YI 1080p dome camera review: HD panoramic security
The ability to remotely rotate and tilt your security camera isn’t essential, but it’s definitely nice to have. The feature comes in handy for monitoring larger rooms as well as tracking moving objects, whether it’s a stray pet or a bona fide intruder. Unfortunately, too many executions are marred by late or imprecise movements. This makes the YI 1080p Dome a welcome addition to the home security scene. Its panoramic surveillance capabilities are some of the best we’ve seen, and at just $ 60, it’s a steal.
There’s nothing drastic about the shape of the Dome, which replicates an earlier 720p version of the same camera. Her ball-shaped webcam design looked dated about a year ago, and she practically screams “surveillance!” it doesn’t matter where you try to hide it. Don’t be surprised if family and friends are a little scared when they see it.
The spherical “head” houses a 1080p camera with a 112-degree field of view and eight balls of infrared light for night vision. It has a motorized pan and tilt capability that you control from the YI Home companion app, and it rotates on its base 115 degrees vertically and 345 degrees horizontally. The camera module is placed in a kind of cover which, when you tilt the camera fully upwards, functions as a privacy screen by covering the lens.
On the back of the base is a microUSB power port (there is no battery power option) and a microSD card slot where you can store up to 32GB of video locally. The latter offers a nice backup of YI’s flexible cloud storage subscription options: a 7-day plan costs $ 6.66 per month or $ 66 per year, a 15-day plan costs $ 10 per month or $ 99. per year, and a 30-day plan costs $ 15 per month or $ 149 per year. For all three plans, you can choose to download only motion-sensing video for up to five cameras, or 24/7 download for a single device. Each plan also comes with a one month free trial.
Configuration and application
Security camera setups rarely go as smoothly as their “quick start” guides promise, but the Dome is an exception. The YI Home app immediately found my Wi-Fi network, and with the help of a few voice prompts, the camera was connected and up and running within minutes. It should be noted, however, that the YI 1080p dome camera can only connect to a 2.4 GHz network. If this frequency band is heavily congested in your home, you will be better served by a model that gives you the ability to connect to the 5 GHz network of a dual band router.
Controlling the dome with the YI Home app is also a delight. Opening it takes you to a device screen where all of your connected cameras are displayed. From there, you can share a camera with your family members, see all activity alerts associated with it, and access that camera’s settings.
Tap the camera image to open the live stream from the Dome. A toolbar below the power pane displays the usual camera controls, including a push-to-talk button, and those for recording video, taking a screenshot, and activating and turn off the audio. You can also change the resolution of the camera directly in the video stream.
The lower half of the screen is occupied by the pan and tilt controls for the dome. The default control is a classic iPod-style directional pad, with which you can manually steer the camera, as well as a button to set waypoints, which the app calls “bookmarks.” Alternatively, you can capture panoramic scenes with the push of a button. The camera will perform a full horizontal scan taking incremental shots and save the finished panorama to your cloud account.
A navigation bar at the bottom of the screen provides access to other pan and tilt controls, including all of your bookmarks; motion tracking, which allows the camera to follow a moving object while it is recording; and an Auto-Cruise function that sweeps the room continuously, 24 hours a day or according to a schedule you define.
Video quality and performance
The Dome video was crisp with vibrant colors. The camera uses proprietary distortion correction technology to straighten fisheye edges that normally occur with wide angle lenses. The result is that the details at the edges of the image remain crystal clear. The only real problem is that the image tends to fade under bright sun and strong lamp light.
The motion detection was responsive and precise during my use. You can adjust the sensitivity on a sliding scale of low, medium or high; I have found the medium to provide just the right amount of vigilance. To prevent your phone from exploding with alerts, the app also includes an alert frequency slider, which you can drag to increase or decrease the “cool-down” period between notifications. You can also program time slots without alert.
The dome also includes a “baby detection” setting. Although I haven’t had a baby to test it with, YI says it recognizes your baby’s crying, which will trigger the camera to record a six-second video clip and give you a “baby cry” alert. . Oddly, there is no standard audio detection.
All video clips uploaded to the cloud are saved in a scrolling timeline, but accessing them could be easier. As it stands, access to My YI Cloud is buried in the camera settings menu, and your videos are removed with four good taps from the screen of the device to which each alert occurs. activity opens. It might not seem like a lot, but in a real-life scenario, it’s an agonizing gap between being warned that someone may be in your house and actually being able to see who it is. And it’s possible that the person will move on by the time you’ve had a chance to review the footage. Hopefully this will be improved in future updates.
At the end of the line
That last gripe aside, the YI 1080p Dome is a great camera. A great pan and tilt model is a rare find, not to mention a model as flexible and inexpensive as this one. Whether you are buying your first home security camera or your fifth, it is worth considering.