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Smart Home

New Ezviz camera boasts a high IQ for a low price

The affordable new Ezviz Mini IQ camera hopes to integrate with more smart home tech than ever.

Ezviz

One of the most interesting indoor cameras at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week is the Ezviz Mini IQ. At $140, and going on sale sometime after May, the Mini IQ boasts some impressive specs, including 1080p HD resolution, two-way audio and more.

Ezviz -- known for its consummately affordable Ezviz Mini -- is also mixing up its strategy by integrating with other smart home technology. Built into the camera will be a Z-Wave radio transmitter, meaning the Mini IQ will be one of the only cameras out there to not only save footage using Wi-Fi, but also communicate directly with connected gadgets such as locks, thermostats, outlets and so on.

At this point, though, Ezviz wouldn't share any specific partnerships or compatible devices, so we don't know what exactly it will communicate with -- just that it has the hardware to communicate.

The pros and cons

Ezviz knows how to do affordable. $140 for a quality HD camera is a rare find. Many similarly priced cameras, such as the Homeboy, offer much lower resolution. And ones with HD resolution, such as Netgear's Arlo or Samsung's SmartCam HD Pro, can cost up to twice as much as the Mini IQ.

The Mini IQ also offers safety mechanisms for power outages or disconnections. The camera itself will shut off to save power (lasting up to three months on batteries), but a passive infrared sensor will wake up the camera to record any motion that it detects. This is a cool backup option in addition to the Mini IQ's other steps, such as sending alarm notifications if power source cuts out or if the batteries are running low.

People familiar with Ezviz's super-cheap Mini might be surprised by the payment plans for cloud footage. These plans aren't new, but unlike the original Ezviz Mini, the Mini IQ won't include a free year of cloud storage -- just a free month. That means the rates will matter a lot more to potential buyers.

It breaks down like this: Ezviz's seven-day plan will offer rolling storage of the last week of footage for $5 per month or $50 per year, while the 30-day rolling storage plan costs $10 per month or $100 per year. The two plans are competitively priced -- comparing favorably to those from Belkin and Arcsoft -- but for me, setting up local storage will almost always be preferable to monthly fees.

Looking ahead

Ezviz hasn't announced any concrete release dates for the Mini IQ, but some regions seem more certain than others. The Mini IQ is slotted to release sometime after May of 2016 in the US, but the timeline and pricing for release in the UK and Australia are unclear. Converted roughly, the Mini IQ's $140 price tag is £95 and AU$195.

Ezviz Mini IQ specs:

  • 1080p HD resolution
  • Two-way audio
  • Ambient temperature and humidity sensors
  • Night vision with a 30-foot range
  • 4-megapixel image
  • 140-degree display (diagonally)
  • 120-decibel dynamic range (i.e. the camera hears almost as well as the human ear)

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