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Olive & Dove RemoCam review: This HD security camera doubles as a TV remote

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Unlike most DIY security cameras, Olive & Dove's $199 live streaming HD RemoCam offers infrared device control. Essentially, it's a secondary IR remote for your TV, desk fan -- and other basic home electronics. It's a unique feature (if not a little outdated), but it's pretty limited, too. RemoCam has to be facing the device you want it to control and that's it as far as "smart" features go; the camera doesn't currently support any smart home platforms.

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5.9

Olive & Dove RemoCam

The Good

Olive & Dove's $199 RemoCam gives you flexibility with both local and cloud storage options.

The Bad

While I successfully turned on a TV with the RemoCam's infrared remote function, the feature is outdated. RemoCam doesn't work with any smart home platforms. Its app design and night-vision view could use some work, too.

The Bottom Line

The Olive & Dove RemoCam tries to do a lot, but its outdated features can't compete with what's available today.

The RemoCam is all right overall, but its features fall far behind most of the DIY cams we've tested. That ultimately makes it difficult to recommend.

Note: RemoCam is only available in the US right now, but Olive & Dove is working on expanding. At the current exchange rate, the price converts to roughly £155 and AU$265.

Up close with Olive & Dove's Wi-Fi camera and doorbell

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Enlarge Image
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Use the arrows to move the camera.

Screenshot by CNET

Pan, tilt, zoom

RemoCam's 720p HD camera has a narrow 70-degree field of view, but it also has a 335-degree panning angle, a 95-degree tilting angle and a 3x digital zoom. Opting for a PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) camera over a fixed-angle model that doesn't rotate horizontally or vertically is a matter of choice.

A lot of fixed-angle models like Piper's $280 NV cover a wide field of view, typically at least 120 degrees (the NV has an impressive 180-degree field of view). A PTZ model's viewing angle is often smaller, but it makes up for that with its ability to move to capture activity happening outside the field of view. RemoCam's pan and tilt functionality is quiet and easy to adjust in the RemoCam app.

A closer look

While the camera is relatively easy to setup, the app could look better. Little details like the way the "Speak" and "Listen" icons cover the words slightly made the app seem like a beta version (see the screenshot to the right).

Still, everything worked pretty well. You can pull up the live feed whenever you want, the camera automatically switches to night-vision mode in low-light conditions and you can sound the built-in siren on-demand (or program it to sound when there's motion activity). The motion sensor was much too responsive, though, delivering continuous push alerts even with the sensitivity setting set to "Low" in the app. The quality of the night vision could be better, too.

Use a microSD card (up to 32GB, not included) to record locally or opt in to contract-free event-based cloud video storage. Olive & Dove gives you 30-day access to cloud storage for free. After that, you'll need to choose from among the following options: $4 per month for 3-day storage; $8 per month for 7-day storage or $28 per month for 30-day storage.

The verdict

I wouldn't recommend Olive & Dove's $199 RemoCam. The infrared control is sort of interesting, but extremely limited; the camera also doesn't work with any smart home platforms. And, while its live streaming mode worked fine, its motion alerts were much too frequent. What you end up with is a fairly pricey camera that just doesn't stack up to competing models like the $150 Zmodo Pivot, the $60 Tend Secure Lynx or the $199 Canary Flex.

Olive & Dove also sells RemoBell, a $199/£155/AU$265 battery-powered weatherproof doorbell. Check out the full RemoBell review.

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5.9

Olive & Dove RemoCam

Score Breakdown

Features 5Usability 6Design 6Performance 7