Technophile

A 360-degree eye wherever you want it

Mala Bharghava | Updated on: Oct 31, 2018
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Great image quality and design makes the Mi Security Camera a worthwhile buy

Looking for all the world like a tiny robot, the Mi Security Camera from Xiaomi is one of the non-smartphone products the company has recently brought to India. It’s not just cute, but costs so little that you can equip your house with several, should you need to keep an eye on many spots at once.

As a serious security solution, the Mi camera will need to be fitted into the wall or ceiling in such a way so as to make it difficult for a determined criminal to just tug at the wire or pull out the plug, turning it quite completely off. When the device is on, it shows a tiny blue light and that could also let a thief know that it’s there. There is a tiny ceiling mount provided in the box, so you can call in the electrician to fit it if your house has the provision for such devices. The device will detect motion and alert you via the Mi Home app on your phone. If your front door opens into an area that sees high traffic, such as a staircase common to all the flats in a building, that could be a lot of alerts.

But there are many ways you could use this camera — and indeed others like it. I chose to set it up on the top of my fridge, giving me the widest view of my apartment. Not just that, I could look into the kitchen, keep an eye on my cook, and even call her or give her instructions because the app lets you speak into the camera and even hear the response from the person in front of it. Unfortunately my cook was too busy being amused to take instructions but we’re hoping she will stop finding it that funny, eventually.

Being a Xiaomi product, the camera requires you to sign into the Mi Home app with your Mi account, so you will need to create one if you don’t have one already. That done, you plug in the camera using its regular familiar phone-style charger and wait for the app to see it. You’ll be prompted to connect it to your Wi-Fi network. And that’s about all there is to it. Give it a moment and you can soon see what the camera is seeing, even if you’re not at home — as long as the camera is turned on. Using the control disk in the app, you press and hold to swivel the camera and pan the picture a full 360 degrees around and 45 degrees up and back down.

You could use the Mi Security Camera to keep an eye on the kids when they’re in another room or even as a baby monitor. Or, stay connected with your pet while you’re at work, for that matter. When the lights go out, the camera automatically goes into infrared mode and you can see everything as clearly as before, but in greyscale. The image quality at 1080p is one of the strongest points of this device. You don’t just see vague shadows and pixellated shapes, but a clear real-time picture in which you can recognise people with no trouble. The app lets you record footage for about two hours or quickly take screenshots. You can switch to full screen on your phone if you want to take a thorough look. You can also schedule recording from the app. Unfortunately there’s no cloud storage for the recordings however. The device’s settings show up in the Mi Home app and there are a lot of them so it’s a good idea to get in and look around and adjust things to your liking, including how alerts show up. But even without tinkering with settings, the device will work just fine and no special expertise is needed either to install it or keep it running. If multiple people want to be able to look at the view, they would need to sign into the same Mi account, but this isn’t something I tried. Overall while not a unique product, the Mi Security Camera does have image quality in its favour and everything just works well in a nice design.

Price: ₹2,699

Pros: Inexpensive, easy to set up and run, great image quality, full-featured, good design

Cons: Can sometimes seem to buffer for a few moments, no cloud storage

Published on October 31, 2018

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