As a fan of both DIY and technology, I will always jump at the chance to review and test wireless video monitoring equipment. Luckily for me, that chance came up recently. There is a new product on the market to jump into the wireless monitoring arena. DXG has created their See.ing Smartcam product line to compete with the likes of Dropcam and D-Link. I enjoy competition as it allows for people to make an educated guess on what is the best. I have had a Dropcam for some time and have enjoyed it. There are some quirks, so this See.ing Smartcam review will be based on a comparison between the two.
See.ing Smartcam Specifications
There are three flavors of See.ing camera which DXG offers. The noticeable difference between the three are aesthetics. The price starts at $129.99 and goes to $149.99. I was able to get my hands on the DXG110 Smartcam, which was the most expensive, but also had the best features. These features include:
- Installation is as little as 60 seconds (I was able to get mine setup in 90 seconds)
- Crisp WiFi video both streamed and recorded
- Compatible with iOS and Android devices
- No cables or software required
- Two-way audio for listening and communicating
- Smart motion detection sends alerts in real time based on user settings
- Night vision light with Infra-red LED
- SD card slot of local video recording or you can use cloud based storage options (fee involved)
- 256-bit AES encryption which provides bank level security
For a complete list of the specifications for all of the See.ing smartcams, check out this PDF.
See.ing Smartcam Setup
I will admit this was a difficult setup. The 90-second setup time I mentioned in the bullets above was after I had to reach out about this camera. In the instructions which come with the camera, they tell you to download an app called “See.ing“. DO NOT DO THIS!!! This will get you nowhere fast.
Apparently, DXG let another company buy their see.ing app and they released another app called “SeeingCloud.” Now, I am not sure what marketing genius thought this would be a good idea, but whatever happened, it was a mistake. You print out all of these instructions to work with an app that you sold to another company? When you do this, you can’t take that app down from the app store or Google Play. Just stupid!
In order to even get this camera working, you HAVE TO DOWNLOAD SEEINGCLOUD. Did I make that loud enough for you? Though this camera is quite new, I have seen a few review of it and people couldn’t get it working. This is why!
Once you get the right application, you are supposed to scan a QR code at the bottom of the camera. Well, my Moto G apparently couldn’t scan the extremely small QR code. Maybe is was the camera, but either way, I had to manually enter the information. This didn’t take long, but it was still a pain in the a. It will walk you through the rest of the setup, which requires it to hook into your WiFi. This process might be strange to you, but the See.ing cam will actually start broadcasting it’s own WiFi signal, which you connect to with your phone. Once you do that and enter your regular WiFi settings, then you will be connected.
My camera connected quickly and started working. I have had the camera for close to three weeks and it has worked fine so far. The only time it has been disconnected is when my router went wonky or our power was out. Not the camera’s problem.
The See.ing Smartcam Good and Bad
I am sure this is what everyone wants to see. With everything, there is some good and bad. There is no exception for the See.ing Smartcam. Let’s start with the nice stuff first.
- Good audio pickup. The camera can pick up sounds from around the house.
- Clear speech through the camera. This is where this camera beat the pants off Dropcam. I don’t have the Dropcam pro, but the audio on their regular camera is terrible. It constantly breaks up and sounds like a demon is speaking. The See.ing camera sounds really good here.
- Pan and Tilt – Oh yes! This is the feature I am talking about. My dropcam can’t move. While it picks up a good range, you can’t pan or tilt the camera from your smartphone. You can even set the See.ing cam to scan a 360 degree area and you can stop it when you wish. It is pretty cool.
- Local Video Storage – I like they have allowed you to put in an SD card and store you video on the local card. I am not a fan of paying for cloud storage, so this is a good option.
- Aesthetics – The camera I got, which is the DXG110, looks like a child’s toy. It looks really ugly. It is clunky and very large. Compared to my dropcam, which is sleek and clean, this camera is just bulky and cheap looking. They could have done a better job with the look of the camera.
- Streaming Picture – I wish I could take a side by side with both my cameras, but I haven’t yet. I will say my Dropcam wins here. The picture is much better and I even turned off HD a long time ago due to bandwidth restrictions. The See.ing cam is somewhat pixelated and doesn’t have a very large area grab. The lens appears to focus on a more narrow area and thus the need for panning and tilting.
- Cloud storage pricing – As I stated as a good, this is a bad. Just like the dropcam, you have to pay for cloud storage if you want your video stream to be placed in the cloud. The fee varies depending on how many days you want to store. $8.99 per month for 7 days and $29.99 per month for 30 days.
I am really hoping I can take this section out, but I came across something while doing this review that rubbed me the wrong way. When you first sign up with See.ing, you get a free trial of their cloud based storage. I think it is their 7 day storage option. When I was on this free trial, my camera worked fine. It would pick up motion and I could jump right in and see what was going on. My subscription ended a few days ago and now I can’t get my camera to show up in the app. It will still notify me of motion in the house, but I can’t get the camera to show me anything. Even if there is no motion indication and I want to jump into the app and see the camera. I can’t do it. It just spins and spins.
This actually was a situation where my WiFi and the camera just didn’t want to communicate. I have since just turned both off and everything has worked fine. The company does not restrict your viewing when your trial goes away, that was just a coincidence in my case.
I do think the See.ing Smartcam has potential to be a contender. It does have some problems and they really need to get a handle on their setup instructions as it will confuse many. If you get too many bad reviews, your product will never get off the ground. They need to fix this immediately. At this time, I would still recommend a Dropcam over the See.ing Cam. While it doesn’t have a pan/tilt option, it does have a crisp picture and it picks up a lot of sound. I also have never had any issues connecting to it even though I don’t pay for their cloud service. Since the Dropcam price is equivalent to the See.ing Cam price, I would go with that. You can get the Dropcam Pro for $50 more, but I am not sure it is worth it.