If my parents were able to figure out the iPhone, they should be able to set up their own multi-location surveillance system, right? Maybe not, but Stem Innovation has turned this previously complicated process into a piece-of-cake with the new IZON 2.0 WiFi video camera. The setup doesn’t require anything but an iOS device and it takes a matter of minutes. The IZON 2.0 is the easiest solution to setting up puppy cams or security cameras that you can monitor and control directly from your iPhone or iPad.
One year ago we reviewed IZON 1.0. It was the exact same camera, but Version 2.0 includes updated software and updated firmware. We were able to simply update our old IZON straight from the iPhone app, free of charge, and take advantage of the new features and even easier setup process. Now we have a two camera surveillance system!
The camera is pretty small, about the size of two D-sized batteries stacked up. The design has a very Apple-y aesthetic, covered in clean glossy white plastic. There’s a magnetic base that ingeniously allows the IZON to securely pivot in any direction. There’s mounting tools so you can hang the IZON from a wall or ceiling. There’s an LED on the front which can be shut off from the app.
IZON is a WiFi camera that can wirelessly hook up to your router. This means the only required cable is for power. Nicely, it comes with a 9 foot mini-USB cable that plugs in flush on the back of the camera. Running the cable further than 9 feet should be easy with any USB extender. It’s powered in a USB port or with the included power adapter. If the IZON WiFi camera has already been setup on your router, it will immediately start working once it’s plugged in, otherwise you just spend a couple minutes setting it up from your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.
The setup is literally a ‘few minute process’. First download the app from Apple’s App Store. The app takes you step-by-step. Create a username and password (for security), and confirm your email address. When plugged in, your camera will be blinking in one of two patterns. Choose the appropriate pattern from the app and type your WiFi password. The app generates a QR code which you hold in front of the camera. Within minutes your camera will be ready to use. That’s it!
Once your cameras are set up in the app you have a few options. You’re able to scroll through all of your cameras by name and view a live thumbnail on each. Each camera allows you to set up motion detection and/or voice detection with configurable sensitivity. You can set an area in the camera view to be set up with motion detection, like at a height your dog or Roomba wouldn’t trigger. Voice or motion detection trigger two events: video recording and a push alert to your iOS device, both optional. Video recording will start 5 seconds prior to the activity and 5 seconds after for a maximum of 30 seconds. I found most of my triggered alerts would yield videos about 15 seconds. Videos are uploaded into the Stem Cloud and only viewable in the app.
You can view your cameras in full screen with audio. The app streams video in QVGA (160×120) at 300kbps and 10 frames per second. It records video inVGA (640×480) video at 30fps. The viewing angle is 60 degrees. Actual quality will be very much dependent on the internet connection and bandwidth. Stem recommends an 802.11n network with an internet connection that can upload at 2mbps.
IZON 2.0 is a gigantic upgrade from their first generation software/firmware. In terms of functionality, layout, and ease-of use the app is phenomenal, however it’s still buggy and slow. If you’re patient it shouldn’t make a huge difference. The streaming video quality, at QVGA resolution, really isn’t all that great, but it’s also a lot better than nothing. With the quality you won’t be instagram-ing pictures of your dog sleeping, however you’ll definitely be able to distinguish the dog from their toys and rest assured that they’re okay at home. The recorded videos are much better quality, and it’s cool that it starts recording before motion, though sometimes 30 seconds will not cut it. Stem Cloud will store 25 videos per day and unfortunately you can’t export them or view them from computer.
We had some gripes with IZON 2.0, but it’s still an amazing product with fantastic software. Other than some bugginess, Stem Innovation designed a great app that makes advanced controls extremely easy for end users. Managing multiple cameras couldn’t be easier. We love that we can view our cameras from anywhere we have iPhone service and also adjust our motion sensing and recording options. The Stem IZON 2.0 retails for $129.99, which is definitely expensive for the so-so quality streaming. The 1.0 version it can be purchased on Amazon.com for $65.27 and then upgraded to the 2.0 firmware, which is a much fairer price.
While the IZON 2.0 adds some extra security to your home, we do not recommend it as an alternative to an actual security system.
The Good: Quick setup, easy to use, iPhone and iPad App, no computer required, nice design, long USB cord, motion and voice detection, and video recording.
The Bad: App has been improved but is still buggy and slow, video limitations, can’t export video, and low quality video.