles a power adapter with it. Along with the device and the adapter is a USB power cable that is long enough to reach from the power outlet to wherever you situate the camera. The camera is built of plastic and is a one-piece device that can only move or tilt vertically to an angle of 90-degrees. To move it horizontally, you need to move the entire device.

The camera also does not sport wall mounting options, which means you can either leave it on a table top or on a higher shelf and angle it according to your suited view. The Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p camera is all white in colour and does not come in any other colour, though one would prefer a black variant to make it more hidden or discreet. Xiaomi prefers this colour to match its entire range of lifestyle products that also wins an award for design. 

The front is covered in a translucent black coloured plastic frame that houses a few, yet 10 powerful IR LEDs behind it and a status LED. These LEDs switch on automatically when it detects low light or dark environments. The IR LEDs glow in a 940nm IR spectrum that is not visible to the human eye but lights up the entire surveillance area with IR light that is perfectly visible to the IR-sensitive camera. The effective distance of the IR LED is a maximum of 10 meters. 

The camera is not detachable from the frame or from the base (like the Yi counterpart does) but does have rubber feed and a large round base that can be held with a dual-sided tape if you intend to wall or ceiling mount the same. Sadly, doing so is completely at the owner’s risk as the camera could fall apart if the tape is not well adhered to the wall or ceiling.

 

On the rear of the camera, you will find nothing but a speaker grille that houses a tiny speaker behind it. This speaker is for the camera to communicate with the user during pairing or setup or for the user to communicate with people in the room from a remote location. Yes, the camera features a mic (just above the sensor) and speaker that allows the user to speak to the people in the surveillance area like an intercom, from the smartphone app.

Lastly, the sides of the camera, or to be more specific, the outer circumference sports the micro USB slot for power, a reset button and the micro SD card slot to store the footage.

 

The Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p is an internet-connected camera and works only if you have an active internet connection at home or in the room where it is deployed. You need to have a wireless router which connects the camera to the internet. Additionally, you need to download the Mi Home app on your Android or iPhone in order to pair, setup and view the feed. There is no desktop or Windows/Mac software which will allow you to do so. and neither does the camera support Wi-Fi direct where you could connect the camera to the smartphone without a wireless router. Though it can be done by using the smartphone’s Wi-Fi hotspot, it is a tedious process and not recommended.

 

Download the app, latch on to the Mi account with your username and password and choose to add the respective camera. The setup process is very simple and a cakewalk for even those who are not techy enough. The app instructs you along the way, in conjunction with voice announcements from the camera, to connect and set it up. Feed in details such as your Wi-Fi password, and name the camera according to your convenience (if you have more than one camera installed). A QR code will be thrown up on the screen and you need to show this QR code to the camera to start the pairing. This QR code consists of your Wi-Fi SSID name, password, and your Mi account details. Once the camera scans the code, it will setup itself automatically and in a few minutes, your app is ready to show you what the camera is looking at. The rest is a simple tic-tac-toe game in the app’s camera settings.

 

Setting up the camera further is not actually necessary. However, you need to keep a few things in mind when doing so in order to get the best out of your Mi CCTV camera. Make sure you insert a micro SD card into the camera before you begin the installation and later format it once before you finally deploy it. Other settings in the camera include image settings, night mode settings, recording settings and cloud settings. There is an option to invert the image (by 180 degrees) if you plan to mount the camera on the ceiling. However, the setting defeats the purpose as the camera cannot be ceiling mounted. But since the option is available, you could put in your DIY skills to get the camera up there.

 

As for the performance, the Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p performs as stated. You can simply leave it at the desired location and placement and forget it there. Ensure that you turn off the status LED from the app so that the blue LED light does not disturb you in the dark and also ensures that the unknown is not informed that they are being recorded. Switching off the LED also tricks the unknown into thinking that the camera is turned off.

The camera connects to the app and sends the live feed to your smartphone in full resolution. The data consumes is barely anything (around 64Kb/s to 120Kb/s) and only when being viewed remotely, and does not consume any precious internet data when working alone. The camera automatically records the area and stores the video footage on the micro SD card. The amount of footage will completely depend on the size of the micro SD card installed. Make sure you have a Class 10 micro SD card and at least a 32GB card installed in the camera. A 64GB card will give you an average of 6 days stored footage with the camera running 24x7. You can also control the image quality and switch between low, medium and high to save on data, but will end up compromising on the image or video quality. The camera stored the recorded video in H.264 format which has a high compression with a very good image quality storage.

