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Oplink Connected Video C2 review: New Oplink security system, same high fees

Local storage and optional accessory integration can't save the overpriced Oplink Connected Video security system.

Megan Wollerton Former Senior Writer/Editor
5 min read

Oplink's $300 Connected Video C2 kit comes with two Wi-Fi-enabled cameras, a 16GB flash drive, and the Oplink Processing Unit (OPU), which is just Oplink's fancy term for its router-connected hub. Considering that DIY cameras like the Samsung SmartCam HD Pro and the Dropcam Pro sell for roughly $200 a pop, this security system seemed like a pretty good value...at first.


Oplink Connected Video C2

The Good

You can add a bunch of Oplink accessories to this two-camera kit a la carte. A 16GB flash drive comes with the system for hassle-free local storage.

The Bad

The camera specs aren't competitive with what's available today and you have to pay $20 per month to view saved clips on your phone.

The Bottom Line

While local storage fans will like Oplink's "Cloud-free" approach, its comparatively low-resolution cameras and high monthly fees make it tough to recommend.

I like that you can use the flash drive for local storage, but you'll still have to bring cloud-based data transfer into the mix if you want to view any saved clips on your phone -- and it will set you back $20 per month. Yes, this service is optional, but many brands offer cloud storage and remote access to video clips for much less. Icontrol's $200 Piper security system lets you save and review up to 1,000 clips at no extra charge, and Arcsoft's $150 Simplicam fees start at just $5 per month.

Stay connected with Oplink's Connected Video C2 (pictures)

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Oplink's 640x480 resolution is also a bit of a letdown, since other budget cameras, like Belkin's $130 NetCam HD+ , boast at least 1,280x720. And, while the brand offers various accessories you can add to the Connected Video system, there's still no word on an IFTTT channel or compatibility with third-party devices.

Steer clear of this system if you want to review clips on your phone; otherwise, it's a decent bargain kit for local-storage-only folks looking to buy more than one camera.

The specs

The Oplink hub and corresponding Wi-Fi cameras are finished in glossy white plastic -- a popular, if not slightly boring choice for today's connected cameras. The free Oplink Connected app is available on Android, iOS, and Windows devices; it will walk you through setting up your OPU hub, cameras, and other related Oplink accessories.

Installation was fairly simple -- plug the flash drive into the OPU, use the included Ethernet cable to connect the OPU to the router, plug in the power adapter, and make sure DHCP is enabled on your router (most default to this setting, but if yours doesn't you'll have to follow along with the user's guide to get things going).

The Oplink hub and cameras. Megan Wollerton/CNET

Now, you're ready to set up the cameras. The instructions tell you to plug them in within 5 feet of the location of the router. This is a bit of a pain, but they're just trying to secure a Wi-Fi connection and you can move them again after the initial setup. When the bottom LED indicator blinks green, you know you're in business -- now you can unplug the cameras and relocate them as needed.

Oplink also sent me a bunch of devices to test its home automation and security add-ons. The accessories included a siren, a door/window sensor, a key fob, a water leak detector, a motion sensor, and a smart plug. This setup was a bit more complicated, as the app asked me to scan the QR code on the device to pair it, but that only worked on one of the devices.

The backup plan involved typing in a long, custom alphanumeric code that was printed in a very tiny font on each accessory. My less-than-perfect eyesight definitely struggled on this step each time, but, I managed to get everything up and running in about 30 minutes.

Since the two cameras are at the core of this Connected Video system, here's a chart comparing Oplink's cameras to other DIY options:

