Back in October, camera retailer Ezviz added a new model to its lineup -- the $70 Ezviz Mini -- a 720p live-streaming Wi-Fi camera with night vision, motion-detection capabilities, local and cloud storage, Web and mobile (Android and iOS) apps and alerts with an included scheduling feature.
It also works well, with one important exception -- phantom alerts: The camera is supposed to send an alert and record a video clip when it detects motion, but several of the notifications and their related recordings showed no activity whatsoever. And although the Mini doesn't work with devices from other manufacturers or offer an, anyone looking for a basic video-streaming cam should consider the $70 Ezviz Mini. (Did I mention that the first year of cloud storage is free?)
Up close with the Ezviz Mini
Ezviz's $70 camera is tiny (hence the name "Mini") -- it clocks in at under 4 ounces and stands just 3.5 inches tall -- so it's about as good as it gets as far as an unobtrusive design. And it has a magnetic base (like, and others) and the stand pivots and angles for easy installation.
Using the Ezviz app (available for iOS and Android), setup took about 5 to 10 minutes. To register, enter your country, email address and verification code. (This should appear in the inbox of the address you provide. I found this somewhat confusing, though, because there's a verification code on a sticker on the back of the camera. Ignore it and use the one you receive in your email instead.) Then create a username and a password, scan the QR code on the back of the camera and input your Wi-Fi details as well as your time zone, and you're done. It's a few more steps than most Wi-Fi camera configurations, but it isn't too inconvenient.
While setup was pretty straightforward, the app looks dated. It's still easy enough to navigate, but there's something generally unpolished about it that reminds me of the old-school-style. Even so, I was able to view the live stream on the iOS app as well as on the web interface, receive motion-related alerts and scroll through the activity log to see saved clips.
The Ezviz Mini comes with a 16GB microSD card for local storage and currently offers users one full year of free cloud storage. If you still want cloud storage after that period, you'll have to pay $5 per month/$50 per year for 7 days of storage or $10 per month/$100 per year for 30 days of storage.
The Ezviz Mini vs. every other DIY cam
Ezviz's Mini performed well overall. The 720p live streaming video is crisp in both regular and night vision mode and you can set it to either portrait or landscape view (and even monitor up to four cameras simultaneously in "quad" view if you happen to have more than one Mini installed). And, you can manually adjust between basic, standard and HD video quality, depending on your bandwidth limitations.