Home » Surprisingly good for 27 euros: PTZ surveillance camera Owltron Cam W1 in the test

Surprisingly good for 27 euros: PTZ surveillance camera Owltron Cam W1 in the test

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Surprisingly good for 27 euros: PTZ surveillance camera Owltron Cam W1 in the test

Indoor security cameras (best list) serve different purposes. Improving safety is just one aspect. Couples who have just had a baby want to keep an eye on them as often as possible. Equipped with a microphone and speaker, a surveillance camera can also serve as a baby monitor, primarily if it has noise detection like the Owltron Cam W1 model (model: LF-P3t).

Line crossing detection, such as that offered by the TP-Link Tapo C225 (test report), can also be interesting for young parents: They can virtually lock a room and find out immediately when their offspring sets off on an exploratory trip. The Owltron doesn’t offer the latter, but the full HD surveillance camera with a panning and tilting lens including motion tracking currently costs around 27 euros (Amazon Prime), but significantly less than our test winner TP-Link Tapo C225 (test report), for which one have to spend over 50 euros (price comparison). Another advantage of the Owltron Cam 1 is that it is compatible with the Tuya platform (test report) and can be used with compatible smart home components for automation, for example to set up a comprehensive security system.

The Cam W1 records videos continuously or based on events and saves them locally on a microSD card, which is not included in the scope of delivery. Optionally, users can also book paid cloud storage, which costs 5.39 euros per month or 43.19 euros annually. Our test report shows how well the PTZ surveillance camera, which only costs around 27 euros, works in practice.

Appearance and scope of delivery

The white housing of the Owltron Cam W1 (ZX-5328) is made of plastic and has a diameter of 7.75 cm and a height of 13.3 cm. This makes the Owltron surveillance camera relatively compact. From a purely haptic perspective, it leaves a stable impression.

There is also nothing wrong with the workmanship. The upper, spherical and rotatable part is surrounded on the sides by struts running out of the lower part. The antennas are hidden in the housing. The camera then makes contact with the home WiFi. However, it only operates in the 2.4 GHz band, which offers a better range than 5 GHz networks, but provides less bandwidth.

The PTZ surveillance camera is powered by an included 5 watt USB power supply and a 1.5 meter long cable. A connection to a USB socket in the form of an adapter plug (guide) or as a classic flush-mounted socket (guide) is also possible.

Assembly and setup

To attach the 213 gram PTZ camera to the wall, ceiling or a flat surface, the scope of delivery includes a bracket including a bracket (wall mounting) as well as screws and dowels. But you can also use a different mount, as the Cam W1 has a threaded connection on the bottom. Upside down installation is also possible: To do this you have to go into the app Basic function settings die Option Image flip activate.

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Commissioning takes place using the Owltron app, which requires a user account. However, you cannot use the Cam W1 with the Tuya-compatible apps Smartlife or Tuya Smart. After connecting to power, the camera will start in pairing mode, indicated by a flashing status light in the stand and the voice prompt “wait to connect“ is signaled.

Now open the Owltron app and start adding the camera using the plus sign at the top right and select Cam W1. It is then paired with your home WiFi, for which you have to enter the password in the app. The app then generates a QR code that you hold in front of the lens at a distance of 10 to 15 centimeters. As soon as the camera has recognized the QR code, a voice output occurs „start connect“ and then the connection to the WLAN (connect success).

The surveillance camera is initially called “Intelligent Camera” in the app (see also image gallery). However, users can adjust the name in the settings. Changing the WLAN is possible via reset. To do this, press the reset button on the back of the camera next to the USB-C port for a few seconds until you hear a voice message (Device Reset).

configuration

To configure the Cam W1, first tap on the three-dot symbol at the top right and then on Setting the basic functions. Changing the Option Audio mode to the Two-Way Audio setting activates the intercom feature. The alarm as well as the movement tracking are in the area Detection alarm setting activated. Here users can also adjust the sensitivity (Low, Medium and Hoch) as well as person recognition (Human detection) activate. The latter is particularly useful if false alarms occur without activating the person detection.

With the medium sensitivity set as standard, the camera does not miss any movement and there are no false alarms in the test when person detection is activated. If you want to use the Cam W1 as a baby monitor, you can regulate the sensitivity of the noise detection. In the test this already happened with the standard setting low worked perfectly.

