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Belkin HD+ Camera

When you think of Belkin, products such as computer accessories and peripherals come to mind, right? The Belkin lineup also includes electronic gadgets for the home, including security cameras. Belkin’s Netcam HD+ Wi-Fi Camera with Glass Lens and Night Vision offers a Wi-Fi based security camera that can deliver 720p resolution. It can see in the dark, has a wide viewing area, can send you notifications when it detects motion and can even be used as a two-way intercom.

Tech Specs

– 3.37mm f2.4 lens
– 2MP 1/3.2” CMOS image sensor
– 802.11/g/b/n Wi-Fi
– H.264 Video Codec
– 1280 x 720, 640 x 360, 320 x 180 video resolutions
– 1280 x 720 (720p) still images
– Viewing Angle: Horizontal: 76°, Vertical: 57°, Diagonal: 95°
– IR Mode: Four IR LEDs, 850nm, IR-Cut, eight-meter illumination distance

Belkin Netcam HD+
[What’s in the box]

The Netcam HD+ comes with a wall-mounting bracket, screws, AC adapter and Quickstart Guide.

Design

Belkin’s Netcam HD+ design is simple, clean and compact, primarily composed of a plastic case (white front, gray back) that attaches to a metal base via an adjustable stand.

At the top of the camera are four infrared LED sensors. A microphone located near the bottom lets you communicate with the person you’re viewing through the camera.

Belkin Netcam HD+ Belkin Netcam HD+

Setup

Setup requires a smartphone and the capability of downloading Belkin’s Netcam App (for iOS and Android). Without this app, there’s no way to set up the camera. The camera’s back is where the setup magic happens. A small switch allows you to toggle between setup and operating modes. Setup is pretty straightforward: toggle the device switch up, follow the rest of the instructions, toggle down to begin operating.

There are three LED lights located below the switch, giving you the Netcam HD+ camera’s status. There’s also a power connector plus a connection spot for the adjustable stand.

Belkin Netcam HD+

Compared to other security cameras, Belkin’s Netcam HD+ lacks an Ethernet port (though that probably simplifies the installation process for most users). Chances are you’ll probably not run an Ethernet cable up to where you install the camera itself; as long as you’re using a secure Wi-Fi network you should be okay. You wouldn’t want people outside your Wi-Fi network having access to the camera!

Flick the switch on the back of the Belkin Netcam HD+ to the up position and wait while it reconfigures itself. It thens create a Wi-Fi Access Point to connect to, allowing you to pair it via the Netcam App which registers it with Belkin’s Cloud server as well as with your own home Wi-Fi network.

Once the app is done configuring the camera for you, flip the switch on the back of the camera to the down position. This will associate itself with your (hopefully secured!) Wi-Fi network.

Belkin Netcam HD+ Belkin Netcam HD+
The downside to the Belkin Netcam HD+ is lack of access to a local web interface. Previous Netcam series models offered access to the video stream via http:///goform/video but the undocumented admin:admin username/password doesn’t seem to work with this particular model.

This is unfortunate, because I like to view my IP Security cameras via their web interfaces. This feature also allows me to have my Synology NAS devices record video for me on an as-needed basis.

Belkin Netcam HD+ Belkin Netcam HD+

I’d like to be able to utilize one app for all the cameras I may need to access. I would also like to be able to configure the network settings for any device I attach to my home network, such as the IP. The Belkin Netcam App doesn’t allow for customized network settings. While not everyone requires more advanced features of network devices, I know a lot of people who do.

Test Drive

Out of the box, the Belkin Netcam HD+ is ready to go, though you may want to tweak the settings a bit depending on your preferences. I disabled Auto Adjust so that I could make use of the 25 frames per second as well as 1280 x 720 resolution options. I’ve noticed that the video feed (when viewed outside your local network via Belkin’s Cloud Services) can be a bit jittery. Lowering the quality should improve that.

Once you’ve set up the Netcam HD+ via the Netcam App you’re good to go. Just load up the app and login. Once logged in you’re presented with a list of Belkin cameras available.

Belkin Netcam HD+

I set the camera up in a couple of locations to see how it would perform based on available light and type of environment. I set it up in our kitchen pointing out a window to see how it would handle shooting through glass — not bad, though it has a hard time adjusting to bright sunlight.

I also tested it outdoors during a typically rainy Vancouver day (protecting the camera from getting wet); it worked nicely there too.

I then brought it into our kid’s room, above an existing IP Security Camera, in order to compare it to a camera that costs nearly half the price.

Belkin Netcam HD+ Belkin Netcam HD+

The top images are from the Belkin Netcam HD+, the bottom ones from a Foscam 640×480 IP security camera. Belkin Netcam HD+’s clarity blows the Foscam out of the water, though the Foscam is about $40 less and has more features than the Belkin. The only advantage the Belkin Netcam HD+ has over the Foscam is that its 720p video feed and glass lens outdoes the quality of this particular Foscam.

Belkin Netcam HD+ Belkin Netcam HD+

As mentioned previously, the video feed smoothness can take a bit of a hit when viewed from outside your home network. The bandwidth required to stream the video feed from your camera, through your Wi-Fi network out to the Belkin Cloud Servers and then to your location can make it a bit jittery.

By lowering the frame rate, quality and resolution, you can save a bit of bandwidth, creating a smoother result.

The video quality (my setup: 25 frames, 5 quality and 1280 x 720) is better than I actually had anticipated, even in night vision mode. When viewed locally, the video was for the most part free of jitter or ghosting. The night vision quality is higher on a security camera of this price range too.

Conclusion

Overall the Belkin Netcam HD+ lives up to what it claims to do. Out-of-the-box set up is easy. Being a fairly passive device, you can set up it in the location you want it and forget about it.

I personally don’t like that I’m unable to change network settings or view video feed from a locally accessible IP via a web browser, but for this camera’s target audience – those who want a quick and secure setup – it’s hassle-free.

Pros
– Clear 720p resolution
– Clear night vision
– Wi-Fi connectivity
– Quick and easy setup

Cons
– Can only access via smartphone App or Cloud-based (Belkin-hosted) system
– No local web interface
– Unable to manually change network settings

Belkin’s Netcam HD+ Wi-Fi Camera with Glass Lens and Night Vision retails for US $129.99 and is available online with free shipping. Best Buy Canada offers it for $139.99. Photos (with exception of top image) by Tyler Ingram.

About Our Contributor Tyler Ingram

Tyler Ingram

Currently a software engineer, Tyler (@TylerIngram) has worked with computers for over 30 years. Fascinated by the latest consumer gadgets, he’s always looking for the next exciting gizmo to play with and to recommend. A father of two, Tyler’s an avid photographer who loves capturing images of landscapes, wildlife, travel and people.

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