DoorCam2 is the new version of the over-the-door smart security camera from remo+. Back in 2018 AH reviewed their initial plug and play camera called DoorCam.
We are all shopping a lot online these days in the COVID-19 era. At the same time, we see lots of interesting and terrible things happen with our purchases. These range from downright theft to mishandling by the delivery drivers. The rise in online shopping, coupled with the issues related to the delivery of goods has led to a sudden bump in the popularity of door security devices.
Remo+ is trying to carve out a niche for themselves in the door security device arena. The DoorCam2 has a lot of upgrades over the first generation DoorCam. Most of the upgrades improve the overall functionality and versatility of this smart security camera.
In this review, we will look at all the new upgrades in the new DoorCam2. But before that let's do the unboxing first.
Unboxing the DoorCam2
Probably the most impressive part of the unboxing experience is the packaging design. Some very creative engineering went into creating the cardboard insert to house all the components in a compact form while protecting them during shipping. But I digress, so let's see what's actually inside the box.
Inside the box you will find the DoorCam 2, a Quick Start Manual, a Protected by Remo+ sticker, three D-Cell batteries, 2 types of screws and a hex wrench.
DoorCam2 consists of a 1/2.8-inch Color CMOS sensor with a 160-degree viewing angle. The camera supports Full HD (1920 x 1080), HD (1280 x 720), and VGA (640 x 480) resolutions with 30 fps maximum. Additionally, the remo+ DoorCam2 has a built-in mic and speaker for two-way audio and IR Night Vision with visibility of up to 3 meters. The app supports Android version 5 and above with support for phone and tablet. For those wanting this to use on Apple devices, the app also supports iPhone and iPad running iOS 11 and above.
The dimensions have changed slightly this time around. DoorCam2 body measures 5.2-inches by 1.7-inches by 5.3-inches, while the camera portion measures in at 6.4-inches by 2.6-inches by 2.5-inches. The weight is 1.2 lbs and is IPX4 with an operating temperature range of 0°F to 122°F.
Hardware & Design
DoorCam2 just like the previous version will surprise you with its size. Keep in mind that the smaller module housing the camera and sensors will be on the outside. The rear half of the camera housing the batteries, Wi-Fi antenna, and control module will be on the inside. Since the antenna is inside the home it helps with increased Wi-Fi connectivity, specifically with metal doors.
It is still an easy-to-install, easy-to-use smart door camera. The first-generation device was only for push-to-enter doors. DoorCam2 can be used with either push or pull to enter doors and even swing doors. The antenna is now outside of the device providing a stronger signal and better connectivity. Another improvement is in the camera resolution area which has been bumped up from 720p to 1080p (Full HD) with improved night vision. Motion detection gets improved with faster detection speeds and video sensing. DoorCam2 has two Passive Infrared (PIR) detectors in place of one in the first generation. Weatherproof rating has been bumped up from IPX2 to IPX4.
Improvements also include the ability to power the device via battery or USB and a stronger signal Wi-Fi chipset. To round out the list of improvements is free 3-day rolling cloud backup.
Overall the construction quality is quite robust and ergonomic. No sharp corners or edges, no creaks or squeaks, and the surface is a non-slippery matte finish. Best of all the price of the DoorCam2 remains unchanged at $199 per unit compared to DoorCam along with the host of improvements listed above.
Getting the DoorCam2 setup and installed is fairly easy and quick. Just slide the bracket over your door, that's it.
The quick start guide shows compatibility with various door types so double-check clearances before installation. There might be a possibility of mounting the unit off-center depending on the type of your door. No wires of any kind anywhere give it a clean look. This is presuming that you want to run the unit on battery power alone.
Now since this camera is an over-the-door type, it needs to be borne in mind that all video is captured from an elevated position. So unlike a peephole camera, you will not be seeing the subject at eye-level. This is not a deal-breaker since most doorbell cameras look at the subject from waist height so in the overall scheme of this I think this issue is a wash. But overall installation is far easier than a doorbell camera or a peephole camera. One thing to remember prior to installing this camera is that if you have a screen door it may not close completely and it will block the view of the camera.
As you can see from the pictures, I placed the camera on my metal front door. Installation was easy. First, I put the DoorCam 2 over the door and adjusted the bracket for the door’s thickness. Then I proceeded to install it per the manufacturer's instruction with the included screws. I also used tape over the bracket to prevent any scratches on the door frame. Since I have a solid door without any glass opening, I decided to keep the camera in the middle of the door.
