Keeping an eye on your home or workspace away from home has never been easier thanks to the Internet. We are talking about IP cameras, which show the image they capture and send it over the Internet. Something that has radically changed security systems, making them accessible to anyone, and in which the TP-Link company actively works. We have been able to test their most advanced camera, the NC450 . It is able to rotate 360 degrees to show everything that happens in a place, even if we are miles away. And regardless of the time of day, or whether there is light or not. These are our impressions.
A WiFi camera for anywhere
The TP-Link NC450 stands out for several specific features focused on its mobility . Like any security camera worth its salt, TP-Link's does not have blind spots. Although its lens does not capture more than 75 degrees of vision, its motorized body allows 360 degrees of a room to be framed horizontally. Therefore, it is the perfect option to place in the middle of a room or in a large place to cover a large area.
Along with this, it has another motorized axis that allows it to move vertically. In this case the sensor travels 150 degrees. But, added to the 75 degrees that its lens is capable of capturing, it covers all the space that is presented before this camera, from whatever position it is , and at any angle. As long as the camera is framing that place, of course.
In this way the NC450 camera can replace the work of several fixed cameras placed in the same environment. Nothing passes before her unnoticed. Also, it does not matter whether it is day or night. It has night vision thanks to its 850 nm brightness LEDs . Or what is the same, in her way of night vision. When activated, the camera displays images in black and white, but clearly in any light level. It is capable of capturing objects and movement up to 8 meters away thanks to this feature. Therefore, it is an effective camera even if the light is off.
TP-Link NC450 datasheet
|Camera||1/4 ″ CMOS sensor|
|Picture quality||HD video (1280 x 720 pixels) / configurable bitrate|
|Night vision||850 nm LED (8 meters view)|
|Connectivity||2.4 Ghz WiFi (802.11 / n) and Ethernet|
|Application||tpCamera (Android and iOS)|
|Movement||360 degree horizontal / 170 degree vertical|
|Surveillance system||Motion detection / sound detection|
|Connections||MicroSD card slot|
|Audio||Yes / bidirectional|
|Dimensions||144 x 109 x 106mm (without stand)|
|Featured Features||Notifications to mobile and mail / remote control|
|Release date||Now available|
The lens of the TP-Link NC450 offers a quality more than worthy for an IP camera. And it is that to the characteristics of its sensor, we must add the possibility of controlling the amount of data that it transmits , or the quality of the image that reaches the mobile, in short. Features that make it possible to put a face without any doubt to whoever breaks into the place guarded by this gadget. Of course, for live broadcasting it is advisable to have a good Internet connection, thus enjoying greater detail in the captured images.
This camera has a quarter-inch CMOS sensor . It is capable of capturing video in HD quality (1280 x 720 pixels) at a maximum speed of up to 30 frames per second (configurable). But what stands out is that it is enhanced to be especially sensitive to light. In addition, it has software that complements the physical technical characteristics with an intelligent management of exposure and white balance. In Christian: it is a camera that adapts to the light conditions it captures at all times.
This way you can regulate that the image does not look burnt in bright light, or brighten it in dark surroundings . All this without introducing too much noise when it is dark, or without losing definition in the images. Of course, without losing sight of the fact that it is not the best photography sensor in history. As a major criticism, we should speak of the contrast of the captured images, as well as the representation of colors. But we are not talking about a professional camera or the lens of a mobile phone. It is a camera that meets to show what happens in a place, and not to define each of the tabs of anyone who passes by.
Wired or wireless
Another interesting point of this TP-Link camera is its connectivity. And it is that it allows you to carry it almost anywhere thanks to its WiFi antenna. It transmits on the 2.4 GHz band over the 802.11n standard , with which it follows maximum speeds of up to 300 Mbps. Something that achieves a practically live and direct transmission, with a latency of little more than a second and in a fluid way . As long as you have a good WiFi network, of course.
This way you don't have to fix it to a wall or keep it on a surface in a specific place. It is possible to move it anywhere that the WiFi coverage of the home or office reaches. Of course, it always has to be connected to the current through the cable that it includes in its box. It is long enough to place it on a false ceiling, anchor it on a wall or move it to any table. And it is that the package of the TP-Link NC450 includes an extension cable for these purposes.
But there is no WiFi coverage, it is always possible to run an Ethernet cable to the camera . This has an input to transmit all the images captured directly by cable. Something that would avoid connection problems or fluctuations in the 2.4 GHz WiFi signal. Fast image, with low latency, and of constant quality over cable.
Closes its connectivity section a MicroSD card slot located on the back of the camera . With it, it is possible to store videos and photos captured by the TP-Link NC450 automatically and without using the mobile as a storage system. A point to keep in mind if you want to use this camera to monitor a place independently.
Installation for all audiences
One point that defines TP-Link as a company is that of accessibility. And, despite producing gadgets such as routers or smart plugs, it thinks of everything so that the user does not have to think about anything. And the same goes for this IP camera. The installation process is simple , but it requires a few initial steps that we detail here, and in which your Smartphone has a lot to do.