 

Using the app, you can set up the camera to record 24 x7 or at specific intervals when needed. You can also command the camera to record only when there is movement or motion in the room and not record anything when everything is peaceful. The Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p sports AI motion detection that also helps separate regular unwanted movements such as a moving curtain or a fan and can intelligently detect human and animal motion in the room. The camera can also send you alerts when it detects motion and will send you a 1-minute feed on the app where you can instantly see the movement in the room. Sadly, this feature will require you to have a live internet connection to the camera at all times. If there is no internet, the camera stores the video feed on the camera’s micro SD card where you can access it from your smartphone and view it at your convenience. The camera can also store the video to a local network drive such as a NAS or a shared folder on a PC on the same network. This way, you can have almost unlimited video storage and have more than a year’s footage for your record. You can set up the same by adding in the path to the local storage using the Mi Home app.

The Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p does not store any data on the cloud (unlike Yi, which gives you a 30-day free cloud storage for your video feeds and you can opt for different plans to get more storage) Having a cloud storage is a better option as you are assured that your video feeds are not corrupted in the micro SD card or not lost if the camera itself is stolen or damaged. However, cloud storage is definitely an expensive affair. Hence opting for local storage is a more robust solution to having such cameras installed at home or office. You can also remove the micro SD card and connect it to your PC to view the feed at your convenience or store the data on a separate storage medium for your time-bound records.

Coming back to the performance again, you can see the feed on your smartphone app, and live. You can interact with the display to move the area of surveillance and see it larger and clearer, or simply zoom out on the screen to see the entire 130-degree viewing area in a single frame. You can switch to the timeline mode to go back in time and see your video feed. The timeline offers you to see around 6 days ago and can be pulled up by date and time, right down to each minute. During the day, the 1080p feed is excellent and very clear. The camera can also record in low light mode without switching to night mode. In low light, the camera feed is slightly dull but very much usable. When the lights go out, the IR LEDs switch into action within a few seconds and everything turns monochrome. This is because IR light can only be viewed in monochrome and not in colour. The mono feed is also excellent, very bright and clear. However, the image of objects, subjects and the area that is far is not very clear and dull. Thanks to the 20fps 1080p sensor, the camera can do better than conventional 720p-based CCTV cameras and have a sharper image in pitch dark rooms too.

We also did like one feature that probably needs to be highlighted. You can also keep the live video feed running in picture-in-picture mode overlayed over other apps. This is a great feature that allows you to do other things on your phone while keeping an eye on your camera feed simultaneously. Lastly, you can also share the video feed with family and friends, but they need to have the Mi Home app installed too. 

The smartphone app is pretty simple and straightforward. All the necessary settings are available out there to help you monitor and control the camera. Sadly, you cannot download the videos to your phone and you need to physically remove the micro SD card from the camera to store the feeds or make use of network storage to automate it. Xiaomi should think of this as an option for users to store the footage on their smartphones and update the app accordingly.

Heading back to the features, the camera can only connect to your Wi-Fi system if it is a 2.4GHz router. Dual-band routers will work if they are configured for a 2.4GHz band, while those who have a 5GHz network only will have to reconfigure their routers accordingly. The Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p uses Wi-Fi IEEE802.1b/g/n which has an internal antenna but can operate at regular distances from the router. The camera consumes a total of 5 watts max when in full operation and with night mode enabled. Lastly, the recommended micro SD card is a Class 10 speed and you can use 16GB to 64GB cards to match your requirements.

The price of the Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p is decent, but we find it too expensive if we have to consider Xiaomi’s own 1080p 360-degree camera that offers more for just Rs 700 more. The Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p is available for Rs 1,999 but we would still recommend opting for the 360-degree model over this one if you can spend a few hundreds more. The 360-degree camera could do the job of multiple cameras because of the rotating mode, while the Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p can only see in one direction, though it has a larger viewing angle. You would need to install multiple cameras to view a larger area.

The perfect use for the Mi Home Security Camera Basic 1080p is in cases such as baby or pet monitoring, garages, small shops and such areas where your surveillance area is smaller and in one direction. We definitely recommend the Basic 1080p camera if your needs are limited surveillance spots and a budget constraint.

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