A solid, affordable and feature-rich home security solution
Nowadays it is not hard to find a good IP camera for the home, although finding a good one at a reasonable price may be slightly more of a challenge. While there is still a price chasm between the higher and lower quality options, there are companies like ANNKE who are looking to fill the void with feature-rich and competitively priced options. For example, the ANNKE I41CJ Two-Way IP Camera is one of the latest cameras to come from ANNKE, provides a HD recording quality, is app-accessible, and is available to buy for under $100. In fact, right now it is available to buy from as low as $55.
The ANNKE I41CJ Two-Way IP Camera is a system that employs a 2-megapixel camera and is capable of recording video in 1920 x 1080 resolution. 30fps is the maximum frame rate on offer and the system can pan and tilt 350-degrees horizontally, as well as a 100-degrees vertically. This is a night vision-enabled camera thanks to the inclusion of 6 infrared LEDs which offer an IR distance of up to 10 meters, and while files can be stored on a mobile device via the corresponding app, the ANNKE I41CJ Two-Way IP Camera does offer local storage by way of a microSD card slot which supports cards up to 64GB. The ANNKE I41CJ Two-Way IP Camera measures 6-inches by 4-inches by 9-inches and is available to buy in either a white or black color option.
In the box
Besides the actual ANNKE HD IP Camera, buyers can also expect to find an Ethernet cable, a USB to microUSB cable, a USB wall adapter plus, and a paper user manual. In addition to a mounting bracket, mounting screws and plugs.
Hardware & Design
The ANNKE I41CJ looks a lot like what you might expect from an indoor home security camera, although it does also seem to exhibit a slightly cuter look than most others. So instead of being as square as some of the other options currently are, the ANNKE I41CJ adopts more of a rounded disposition and in many ways looks a bit similar to a BB-8 toy with its larger rounded base topped off with a smaller rounded head. The actual unit seems to largely be a plastic-based product so while it is not necessarily the most durable of looking IP cameras, it does feel as though it is designed to last and withstand daily usage without issue. The rounded top piece is where the main camera is located and this is surrounded by a black frame which houses the 6 included LEDs (used for recording in night vision mode). The rounded head is positioned within a cradle which is what allows the head to move and swivel independently of the rest of the unit. Generally speaking there were no issues noted with this design with the head moving freely and uninhibited by the cradle. Likewise, there were no major issues noted with the noise heard during head movements which is something that can be an issue with some lower-priced alternatives.
From the front, the base of the unit is rather uneventful with just the company branding on show. This is a shallow base which does mean the head is more supported than what would be the case had the base been taller or for that matter, skinnier. The rear of the base is where you will find the major connection ports consisting of the mains power socket and an Ethernet socket. Here you will also find the microSD card slot as well as a reset button in case you ever need to reset the system quickly.
Overall the look and feel of the ANNKE I41CJ is one which places a slight focus on minimalism. This is of course something that is designed to be able to fit in to the background and not necessarily draw attention to itself, so the minimalist look is something to be expected. Although for those looking for more of a visible deterrent this is not by any means a tiny unit and if positioned in a way that it is designed to be noticed, it will be.
The setup process is fairly straightforward and simple. This is a product that largely relies on being connected to the corresponding Android or iOS app and once the app is downloaded, the app does guide you through the basic setting up procedure. So by following the on-screen instructions it is just a matter of turning on the camera, connecting via Ethernet for the first time, inputting the Wi-Fi credentials, syncing the device to the wireless internet and then you are good to disconnect the Ethernet cable and position the camera wherever it is needed.
While it really is a simple to setup device, once the initial setup is complete and the device is up and running, comes the time when you need to configure the system to your liking. At which point things are not quite as simple. The navigation of the app itself is pretty self-explanatory and straightforward, however there does not seem to be any real guidance offered by the app on how to do anything. As once the initial connection is established the app stops with the walk thru process and the user is left to work things out from there on their own. Likewise while there is a user manual included in the box, it too only covers the initial setup with little information on how to further customize the system, like for example setting up notifications, alerts alarms, and so on. For users who are more accustomed to navigating an app interface this won't prove to be too much of an issue, but it might for those who are less app-savvy. In either case once the unit is set up it will require a small amount of time and tinkering to ensure the system acts in accordance with expectation and more importantly customized to the specific needs of the individual user. It is better to get this out of the way as soon as possible as once the system is up and running, it works very well.
App & Performance
One of the biggest changes in the home security market is just how easy it is now to access home systems like this. Instead of being the passive units that security cameras once were, modern systems are now far more accessible and interactive and the ANNKE I41CJ is one of those systems. Although this system is able to work in a passive fashion for those just looking for a product that records what it sees to an inserted microSD card, it is also accessible via the web. However the easiest and best way to interact with the ANNKE I41CJ is through the app.
