Security cameras and remote monitoring aren’t just for large companies, with affordable solutions now available for homes and small businesses. Y-cam’s EyeBall is a straightforward solution that’s perfectly suited to these environments, and offers significant peace of mind for those who a bit of extra security for the home or office.
Mounting and installation
The Eyeball comes with a full mounting kit that allows it to be semi-permanently set indoors on a ceiling or wall. Slightly larger than a tennis ball, and including a cigarette-packet sized control box that needs to be connected to a mains supply, it may not be the tidiest solution for home use compared to miniature alternatives – but with basic DIY skills you should be able to find a way to install the product unobtrusively. The flexible camera unit allows for easy adjustment after fitting, and additional mounting points on the control box will help ensure everything holds snugly in place.
Setup and configuration
Setup involves temporarily connecting the EyeBall control box to a router using the supplied network cable, at which point the device should be detected by the Camera Setup application. From here you can access all of the features and settings of the device via a web browser, and more importantly configure wireless access using the straightforward setup wizard, thereby allowing you to relocate it anywhere within range of a wireless router.
This part of the setup is very straightforward, but inexperienced users may find it a little more difficult to configure the camera so it can be viewed over the Internet or on a mobile phone. Thankfully, the supplied quick start manual does a good job of explaining this in a clear fashion – and with a bit of luck it should be fully up and running in around 30 minutes.
From here you may want to tweak the various settings available through the software, though the default options, for most, should be sufficient. You can change the image quality from 640×480 (at 30fps) down to 160×120, zoom in and out of a live image, take screenshots, record the current view and adjust the volume of the built in microphone if necessary.
More advanced settings allow you to flip or mirror an image, enable ‘moonlight’ mode to cater for low-light conditions, and customise stream quality for various mediums (such as utilising a lower-quality stream for mobile phone viewing, via a free app available for Symbian, iPhone, Android and Blackberry platforms).
You can also tweak motion sensitivity to help avoid ‘false alarms’, when it comes to the movement sensor reporting activity in a location – though in our tests we found it pretty effective at ignoring small movements anyway, such as a curtain blowing in the wind.
Once all this is done it’s possible to view a live feed from the camera from a web browser on any device connected to the internet, simply by entering the relevant IP address and access code.
Features, performance and web access
The Eyeball has what’s called a ‘Push & Point’ lens system, which basically means that the lens, situated in a ball-like enclosure, can be rotated and tilted to just about any angle. When it comes to managing images, video and audio, along with still images, can be recorded and stored on a microSD card directly as well as being viewed online.
The motion detector can automatically generate an email alert (along with an image of the offending scene) to let you know that something untoward has happened, or images and video can be configured to be sent to an FTP server for you to view remotely.
Performance of the Y-cam Eyeball, at least in well lit environments, is very good. We were impressed by the clarity of the image considering the camera’s relatively low resolution – and the refresh rate, which while noticeable, is certainly good enough to cope with the job for which it’s intended.
The Eyeball’s online interface is effective and responsive in allowing you to control the camera from afar – though it’s a shame this can’t also control the orientation of the lens. Dimly lit environments aren’t quite as well served, due to the lack of a true ‘night’ mode, but a built-in light sensor does optimise images where possible to cope with this, which makes it far more effective than many similarly priced rivals.
Contact: Y-Cam on 020 8334 7373
- Flexible design , decent image quality, range of customisation settings.
- Mains adaptor and separate control box may require a bit of work for tidy placement, no remote adjustment of camera position.
The Y-cam Eyeball certainly fulfils its promise of providing a hassle-free solution for home and small business users with a tidy design, effective viewing software and a wide range of settings for those who want to fine tune control. Though it might take a little while to adjust the device for optimum performance, it would certainly offer peace of mind for those concerned about physical security.