The Vue wireless camera system we reviewed last year is unique, in that it's completely wireless and small, so you can hide it in cracks and check in occasionally. Now we've tried the iPhone client, and it works as expected.
$300 for the central wireless receiver and two cameras.
What's this thing actually for?
Avaak is in a weird position with this product, because they need to emphasize how good it is to check in and view your wireless cameras from anywhere in the world (via their website), seeing what's going on in your house with just a browser. However, the Vue is not meant to be used all the time.
Because it's tiny and wireless, the battery can only last so long—mine had to be replaced for the review—so you're only really supposed to watch it for about 5 minutes a day. Think of it not as a live webcam that's on all the time, but more like checking in for a few seconds at a time to make sure your door is closed, or your cat hasn't gotten out, or you shut off the stove.
How does the iPhone client work?
Well. It takes the simple user interface of the website and shaves off even more, leaving you with just a login screen, a camera selection screen and the camera screens themselves. Connecting is pretty quick, and once you're in, you can activate all the modes you can on the computer: night mode, recording and snapshot. Again, it's not meant to be streamed for hours on end, but if you want to show your friends what your bunny is currently doing right from your phone, it's kinda perfect.
$300 is kinda steep
Right, and that's the main issue. For something that's meant to be simple and mass market so that anyone can use it, the price is a bit high. The video quality is fairly low, and the wirelessness means you're not going to get a lot of video time out of it. However, the alternative is either setting up a computer and a webcam—which is more expensive—or getting an alternative video surveillance system—which is much harder to set up. But still, $300 is $300, and we'd be much happier seeing this down in the $200, $150 range, especially with this level of build/image quality and battery life.
If you're the type of person who needs quick and easy and wireless video streaming, it's not too bad. Just be prepared to change the batteries every few months. [Amazon]