A smarthome consists of all sorts of exciting gadgets from app-controlled lighting and heating to robotic vacuum cleaners, but there is one gadget that is likely to be picked first for the smarthome cool team - the camera.
Smarthome cameras will not only keep an eye on your house while you aren't home, but with many you can use your smartphone to check in on things, as well as get notifications when something isn't quite how it should be. They are a great place to start if you are just hopping on the smarthome bandwagon and there are plenty of options out there.
Whether you are after a nice and simple model to watch the cats while you are at work, or you want something a little more substantial, such as one with a siren or one that can sing a lullaby, here are a few of the best smart cameras available, or coming very soon to bring a bit of Bond to your home.
Withings announced a move into smart cameras at consumer electronics show IFA back in September 2014 and its offering doesn't just record what is happening in your house, it also monitors the air quality and will play a lullaby when the night light is turned on. Compatible with iOS, Withings Home will allow you to see what is going on via an app on your iPad or iPhone and the bottom of the stylish-looking camera doubles up as the night light, while the top features environmental sensors to measure temperature, humidity and levels of volatile organic compound (VOC).
There is a 5-megapixel CMOS sensor, two digital microphones, a HQ speaker, 135-degree wide angle zoom and night vision on the Withings Home. Additionally, any note-worthy thing that happens will be recorded to a cloud-stored video and sent to your smartphone in notification form, while any of the images and videos will then be put into an interactive timeline that turns into a home diary.
FULL REVIEW: Withings Home review
The Canary all-in-one security camera can be set up in a matter of minutes and it will learn over time to deliver you smarter notifications. It is capable of Full HD video recording, HD audio recording and you will get instant alerts when activity is detected, along with the ability to view the recorded video.
Like Piper nv a little bit further on in this list, there is a siren on board to scare off any unwanted visitors. The siren is 90+ decibels and it can be controlled remotely, while Canary also monitors air quality, temperature and humidity to give you a better idea of your home. It comes in black, white and grey colour options.
PRICE: $199 from Canary
FULL REVIEW: Canary All-In-One Home Security review
Nest Cam is the redeveloped version of Dropcam offering a more versatile design that features a zinc alloy stand, with new mounting options, including a standard tripod mount and a magnet, meaning you'll be able to stick it directly to your fridge.
It has a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, eight IR LEDs, so it works in both light and darkness and there is also a speaker and mic embedded. Additionally, Nest Cam has a zoom function, offering 8x digital zoom with a Clear Zoom function, so you can zoom in on your phone, hit the button and get a cleaned up version of what you're looking at.
PRICE: £160 from Nest
FULL REVIEW: Nest Cam review
The Netatmo Welcome camera features face recognition technology and when it launched, it claimed to be the first of its kind to do so. It will send the names of the people it recognises to the your smartphone, as well as notify you when it detects an unknown face.
You will be able to customise profiles so if you don't want it to record your partner at any time for example, you can set it to make sure it doesn't and you can stop notifications coming through when you are at home too. It features full HD resolution, along with a 130-degree angle lens and night vision.
PRICE: £200 from Netatmo
FULL REVIEW: Netatmo Welcome review
Piper nv is a follow-on device from the original Piper that began shipping in January 2014. The nv model builds on the all-in-one home security and video monitoring system by introducing night vision and a new camera performance. It comes with a 3.4-megapixel sensor with a 180-degree fisheye lens that has 10x zoom and it will record 1080p video as well as allow you to electronically pan and tilt.
Just like the first model, there are a range of Z-Wave accessories available that can be integrated with the Piper nv so you'll be able to control reading lights or flood lights from the same app. You'll also find two-way audio, a motion detector with a siren, environmental sensors and compatibility with Android and iOS platforms. A good thing about the Piper nv is its two-minute internal memory that it uses to pull in five seconds prior to an event happening to add to the 35-second recording so it will show you a person coming up to the front door, as well as it opening.
PRICE: €225 from Piper
FULL REVIEW: Piper nv hands-on
Panasonic's Nubo is a smarthome camera that uses 4G connectivity rather than Wi-Fi to allow you to find out what is happening in your home when you aren't there. Using 4G means it can be taken with you on a boat or a caravan for example, so it isn't restricted to you home.
On-board resolution is 1080p, while 720p is used for transmittal via 4G or 3G. If connectivity lulls to 2G then no video data is transferred, only relevant alerts. It can detect movement and audio during the day or night and it has detection algorithms on board that can identify distinct shapes so it should be able to tell the difference between a human and a cat for example.
PRICE: Pre-order now for £259 from Panasonic
FULL REVIEW: Panasonic Nubo hands-on
The Logi Circle smarthome camera will connect to your smartphone to allow you to monitor your home from wherever you are, like the others on this list. One difference with this device however, is it will record main events from a day in your home and edit them into one 30-second video for you to review so you don't have tp trawl through hours and hours of footage.
It is Android and iOS compatible, has a two-way talk and listen function and night vision on board. The Logi Circle is also portable, offering 12 hours of battery when not plugged in. It records in HD, has a 135-degree viewing angle and offers 8x zoom on live and recorded footage.
PRICE: £160 from Logi
FULL REVIEW: Logi Circle review