Quite a few security cameras have come across my desk the past few months, some that were not so great and others that could be considered as the best technology on the market. Now, I’ve got the R2, an IP camera from a company called Foscam, who has been in the security camera business since 2007. They’ve manufactured a lot of great IP cameras in the past, but this latest one, the R2, truly demonstrates the company’s ability to not only provide great hardware, but good software as well.
At first glance, there’s not much that sets apart the Foscam R2 from other home security cameras, such as the Nest Cam and Netatmo Welcome; however, Foscam believes that it offers far better value at an affordable price range.
The Foscam R2 security camera is intricately detailed, with it being able to turn 300 degrees horizontally and 100 degrees vertically. This enables the device to record from many different angles, removing the need to get a bunch of different cameras for a single room. Just one Foscam R2 camera positioned correctly is able to keep an eye out on an entire room.
It comes with a Wi-Fi antenna, as well as an attachable stand to make it easy to bolt to the wall (side note: all the required hardware for bolting the camera to the wall is included in one of the boxes in the packaging).
Around the back of the Foscam R2 is a variety of ports, including the power input, Ethernet port and the Wi-Fi antenna configuration. On the bottom of the device is the attachment piece for attaching the mount to the camera.
Suffice to say, it’s not a bad design and is better than most, but that’s about the only aspect where the Foscam R2 excels.
Setting up the Foscam R2 was a nightmare, to say the least. It was first difficult to understand because of trying to interpret broken English, especially during the account creation process. You’re supposed to verify your email, but I was sent a verification link that didn’t do anything. Eventually I went ahead and typed my credentials in to log into Foscam Cloud without the verification. It turns out that you don’t actually have to verify anything, which is slightly concerning from a company offering “security” cameras.
Next, I could never get the R2 to connect wirelessly via the Android application. If it did connect, it would instantly drop the connection. On the other hand, it would work like a charm after I wired it with an Ethernet cable.
As far as the Android application goes, it was confusing to setup. You aren’t supposed to install the application called “Foscam US,” which is provided by Foscam Digital Technologies LLC. This application actually doesn’t support the R2 and hasn’t been updated since late 2014.
Instead, you have to install “Foscam” from ShenZhen Foscam Intelligent Technology co., Ltd. Funny enough, even though this application supports the R2, it still doesn’t work properly. If you don’t take my word for it, just look at the Play Store reviews. If you can get the application to work, you scan scan the QR code on the bottom of the Foscam R2 for a “quick and easy setup.”
Another thing that comes with the Foscam R2 is a mini CD with the software you’ll need. I must warn Mac users: do not load it into a Mac’s CD tray or even the external SuperDrive. It will get stuck, and there’s not much hope for getting it out. Instead, you can download the software from Foscam’s website.
After I was finally able to get the R2 to work, it actually doesn’t truly work in 1080p as advertised, and this might not be Foscam’s fault. While it says it can record in 1080p, there’s a constant stuttering and lag that is fixed by dropping down to 720p. The camera recording has even froze at times in 1080p quality. This probably isn’t Foscam’s fault, as this seems to be a common problem among cheaper pan-and-tilt cameras.
Another thing I noticed is that motion detection doesn’t seem to work at all. It doesn’t pick up anything. Similarly, audio detection did work, but in my testing, you would have to shout for it to pick up anything.
Finally, it was extremely difficult to watch live video on the application. I decided to load up Chrome, only to find out that it didn’t support the browser. It did seem to work with Mozilla Firefox (mostly), though. After some digging, I did find out that it oddly works best with the Opera browser.
Suffice to say, the Foscam R2 just isn’t a good camera. It has some great hardware, but the software unfortunately doesn’t compliment it at all. There are much better options, and this one certainly isn’t worth your time for all the issues you’re going to encounter before seeing a working product.
In closing, the Foscam R2 might be a more affordable option than many security cameras out there, but you truly do get what you pay for. In all honesty, if you’re looking to beef up security in your home and want something reliable, the CleverLoop is truly the best option in home security surveillance right now.
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