Amcrest IP2M-841B-UK ProHD 1080P WiFi Wireless IP Security Camera Review

Amcrest IP2M-841B Main

Image copyright belongs to Amcrest Technologies.

The Amcrest IP2M-841B-UK ProHD 1080P WiFi Wireless IP Security Camera was kindly provided to me by Amcrest Technologies free of charge in exchange for a fair and unbiased review on Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.com. No additional compensation was given in exchange for posting this article on my blog.

The Amcrest IP2M-841B-UK ProHD 1080P WiFi Wireless IP Security Camera is available in the UK from  Foscam Digital Technologies UK Fulfilled by Amazon.co.uk at a cost of £105.99 with free P&P. In the US the IP2M-841B Security Camera is available directly from Amazon.com at a cost of $109.99 with free P&P. (Prices correct at time of posting).

 

To enlarge an image and view its description, please click on the image.

 

PACKAGE CONTENTS.

The Amcrest ProHD 1080P WiFi Wireless IP Security Camera is supplied in good quality retail style box.

 

The box is sealed with tamper proof tape and covered with a card sleeve bearing product and specification information as well as illustrations. Inside the box you will find…

The Amcrest ProHD 1080P WiFi Wireless IP Security Camera (Model: IP2M-841B-UK).
A black ABS plastic wall mount + 3 screws and rawl plugs (while there are 3 plugs and screws it should be noted that the bracket only requires 2).

 

A UK wall plug / power adaptor.
A software CD in a plain white paper sleeve.
A grey Cat5e cable.
A warranty card.
A leaflet advising to check for firmware updates.
A clear and concise quick start guide entirely in English.

 

The full manual can be found online [HERE] and the quick start guide can be found [HERE].

The contents are well protected inside the box, there are two separate cardboard inserts holding the contents in place and each component is wrapped within a clear plastic bag.

 

MEASUREMENTS.

Some measurements of the Amcrest ProHD 1080P WiFi Wireless IP Security Camera…
Height = 117mm (This measurement may not be 100% accurate, an accurate measurement excluding the feet on the underside is 114mm.)
Width of the camera head at the greatest point = 73.56mm
Length of the camera head at the greatest point = 70.56mm
Width of the base at the greatest point = 100mm
Length of the base at the greatest point = 103mm
The internal measurement of the mounting thread on the underside of the camera is 5.11mm.

 

Wall mount bracket measurements…
The section that comes into contact with the wall measures 37.28mm wide and 85.7mm tall at its greatest point and the support section for the camera measures 48.09mm in diameter. The articulation of the bracket arm is in the region of 225 degrees on a single axis only.

Cable measurements…
The Cat5e cable measures just short of 190cm excluding the connectors. Markings on the cable are as follows… E188601-T AWM 2835 24AWG/4PRS 60C 30V UTP ETL VERIFIED TO TIA/EIA-568B.2 CAT5e CABLE COPARTNET.

 

The power supply protrudes from the socket by 63.28mm (the cable actually protrudes from the rear and including the somewhat inflexible cable reinforcement the total measurement is closer to 74.86mm). The cable measures exactly 3m long excluding the connector, should this prove insufficient in length extensions are easily and cheaply available.

 

The following markings can be found on the plug…
Model: ADS-12CG-06N 05010GPB B
Input: 100-240V – 50/60Hz Max 0.3A
Output: 5v 2A
There are also a number of symbols indicating CE certification, designed for indoor use, double insulated and do not dispose of in household waste.

The following marking can be found on the cable…
E365242 RJ AWM 1165 20AWG VW-1 80C 300V JUNCHUANG CRU 1 A 80C 300V 20AWG FTI -LF-

 

CAMERA FEATURES & SPECIFICATION.

