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Review: Logitech Alert home security HD camera system
A review of a home security camera system may not immediately make sense for a travel site, but just because you are on the road, does not necessarily mean you can't keep an eye on what is going on with your home. We have looked at other camera systems in the past, but the new Logitech Alert is the first HD security system specifically designed to install yourself.
In this review, we'll take a closer look at their outdoor master system. The Alert 750e master system consists of a rugged and waterproof HD camera, a powerline transmitter and receiver and an assortment of accessories and cables.
Installing the camera system is a breeze - you place the camera where you want, then connect it to the outdoor powerline transmitter. This obviously means you will need a power outlet outside, or you'll need to find a way to route the cable inside.
Then, you plug the powerline receiver into an outlet, and hook it up to your home router or modem. The best part of a powerline solution is that you do not need to pull Ethernet cables to the camera.
To get the whole setup working, you then install the Logitech Alert software, and provide a few pieces of information. From start to finish, I had the system up and running in about 15 minutes.
The biggest selling point of the camera is its video quality - and it really is something amazing. The camera monitors your home in HD video, using a wide angle lens. At night, the system switches to night vision, which is powerful enough to monitor a dark driveway for about 45 feet.
The camera includes a variety of mounting materials, and a screwdriver is all you need to attach it. A rubber cover protects the screws from the elements. The camera itself is very rugged - with a strong metal housing and waterproof cover for the cable and memory card.
Behind the rear cover is the connector for its power/communication cable and the MicroSD memory card slot. This memory card is used to record video when motion is detected. The camera comes with a 2GB card, but you can expand that with any card you want (up to 32GB). Recordings are stored on the camera, or in the desktop software package (more on that in a moment).
The Logitech Alert Commander is where you can view live video, configure settings or monitor multiple cameras (if you add more than one). Video is very smooth and the application is simple to use.
Inside the Alert Commander, you can configure how motion detection is used - it can monitor the entire area, or you can draw your own zone. This is handy if you have parts of an image you don't want to monitor, or if part of the screen has things that move on their own (like a tree).
Inside the app, you can also view recordings. Since the camera only stores 2GB, you can tell the application to copy camera based video to your PC for archiving. If you are worried about crime in your area, having a place to store video could come in handy, as long as your computer isn't stolen in the process.
Now, none of this is especially interesting for travelers - so Logitech also allows you to access your camera using the web or a mobile application. Almost every feature of the desktop based commander can also be accessed inside your web browser - anywhere in the world.
The alerting option can send you an email when motion is detected - and it can include a snapshot of the recording, along with a time stamp.
Mobile applications are available for the iPhone, Blackberry or Android devices. These apps are all free of charge. Included with every Logitech Alert package is free remote viewing. If you want access to remote or web playback of recordings, you'll need to upgrade to the Web and Mobile Commander version for $79.99/year.
Night mode is probably one of the most impressive features of the Logitech Alert - as soon as daylight is gone, the camera automatically switches to this mode. With an array of infra-red lights and a sensitive camera sensor, even the darkest of porches will be perfectly viewable.
The Logitech Alert system comes in two versions - indoor and outdoor. Both systems include one camera and the powerline receiver. The indoor package costs $299.99 and the outdoor package costs $349.99. Additional cameras can be added without the need for extra powerline receivers - an extra indoor camera is $229.99 and the additional outdoor camera is $279.99.
The travel related uses for this system are endless - you can use it to monitor for packages, record suspicious activity or even watch your child(ren) play in the back yard. Image quality is the best I have ever seen for any consumer camera system, and the installation is a breeze.
To learn more about the Logitech Alert system or to place an order, head on over to the Alert product pages.
Filed under: Gadling Gear Review