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

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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.

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

Review Sections

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.

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.

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 Simplicam Belkin NetCam HD+ Dropcam Pro Oplink Connected Video Piper Samsung SmartCam HD Pro
Price $150 $130 $200 $300 $200 $190
Color Black White Black White White White
Field of view (diagonal) 107 degrees 95 degrees 130 degrees 66 degrees 180 degrees 128 degrees
Video quality 1,280x720 1,280x720 1,920x1,080 640x480 1,920x1,080 1,920x1,080
Cloud storage Yes, starts at $5/month or $50/year for 1 day Yes, $10/month or $100/year for 14 days Yes, starts at $10/month or $99/year for 7 days No Yes, saves up to 1,000 clips at no extra cost No
Local storage No, but you can download MP4 files No, but you can download MP4 files No Yes, clips save to a 16GB flash drive (included) No Yes, SD card
Glass lens Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Night vision Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Mobile app Android and iOS Android and iOS Android and iOS Android, iOS, and Windows Android and iOS Android and iOS
Web app Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bluetooth No No Yes No No No
2-way audio Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Motion and sound alerts Yes, and face recognition with cloud subscription Motion only, and limited to email alerts unless you subscribe to Cloud+ Yes Motion only Yes Yes
Protocol integration No No No No Yes, Z-Wave No