Update: The below review is for historical purposes only. As of late 2023, the VAVA Cam Pro and related cloud services are no longer supported by the company. So the product should be avoided if you are looking for a new camera solution. For current users, you can still use it as a “save to SD and review later” solution, but there is no way to view the cameras live from your phone since the services are offline. For those looking for a solution that has a longer shelf-life, you should consider localized DVR solutions that do not depend upon cloud services or anything else hosted on the company’s end.
Protecting your home from unwanted guests and vandalism is important, and catching everything on camera before or as it happens can be your first line of defense that can help lead to thwarting these acts from ever happening. So it is important that you choose a system that is going to properly work for you. The resolution, remote access, and other important features play a role in defining what is good and what is worthless.
This round, we have been testing VAVA’s Home Cam Pro, a 1080p wireless home security camera that can be used either indoors or outside to do just this. It features a magnet mount solution that has been growing ever so popular with consumers, along with one of the most important selling points of an expensive camera: free video storage (because who wants to pay monthly to access a system they just finished spending hundreds of dollars to build?
The camera features a ball design with a glossy appearance and a magnet on the back that allows it to easily be attached to its mount by simply slapping it on there–also allow you to easily pop it right back off for a recharge when needed.
There is an on-board microphone so that you can record the audio of the environment, as well as a speaker so that you can communicate two-way with it if needed, or sound an alarm to ward someone away. There is a USB port hidden behind a very well-sealed rubber hatch for charging it with and a user-friendly sync button.
You can mount it either by the magnetic mount or via a threaded wall adapter for a more permanent and resilient installation. Of course, the magnetic mount is the popular way to go since it is so easy to add or remove the camera from it. It should also be able to withstand a bit of abuse from things like wind. However, some may prefer (if installing it outside) to use the threaded mount just to be safe.
For inside the home, there should be no reason not to use the magnetic mount since there isn’t anything in the environment to challenge it (unless you have a pesky cat that just loves attacking everything in sight).
The camera communicates wirelessly with a wired hub that you’d place somewhere inside your home where it can connect directly to your router via Ethernet. The hub does all of the recording internally so all the camera is doing is detecting motion and then streaming video or images to the hub. This also helps to take the load off of the camera and preserve battery life.
It is pretty straight forward when it comes to setup. It takes either an SD card or USB source for storage and doesn’t take much capacity to get things done with. It even comes with an 8GB card, which appears to work out just fine as a 30 second recorded video is only about 3-4MB in size.
It does require that wired Ethernet connection at the hub, but this is a good thing for adding a little extra reliability to the system. The backside has both a sync and reset button for easily adding your camera(s) to it, or sending things back to factory settings.
So it is easy to mount, it is easy to set up, and it has its own app to configure and access everything remotely with.
The app is pretty straight forward as well. The simple instructions get you started and the app walks you the rest of the way. The options within the app won’t take a lot of guesswork and offer you most of your common and popular features in modern cameras, like motion detection, human detection (to weed out captures cars and everything else passing by), scheduling, and so much more.
The ability to remote view the camera and answer motion notifications feels pretty reliable. The initial connection to the camera starts off with a low resolution and makes its way to the best resolution it can find for its connection. This helps you connect quicker than waiting for a proper 1080p stream to begin.
You can browse your history of captured content and download videos to your phone, or record them (or images) instantly from the live view.
So you pretty much get everything you’d want in a security camera, without having to pay monthly for the ability to access your videos since everything is being stored locally. Of course, they do offer cloud access as well if you so choose to go that route. You get a short trial in the beginning and then you will be faced with a monthly fee. Thankfully, this is only if you choose to go that route since an SD card really can deliver a lot of information. Cloud options simply help by storing that information off-site.
Grabbing the videos from the mobile app is the only way to access them since the files it saves to storage are encrypted. They promise “bank-level” encryption to help protect your data. This is also why you can only access/download the videos from the app. If you stick the SD card into your PC and try to access the files directly, you won’t be able to do anything with the files you see.
The image quality is fantastic and it yields a 110-degree view, which should work for most everyone. Battery life seems to be pretty good. We’ll know more once we have been using it for a long period of time, but so far, despite all of our testing, the camera still shows full bars within the app.
They promise enhanced night vision, and this does seem to be the case as the camera looks great and can still pick out a lot of faraway details. You can see all of this and more within the unboxing/demonstration video down below our conclusion.
It is also IP66 rated for water protection, which means it should be able to last through just about any normal weather when it comes to rain, snow, or dust.
One of the only things we could really find to complain about was that the video doesn’t always kick in and start recording for a number of seconds. So you can miss a lot of the initial motion that led to the camera noticing something is going on. This could be because of how high we mounted it in our demo of it, or this could have to do with the camera waking out of deep sleep to help preserve battery life with. Regardless, if a car is driving by, the video may likely start to the recording once it is half-way across the screen. This includes people walking around and more. There just seems to be a noticeable delay when it actually kicks in, which can possibly lose valuable video content depending on what is happening.
Update 10/2020: We have also determined that the battery life only lasts around 3-5 weeks on average with normal use, as stated by their listing as up to 15 videos a day (we saw an average of 5-10 videos a day, some days with less since our test scenario is capturing at a distance, therefore it isn’t as sensitive). This did affect the score causing it to lower some. All other points of the review continue to stand strong.
Thankfully, everything else is working pretty well for the camera. We’ll make sure to update if we learn anything new, but so far, we like it. Video quality is really nice, the feature-set is spot on, remote access seems reliable and quick, and the ability to record everything to an SD and not have to pay monthly to access any of it is one of its top-selling points. It just needs to work on capturing more of the initial content that triggered the motion so that nothing is missed in the recording.
With our update on battery life, the score fell some, but it still stands strong as a good camera solution.
*Average price is based on the time this article was published
f / 2.0
|2 x 850nm Infrared Light
Effective Range: 7m / 23.0ft
|Detection Angle 110°
Effective Range: 7m / 23.0ft
|5000mAh Polymer Battery
|?4mW (in Standyby Mode)
|5V / 1.8A-2A
Effective Range 200m / 656.17ft (empty space)
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