However, the Cam W does not allow you to restrict the surveillance area or define a data protection zone. The latter is not so important for indoor cameras because, unlike outdoor models, they are rarely aimed at someone else’s property or a public area.

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Praxis

In the test, the camera reacts immediately to user input. The live stream is available almost immediately. And panning and tilting the camera using the PTZ control is also quick. The internal mechanics operate relatively quietly. And the movement tracking also works flawlessly. The Patrol option also allows users to define waypoints that the Cam W1 automatically monitors. To do this, you first have to use the unfortunately inadequately translated option Page and Add website define. Sounds strange, but it is true. Manual control of the waypoints is also possible.

Users receive a prompt push notification about detected movements. However, the notification only shows an image of the last recording and does not lead to the corresponding video. Here you have to manually go to playback and select the appropriate time. Unfortunately, this is the case with all Tuya surveillance cameras and could be implemented more intuitively by going straight to the corresponding playback point.

However, the Cam W1 does not offer an alert via email or an upload of the last recording to a NAS or an FTP server.

With the integrated intercom function, which is activated via the handset symbol below the live stream, you can easily communicate with people in front of the camera. The speaker is loud and the microphone is sensitive enough. Both can also be adjusted in the settings. However, noise detection remains active during a conversation, so the conversation is disrupted by incoming noise detection notifications.

Pictures Owltron Cam W1

Pictures

Video quality

The camera records videos with the setting HD with the maximum possible resolution of 1920 × 1080 pixels at 20 fps (frames per second) in the data-efficient codec H.265 alias HEVC. If you switch to SD, the resolution is reduced to 640 × 360 pixels and the recording is done with H.264. The video quality is okay during the day in terms of color representation and contrast.

The surveillance camera also copes reasonably well with strong backlight. Certain parts of the image are then either over- or under-exposed, as with other models, but this is within limits. At night, the camera only records videos in black and white due to the lack of LED lighting. The integrated infrared LEDs ensure homogeneous illumination so that faces can still be clearly seen – even if they are not quite as detailed as in videos recorded during the day.

Smart home connection

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After all, it works with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, so you can control the Cam W1 by voice. Outputting the live stream to a smart display (guide) such as Amazon Echo Show and Google Nest Hub is also possible and is extremely quick and stable compared to other solutions.

Prices

The PTZ surveillance camera Owltron Cam W1 (model number: LF-P3t) for indoor areas regularly costs just under 40 euros. There is currently a 10 percent discount. Prime customers currently only pay just under 27 euros. A microSD card is also required to record videos locally. We therefore also list offers for corresponding models in the following table. The Cam W1 supports a maximum of 128 GB microSD cards.

Conclusion

The PTZ surveillance camera Owltron Cam W1 offers a surprising amount for just under 27 euros (Amazon Prime). It records videos up to a resolution of 1920 × 1080 (Full HD) in the data-saving H.265 codec, also known as HVEC, and thanks to the integrated noise detection and intercom function, it is also suitable as a baby monitor.

Other models such as the TP-Link Tapo C225 (test report) are better suited for monitoring four-legged friends thanks to integrated pet detection. Alarms are sent promptly and reliably, and thanks to person detection there are practically no false alarms. Thanks to its compatibility with the Tuya platform (test report), the Owltron W1 can also be used for automation, for example to set up an extensive security system, with other Tuya-compatible devices. However, connection to other smart home centers is not possible due to a lack of Onvif compatibility. This also eliminates the possibility of controlling the Cam W1 with third-party solutions such as Synology Surveillance Station (guide).

The image quality of the videos is okay. During the day, the photos impress with a lot of details, which are naturally somewhat less in black and white photos and in the dark. In contrast to many other surveillance cameras, primarily in this price range, these are not overexposed, so that faces can still be clearly seen even at night.

It is also practical that the Cam W1 is powered by a conventional USB power supply. You can also operate it from a USB socket (guide). However, the connecting cable, which is 1.5 meters long, is too short.

If you can cope with these restrictions, the Owltron Cam W1 is a good, inexpensive PTZ surveillance camera that costs 27 euros (Amazon Prime).

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