Six Key Indoor Camera Features
When we talk to our friends about smart home technology, everyone wants to discuss smart cameras. Which indoor camera features are most important? Which cameras are the best and most reliable? How much do I need to spend? And how do I make sure I’m not being watched myself?
With so many indoor cameras available and more launching everyday, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to choose the best one. In our testing over the years and we’ve learned there are six important indoor camera features to look for before you buy.
Most smart cameras for sale today record in 1080P resolution, generally the same you probably get from your HD television. You may still find some inexpensive cameras that record in 720P, which is still technically high-definition, but in our opinion, you definitely will appreciate the higher quality video, especially if you zoom in to try to make out the details in the picture – like identifying a person or to see an event.
There are a few cameras available now that record in 4K, which is even better, but for now, depending on what you are using it for, we aren’t sure that additional resolution is worth the extra cost, or the extra Internet bandwidth you will use recording and storing that video in the cloud. If you aren’t worried about how much you spend, we’d recommend you go ahead and buy a 4K camera now – you will definitely notice a difference.
If something happens in your home at night, you want to make sure you get a clear recording. That’s why it is critical to make sure your camera has good night vision capability.
Most indoor cameras today will include some level of motion detection. This is really important because you only want the camera to record when something happens, not 24/7.
Beyond simple motion detection, it is also important that you are able to adjust the camera sensitivity and the time of day settings, so you don’t wind up getting a lot of false alarm notifications every time the cat walks in, the light turns on or a fan blows in the room. Some of the latest cameras also offer artificial intelligence that can tell the difference between a person and an object to help further reduce false alarms.
Your indoor camera needs to have both a microphone and a speaker. You may not want to talk to the person or animal on the other end of the camera, but it’s nice to have that option. It’s also great to have a microphone so you are able to hear what happened as well as see the video.
It is great to watch video live on your phone and to see things as they are happening, but most of the time you will want the camera to record the events so you can review them later. Your indoor camera will need to have storage, either on the camera itself and/or in the cloud.
If you are sensitive about privacy, you may want to choose a camera with local storage only, so look for a camera that can store the recordings itself, either with internal memory or an SD card.
Many companies will charge you a monthly fee to store your recordings in the cloud, but you can select the plan based on where your camera is and how many days you need to be able to access the recordings. If you have several cameras, many of these plans have a maximum monthly charge no matter how many cameras you have.
Integration with Alexa (or Google Home)
Integration with Alexa (or Google Home). Most every smart device today works with Amazon Alexa and Google Home for voice control. But if you have an Amazon Echo Show or Show 5 with a display, you will want to make sure your camera also supports it. That way, you can easily say: “Alexa, show me the living room,” and see your camera video right there on the Show. Google also has products that support video as well with similar features.
When you are shopping for your camera, make sure that it has at least these six features. Beyond these six indoor camera features, you may have to pay a bit more for higher resolution, more sensitive motion detection, artificial intelligence or cloud storage, but you can adjust that based on where you put your camera and what you plan to select.