IP Web cameras are great. Crave once used one to catch a cleaner who habitually left prank messages on our Dictaphone. Prior to our camera investment, we were clueless as to which idiot was recording himself shouting, "Ho ho ho, merry Christmas!" in an Uzbek accent in the middle of July. Needless to say, that particular chap no longer works here.
All those memories came flooding back when the Edimax IC-7000 IP camera arrived at Crave. It's better than your average webcam, as its lens housing tilts and rotates to help you track a moving target. Plus it supports real-time video and audio via a Web browser and has infrared LED lights for night-vision.
Like any decent IP camera, it has a motion detector feature that starts recording whenever anything crosses its path. There's also a 4x digital zoom, so you can get a little tighter on the pixellated 640x480-pixel faces of the pranksterous gits trespassing on your property. There's an SD card slot for recording locally.
It all sounds good, but in reality the IC-7000 has a few problems. Installing the thing is like performing open-heart surgery -- the software is buggy, crash-prone and downright unfriendly. The Web interface is more co-operative, but once you get it up and running, you'll hate the appallingly slow frame rate. It's supposed to cruise along at 30fps, but we didn't get anywhere near half that, meaning video was hella jerky. If a thief moves at anything approaching the pace of a doped-up sloth, the IC-7000 will just pick up a stuttery blur.
We wouldn't recommend it for anyone serious about security, or if high-quality motion capture is a priority, but if you're in dire need of a camera with a motorised pan/tilt feature it's fairly good value. It's yours for around £120. -Rory Reid