Image Sensor: 1/2.7″ 2MP COMS
Effective Pixels: 1080p (1920×1080)
Scanning System: Progressive
Electronic Shutter Speed: Auto / Manual 1/3 (4) – 1/30000
Min. Illumination: 0.1 Lux /F2.2 (colour), 0 Lux /F2.2 (IR on)
S/N Ratio: More than 50dB
Night Vision Distance: 10m
Day/Night: Auto (ICR) / Colour / B/W
Backlight Compensation: BLC / KLC / DWDR
White Balance: Auto / Manual
Gain Control: Auto / Manual
Noise Reduction: 2D
Privacy Masking: Up to 4 Areas
Focal Length: 4mm
Max Aperture: F2.2
Focus Control: Manual
Viewing Angle: 90 degrees
Lens Type: Fixed lens
Compression: H.264H / H264B / H264 / MJPEG
Resolution: 1080P (1920×1080), 720P (1280×720), VGA (640×480), QVGA (320×240)
Frame Rate: 1-30fps
Bit Rate: H.264:16k – 8192Kbps
Audio Compression: G.711MU, G711A, AAC
Interface: Audio in/out
Ethernet: RJ45 (10/100 Base-T)
Wi-Fi: b/g/n
Protocol: IPv4/Ipv6, HTTP, HTTPS, TCP/IP, UDP, UPnP, ICMP, IGMP, RTSP, RTP, SMTP, NTP, DHCP, DNS, PPPOE, DDNS, FTP, IP Filter, QoS
Compatibility: ONVIF, CGI
Max User Access: 20 Users
Smart Phone: iPad, iPhone, Android
Memory Slot: MicroSD (The included literature advises a max capacity of 32GB, others have noted that they got a 64Gb to work with the camera, sadly I only have 16Gb and 32GB cards so I am unable to confirm).
Alarm: Alarm in / alarm out
Power Supply: 5v, 2A
Power Consumption: <7.5w
Operating Environment: -10c to 45c

 

CD CONTENTS.

On the CD you can find the following…

Documentation…
– PDF quick start guide, this is the same as the paper guide supplied with the camera.
– PDF technical specifications, there are two separate files covering the 841 and 721 cameras and this information is the same as supplied on the packaging sleeve.
– PDF 72 page manual, this manual is far more detailed than the quick start guide and covers both the 841 and 721 cameras.

Software
– Disk Backup, This is Windows compatible only. I have to confess that I am somewhat unsure as to the purpose of this program and I will confess that I have not spent a great deal of time trying to find out. The program is not mentioned within any of the documentation and there is also no information available on the web for it. I suspect it is for transferring data from a MicroSD card plugged into the camera to a PC/Mac.

– IP Config, This is Windows & Mac compatible. The main purpose of this program is to enable you to view and change network settings for your camera(s). Additional options available are to set and change password access and enable or disable camera broadcasting.

 

– Smart Play, This is Windows & Mac compatible. This is a media player designed for importing, exporting (DAV or AVI formats) and viewing recordings made with the camera. Additional features enable you to zoom in, take screenshots (BMP or JPG formats), cropping, zoom and volume adjustment.

 

– Surveillance Pro, This is Windows & Mac compatible. This is the main program for operating the camera, setting up patrol patterns and making recordings. When Surveillance Pro is installed it also installs a 101 page PDF manual that specifically covers all aspects of the program. In fairness, it is very easy to use and setup, however I will confess that I did have to refer to the documentation to setup automated camera patrols as it wasn’t exactly intuitive so much so I would even call it somewhat frustrating.

 

I will openly confess this is perhaps the main reason for not giving the camera a higher score. Overall the software is far superior to that included with Foscam cameras that I have used in the past, but this particular feature is just poorly implemented.

 

The inbuilt calendar allows you to set the camera to record at specific times of the day or only on certain days. The camera can also be set to only record when motion or audio is detected and it is even possible to have the camera email you notifications or still shots should anything be detected.

 

If the camera is not setup to record it is also possible to set it to send you an alert when audio or motion is detected, at which point you can then view a live feed in an internet browser or on your mobile device. This makes the camera useful as a baby monitor or even a store counter monitor so you can put your feet up in the back.

