Logitech Alert 750i Master System Review
Setting up your own camera security system has really never been easier! You could easily spend thousands on a security camera system for your home or office, and it wouldn’t offer all of the easy-to-use features that the Logitech Alert 750i Master System does. Motion-triggered recording, automatic email alerts, audio recording, easy expandability, PC-free recording, and camera viewing over the web, mobile phone, iPad, and Google TV are just a few of the awesome features of Logitech Alert. The best part is, there’s no special wiring required, everything works through your powerline / plug outlets!
What’s in the Box
* Logitech Alert indoor camera
* HomePlug Indoor Camera Power Supply
* HomePlug Network Adapter
* 10-ft (3-meter) Ethernet cable
* 20-ft (6-meter) Ethernet cable
* Software CD
* Window, desktop, and wall mounts with installation hardware
* 2 GB microSD card (expandable up to 32 GB)
* Quick Start Guide and Manual
Features and Performance
1. Easy Installation:
Logitech has gotten the installation down to a three-step process: 1) Install the software, it’s Windows-only, 2) Plug the HomePlug network adapter into the wall and run the ethernet cable to the router, and finally 3) plug the HomePlug camera power supply into the wall, mount the camera, and run an ethernet cable between both devices.
How easy was it really? Pretty much that easy. Even the tech-challenged users should get the system up and running in under an hour. Unboxing the 750i can be a little intimidating with all the pieces, but the quick start guide makes the process quick and stress-free. Logitech gives you more than a few ways to mount your camera; there’s a desktop stand, wall mount, and suction cup. I suction-cupped the camera to a mirror that faces the front door. It’s not a permanent location; but it’s a great spot to watch for intruders while keeping an eye on the pup. The HomePlug needs to be plugged directly into a wall outlet, not a surge protector or power strip. As long as the HomePlugs are in outlets that are part of the same electricity circuit, the set up should go without a hitch. The camera has an LED which will indicate the status of the camera by using different colors, this is very helpful in troubleshooting.
2. HD Quality Video with a Wide-Angle Lens
The Logitech Alert camera has a Wide-Angle Lens that gives you a field of view of 130°. The camera captures video at a resolution of 960 x 720 @ 15fps. I would describe the video as high quality rather than high definition. Video looks amazing with slow movement. People and objects that scurry across the camera will blur. The Logitech Alert software allows you to set a field of vision inside of the wide angle shot. Within the wide angle shot, you can pan and tilt, though the camera does not move. You can choose to set the field of vision to the full wide angle shot.
3. Motion-triggered Alerts Sent to your Email
When the Logitech Alert Camera detects any motion it will immediately start recording the video. Using the Alert software, you can also have an alert emailed to you with a still image from the camera. If you do not want the motion detection to apply to the full field of vision, you can designate up to 16 zones. This was helpful in my scenario where cars driving by the house would trigger motion, so I drew zones everywhere but the front door windows. You can set the motion sensitivity and also how long continuous motion must be present to trigger recording.
4. Remote Browser or Mobile Viewing
You can check in on your camera feed(s) from any computer connected to the internet using a web browser with flash. You can even download the Logitech Alert app for iPhone/iPod Touch, Android, or Blackberry and watch the live feed directly from your smart phone. The quality is surprisingly good and the delay is only about 5 seconds or less. You cannot replay recordings, pan/tilt/zoom, or tweak settings like you can on the Logitech Alert Software; well, at least you can’t without paying. The Web and Mobile commander is an additional $79.99. There is a 7 day trial. Once this add-on enabled, you’ll get virtually all the features and controls that you do with the software.
5. PC-Free Recording with Built-In Flash
Many people may fail to recognize this while considering this system, but it’s one of the 750i’s greatest features. Once the software is installed, and the camera is set up, you don’t need a computer for Logitech Alert to function. Even if you decide to move the camera to the other side of the house, the system will update accordingly sans computer. The camera will record all motion on the built-in microSD flash card; Logitech estimates the 2gb card will take about a week to fill up. When the PC is turned on, or reconnected to the network, the video recordings will be backed up on the PC too. You can set the amount of computer storage you want the Logitech Alert to use.
6. Easy Expandability
The 750i Master System comes with just the one indoor camera. At any point in time, you can add up to five more indoor or outdoor cameras to the system. You can access all of the cameras from your phone or the web. Each camera has its own settings to configure, like whether you want to enable the microphone, status LED, motion LED, or motion zones.
Final Thoughts and Conclusion
If you have never used security software before, you will feel like the software is straight out of the movies. It’s a great user interface, and would look even cooler with a few more cameras to monitor. The software is extremely easy to use and it takes all the hard work out of setting up a security camera system. There’s a timeline that makes navigating your old recordings oh so simple. The indoor camera records captures high quality video that looks great day and night. The only caveat is that people moving quickly past the camera will come out blurry, and you would not be able to make out the faces. The camera is sized and shaped like a slightly larger computer mouse that has a large lens growing out of the bottom. It is not a hidden camera, though you could get creative if necessary. It records audio too, which is a nice feature to have on a security system. Read up on your state’s laws to make sure you’re in the clear with video and/or audio recording.
Taking the computer out of the security system equation is brilliant. The Logitech Alert system is self-sufficient in that all it needs to run properly is a router with internet. There’s no complicated set up involving IP addresses or port forwarding, you don’t need to setup the system again if you move the camera–the product takes care of all of that for you. Ethernet through power outlets is another brilliant move by Logitech. Logitech does not make any wireless cameras that work on batteries, so you would have to plug the camera into a power outlet anyway. Being able to check in on the dog (and front door) in a matter of seconds using my iPhone has been a true delight. It is surprising how clear the video comes out over 3G.
The Logitech Alert 750i Indoor Master Security System costs $299.99, additional indoor cameras cost $229.99, and outdoor cameras (with night vision) cost $279.99. These prices may sound high, but not when you compare them to other comparable security systems. The real kicker is that Logitech charges $80 for the Web and Mobile Commander add-on that enables features, controls, and video playback over the web. This should have been thrown in. All in all, the Indoor Master Security System could be a great addition to any household; it’s a small price to pay for the safety of your home and possessions. If you are looking for a more intensive system to safeguard your place of business, like a jewelery store, you should probably look into a more professional system.
The Good: Super Easy Setup, Automated Email Alerts with Image, Configurable Motion Detection Zones, No PC Required (after setup), Remote viewing from internet browser or smartphone, works over power lines
The Bad: Windows Only, Web and Mobile Commander costs extra, blurry images with quick movement