The app is super easy to use - one you know how to use it. As already noted the app is the easiest way to set the system up in the first place and once the system is up and running, it is simply a matter of opening the app and clicking on the small thumbnail image to see what is happening in real time.
It is worth noting that the thumbnail shown above is small on purpose as this is an app which can be connected to multiple units at the same time. So for those who want a camera in every room, they can do that with this system at which point much of that white space in the image above will be occupied by more small thumbnail images. All of which can be renamed to correspond with their purpose/location and accessible just by clicking on the relevant image. In terms of the quality of those images, this is HD on offer and so image clarity is pretty good and especially considering the price this unit is available for. Generally speaking the live feed is delayed by less than a second so movements that are seen are happening within an instant and there was never really any issues with the image stalling, lagging, or anything else. In fact, the general performance of launching the camera view was extremely good overall with the app working very well and always in sync with the camera. Likewise moving the camera is as simple as swiping in the direction you want the camera to move in. This also worked pretty well although there is a slight learning curve involved as there is a slight delay between swipe and action. Therefore, you have to get used to waiting momentarily after swiping for the camera to move, before swiping again to move again. Otherwise the system tries to respond to the multiple swipes and things become more complicated, quickly.
While the quality of the default picture is very good out of the box, this is a system that does allow for additional fine-tuning at any point and remotely through the app. With users able to adjust basic elements such as brightness, contrast, saturation, and sharpness, simply by swiping along the corresponding meter. Likewise, while in this part of the settings users are also able to switch between day and night mode just by clicking the desired option. Although by default the app is set to automatic and the camera will know when it is dark and switches automatically so you are always getting the best and clearest view. There was never a time when the system had to be manually set to the right day or night setting.
Speaking of which, the night mode is another aspect that works extremely well. As is often the case with more affordable options, the night mode is where units can suffer with the quality of the image shown diminishing greatly during darker periods. This was not the case though with the ANNKE I41CJ which seemed to perform equally as well at night as it did during the daylight hours.
In addition, zooming in on a specific part of the view was also very good. While there is the expected level of quality drop when zooming everything was still very clear and obvious, and even in night vision mode.
With this being an app-accessible system it also does offer a number of features you might not otherwise have access to. One of which is two-way audio where users are able to simply press the mic icon and then hold down a button that appears on-screen at which point they are able to talk with the audio outputted through the camera’s built-in microphone. This is another aspect which worked well with those in the room clearly able to hear audio coming through remotely from the app. Another app-related feature is the ability to receive notifications and overall this is a feature which works as to be expected. Users are able to easily switch notifications on or off, set times for notifications to be automatically enabled, as well as decide on whether an image or video should be recorded when something is spotted by the system. When the feature is live the motion-detection kicks in and each time something is registered the user receives a notification and if selected, a screenshot or video is recorded and stored locally on the device - mobile phone.
While this worked very well, if anything the sensitivity worked almost too well as the system does consistently pick up any movement it sees. So much so that even changes in light (for example a car passing by and the light momentarily entering the room) will be picked up by the motion detectors. So for those wondering whether the system is sensitive enough to pick up movement in the room, it certainly will, as it even picks up movement which is not strictly speaking, in the room. Which is where one of the criticisms could be made with this system or more specifically the software. As there doesn't seem to be anyway to remotely control the sensitivity level in general. If you live somewhere where there is often cars passing by and light often shines in to the room where the camera is located, then it is likely that you be receiving quite a few notifications. Although as this is a criticism more of the software than the actual hardware, this is likely something that could be introduced/changed at a later time via a software update.
The ability to adjust the level of sensitivity aside, the performance of the motion sensor is very good and one that can certainly be considered to be reliable. On occasion some of the automatically taken images can appear a little blurry due to the movement at the time of capturing, although this was very rare and generally speaking anyone or thing passing by was still captured to a good enough degree to be identified.
Those in the market for an IP camera do have quite the choice nowadays with a number of options available that cater to just about every price bracket imaginable. So finding a IP camera is no longer that difficult, irrespective of budget. However, not all IP cameras are the same and some that are lower priced can compromise a little on the quality or the user experience. Which does not seem to be the case with the ANNKE I41CJ as while this is clearly designed to be an affordable IP camera, it is also one which works extremely well. Yes, the instructions and setup are not as good as they could be, but once the system in in place, you are getting a very effective camera, with a good resolution, and at a very competitive price. At this price, the ANNKE I41CJ Two-Way IP Camera is an ideal solution for those looking for a way to watch their home while they are aware, their pets during the day, or any other reason that you might need a camera for.
Save with coupon
At present, the ANNKE I41CJ 1080P HD IP Camera is available to buy from Amazon priced at $59.99. Although those who buy through the official Annkesecurity website will be able save a little more by using coupon code Annke20i41cj - which will bring the price down to only $55.
Use coupon code: Annke20i41cj