TRENDnet Wifi Baby Cam Hardware Review

TRENDnet Wifi Baby Cam Hardware Review

Oct 7, 2014

As we become more connected, having everyday devices, gadgets and even appliances that can be accessed and/or manipulated via mobile device are becoming less of a novelty. I almost expect electronics I acquire to have such functionality when there is a bona fide use case involved.

When it comes to cameras and surveillance, some watchables are more valuable than others. When my daughter was born, I had eye fatigue from watching her. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. Something like the TRENDnet Wifi Baby Cam could definitely have come in handy.

The review packet TRENDnet sent us is clearly made to reflect the design aesthetic of the camera, which is mostly white and lime green with grey and black accents. It is pretty small, with the main “head” set on a base via swivel. The swivel is a nice touch, allowing for movement that is somewhat surprising in its rage. The front of the main unit as the lens embedded, and there are speaker perforations on the top, bottom and back of the main unit. At the very top is a WPS connect button, and at the back is a mini-USB port. As noted, it is diminutive, at 2.6 x 2.8 x 3.5 inches and 3.6 ounces. The package also contains a setup CD, mini-USB power source, mounting materials and documentation.


Setup is not too difficult; the user documentation guides one step-by-step, and it involves connecting the device to power, and then connecting an Android-based device to the camera and setting up an account and then re-connecting to local wi-fi. The heavy lifting is done via the companion app, TRENDnet CloudView, which also serves as the control portal for the hardware. I like the fact that, via the newly set up camera credentials, additional devices hosting the app can access the camera as well.

After set up, this fixed camera simply works. There is a minimum of lag, but the different resolution options somewhat alleviate this. The speaker and microphone are especially useful, and afford the unit the additional feature of being a simple intercom. The LED light is a simple indicator, and the ability to play some of the included lullabies is a very nice touch. The subtle size does help it to be unobtrusive too. the camera snapping utility is easy to manipulate, and the viewing angles are quite adjustable.

It’s a wifi camera, so, the obvious need for reliance on connectivity can’t be dwelled upon too long. The app can be a bit temperamental at times, and the clarity of transmissions could be improved.

All in all, the efficacy of this solution translates beyond just baby monitoring, and this extended functionality is what makes it enjoyable to use. For a fixed unit, it is a vibrant option, and quite affordable.

KickStarter Spotlight: Lifx

KickStarter Spotlight: Lifx

Sep 26, 2012

In a house with five other guys, my room is a complete sanctuary. Because it is the only thing I can control in the house, I treat it like my heaven, and I am constantly looking for ways to make it more comfortable and convenient. A while back I looked into color-changing LED lightbulbs that operated on remote control. I thought the idea was brilliant; come in at night and relax with a nice blue light or maybe spice it up depending on the mood. Either way I was wholly disappointed in the product I received as it was broken and much smaller than expected. Because of that failure I was excited when I ran across the Lifx on KickStarter.

Lifx is an LED light that connects to any home wireless network and is controlled by a smartphone. It would have been easy for the developers to just simply stop at changing the color, and I, frankly, would have been satisfied. But seeing as this is a KickStarter project, it is a safe bet that these developers did not become complacent. Some simple additions, such as dimming and batch operation are included, but the one that I am most impressed by is the ability for the light to deliver phone notifications. Imagine every time a text message comes in the room blinks green or blue for Facebook notifications. There is also an option to program lights onto specific actions and cycles, such as dimming over a period of time or turning on every day at 8 am.

There is another feature that sets all the connected lights to music and instantly gives a club atmosphere to any room. As with most other programmable devices on KickStarter, Lifx is completely open source and comes with an SDK. As I have stated here multiple times, opening a device like this to hackers and programmers worldwide is essential to a start-up project taking off. One glaring issue I saw was the price. The lowest donation reward was set at $70, which gives one Lifx bulb. That price point needs to come down in order for this to gain any kind of traction with general consumers. But assuming that happens, Lifx is an amazing product and a great example of what happens when developers continually improve a solid initial design.

WiShare Wants to Make Sharing Wifi Connections Easy

WiShare Wants to Make Sharing Wifi Connections Easy

Sep 21, 2012

WiShare is an app that’s designed to try and make it easier for travelers to find wifi from trusted sources, what the developers call a wifi cooperative. USers sign up to the app, register their home wifi, and can share access to this wifi hotspot to members of their contact list. Those others can share access to it to their other users. So, someone using WiShare who is traveling and needs a wifi connection can pull up the app, find hotspots available to them from the service, and use them to get online when needed. It’s a co-operative because everyone who uses and shares with the app has access to the hotspots of others. This can be handy while traveling, or while working out and about, as public wifi is often unreliable and mobile data is often expensive!

While WiShare currently appears to have a small following based on its initial download numbers on Google Play, it does have the potential to be an extremely useful tool. The app is free to download, but requires subscriptions for long-term use, though a free 90-day trial is included.