When standard fixed-angle security cameras don't cover enough ground, pan/tilt models make smart alternatives -- they raise, lower and rotate to capture more of a room.
The $80 Ezviz Mini 360 Plus has a 340-degree panning angle and an 80-degree tilting angle that you can either adjust manually or set to "auto-tracking" mode to follow motion activity for you. It also works with IFTTT and comes with local as well as optional cloud storage for an additional fee. The Mini 360 Plus has limited availability in the UK and isn't currently sold in Australia; the price converts to roughly £65/AU$105 at the current exchange rate.
Unfortunately, the Mini 360 Plus wasn't particularly good at following motion activity -- one of its core features. I'd look instead to the $150 Zmodo Pivot for a true 360 cam that tracks activity without stumbling.
Ezviz's Mini 360 Plus looks nice enough. It's a smallish adapter-dependent orb that you can install and connect anywhere in your home over Wi-Fi. It also comes with an Ethernet port if you want to tether it directly to your router. This model has a relatively narrow 92-degree diagonal field of view, but its 340-degree panning angle and 80-degree tilting angle allow you to see much more.
To get started, download the Ezviz app on your Android or iPhone gadget of choice, then follow the step-by-step tutorial to get the camera up and running. I already had an Ezviz account from testing out the $70 fixed-angle Ezviz Mini, but the configuration process took less than 10 minutes from start to finish.
The Ezviz app isn't as streamlined as I'd like. You really have to poke around to find the settings and other features you're searching for. It also looks dated and is in definite need of a design refresh.
This unfortunately extends to the app's overall usability, particularly when you're trying to manually pan or tilt the camera. Open the camera's live feed and select the arrow icon on the far left. From there, select the Pan/Tilt option.
This takes you to a seemingly blank half of the screen, but tap it and an arrow will appear. The odd thing is that you don't have a lot of control over which arrow appears first -- selecting the top of the screen, for instance, might engage the left arrow, sending the camera in the wrong direction.
The camera's rotations are also a little noisy -- not ideal for a discreet device like a security camera.
In addition to its pan and tilt functions, the Mini 360 Plus also offers:
I set up an IFTTT rule that connected the Ezviz camera to the Ecobee3 thermostat installed at the CNET Smart Home -- whenever the Ezviz cam detected activity, the Ecobee3's settings changed. You can also connect smart lights and other compatible smart home devices to the Mini 360 Plus through IFTTT. Find out more here.
The Mini 360 Plus has solid HD live streaming in both day and night mode. I also had a couple of (mostly) clear conversations using the app's two-way talk function, but its motion detection and related auto-tracking features fell short.
I received consistent notifications whenever the camera detected movement. The problem is, it also detected activity when the only movement was a shadow shifting in the light. At first I thought this might be due to its motion sensitivity setting, but the camera's default setting sits right in the middle between no motion detection and very high detection sensitivity. At this setting, phantom alerts shouldn't be an issue.
Its auto-tracking feature was disappointing, too. When I walked slowly in front of the camera's field of view, it tracked me pretty well. But it struggled when I walked at a slightly faster pace, to the extent that it regularly gave up and stopped following me. Zmodo's Pivot does a much better job tracking activity, likely due to its 360 degrees of built-in motion sensors.
80 bucks is an excellent price for a home security camera, but that still isn't enough to recommend the Ezviz Mini 360 Plus. Yes, it's a fine live streaming device, but its core function -- 360-degree panning -- has serious limitations. I'd opt for Ezviz's less expensive Mini cam instead if you simply want an affordable live streaming camera. And I'd take a close look at the Zmodo Pivot if you're looking for a reliable 360-degree-tracking camera.