Sunday, August 25, 2013

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What Improvements Have Been Made in the New D-Link Wireless Day/Night Network Cloud Camera 1150?

Thank you to D-Link for providing a complimentary product sample for us to base this review upon. All opinions expressed are my own.

We are a fairly technological family. I think we have nearly 20 connected devices throughout the house (or possibly more). I can honestly say that I am “online” every waking moment in some fashion or another. The fact that I work in IT and my wife is a blogger only compounds our networked lives.

We embrace much of the tech we use, but one technology stands out because it helps with our peace of mind. A few years ago we added a couple of D-Link network cameras in the house, primarily to keep an eye on the kids. Nothing beats the ability to watch them instead of jumping up and going to them when you have a concern. I can do so using any connected PC, most smartphones, and most tablets, so checking on them could not be easier. There are D-Link apps for both Android and iOS devices.

Recently I had the opportunity to add a new D-Link camera to our network. I was excited to try the D-Link Cloud Camera 1150, a newer version of the cameras we have in place, to see what new features and improvements were made.

The most significant new feature was the addition of an “Extender” mode. This feature enables the wireless camera to act as a wireless range extender for your network. Nice touch. Enabling Extender Mode could not have been easier, it was literally as easy as clicking a checkbox. Unfortunately, that was the only easy part of the set up!

In general, I have always had easy experiences setting up my D-Link devices, including the 2 networked cameras already installed in my home. But the D-Link Cloud Camera 1150 came with some unforeseen challenges.

The instructions are very easy to follow and the concepts are simple to understand. The problem came when the results of running the configuration wizard were not what was expected and not covered in the setup guide. The wizard was unable to find my wireless connection from my desktop computer, even though the camera was plugged directly into the wireless router. I thought maybe it needed to try its search from a computer that could connect wirelessly itself, like a laptop (I was right). I solved my first issue.

The problem, however, is that the wizard and instructions did not cover this or even suggest what I should do. When I review tech devices like these, I approach them from the point of view of a complete tech novice and judge from there. I always picture my mom trying to solve the problem. Well, to be frank, that first issue alone would have resulted in the camera being returned.

The second issue I had, was that once properly placed and connected wirelessly, I received an error trying to see the image. Now mind you, I already have older D-Link camera working perfectly. It turns out I needed to update my JRE (Java runtime environment). Easy enough for this IT guy to figure out, but what would my mother have done? Returned it.

Once connected and configured properly, the D-Link Cloud Camera 1150 is excellent. The images are sharper than the old cameras and it seems able to deliver better color in less lighting (the old cameras require bright lighting to show color). There are more options in the advanced setting page for more customization too. Overall it is a nice improvement over its predecessor, not to mention the wonderful new Extender feature.

Would I still recommend the D-Link Cloud Camera 1150 after my installation issues? Yes, with some caveats. It's a great camera for a decent price and it does exactly what you want it to. BUT, if you're not computer savvy, I would get some help setting it up, or at the very least be ready to phone into D-Link support to help you troubleshoot any issues that may arise.  This cloud camera also picks up audio, so it would be a nice alternative to the standard baby monitor.

To learn more about this and other D-Link products, visit