The Gadget: A wireless monitoring system called Vue that consists of one central gateway and two tiny battery-powered wall-mountable wireless cameras. They're meant to let you monitor your house from anywhere, as long as you have a network connection.
The Price: $300 for two cameras and four magnetic wall mounts
The Verdict: It works and it's easy. The three pieces are self-configuring, and all you need to set it up is to plug the main gateway into an Ethernet jack and the wireless cameras will all hook up seamlessly. Here's the video quality:
It's not bad, especially for a wireless video recording from such a small camera. It's on par with a mediocre webcam, and is definitely good enough for a "security" cam. It's nothing you want to use for actual webcamming, but it's great for seeing whether or not your kids are doing their homework.
There are a few other interesting features, like video sharing and video recording. Recording is obvious, but sharing works by inviting your friends to view either live streams or recorded clips. You and your friends interact with the system via the Vue website, which is accessible inside or outside your network. The batteries are supposed to last a year (they're not rechargeable), but you can buy replacement CR123 batteries. You turn on recording from the interface and there is scheduling.
So is this worth $300? Probably, depending on how much you need something like this. There are cheaper solutions like hooking up a webcam yourself to a computer and somehow routing that online so you can access it anywhere. This involves port forwarding and all kinds of more technical workarounds. So for ease of use, performance and convenience (it's wireless and reaches 300 feet), it's hard to beat the Vue. We only wish that, for $300, this would come with four wireless cameras instead of just two. Available later this summer. [VueZone]