/> ED I T O R S C H O I C E IN N O V A T IO N A W A R D
X

CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

Oco HD Wi-Fi Camera review: The Oco security camera keeps cloud storage costs at bay

meganwollertonportraits0719-23a

The Oco HD Wi-Fi Camera, available for $149 in the US, £109 in the UK and AU$199 in Australia, used the same third-party manufacturer as ArcSoft's Simplicam . Aside from having matching hardware, these cameras also share many features, such as live streaming, night vision, two-way talk, motion and sound alerts (Simplicam recently added face recognition alerts; Oco, pronounced like "loco," expects to introduce that feature soon), cloud subscription services and more.

oco-cam-product-photos-3.jpg
6.8

Oco HD Wi-Fi Camera

Pricing Not Available

The Good

Cloud recording and storage for the Oco HD Wi-Fi Camera starts at just $3.99 per month. You can set Oco's live video stream to adjust automatically based on the network connection.

The Bad

Oco periodically goes offline for no reason, its push-to-talk feature is laggy, you can't record footage on demand, its night-vision sensor is too sensitive, and it doesn't have a local storage option.

The Bottom Line

The Oco HD Wi-Fi Camera is an OK midpriced security camera that manages to differentiate itself from the identical form factor of the ArcSoft Simplicam by way of its adaptable video stream and lower cloud subscription fees.

But, Oco's cloud service starts at just $3.99 a month (that's roughly £2.50, AU$5 a month at the current exchange rate), where as Simplicam's begins at $4.99 (about £3.25, AU$6.50) and it has an opt-in feature that can automatically adjust the quality of your live stream based on changes in bandwidth. On the other hand, the camera regularly switched between live and offline mode for no apparent reason, its two-way talk feature had a significant lag time, you can only snap photos on demand (as opposed to video), its night vision sensor is trigger-happy and, like many other DIY model's we've reviewed, it doesn't accommodate local storage.

The $149 Oco is alright if you want to keep monthly costs down, but there are other cameras that offer free cloud storage , and I'd suggest starting there instead.

Up close with the Oco HD Wi-Fi Camera (pictures)

See all photos

The basics

If you've seen the ArcSoft Simplicam, then you know what Oco looks like.

It has a black finish with brushed silver accents. The base of the camera doesn't provide much height, but it is very versatile. Fold it flat and attach the included mount for a more permanent installation, or use it as a stand that you can set on various surfaces throughout your house. Once it's set up where you want, you can rotate and angle the stand to achieve the right positioning.

This camera is equipped with a 720p video camera, a 120-degree diagonal field of view, night vision, two-way talk, motion and sound alerts and an auto-adjusting video feed. It has a few different monthly cloud service fee levels -- get 1 day for $3.99, 7 days for $9.99 and 30 days for $19.99. The Dropcam Pro's monthly fee options are 7 days for $9.95 and 30 days for $29.95. So, you'll save money if you go with Oco's 1- or 30-day options, but the 7-day option is actually a tiny bit cheaper with the Dropcam Pro.

Oco doesn't have a backup battery, so you'll have to rely on the included power adapter. Plug it in and download the Ivideon app on your Android, iOS or Windows device to start the configuration process. The app configuration took less than 5 minutes and was very similar to Simplicam's Closeli set up.

ivideon1.jpg
Oco's Ivideon setup shouldn't take very long. Screenshots by Megan Wollerton/CNET

Once your camera is plugged in, enter your Wi-Fi information and stick the QR code in front of the camera until it beeps. Now, you just have to let the app connect to the camera, which took just under a minute and then it's ready for immediate use.

Inside the app

The Ivideon app is pretty intuitive. The home screen displays a list of your connected cameras; you can add an "unlimited number" of cameras to the app (that is, as many as your Wi-Fi network can reasonably handle). From here, you can access the main menu on the top left and add another camera on the top right.

The main menu is a good place to access most of the options available on the app. You can view all of the saved motion and sound clips (if you're a cloud service subscriber) and tweak settings like push notifications and video quality, which can be set to low, mid, high or auto.

Heading back to the home screen, you can click on your camera to view the live feed in either portrait or landscape mode. You can pause and restart the live feed, access the list of recorded events, take a picture of the live stream on demand (you can't record on demand, however), access two-way talk, and see a time-stamped at-a-glance alert overview on the live stream graph.

ivideon3.jpg
A tour of the Ivideon app. Screenshot by Megan Wollerton/CNETs

You can also access more detailed settings on the top right of the screen in live streaming mode. Here you can adjust video quality, make changes to your cloud storage and night vision settings (off, on or auto), and opt in or out of motion and sound alerts, including setting the sensitivity and detection area.

Performance and beyond

I tested Oco at two locations and ran into various issues. While the sound and motion email and push alerts were prompt and the auto-adjusting video quality feature kept live feed lag time down, it regularly went "offline" for no clear reason for several minutes at a time. I tried to troubleshoot this odd glitch to no avail. Each time, the feed would eventually return to live mode as if nothing had happened.

ivideon2.jpg
Oco had good and bad moments as far as performance goes. Screenshots by Megan Wollerton/CNET

The night vision feature works, but passing shadows occasionally caused the auto-function to switch to night-vision mode. This wasn't a problem exactly, but definitely isn't ideal. You do have the option of manually turning night vision on and off -- I'd recommend that with this camera instead of auto. Also, while the push-to-talk function had good sound quality, it did lag a bit.

Oco doesn't integrate with any third-party devices or have an IFTTT channel. With Homeboy and camera apps like Manything leading the charge on this, it would be nice to see other DIY brands follow suit.

If you're on the hunt for a DIY home-security camera with an HD live stream, night vision, two-way talk and alerts, there are better options out there. In particular, I would look at the Piper NV or the Netgear Arlo. They will cost more up front, but both have free cloud service options so you can enjoy some advanced features without paying any monthly fees.

oco-cam-product-photos-3.jpg
6.8

Oco HD Wi-Fi Camera

Pricing Not Available

Score Breakdown

Features 7Usability 7Design 8Performance 5