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Amcrest ProHD

The Allie Home and the Compro TN900RW are pan and tilt home surveillance cameras that allow you to see activity throughout a room. However, their high prices make them prohibitive for many buyers. The motorized tilt and pan functionality of the Amcrest ProHD is available for $109.99. It delivers sharp night vision and good color quality. It is costly and requires you to go through some hoops in order to make certain features work. Zmodo Pivot is a more user-friendly option.

Design and Features
The ProHD measures 4.5×3.9×4.0 inches (HWD) and is considerably smaller than the TN900RW. The ProHD is available in white or black and includes a ceiling mount and an Ethernet cable. It also comes with an AC adapter and 10-foot power cord. Attached to the round camera head, a motorized tripod provides 360° of panning and 45° of tilt maneuverability.

The 1080p camera features a 2-megapixel CMOS sensor, a 90-degree field view and a 3-x digital zoom. It also uses 12 infrared leds to provide night vision up to 30 feet. 30 frames per second are recorded. The ProHD has a microphone and speaker built in for two-way audio. It connects to your home network using 802.11b/g WiFi.

Rear panel includes a Fast Ethernet (10/100), LAN port, an indicator LED, a reset button and external alarm ports. It also contains audio in/out ports. A microSD card slot (not included) is located on the left. Recorded video can be saved to a microSD card, or you can subscribe to Amcrest’s expensive cloud service. $6 per month will get you 7 days storage; $10 per monthly gets you 14 days; $15 per month gives you 30 days storage. All of this comes with unlimited live streaming. You can also use the free service which offers 4 hours storage and a 2-hour limit on live streaming. Netgear’s cloud storage is more affordable, offering 7 days free storage, 30 days at $9.99 and 60 days at $14.99.

You can view live and recorded video on your mobile device by downloading an Android or iOS application, or on your PC by logging in to Amcrest’s website. To enable motion detection, adjust motion sensitivity and set detection zones, or change camera image settings, download the Amcrest IP Config utility. Then log into the camera with a Web browser. You will need to use Internet Explorer or Firefox for this, since Chrome and other browsers are not supported. The app does not have Motion Detection and Device Manager settings. Amcrest confirmed that most of the camera settings need to be set up through the PC utility.

Pro HD 1080p Pan/Tilt Camera (IP2M-841B)

The ProHD has a lot of settings, including white balance, saturation, and exposure. It also supports TCP/IP and DNS. It can be set up to work with Bonjour, as well as compatible with Amcrest Network Video Recorder line. However, it is not compatible with other home automation devices like door/window sensors and door locks. Also, it does not support If This Then That recipes.

Installation and Performance
I first downloaded the iOS app, then selected Wi-Fi Camera under the Device Type menu. The camera was set up using Wi-Fi, although you can also connect to it via wired Ethernet. When asked, I used my smartphone’s camera to scan QR codes on the base of camera. Next, I created an administrative name for the camera and a password. Next, I chose a Wi-Fi network to connect to and then entered the password. The camera connected in about 30 seconds.

The ProHD is very responsive once it’s up and running. It records 1080p video at a sharp resolution and has excellent color quality. The black-and-white night vision video also looks sharp with good contrast. There is some pincushion distortion around the edges.

Although the pan and tilt mechanism works well and is quiet, it can be slow when used with the mobile app. Push notifications are also available instantly and motion and audio detection work well. The digital zoom preserves image detail, and the two-way audio makes it clear and loud.

Conclusions
The Amcrest ProHD motorized pan/tilt home surveillance cam is a good choice if you have a tight budget. The Amcrest ProHD delivers sharp 1080p video and still images, and smooth pan and tilt functionality. However, panning and tilting can be slow in the mobile app. You can store recorded video on the microSD slot, or use Amcrest’s cloud storage. However, it is not cheap. The camera and alert settings are plentiful, but you will need to spend some time reading the manual and downloading and configuring the browser plug-ins to make them work. Many of these settings are not available in the mobile app.

The Zmodo Pivot offers a more user-friendly experience. The Zmodo Pivot is easy to install, offers 360-degree paning, motion detection, temperature, humidity, and door/window sensors. The Icontrol Networks Piper nv camera is our Editors’ Choice and best choice for home surveillance cameras. It can control a wide range of connected devices, including smart thermostats, lighting and smart switches. Although it is more expensive than the ProHD, and does not offer motorized tilt or pan, its digital tilt and pan features work well and deliver excellent 1080p video.

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