The topic of “Smart Home” continues to be a major focus this year, and today we get to talk about another wireless camera solution that falls into this category, this time focusing on Annke’s latest “Nova S 1080P HD WiFi Security Camera“, which came out toward the tail-end of last year (2017).
This is the first time we have sat down with something from Annke, and it isn’t a bad start to things. Just like Foscam, Blink, Ring and other security solutions, Annke has a line of products specializing in video solutions for your home and office, covering everything from wired POE to wireless like the model we are looking at now (Nova S). They feature pricing that ranges somewhere between an average to pretty affordable depending on the product, and the Nova S here, would fall into the affordable deal range for sure.
Annke also has their own cloud service like most companies, that saves all of the camera’s recorded media on that can be accessed via their app. That way you can check in on yours cameras from anywhere in the world as long as you have a data connection for your mobile device.
Installation and setup is a breeze. Nova S is quite similar to a drop-cam (style) solution that needs nothing more than an outlet to plug into, and a wireless network to join. It features an all-plastic body that attaches to a flat base that can be swiveled around to obtain whatever angle of a shot you need. You can lay it flat somewhere, slap it against any metal surface a magnet would stick to, or use the included metal plate to create your own location to mount it magnetically to. The optional plate can be screwed onto a surface, or you can use one of the few pieces of double-sided (sticky) foam it comes with to secure it to a surface with. Just make sure there is an outlet nearby, and you are ready to move forward.
It is pretty small in size, making it easy to find a place to anchor it to. The ability to swivel around on its base helps a lot as well when it comes to getting the perfect angle as well. Once you have found an outlet to slap it into, you move on by downloading the “Annke Nova” app to your mobile device from the iOS or Android store.
Opening the app for the first time, it will ask you to register an Annke account. It will then ask you to make sure your phone is connected to your WiFi, and to then scan the barcode on the bottom of the camera’s base. After holding your phone next to the camera within a few inches, it will eventually connect to the network and then ask you to enter the passcode for the camera (this is located under the camera on the base)–you can change this to something of your own choosing later on if you like. You can even setup fingerprint login (if your phone or device has a built-in reader) so that you can log into the camera each time from the app using nothing but your fingerprint.
Once the camera is finished setting up, you are already able to log right into it to view the image live. With a delay of less than half a second (we do have a pretty solid network here which helps a lot with things like this), we found the image to be pretty good. Also, frames per second can climb as high as 30, which also helps a lot (assuming your network can handle it).
From here, you can browse around the app to configure the camera further to your liking. You can enable/disable audio, enable/disable the status light on the front, or enable/disable the IR light for night vision in low-light conditions (something you typically want to disable if it is kept inside and close to glass, such as right up against a window–else this will help you see in the dark if turned on, when simply viewing an open space). You can modify the time/date information, WiFi network as well as alarm notifications. The latter of the options is where you can enable the option to get notifications from the app when motion is detected. You can also set a schedule for motion alerts as well as sensitivity. At the moment, there doesn’t seem to be any options for adjusting motion zones of any kind, so anything within the camera’s frame will/might trigger detection.
The camera features a 1080p view with a 115-degree FOV (field of view), and the image quality lands it pretty similar to other cameras/devices within its specs. In the image above, the left-most image is the Nova S (1080p), the middle is the Ring Pro Video Doorbell (1080p), and the far right is a Foscam C1 (720p) so that you can compare it to a 720p image source. It competes quite well with the Ring Pro, although it obviously lacks the FOV of the Ring (which is normal for most wireless security cameras).
It does fall a little in performance when you have the sun facing it directly, causing the image to blot or wash out a lot. However, this does happen with most of the cameras on the market. You can see this in the sample footage above. Also, night vision via IR (infrared) seems to work decently well, providing an average if not slightly better than average performance (also seen above in the footage).
Annke offers their cloud service for viewing previous videos that have been recorded. They give you two different options to choose from, including a basic package that saves all videos going back 7 days, and a pro package that extends this to 30 days. The prices aren’t as competitive as companies like Ring ($3/month or $30/year), as the basic is $5.99/month (or $59.99/yr) and pro $10.99 ($109.99/yr). However, Ring’s is per camera or $9.99/month for unlimited, so if the prices above reflect “all cameras” and not per camera, then this changes to an average expectation. You do get a free 30-day trial when you first register with an account, allowing you to test the waters before you make a decision.
The camera will work on it’s own though, thus the cloud service isn’t required thankfully. You also have the option of inserting a microSD card into the camera (up to 128GB) to store videos to. Having up to 128GB allows you to store plenty of videos since the camera compresses the videos down pretty good. Also, regardless of the decision, you can always live view the camera and manually record images and video via the app, straight to your mobile device. Sadly, it doesn’t offer any other external solution outside of their cloud service, so no FTP options or other alternatives for storage.
The Nova S is also compatible with Amazon Echo Show, allowing you to access the camera from your echo device. It also supports IFTTT so that you can create scenes to triggers lights and more inside your smart home.
We did find that it drops wireless at times while it was being tested at about 35ft from nearest node/repeater in the network. So the WiFi antenna inside isn’t the best on the market. This got a little annoying at times causing them to move the camera around or set up a temporary node to bring the network that much closer. At 35 ft though, it should have performed better than that.
Inside the box, along with the camera, you get a lengthy micro-USB to USB cable, a wall adapter, a metal mount, two double-sided stickers for the mount, and the instruction manual. Physically, you have everything you need to get started unless you plan on screwing the mount to a surface (then you would need the screws). That last part is a minor sacrifice.
The camera results in a good image, both day and at night, except for then then sun is feeding directly into it (although a lot cameras have issues with that). Night vision allows you to see a good distance and allows you to see facial details when a subject walks up close to the camera. The fingerprint option (if your mobile device has a reader) is a great way to secure access to the application, and not locking you 100% to the cloud storage is a big deal. As long as the price for the cloud service is for all cameras associated to the account and not per camera, then the price is average and nothing to frown at. The connectivity issue at 35 ft was really one of our biggest complaints which limits those with bigger homes or offices that don’t have a perfectly spread out network (which we typically don’t have any troubles where it was tested). That, and the fact that there aren’t any zone options for motion control, which could help eliminate false positives like vehicle traffic on nearby streets if pointing outside. Beyond that, for only $69.99, it competes well with other cameras within its range, and the motion issues can be resolved most likely with future enhancements to the app. It still resulted in an excellent score from us.
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*Average price is based on the time this article was published
|H:80°; V:45°; D:92°
|Built-in microphone and speaker
|Image frame rate
|Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Sharpness
|White balance, BLC
|6 infrared LEDs,, IR distance: 10meters
|2.4G WIFI(IEEE802.11b/g/n),Built in PCB board 2DB antenna
|TCP/IP, UDP/IP, HTTP, DHCP, RTMP, MUTP
|Static IP address and dynamic IP address
|Support connecting RF devices
|Snapshot, audio/video record
|Real-time App push notifications
|DC 5V / 2A(Europen,UK,USA type for option) power consumption ? 7W
|A reset hole
|Micro SD(Max 64GB)
|-10° ~ 55°C (14°F ~ 131°F)
|10% ~ 80% (No condensation)
|-10°C ~ 60° (14°F ~ 140°F)
|0% ~ 90%(No condensation)
|White and black
Are you a manufacturer or distributor that would like us to test something out for review? Contact us and we can let you know where to send the product and we will try it out.