We'll admit it: we're paranoid. We have a considerable amount of electronics at home, and thieves like electronics, so it makes sense for us to protect them. And since the petty-minded expenses-scamming oiks in the government have banned automatic mini-gun battlements on suburban homes, we had a look at the EyeSpy external CCTV camera.
The £220 EyeSpy247EXT, as it's officially known, offers a frankly remarkable set of features, all of which will be an asset to your home security, and should help keep your laptop out of the grubby hands of the criminal fraternity.
First up, it boasts a motion detector, so it can activate when someone walks up your garden path. As with all the best surveillance equipment, you can define which areas the motion detection scans, so people or cars passing by won't trigger the recording function.
There's also a proper infrared lighting system on the front, provided by an array of eight LEDs. This is hugely important, giving surprisingly powerful illumination in completely dark conditions. The LEDs are visible, which means anyone doubting the camera can record them at night will realise they're wrong when they get close enough.
As a happy bonus, there's the option to record sound -- not something every camera on the market can boast -- and there's also a speaker, to allow you to address any would-be burglarisers.
There are two ways to control the camera, via a Web interface or through some software provided in the box. If you have more than one camera, we suggest the software, but the Web interface is probably sufficient for your monocamera needs.
We love the fact that the EyeSpy247EXT can save your video files to network-attached storage. There's also an FTP upload function, which means it can put files straight into the cloud, where no one can tamper with them. This could be a huge boon if someone does break in to your house, so you can provide evidence to the police that might otherwise have been stolen with your equipment.
Mounting the camera is reasonably easy, with screws and plugs included. For brick walls, you drill a hole big enough to take the plug, and then screw the camera stand into those. If you have any wood on the front of your home, the supplied screws are self-tapping, and will cling to wood surfaces on their own.
The camera is capable of sending its video either wirelessly or over an Ethernet cable. We tested both, and they worked brilliantly. The wireless is super-impressive though, and it's by far the best way to use the camera, as it uses 802.11n Wi-Fi, which gives both a speed increase and a range boost to the signal.
Power is another matter, and you're going to need to drill holes in your wall to get electricity to the camera. That might be a little beyond the average person, but a handyman could probably help for a reasonably modest sum.
If you're mounting it outside -- and why wouldn't you? -- then you'll be thrilled to hear that the camera is water resistant, and that the ports and sockets are protected by rubber shields. We wouldn't suggest you hose it down, but there's enough protection here to keep the rain out.
In all our EyeSpy testing, we didn't miss any exterior action at all. Files were FTPed to our Western Digital NAS, and from there could be sent on to a cloud-based backup. EyeSpy has a service you can subscribe to for this too, at extra cost.
All in all, this simple to configure camera has all the features a concerned home-owner needs. It's not the cheapest piece of kit we've seen, but we're pretty sure it's less than replacing all your stuff. Hell, it's probably cheaper than the excess on your home insurance.