Ion the Home review: Ion's new Wi-Fi security camera needs to do more

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The Good Ion's $130, £150 Ion the Home security camera is an entry-level camera with a free cloud storage option.

The Bad Its Android and iOS apps aren't currently able to send push or email alerts -- a huge problem if you want to use your Ion the Home camera for real-time security-related notifications.

The Bottom Line Ion plans to add alert functionality to its Ion the Home camera eventually; in the meantime, you'll have to monitor your live feed 24/7 to get any real security benefits.

6.3 Overall
  • Features 7
  • Usability 5
  • Design 7
  • Performance 6

Ion began selling action cameras in 2012 -- you know, the GoPro kind that you tether to yourself or to your gear to capture first-person footage. But after a couple years of helping folks record daring stunts, the company has expanded into home security. That's where the Ion the Home Wi-Fi camera comes in.

This entry-level DIY camera will be available at Walmart and on Ion's online store in early November for $130 and in the UK in 2015 for £150 (Australian availability has not yet been announced, but pricing would convert to about AU$150).

While its free cloud storage option is very appealing and its other features, like night vision and two-way talk, put it in-line with competitors, the app isn't currently able to send push or email alerts and the live stream doesn't display correctly in a horizontal, landscape view in the iOS app. Since real-time alerts and quality live streaming are critical components of an app-enabled DIY security camera, it's very difficult to recommend Ion the Home right now.

Most of the cameras we've reviewed have fee-based cloud storage that starts around $10 per month. The $200, £200 champions this system (but only in North America): you can pay Dropcam $10 per month for seven days of continuous footage or $30 per month for 30 days. Even Ion the Home's identically priced competitor, the (£130 in the UK, and AU$170 in Australia), charges $10, £6, or about AU$12 per month for its basic cloud service.

has a lower monthly storage option, but few are ever free.

Icontrol's US-only $200 Piper and Foscam's $220, £135, AU$230 F19826P are two exceptions; Icontrol will save 1,000 clips and Foscam will save 30 clips or 100 photos for free.

Ion appears to be following suit with its base-level storage option: free, rolling 24-hour cloud service. That is, after storing 24 hours of footage, the first hour will be deleted to make space for new video clips. And, if 24-hour video storage isn't enough, Ion will also offer payment tiers identical to Dropcam's for seven days and per month for 30 days.

Here's a chart comparing Ion the Home to some of its competitors:

Belkin NetCam HD+ Dropcam Pro Ion the Home Samsung SmartCam HD Pro
Price $130, £130, AU$170 $199, £200 $130, £150 $189, £160
Color White Black Black or White White
Field of view (diagonal) 95 degrees 130 degrees 102 degrees 128 degrees
Video resolution (pixels) 1,280x720 1,920x1,080 1,280x720 1,920x1,080
Cloud storage Yes, $10/month or $100/year for 14 days (also available in the UK and AU) Yes, $10/month or $99/year for 7 days or $30/month or $299/year for 30 days Yes, starts with free 24-hour rolling storage No
Local storage No No No Yes, SD card
Glass lens Yes Yes Yes Yes
Night vision Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mobile app Yes, Android and iOS Yes, Android and iOS Yes, Android and iOS Yes, Android and iOS
Web app Yes Yes Currently unavailable, but expected to be live on October 31 Yes
Bluetooth No Yes No No
2-way audio Yes Yes Yes Yes
Alerts Motion only, and limited to email alerts unless you subscribe to Cloud+ Motion and sound No Motion and sound

In addition to Ion the Home's free cloud storage option, I was impressed by its entry-level price point, 720p image quality, night vision and two-way talk. Unfortunately, its lack of push and email alerts severely limit its functionality. What is the benefit of on-the-go app access if you can't receive alerts as potential security breaches take place?

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