As a subsidiary of Hikvision, one of the biggest names in CCTV, Ezviz is actually the smallest security camera we have come across. New to the UK, Ezviz is offering an easy way into the often murky world of home surveillance.
Instead of committing to a network of cameras and video storage, the Ezviz Mini Plus provides 24-hour visual cover of your property in a single diminutive IP camera. You can add more Mini cameras, of course, but there’s no commitment and with the choice of cloud video storage by subscription, or free local data dumping onto a microSD card, it’s an inexpensive option too.
Design and build
At just 5cm wide, this miniature IP camera is very discrete and easy to accommodate. It retails at £100 (around $125, AU$160) and comes in a choice of black, white, or pink so that it will blend with its surroundings. You can even turn the LED light off if you really don’t want it to be detected.
The device is made of plastic, but the metal stand feels stiff and well-constructed in its swivelling ball and socket joint. The base is magnetic for even easier installation, if you happen to have a metal surface in mind, while the supplied 3m USB cable that provides the power offers ample range.
There’s no Ethernet port, however, so the camera must be sited within your Wi-Fi network. A word of warning: the base is rather weak in terms of its magnetism, which resulted in the camera falling on the floor when we tried attaching it to the side of the fridge. Double-sided stickers are also provided for a little extra traction.
For such a small camera, the Mini Plus packs in a lot of features and some impressive specifications. The resolution is 1080p, unless you prefer to knock it down to 720p and preserve the bandwidth of your Wi-Fi network. With a 135-degree field of view, it’s possible to see almost all of any given room. It includes a microphone and speaker for two-way audio, an alarm sound when the motion sensor is triggered and IR night vision.
The user-friendly companion app, a free download for iOS and Android devices, adds further functionality. As well as providing a setup wizard that joins the camera to your wireless network, it allows you to choose the motion sensitivity, volume levels, picture quality and the frequency or time of day that you prefer to receive push notifications.
What you don’t get is any kind of face, or even object, recognition, so a falling leaf is as likely to set off the alarm as a burglar if you have the motion sensitivity set too high. There’s no battery either and no Ethernet port, which means you are fully reliant on your Wi-Fi network.
Installation and use
Installation is made easy by the compact size of the camera, the long run of USB cable provided and the optional magnetic, or screw-fixing base plate.
Getting the Ezviz Mini Plus online was even quicker, thanks to the helpful companion app that uses a QR code to join your phone with the camera more quickly. It’s a simple case of following the step-by-step instructions, and our camera logged on the first time we tried.
Once connected, the Ezviz app shows you a picture of the last recording made and offers fairly intuitive access to all of the setup options and account management bits and bobs. It’s handled rather better than the clunky Foscam and D-Link apps, but it’s still a long way behind the polished Netatmo or Netgear software.
The video quality from this camera is very detailed in full light and certainly good enough for guard duty. That said, colours look inconsistent and the IR sensor tends to make the light levels fluctuate annoyingly in low light. Similarly, the audio quality is pretty awful, but it does the job and it’s surprising to find two-way audio at this price point at all. The alarm is horribly piercing, although that’s probably a good thing.
The motion sensor is particularly sensitive, but it can be adjusted within the menu, so you needn’t receive a message every time a fly buzzes past.
The compact design is certainly convenient and unobtrusive, especially as you can choose between black and white finishes, and the setup procedure is very straightforward too. We’re also impressed by the 1080p specification, which captures plenty of detail, even if the colour balance and contrast are awry.
The supporting app is well executed, making it fairly easy to adjust the notifications that are sent to your phone, and the sound alarm feature deserves more credit than it is given. Perhaps the best thing about the Ezviz Mini Plus is the way it offers both local video recording to microSD and a cloud subscription service.
The smooth plastic body of the camera looks as though it could be waterproof to some degree, but sadly, it isn’t. It also looks like there should be an integrated battery to make it truly wireless, but again, unfortunately there isn’t. There’s no Ethernet port either, which means you can only locate the camera within the bounds of your Wi-Fi network.
We found the magnet in the base to be rather weak, and the picture quality is somewhat glitchy and unnatural even at 1080p resolution.
The Ezviz Mini Plus is a discrete and diminutive IP camera that’s simple to install and easy to use. And while it looks like an entry-level model, it’s actually a step up from the Ezviz Mini and offers 1080p resolution, adjustable motion sensitivity and a microSD card slot. It’s really only missing motion zone adjustment and object recognition.
The picture quality suffers from poor contrast, but offers high detail levels with reasonable night vision. However, it’s a pity there’s no internal battery and no integration with Nest, SmartThings, or HomeKit.