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D-Link DCS-2630L review: No distortion here -- D-Link's 180-degree camera is fisheye-free

You can view a live feed in either 720p or 1080p, two of the best possible high-definition streaming resolutions available to DIY security cameras today (even so, this camera's feed isn't as crisp as the Nest Cam's). The DCS-2630L has two-way talk so you can surprise an unsuspecting family member -- or, more seriously, yell at an intruder. You can take a picture on demand, and it will show up alongside other photos you take with your phone.

It also has night vision, motion and sound detection, activity zones, optional push alerts, a Web app and local storage with clips you can view within the app (I used a 128GB microSD card) -- everything worked well. But local storage is the feature worth highlighting here, because it's something that will either make or break your security camera buying decision.

You can see most of CNET's appliances warehouse with this camera.

Screenshots by CNET

Many cameras, like the Nest Cam, the Kodak CFH-V20, the ArcSoft Simplicam and others rely on cloud storage. Cloud storage means that your continuous footage or activity-based recordings are stored on a remote server.

From both a security and an accessibility standpoint, a lot of folks prefer local storage. That's one way the DCS-2630L sets itself apart. While it isn't the first to offer this feature, it is the very first DIY model we've reviewed that has both a 180-degree field of view and local storage.

And unlike Icontrol's Piper NV, a DIY security system with a built-in 180-degree fisheye lens, D-Link's lens doesn't have nearly as much of that classic fisheye distortion, making it easier to actually see what your camera is seeing.

The one thing sorely missing from the D-Link camera is integration with products from other manufacturers. Today's smart home market is all about open APIs and creating opportunities for third-party devices to join forces. Strangely, D-Link does have an assortment of IFTTT channels and compatible products through Samsung's SmartThings, but none that work with this specific camera.

D-Link next to the relatively diminutive Nest Cam.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Conclusion

I feel pretty ambivalent about the $180 D-Link DCS-2630L. While it offers a 180-degree field of view and local storage, it's hard to set up, it doesn't work with third-party products, and it's giant. Its live stream isn't as clear as the Nest Cam's either, even with the same 1080p resolution.

Still, it's hard to overlook the DCS-2630L's relatively distortion-less 180-degree lens and its ability to store footage locally. If these are two features you prioritize, this D-Link camera will be worth your money. If not, I'd take a look at some other options.

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