ArcSoft SimplicamBelkin NetCam HD+Dropcam ProOplink Connected VideoPiperSamsung SmartCam HD Pro
Price $150$130$200$300$200$190
Color BlackWhiteBlackWhiteWhiteWhite
Field of view (diagonal) 107 degrees95 degrees130 degrees66 degrees180 degrees128 degrees
Video quality 1,280x7201,280x7201,920x1,080640x4801,920x1,0801,920x1,080
Cloud storage Yes, starts at $5/month or $50/year for 1 dayYes, $10/month or $100/year for 14 daysYes, starts at $10/month or $99/year for 7 daysNoYes, saves up to 1,000 clips at no extra costNo
Local storage No, but you can download MP4 filesNo, but you can download MP4 filesNoYes, clips save to a 16GB flash drive (included)NoYes, SD card
Glass lens YesYesYesYesYesYes
Night vision YesYesYesYesNoYes
Mobile app Android and iOSAndroid and iOSAndroid and iOSAndroid, iOS, and WindowsAndroid and iOSAndroid and iOS
Web app YesYesYesYesYesYes
Bluetooth NoNoYesNoNoNo
2-way audio YesYesYesNoYesYes
Motion and sound alerts Yes, and face recognition with cloud subscriptionMotion only, and limited to email alerts unless you subscribe to Cloud+YesMotion onlyYesYes
Protocol integration NoNoNoNoYes, Z-WaveNo

Not so good. Yes, you're getting two cameras for $300, but they have 640x480-pixel resolutions, no sound alerts, no two-way audio, and 66-degree fields of view. The local storage flash drive will be a definite plus for some, but, when you realize that you have to shell out $20 per month (a whopping $240 per year) to see your video clips on your phone, Oplink's Connected Video kit quickly loses appeal.

Features aside, I'm also curious about the true value of this kit. Amazon is currently selling Oplink's Wi-Fi cameras for $80 each, so that covers roughly $160 of the $300 kit -- does that mean that the compulsory OPU hub and 16GB flash drive cover the remaining $140?

That sure seems strange, especially when you consider that the $370 Oplink TripleShield security system comes with the same hub, the same two Wi-Fi cameras, and a bunch of those optional accessories that aren't included in this $300 kit. Hm.

These accessories are compatible with the Oplink Connected Video system. Megan Wollerton/CNET

If you don't want to view clips on the app, you can still stream live footage and access snapshots (rather than video) when a security event is triggered, but anyone interested in accessing clips remotely won't enjoy any added convenience from Oplink's local storage solution.

Samsung's $190 SmartCam HD Pro might cost more up front, but it offers better video quality, a larger field of view (nearly double the Oplink cameras), and added features like two-way talk. And, it relies on microSD cards (up to 64GB) rather than flash drives.

A closer look

Despite Oplink's disappointing specs, the cameras and added accessories performed well. I was able to view live video in the app's video section, turn the Oplink smart plug-connected lamp on and off in the app's automation section; set the system to arm, disarm, or away in the app's mode section; and review saved clips in the app's VideoGram section.

The Oplink Connected app (for iOS). Screenshots by Megan Wollerton/CNET

Whenever the motion sensor-equipped cameras or separate motion and door/window sensors accessories detected activity, the cameras recorded 30-second clips and stored them for later review. You can also opt in or out of push notifications and email alerts, and you can adjust the sensitivity of the motion sensors as needed. I set the cameras to the highest possible sensitivity and received alerts around the clock.

In addition to being able to watch clips on your phone, the $20 monthly fee lets you extend app access to other people and let emergency contacts receive alerts whenever a potential security breach takes place.

While the video quality was lower than some of the other cameras I've tested, its 480p resolution wasn't particularly bad. I didn't experience any major lag times or notice any significant blotchiness or other video streaming unpleasantness. I did find the auto-night vision feature odd, though.

Oplink's Wi-Fi camera in day and night mode. Screenshots by Megan Wollerton/CNET

Most systems let you set your mode preference to automatic or manual. This one doesn't have a manual setting and defaulted to night vision at irregular times, even when all of the lights were on in the office. Still, the picture was decent in both day and night mode, and the wonky night vision didn't significantly impact overall performance.

Given that the Oplink Connected Video system doesn't have competitive camera specs, costs $20 per month for a mobile access to video clips, and presents a worse value than the brand's own $370 TripleShield system, it's pretty hard to recommend this kit. If you don't plan to review clips on your phone and want a budget, multi-camera system, it will get the job done. Still, I'd spring for Samsung's $190 SmartCam HD Pro if you can. Its video quality, features, and SD card storage trump Oplink's Connected Video kit at every turn.


Oplink Connected Video C2

Score Breakdown

Features 5Usability 6Design 6Performance 7
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