Time For a Baby Monitor Upgrade.
Hey folks! You’ll remember that not long ago we wrote you all about our positive experience with Foscam IP Cameras as a baby monitor and home security camera. You may also remember that, paired with the right app, this solution is, in our opinion, by far the best and most economical way to keep tabs on slumbering babies. You grab a camera, you take the phone/tablet you already carry around with you, some finagling, and you are up and running. We could not recommend it highly enough. Admittedly, our cameras were old tech, and were were due for an upgrade.
Enter the Amcrest IP2M-841B.
This model is similar in body and features to our older cameras, albeit a bit more compact. With Pan and tilt, two way audio, infrared for night viewing, ethernet and wifi, it has all the things we were used to.
At 1080p from 720p resolution, however, this was a noticeable, clear upgrade. All the little details are distinct, so it’s much easier to see facial expressions of babies when they are stirring or playing and decide whether intervention might prevent the one of those dreaded midnight meltdowns. tinyCam Pro (andriod) and the Baby Monitor for IP Camera (iOS) functionality is essentially the same, only that the new Amcrest does digital zoom, which is a nice touch with the higher resolution. Colors are brighter, IR night-vision is stronger, it has a wider lens, and audio talkback is significantly more loud and clear. The camera watermarks video and image with a timestamp, which is quite helpful for scanning through security footage, as well as the Amcrest logo, which I kind of think I like.
Better Hardware, Better Accessories.
On the hardware side, the Amcrest IP2M-841B IP Camera is packed with a swivel mount so you can fasten the camera to the wall or ceiling for better baby monitoring angles. We find the extra tilt helps aim the baby monitor down from the top of an armoire or dresser. I like that this unit’s DC adapter is a standard USB plug – I respect that Amcrest adopted a standard such as this, and believe that it will allow alternative deployment options. I was also pleased that the power cable was so long. No PoE (Power over Ethernet) – it would have been a bonus, but we weren’t actually hoping for this.
Drawbacks? Very Few…
There is not a whole lot of bad I can say about this IP Camera. I have found an occasional lag: the baby monitor stream halts, then compensates by dropping some frames. It makes for some ghostly “found footage” effects. It doesn’t help that the IP2M-841B does not have an external antenna – coupled with this drawback, the fact that we run at least two streams at any given time in our household, I am pretty tolerant of this issue.
I also had an issue with network addressing. After determining the IP address of the camera, entering it into my baby monitor app, the address seems to change every few days, and the connection goes offline. I had to add a static connection on my router – not something everyone knows how to do – and not something every router can do.
You can log in to the IP Camera’s web very fancy web interface to access a wide swathe of settings, with one hangup: streaming simply does not work. I installed the recommended extension, googled and installed more plugins, but the stream will not start. Amcrest makes it clear that this interface is a work in progress, but without the stream, the interface is not entirely useful, so Amcrest, we are waiting on that.
I’d like to repeat a security warning from the past post: don’t let your IP cameras be accessed from outside your network. Turn off UPNP and change all default passwords! I cannot stress this strongly enough!
All in all, this was a great upgrade with very minor complaints. This device was a complimentary gift from Amcrest for review, an arrangement, it turns out, that we are more than happy with!