 

One of my favourite features of the camera is the two way communications. At the top of the live view window is a number of small icons, one of these is shaped as a microphone, simply clicking this allows for two way communications assuming your device has a built in microphone and it is not disabled. This is loud and clear and a conversation can easily be held with someone even if they are at the opposite end of the room to the camera (tested at a distance of 4m).

A proper overview / review of the Surveillance Pro software would require an enormous effort and I have covered only some of the basics here. A copy of this manual is also available on the Amcrest site along with all the other manuals for this product. The Surveillance Pro manual can be found [HERE].

 

Software system requirements.
There is nothing noted on the CD regarding system requirements but the latest versions of the software available on the Amcrest site all state the minimum version of Windows required is Windows 7. The system that I tested the camera with is as follows (i3 4005u, 8GB Ram, Windows 8.1). While everything worked ok on this system the Smart Play program did on occasion cause a C++ runtime error when closing.

For Macs the stated system requirements are ” Mac OS X version 10.7.5 (Lion)” there is no other information and sadly I am unable to offer any further advice on requirements.

System requirements, additional information…
IP Config when idle consumed 22.6MB RAM.
Disk Backup when idle consumed 5MB RAM.
Smart Play when idle consumed 20.2MB RAM.
Surveillance Pro when idle without feed consumed 135MB RAM. With a single camera feed it consumed a peak of 170.9MB RAM, 21.3% CPU and 7.9MB of network activity.

Please find the links below for the camera software if you would like to check it for compatibility prior to purchase.

Surveillance Pro, Smart Play & IP Config. (Please note, I hold no responsibility for these files or their contents, please read any terms and conditions carefully prior to use).

 

SETUP.

The camera can be setup wirelessly or wired using an Ethernet cable. For use with smartphones and tablets a QR code is located within the quick start guide to obtain the App required, which can be used to set the camera up on your network wirelessly without the need of a PC or Laptop as well as operate the camera and allow you to make recordings.

 

The IP Config program on the CD (check online for latest versions of the software) will allow you to setup the camera on your network when using a PC or Mac. If your router is suitably equipped there is also a WPS setup button on the camera for quick and easy wireless installation. The Surveillance Pro software will allow you to operate the camera and make recordings.

 

The camera can be setup within a local network or using an internet explorer or safari browser plugin the camera can be viewed and operated from over the internet on almost any device capable of using browser plugins.

 

The camera can record video footage directly onto a MicroSD card, a PC, Mac or NAS on your network. You can also sign up for Amcrest’s cloud based storage feature which has limited free storage with premium storage options starting from $6 per month should you require more storage capacity. It is also possible to create your own cloud based storage medium for your recordings using FTP.

 

The included documentation found on the supplied CD covers all aspects mentioned above.

 

RANGE.

When the camera is used with a wired connection the maximum range is via a 100m cable.

The camera uses the wireless b/g/n protocol, trying to advise on the wireless range is a minefield fraught with near infinite variables. The key things that will have an effect on the range of the camera are your router and the structure of the building that the camera is used within. One can’t help but notice the lack of an external directional aerial, however and depending on your setup this may well result in a weaker range than expected compared with a camera that does as pointing such an aerial towards your router can help to improve range.

Paired with a rather basic and old “G” router 10m with line of sight is fine and the room above and to the right of the router at a distance of about 8m is also fine. In the room below the router, however and the signal cuts in and out quite often.

If you have a wireless device that uses the N protocol this should prove to be a reasonable guide as to the range of the camera. Should you discover that the camera does not have a sufficient range for your needs there are a wide variety of wireless range extenders and repeaters available that will help solve this problem.

 

INGRESS PROTECTION.

There is no mention anywhere on the product box, product listing or included documentation that the camera has any form of ingress protection. The ports on the rear are entirely exposed and there is a notable lack of even basic weatherproofing features as such the camera is only suitable for use indoors.

 

It may be possible to use the camera outdoors using a weatherproof box, however, given the cost of such things you are probably better off just buying a weatherproof camera to start with.

 

NIGHT VISION.

The camera has a built in light sensor and automatically switches between standard and night vision modes depending on the level of light. Using the Surveillance Pro software, it is possible to set the night vision to be controlled manually should you wish to do so.

