Y-cam HomeMonitor review

Y-cam HomeMonitor

Y-Cam’s HomeMonitor is a wireless IP camera that, combined with an iPhone/iPad app, lets you keep an eye on your home or business while you’re away. Recording is automatically triggered when someone enters the room, and you’ll receive an email alert. See Security Advisor.

The Y-cam HomeMonitor also records audio, with the IP camera picking up noises and voices from inside the room. 

Various uses include catching burglars, baby monitoring, and keeping an eye on children or cleaners. This IP camera could even let you find out what the cat gets up to when it’s home alone.

The HomeMonitor camera is small and square (85x85mm), with 30 infrared LEDs on the front, plus a status LED and a microphone. A small Wi-Fi antenna is at the top. It’s small enough to not stand out, but wouldn’t go unnoticed by a visitor, especially with its red LEDs glowing at night and the audible click when recording is triggered.

The recorded footage is uploaded to the cloud, so tampering with the device won’t help Burglar Bill get off. You can then stream the video from a PC or via the mobile app, although the desktop software offers more advanced functionality. See also: How to stream music and video to your iPad.

Setting up the Y-cam HomeMonitor is simple. You connect it to a router via ethernet, then access the web interface to register the camera and add an email address for intrusion alerts. Thereafter the IP camera will operate wirelessly, and its long power cable means you can position it anywhere you like.

Adjusting the camera’s sensitivity is useful if you don’t want to receive an email alert every time a piece of dust falls in the room. We turned down the HomeMonitor's sensitivity and selected areas to monitor, such as doorways. You can draw marquees around two areas for monitoring, but avoid windows as outdoor movement can trigger recording.

It’s worth configuring the Y-cam to monitor your home at only predefined times, such as at night or after you’ve gone to work. Leaving it on continuously can cause you to exceed your online storage allowance: although Y-cam claims to store one week’s footage in the cloud, by leaving the HomeMonitor switched on we ran out of storage after only a few days. If you’re going on holiday, extra storage costs £30 per year.

We’d like to be able to turn on the HomeMonitor from the mobile app, but found only a grey box where the video should have been. It worked some of the time, but not every time. There’s also more latency in the live view when streamed to mobile devices - 30 seconds, compared with five seconds to a PC. 

The IP camera records relatively lo-res (640x480) video at up to 30fps. It provided good-quality video and audio both at day and night. You’ll get a remarkably clear image at night up to about 15m away.

The framerate automatically adjusts to the available bandwidth, and H.264 compression allows streaming over lower-bandwidth connections. Your web connection needs to support at least 128kbps upload speed; since most UK broadband connections exceed 256kbps this shouldn’t be an issue.

Y-cam HomeMonitor: Specs

  • IP camera
  • 0.3Mp (640x480)
  • 1/4in CMOS sensor
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • 30x LEDs for IR night vision
  • H.264 (Mpeg4) video recording
  • mic
  • 10/100 ethernet port and cable
  • 12V 3.75W adaptor
  • 85x85x30mm
  • 150g
  • IP camera
  • 0.3Mp (640x480)
  • 1/4in CMOS sensor
  • 802.11b/g/n
  • 30x LEDs for IR night vision
  • H.264 (Mpeg4) video recording
  • mic
  • 10/100 ethernet port and cable
  • 12V 3.75W adaptor
  • 85x85x30mm
  • 150g

SHOULD I BUY Y-CAM HOMEMONITOR?

Y-cam’s HomeMonitor is easy to set up and its online storage removes the need for tapes and hard drives. Video isn’t entirely smooth and detailed, but it should be sufficient for most people’s needs.