- The first thing to do is take it out of the box and connect the included Ethernet cable to your home or office router.
- Then it only remains to connect the power cable to supply power and see how the camera is activated.
- Now you have to link the camera to the mobile to which the images will be transmitted. To do this you have to download the TPCamera application from the Google Play Store or from the App Store. It is free and available for Android phones and tablets, for iPhone and iPad.
- After installation, it is necessary to create a user account in the TP-Link Cloud service. Simply enter an email and password. The process is completed by activating the account from the email received by TP-Link.
- With this you have access to the application. If both the camera and the mobile are connected to the same Internet network, it only remains to create the link. To do this, click on the + button, select the camera model (NC450) and confirm this step.
- At this point it is possible to configure whether the connection of the TP-Link NC450 camera will be via cable or via WiFi. In this second case, you will have to enter the key of the WiFi network of the environment so that everything is configured.
- Finally, to access the camera safely, you need to set a password. Any term between 5 and 8 characters meets the requirement and prevents other users from linking to the camera. Everything is ready to start using it.
Through the mobile it is possible to see everything that this camera sees . Thanks to its connection through the Internet, it is possible to be thousands of kilometers away, or in the next room. Simply access the application and select one of the linked TP-Link cameras (more than one can be connected). With this, the user takes full power over the control of the camera axes.
With live and direct images of what happens (with a delay of little more than a second in our tests), it only remains to slide your finger over the image to move the camera. The movements are not entirely faithful, but it is possible to move around the environment with small slides to point the frame towards the area that you want to see. You can even zoom with the pinch gesture.
The application offers other, more automated forms of control. Just click on the camera icon to find buttons. These keep the camera moving horizontally or vertically . There are also buttons to capture videos or photos and store them directly in the terminal gallery.
From this manual control it is also possible to jump to night vision mode . And you can always adjust the quality of the image that is transmitted. Something useful to avoid wasting data if the video signal is consulted directly from the data connection and not from a WiFi.
Another interesting quality of the link between the camera and the user's mobile phone is that of voice communication . It is bi-directional and is useful for caring for animals or giving alerts. By activating the microphone from the application, it is possible to speak to the terminal to get the voice to where the camera is installed. Of course, the volume of this must be previously adjusted from the application settings menu. A good way to attract attention through the built-in microphones of the TP-Link NC450.
A surveillance camera
But it is of little use to have this complete surveillance camera if it is not used from the mobile. And it is in the TPCamera applicationwhere your most useful and eye-catching options are. Far from transforming the mobile screen into a television from what the camera captures, this tool also helps to complete the surveillance system. And it is that it allows you to receive notifications when some type of movement or sound is detected. Alerts that come directly to the mobile phone or to the email inbox. Of course, the computer is programmed so that it does not send notifications during a 3-minute window after a first notification. The reason is not to saturate the recipient with emails or alerts. Keep in mind that if we have put an SD card in the camera, the events will be recorded locally (we will not miss anything). As indicated by TP-Link, the manufacturer has opted for this, since in real test cases, sometimes, the receiver was saturated
In addition to live and live images, the application allows you to activate surveillance functions. It is, in particular, the sound and motion detector . Just click on the linked camera in the application and select the house icon. Here you will find the activation menu for the different surveillance modes.
With the motion detector it is possible to scan a portion of the environment and choose the sensitivity or the area where you want to measure any disturbance. In this way, if something happens in that portion that should remain static, the user receives a notification on his mobile to connect directly with the camera.
For its part, the sound detector does the same, but with noises. It also allows you to configure the noise level detected by the microphone that integrates the TP-Link NC450. From subtle noises to detect any stealth incursion , to loud sounds in case the camera is placed in a noisy environment. Again, if something is detected, the camera sends a notification to the user's mobile instantly.
In addition, from this section of surveillance mode configuration, the user can configure different patterns to be activated automatically. For example, it is possible to put the camera to work in surveillance mode only on weekends, or on weekdays, between certain hours of the day. You only have to configure it once and activate the surveillance mode you want.
Conclusions and price
After our tests, we have been able to verify how the TP-Link NC450 serves to monitor a room . Its installation has only taken us five minutes and its versatility allows it to be placed anywhere. From a table in the middle of the room, to the top of a shelf, in a corner. Her presence is not too subtle. Although it is small (and very elegant in its forms), the noise of its engines makes its presence known.
Its camera offers enough quality to recognize who is passing by. And its night vision allows use in totally dark places.
But it is its control from the mobile that has attracted our attention the most. The ability to communicate and manual control make it a really useful and fun tool to use . It also has surveillance modes to be able to forget about its use, with automatic operation and direct notifications to the user's mobile or email.
In short, an amateur surveillance system recommended for any place and user. And it is that it can be purchased for about 120 euros .