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 the goods.