 

When used in a dark environment and lights are switched on the display remains clear at all times and within 7 seconds blends into colour mode without any loss of picture or quality.

When used in a well lit room and the lights are suddenly switched off the picture briefly goes black for less than a second. For a few further seconds the camera enters low light mode (a monitor located 3m to the side provided a source of light which the camera seemed to amplify). Then a bright white light flared up on the display dissipating to leave a clear black and white night vision picture. The time taken for the camera to fully adjust to night vision mode was about 9 seconds and for about 2 of these seconds the picture was affected.

When the camera is in night vision mode pointing a torch at the camera effectively blinds the camera. If the torch is removed within 5 seconds normal image quality is resumed almost instantly. If the torch is held for longer tan 5 seconds the camera tries to compensate and disables night vision mode. When the torch is taken away it takes about 6 seconds to switch back to night vision mode, 2 seconds of which disrupts the picture quality.

This is highly impressive as the last camera I reviewed was a Foscam FI9821P which took 20 seconds to recover from having a torch shone at it.

In standard mode if a powerful torch is pointed at the camera, the camera is blinded by the torch while it is pointed at the camera. When the torch is taken away the display goes black and takes less than a second to return to normal. Again, this is very impressive.

 

Yes this test was inspired by the film “Inside man”, worth a watch if you haven’t seen it by the way.

One thing I am glad to report is that when the camera is set to patrol mode the camera sweeping constantly left to right faces of individuals are easily identifiable and the blur is minimal. It should however be noted that if someone or something moves up close the camera the IR LEDs do take a few seconds to compensate the light levels and initially there is some white flare.

Whether the camera is still or in motion faces are clearly identifiable up to a distance of around 5m and they are still reasonably identifiable up to 8m. Beyond 8m key features such as size and shape of the head as well features such as hair and beards are still identifiable but the eyes, nose and mouth are somewhat blurred.

 

When the night vision mode is active the LED’s around the camera lens light up a dim red.

 

ALARM INTEGRATION.

On the rear of the camera there is an alarm input/output port, this is used with optional extras that can be integrated into your home / office / shop security system such as contact switches (which, if broken start the camera recording), panic buttons (that if pressed start the camera recording) as well as audible alarms that can be triggered if motion is detected.

Granted use of such optional extras will require a certain degree of technical knowledge and ability, however there are a few decent guides that can help you on the web. One in particular article that stood out was on the cctvcamerapros.com website entitled “Network IP Camera Digital IO Alarm Input / Output Setup

 

ADDITIONAL.

Some example file sizes of recordings made using the camera
1m12s = 36.2MB
0m36s = 18.3MB
1m00s = 30.2MB
0m26s = 12.8MB
Whether the camera is operating in standard mode or night vision, it would not appear to have much difference in the recorded file size.

When the camera is in motion it is pretty quiet in operation, with a background noise level of 23dBa the highest recorded sound level @ 30cm either on the horizontal or vertical plane is 26dBa. The camera also makes an audible clicking noise when it switching between standard vision and night vision (or vice versa), this isn’t exactly loud but it is high pitched.

When the camera is being manipulated (moved on the horizontal / vertical axis or is being zoomed in / out) audio can still be heard through the Surveillance Pro software in live view, but it ceases to be recorded in the output file for the duration of any movement of the camera.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this review, I hope it has been helpful to you. If you have any questions or comments regarding this review, please post a comment below and I will do my best to answer them.

 

Amcrest is a registered trademark of Amcrest Technologies.

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One thought on “Amcrest IP2M-841B-UK ProHD 1080P WiFi Wireless IP Security Camera Review

  1. Thanks for the very detailed review – I have been using this camera in my baby’s nursery as a baby monitor for over 6 months now and have been very pleased. It’s a brilliant camera for this purpose and the pan-tilt works very well with the 2-way audio feature – the microphone is super sensitive and the built-in speaker is loud and clear. I liked it so much that I wrote a personal review on my blog. By the way, cool “Inside Man” test you have done there!

    Like

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