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Review: D-Link DCS-960L security camera

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It can see 180 degrees

This is a security camera with one clear selling point: its 180-degree camera. The idea is that you can install one camera and take in the full view, as opposed to the 130 degrees or so of a regular camera. “Forget about pan and tilt cameras,” promises the D-Link website, “view everything instantly in real-time.”

And it works. Unlike a typical fisheye camera, D-Link does a great job of flattening the view so that it looks normal. Walls will still look curved at the edge of the image, but overall it’s surprisingly effective. It records at 720p and the image is a little sharper than the Arlo Pro – you’ll recognise people even at the edge of the frame.

Unlike the Netatmo and Omna, this feels more like a “proper” security camera than a home helper. That’s not only in its utilitarian looks but in the feed it produces, with a ticker at the top left of the screen that shows the date and time. Motion detection can be set to any of 25 blocks in the screen: they’re arranged in a grid (five across, five down) so you’d select the central one if you were only interested in the dead centre view. But perhaps there’s a door at the far right that you want monitored, plus a window at the top left – two taps and it’s set to go.

Noise levels can also trigger recording. The rather ugly app will show your normal noise levels in a graph (typically 20-30dB) and you can then drag the level to 80dB, say. 

It supports night vision courtesy of the usual infrared LEDs, and promises a reach of up to five metres – so more than enough for a typical home or office. Don’t imagine you can install it outside, though, as it requires a constant power supply via the micro-USB port and definitely isn’t designed for such conditions.

The other options are tailored for techies rather than mass consumers, all of them accessible via a web interface rather than the app. D-Link supplies a 69-page PDF on its support site that documents how to adjust everything from the hue of images to SMTP email configurations. It also provides details of how you can upload videos to an FTP site; by default, everything is saved to the supplied 16GB microSD card.

In a market full of far more user-friendly cameras – not least D-Link’s own Omna – the DCS-960L has clear appeal to a more techie audience. 

D-Link DCS-960L


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