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IC Real Tech Allie Home review: This VR security camera has a baffling lack of security features

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This is definitely a unique design among DIY security cameras. Sure, some traditional pan-and-tilt models can rotate 360 degrees, but you aren't ever able to see all 360 degrees at the same time. So compared to models like the D-Link Pan & Tilt Day/Night Network Camera, Foscam's FI9826P Plug and Play Wireless IP Camera or even the newer Zmodo Pivot, the Allie Home's 360-degree live stream is a serious security asset. Of course, you can stick a wide-angle camera, like the 180-degree Icontrol Piper NV in the corner of a room and see pretty much everything with ease.

The problem is that this camera has no additional security features as of today (aside from two-way talk and night vision, both of which worked fine). It doesn't have an Arm/Disarm function, it doesn't pick up on motion or sound activity and shoot you a push or email notification with a clip of the action. There's no built-in siren, geofencing capability, suite of environmental sensors to track ambient temperature or humidity -- there's just...nothing else beyond it's ability to see the whole room.

The flip side of this 360-degree camera's disappointing "Security" mode is an Event mode that also helps speak to its dual nature. Toggle the app setting from "Security" to "Event" and you can record important events, like birthdays or wedding. You can even tack on any smartphone-friendly VR headset to see whatever the Allie Home sees in an even more immersive way. (The VR function is neat, to be sure, but it doesn't add anything in terms of security features.)

And I'm just as confused by Event mode as Security mode, given that Allie Home isn't battery-powered. You know all of those birthdays and weddings you're supposed to record at remote locations? You'll have to make sure you can find a power outlet, which makes it impossible for the camera to be in the middle of the action, the way IC Real Tech wants. That is, unless you bring a long extension cord with you. Wherever the Allie Home goes, its power adapter goes too.

Overall, I'm struggling to think of a reasonable use case for this specific product. IC Real Tech did debut a battery-powered version called the Allie Go at CES earlier this year and the untethered Go model would likely be a lot better for recording events.

Back to the Allie Home -- unless IC Real Tech injects a lot more security functionality into its cool, but limited two-sided camera, I can't think of any reason why someone should spend $599 for it.

Note: The team does plan to give Allie Home motion-sensing capabilities in the future, so check back for updates on that front.

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