DoorCam2 remained in place and did not move despite the door being slammed shut repeatedly throughout the day. Ah, the joys of young kids banging doors shut. Again, your particular situation may be slightly different than my experience with the installation and setup.
Setting up the remo+ App
Setup process is a breeze and takes a few minutes without running into any major hiccups. As soon as the unit has power (battery or USB) the Wi-Fi signal starts broadcasting. Open the Wi-Fi settings on your smartphone or tablet, download the appropriate version of the app (Android or iOS) and then use the app to connect the DoorCam2 to your Wi-Fi network. As soon as the DoorCam2 is connected to your Wi-Fi signal it is good to go. In my particular case, from start to finish this took less than 5 minutes on my Pixel 4XL.
The following steps happened in sequential order – downloading the app, creating an account, linking the unit to my home Wi-Fi network, and patching the device with the latest firmware. Definitely a very fast and painless process indeed. One thing to note is that when setting up the device the first time, make sure to select DoorCam2 in the app. If by mistake you select the older version DoorCam, you will get an error.
DoorCam2 allows 5 viewers per account and also you can have 5 devices activated per account. So if you have more than 5 camera units or more than 5 family members wanting to view the activity then this might be a problem.
DoorCam2 day-to-day performance is excellent
I was curious about its performance as the setup was probably one of the easiest things ever. Here are my observations after having used this home security device for over a week. As soon as the camera detects someone it starts recording a short clip. The video quality along with the audio quality is extremely good.
My front door faces the street and there were no issues with the reliability of the motion detection from cars driving by or neighbors out for a walk. I did not encounter any false motion detection notifications.
Notifications on the app are pretty much instantaneous. However, if you open and close the door multiple times in a short time interval, notifications will stack up quickly.
Once you see the notification pop up on your phone you can tap it to launch the Live View with the talk options. Tap the TALK (green button) icon and you can activate the two-way audio feature to speak to the person on the other side of the door. I tested this feature on Wi-Fi and cellular data while chatting with the person at the door without issues. The audio quality was surprisingly quite reasonable as far as communicating with the delivery person.
The remo+ app is basic but works very well. It doesn't require too many steps to figure out the inner workings of the DoorCam2 operation. Once you are set up your account and are signed into the app it is quite easy to control the device. As soon as you tap a notification – live or at a later time – it brings you to the main page which shows a listing of all motion detections along with the respective video clip. With the newer DoorCam2, remo+ has included free 3-day cloud storage for accessing older video clips. It would be nice if remo+ would allow you to access your account via a desktop browser.
Tapping the top left corner brings up the menu. This includes links to devices, user account, as well as details on who has access to the camera. The app can connect to the various devices from remo+ and there are dedicated app pages for each device. Clicking on the Devices tab brings me to my DoorCam2 page. That tab shows battery life, as well as settings for video quality, notifications, night mode, speaker volume, and motion sensor. Unlike the previous generation, this version of the app has a Start Live View button in the settings and on the main page of the app.
The app now has a separate setting for each motion sensor. In my use case, I left them both on the medium setting. If you get a lot of false motion detection notifications you can adjust these individually till you get satisfactory results.
One thing I did wish for was a feature to pause notifications for a fixed period of time. In cases when you know that there are going to be repeated motion detections, such as loading the car for a trip or unloading the car after a Costco outing, the notifications can get annoying. There is, however, the ability to regulate the frequency of push notifications. You can also turn them off completely but then you need to remember to run them back on.
Slamming the door causes the first second of the video to be a bit fuzzy. Other than that I did not encounter any issues. Daylight screengrabs show a reasonable amount of detail and clarity, the audio quality in the video is great as well.
Nighttime video is black and white but still provides decent clarity. See the picture below for a neighborhood cat roaming our front yard at 3 AM.
One word would describe the installation and day-to-day use of this device – simple. But that does not mean that the app doesn't provide enough granular level control for the device. In summary, remo+ DoorCam2 is an excellent smart security camera.
Should you consider DoorCam2 from remo+ for your home?
DoorCam2 is an excellent plug and play security camera. Whether you are a renter or a homeowner this is an easy-to-install product. Best of all there are no wires to mess with. The setup and operation are easily done in less than 15 minutes from start to finish.
Overall performance is great in terms of notifications, video, and audio quality. False motion detections are a non-issue with this newer DoorCam2. Build quality is quite robust and the device has IPX4 weatherproof rating.
There are a couple of minor issues such as the elevated mounting position and occasional fuzzy video for the first second. Other than that this is a very reliable over-the-frame door security camera.
Aside from these minor quirks, the remo+ DoorCam2 is a door security camera that should be on your shortlist.