HomeKit cameras seem to be scary these days, with new options announced or hitting store shelves at a faster rate lately. Although most of these cameras only support HomeKit, in addition to their own cloud services and applications, we are now at a point where we see options that have been created specifically for HomeKit. HomeKit cameras offer an unmatched level of privacy, offering properties and working without a camera-specific app or even registering for an account, which is exactly how the category should be managed.
It would not be a surprise, at least for HomeKit fans, that the latest version of the built-in camera for HomeKit comes from Eve, who has been right there with Apple since the early days of the platform. Eve Cam, which I’ve been testing in my house for the past two weeks, offers an easy-to-use, consistent experience and does so with a focus on privacy. This gives me peace of mind that very few indoor rooms can offer.
Solid and secure
Bottom line: Eve Cam combines excellent daytime images, flexibility and performance with a first-rate privacy approach, making it a solid choice for HomeKit fans.
- 1080p HD videos
- Easy setup process
- Magnetic stand
- Supports HomeKit Secure Video
- No additional account or application required
- For indoor use only
- Night vision not the greatest
Eve Cam: features
Eve Cam features an elegant, all-black frame made of a blend of matte and glossy plastic. The Eve Cam frame follows a more traditional security camera design, with a thin support that rests between a flat base and a circular lens portion at the top. The camera holder can pivot vertically, allowing the camera to look straight up or down, and it can also rotate horizontally 360 degrees. Despite its ability to rotate, the camera is not motorized and all adjustments are made by physically rotating the device. The stand, although thin, provides enough tension to keep the room fixed in the desired position, when used on a flat surface or when mounted on a wall or ceiling.
There are no buttons to be found anywhere on Eve Cam, not even a switching alternative. Instead of the button, Eve Cam starts immediately after it has been connected using the supplied micro-USB cable. The power port is located on the bottom of the circular lens portion and, because it uses USB, works with a wide variety of sockets and charging bricks. Of course, Eve also includes a wall adapter in the box, which is actually a beautiful modular brick that works with different forms of output around the world.
At the back of the Eve Cam, there are a number of small holes for the camera’s built-in speaker, which is used with two-way audio, and at the bottom is a mounting device that holds the camera in place. The base of the camera is magnetic, allowing it to stick to a wide variety of surfaces, and the hardware for permanent wall mounting is included. When used, the camera displays its status with a single LED indicator positioned just above the lens. A blue light indicates that it is powered on and off, while a red light lets those in the room know that a live view is being transmitted or recorded.
Eve Cam captures 1080p high definition video at 24fps, with a field of view of 150 degrees. As you would expect, the camera has night vision capabilities that can produce black and white images up to 16 meters away. An on-board infrared motion sensor triggers the camera to notify users of the activity and start recording. Eve Cam records all events directly on iCloud, as there are no storage or expansion slots on board. The camera connects to home networks via Wi-Fi and can be set up without a separate app or account, making it one of the fastest to use with the Home app only.
Once paired with HomeKit, the camera can use all the standard features offered by Apple’s smart home platform, such as automation and activity notifications, as well as cloud storage via HomeKit Secure Video. Cloud storage requires a paid subscription to an iCloud storage plan, but videos stored through HomeKit don’t count toward any data limit. A 10-day run of recorded events is available through a timeline that is displayed while watching a camera, and videos can be saved and shared for more permanent storage.
All HomeKit Secure Video features require a HomeKit hub, such as Apple TV or HomePod, which are used for local image processing, notifications, and remote viewing. With support for HomeKit Secure Video, Eve Cam will gain additional features that will come in iOS 14 later this year, such as face recognition and activity areas, which will make the whole Home app experience even better. In addition to the Home app, the camera can be managed through the Eve for HomeKit app, available in the AppStore. The Eve for HomeKit app adds controls for sensitivity and audio levels and also facilitates any camera firmware updates, if available.
Master of movement
Eve Cam: What I like
Because Eve Cam was designed with HomeKit in mind, the setup process was extremely quick and easy. I like that once it’s been disconnected and connected, all it takes to get it up and running is a scan of the HomeKit association code through the iOS Home app. I really like that this camera can be used without the need to download a specialized application or create an account through a registration process. Being someone who focuses on privacy, not having an account that could be related to activities in front of the camera is a huge plus, especially for something for the interior.
Moving on to the hardware, despite being a stationary camera, I really like how flexible Eve Cam is. The pivoting and rotation design of the stand allows you to adjust the minutes which can only capture the correct viewing, which is often a problem for non-motorized cameras. I also really like how the base of the stand is magnetized, which opens it up to some truly unique placements and how Eve offers a grip on the bottom to hold it in place on flat surfaces.
Eve Cam is the first camera I used, which managed to keep up constantly with someone walking or running, without any dizziness or pause seen in live viewings or recordings.
When it comes to visual images, Eve Cam’s HD Cam 1080p HD resolution presents a clear and detailed view in daylight conditions. I found that the colors are a bit on the off side, but even so, the quality of Eve Cam was close to the top of the list for the HomeKit cameras I tested. If the camera really excelled, it was moving in front of his sight. Eve Cam is the first camera I used, which managed to keep up constantly with someone walking or running without any dizziness or pause seen in live viewings or recordings, which it really was. impressive. It wasn’t exactly the case 100% of the time, and the network conditions will play a role, but it was almost perfect.
Accessing Eve Cam through the Home app was just as impressive, as I still haven’t had any feedback issues. Uploading the live view isn’t the fastest I’ve experienced, but it worked every few seconds. Reliability extends to motion events, with the camera sending a notification within a second or two of activity, and the recordings were available on iCloud only moments later. Finally, Eve Cam’s two-way audio performance was adequate for long-distance conversations, about a second off before the sound was transmitted through the camera’s speaker.
It’s not really premium
Eve Cam: What I do not like
Along with a premium price and Eve’s history of launching HomeKit accessories that have “high-end” finishes, Eve Cam’s overall design is a disappointment. The plastic frame of the room has a cheaper feel, which means it is lighter than I had anticipated. Also, I didn’t expect to see micro-USB used for power at a higher price and I would definitely like to have seen USB-C instead.
My conclusion is that Eve Cam has no weather resistance and any form of local storage. Local storage, such as a micro-SD card slot on board, would certainly have been nice to have as a backup to store events in the event of an internet outage, and weather resistance would open the camera up to a potential for placement around the house.
While the Eve Cam view is great during the day, I found that night vision was a different experience. Viewing a live stream from the camera in the dark produced an image that suffered from some pixelation issues, making the finer details harder to see. The image at night is certainly not bad, and it will do the job for most scenarios, it just isn’t as good as other HomeKit cameras.
My final complaint is that, although it is reliable, the camera suffers from attacks in which the live experience of a few will last upwards of 10 seconds. These cases are few and far between, but when they hit, it’s a little annoying. I’m not at all sure if it’s a HomeKit issue or a camera-specific issue, but I haven’t seen this behavior with other HomeKit Secure Video wired cameras, such as the Logitech Circle View.
Solid and secure
Eve Cam: Bottom line
Design, price and night vision aside, the first Eve room still has a lot to offer. Excellent 1080p images, able to keep up with all the action ahead, fantastic reliability and truly flexible support make it one of the best HomeKit cameras available today.
The best thing about Eve Cam, though, is that it works with HomeKit and HomeKit Secure Video right out of the box. There is no need to update the firmware through a third-party application that activates HomeKit and no account registration (which could link your camera view to you) – it just works. So, while it may not be the brightest room around, it is one of the safest and most private, which makes it worth the price of admission to my book.
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