DIY security camera systems typically fall in the “you get
what you pay for” school of thought, meaning the more expensive the better. It’s
a no-brainer that if you’re looking for a proper computer camera then Logitech
sits pretty high on the list by most consumers
recommendations, and in these uncertain times home surveillance seems to be
paramount for many smaller businesses or those just a bit more paranoid than
most. A DIY video system like the Logitech Alert 750i Indoor Master Security System sits roughly in the middle of performance
and value with only a few caveats, and is one of the easier ways to treat your
premises like a makeshift fortress.
For what feels like a basic system you do get an
assortment of stuff when you look inside the box. Contents include one indoor
network camera, two network (HomePlug) adapters, two flat ethernet cables, an
ethernet cable extender, and the mounting equipment such as a standard base,
wall/ceiling mounts, and window suction cups. That might sound like quite a lot
for a camera, but remember that it’s meant to be set just about anywhere in the
house. Also included in the package is the required “Alert Commander” software
that aids in monitoring and management.
The Alert 750i is network-based and takes advantage
of not just your router but any wall outlet thanks to its HomePlug adapters,
which are fed their power and data signals through the ethernet cables and into
the wall adapters and finally over the network itself (basically Power over
ethernet or “IEEE PoE”. This may sound complicated but the setup is rather
simple and eliminates unnecessary cords; just plug the main network adapter into
an electric outlet and then connect the supplied ethernet cable into the router.
Installing a camera takes pretty much the same approach, except the additional
adapter is linked to the device instead of the router, and aside from quickly
going through the software installer and letting it discover your camera(s)
that’s pretty much it.
Speaking of the Alert Commander software, it’s not
optional, as at least one computer needs to have it installed to get things
working. Fortunately, the process is simple and doesn’t take more than five
minutes to have everything up and running. From here you can instantly view
camera feeds (or up to 6 multiple feeds max.), adjust viewing angles, and make
small quality tweaks with brightness and contrast. But most important of all is
the ability to fine-tune its motion sensors for detection and alerts with
snapshots and recorded playback, you can even go as far as to assign activity
notifications within a specific area of the camera’s view.
Don’t worry about keeping the PC on as a 2GB micro
SD card inside the camera saves up to 2 weeks’ worth of footage by itself. When
the computer is turned on again everything the SD card picked will be
transferred into your HDD so you’ll never miss a beat.
If you insist on getting the most out of this
security camera you’ll at least want to at least mess around with the motion
detection because its sensitivity seemed unusually high that was triggered by
even the slightest breeze in the room, which for a surveillance camera is far
from being bad if you prefer it that way. If being totally on-guard is your
thing then you can keep an eye out remotely on any internet-connected computer
or Logitech’s own smartphone app (for Android/Blackberry/iOS), although you won’t be
able to do much besides view what’s currently being broadcasted. Luckily, you
can manage your security remotely without software if you opt for Logitech’s
annual subscription plan, but that piece of mind will cost you ($80/year).
As a general security camera the 750i is solid with
the ability to record high-definition forage at 720p at 15 frames per second
(720p15). The promised quality is definitely seen in locations with gracious
with consistent lighting, though it quickly diminishes
in darker and less well-lit areas. Sadly, adjusting the contrast does little to
correct this fault.
If you want some overall stealth then the 750i
might be a miss for many people unless you’re creative about where you place the
transmitter camera, as it’s too larger to be completely indiscrete. I was able
to set mine to great effect without disturbing my roommates, none of which
realized they were being recorded until I brought it to their attention.
Logitech recommends using the750i in protected areas, as up to six cameras total
can be set up on the master system and we’d like to tell you how the outdoor
cameras (750e) worked as they’re specifically made to handle harsher weather,
but our test unit did not include the additional cameras.
The Logitech Alert 750i Indoor Master System is a good choice for those seeking a budget-minded
security solution, but not much beyond that. Customization is fairly limited,
integration between other security units is non-existent, and email alerts are
the only notifications you’ll get if a break in or any other disasters befall
your home. To be fair, this is within the limits of most DIY surveillance
systems anyway so we can't fault Logitech's system for falling in line with the
rest of the pack. The larger-than-expected transmitter camera and 720p HD video
recording that requires copious lighting may restrict it to smaller business
locations and household protection, but given the generous online viewing
options and micro SD card internal storage, this monitoring solution delivers