D-Link’s entry-level IP camera is already in its second incarnation with big improvements over the old 2630L. The new 2530L, which is priced at £165 (around $200, AU$265), offers the same 180-degree ‘wide-eye’ view, but in 1080p resolution and it’s a much smaller camera.
Suitable for indoor observation of your business or home, it can be configured to send push notifications when it detects sound or motion on your premises, and also records the clips onto a microSD card. The free Mydlink Lite app for Android and iPhone gives you immediate access to these features and a live feed from the camera any time you like. The app also walks you through the setup procedure.
Design and build
Outwardly, the D-Link looks rather like the Nest Cam Indoor, but pick it up and you realise that it’s a fraction of the weight, being made of flimsy plastic rather than metal. It comes attached to its own mounting bracket for walls or ceilings that can be bent and twisted to cover all angles.
There are ports for a microUSB cable through which it draws power, and a microSD card slot for storing recordings. Look very closely and you can just see the wireless connect button and an even tinier reset button.
The 180-degree field of vision is this camera’s unique selling point, and we half expected to see a distorted fisheye view of the world through it, but D-Link’s de-warping algorithm irons out the picture nicely.
Its LEDs and IR sensors enable the 2530L to detect motion in the dark and enhance the picture quality automatically in low light, so nobody will be able to sneak past in the night undetected.
The motion detection can be made more (or less) sensitive on a sliding scale within the app. You can also choose which areas of the camera’s field of view should trigger an alert by drawing up to three active boxes on your touchscreen. This allows you to avoid windows and ignore movement outside the room. Or indeed, you could choose to focus on the windows in particular.
There’s also a mic for detecting sound and this can be adjusted for sensitivity too, but there’s no speaker, so you won’t be able to talk back to your burglars.
Installation and use
Being so light and unencumbered by an Ethernet cable, the 2530L is relatively easy to install and not fussy about where it’s located. We would advise a gentle approach to screwing the mounting plate to the wall, as an overzealous electric screwdriver could easily snap the plastic backplate.
With no Ethernet cable option, you’ll need to ensure your camera is located within your Wi-Fi network – and there’s a signal locator LED on the front of the camera for exactly this reason.
We found that the 180-degree picture looks best with the camera mounted on the wall, where it can take in the whole room, rather than the ceiling. Being available only in black, it’s not going to blend in with a white ceiling anyway.
Getting the device connected to the Wi-Fi network proved something of a headache in our case. As with most D-Link products, the process involves several steps and is hampered by overly long passwords printed in typefaces that you need a magnifying glass to read. It also involved signing up to the D-Link service multiple times, only to be greeted by a ‘service not available’ error message right at the end of the process.
The app could make things easier, but it doesn’t, and the WPS button should make the device connect without passwords, but it didn’t, so a procedure that took 10 minutes max with the other IP cameras we’ve tested took much longer here.
If you position this camera correctly, it will stream a reliable and complete view of your whole room onto your smart device in Full HD resolution. A decent sensor and automatic light meters ensure the image is reasonably clear in either well-lit or low light conditions.
These clips are reliably recorded onto a microSD card that slots into the camera. You’ll need to buy one, as you don’t get a card bundled in the box. We found that the motion sensors were very good at picking up subtle movements and pinging an alert to our phones every other minute. This isn’t a problem because the app makes it quite easy to dial down the sensitivity of the motion sensor, so that you’re not bombarded with alerts.
The 180-degree wide-angle lens makes this one of the few cameras that can successfully monitor an entire room on its own. Also impressive is the 1080p picture quality at which this camera operates. Recorded images are above-average and the motion sensor is quite reliable too, so you can rest assured that nothing is going to sneak past your camera.
The on-board microSD card slot means you’re free from subscription charges as well, because you can store video locally rather than in the cloud.
The flimsy all-plastic build quality does not inspire confidence from the start and there’s a possibility that a burglar could just crush the thing in their hands. The lack of an Ethernet port could also be an issue if your Wi-Fi network doesn’t cover your whole premises.
We found the setup procedure unnecessarily long-winded and fraught with problems, some of which could have been of our own making, but others were definite D-Link issues.
The D-Link app leaves room for improvement too. It implies there’s another full-fat app, but we couldn’t find one that supported this camera.
This little IP camera offers a simple and cost-effective springboard into the surveillance game, as it comes complete with local storage on a microSD card and a free app that makes it easy to monitor your property remotely. And by recording a wide 180-degree view whenever its motion sensor or mic are triggered, it does a good job overall.
The plastic construction does feel a little vulnerable, however, and app support is decidedly less sophisticated than the competition, so we would advise spending just a little more if you’re serious about surveillance.