A while ago we were sent a Watchbot CCTV camera to review. It arrived just as we’d moved house and for a few weeks we were without internet so we couldn’t try it, then we couldn’t find it because it had been packed and we had no idea which box it was in!
Finally. we found it and had our internet set up so Ant got on with the job of reviewing it, seeing as he’s the I.T. consultant!
The following was written by my super wonderful husband 🙂
Remote access, audio enabled security camera with pan and tilt function and
external trigger ports.
The Watchbot was supplied, to me, in a professional looking, compact box, which
contained the camera unit, detachable adjustable mount, short (1.5M) ethernet
cable, power supply unit, fixing screws, trigger port connecting block, mini cd
(with software and PDF manual) and user guide.
The equipment is well designed and has a look of quality about it: smooth
edges, robust feel and well finished.
My first impressions were highly favourable.
The set-up is quite straightforward, however, I had to refer to the PDF
version of the manual as the writing was too small to read comfortably in the
printed copy. This did mean that I had to flick between the configuration
screen and the manual while setting up.
This product has the potential to be exceptional, however, it is seriously
let down by its software and user guide.
The user guide is very basic with errors.
I installed the MS Windows desktop interface, for the initial set-up and
followed the guide, step by step.
After initial detection, the guide instructs to “Select your camera and
click Set”. Unfortunately, this inaccuracy (there is no ‘Set’, but there
is ‘OK’) had me flicking back and forth between manual and interface
The user guide said mail set-up was in the ‘FTP section
of the configuration window’, not the ‘Email’ section.
To configure the SMTP server, the instructions say, “Select your email provider from the drop-down menu. This will
autocomplete the server and port sections”. The list has a very limited
selection of UK and Chinese email providers and no indication of how to
proceed if your email provider is not on the list.
Unable to enter an email username that contained ‘@’ for the SMTP setup (I
did, eventually, manage to set this using the web interface, later).
When configuring the motion detector sensitivity, the scale of 1 to 10 is
meaningless as there is no telling which is the most/least sensitive setting.
The email notification doesn’t work unless the scheduler option is
enabled, but this is not explained. This function does work very well, though,
providing 6 small, 6KB, or so, sequential snapshots. There is no facility for
increasing the size of these.
The scheduler is split into 15-minute sections, with an option to select
all. If you want to set the scheduler for specific times you must click each
section individually: there is no click & drag functionality. This means to
set the scheduler to run from 8 pm to 8 am daily, you must click over 300
Configuring the FTP page is straightforward and FTP upload, at a specified
interval works very well, albeit with a low quality (around 25 to 30KB, with no
option to increase quality) image.
|Please ignore the piles of boxes in the background…we’re still unpacking!
The FTP on motion detection is another story. I reset and re-configured my
watchbot three times to get this to work properly. No matter what, it only
managed to stay active for around 20 minutes, before this function stopped
There is no explanation of the ‘Cruise Views’ function, which has options
of 1 to 10.
Using the same MS Windows interface, remotely, from work, I was unable to
access any of the FTP settings. However, using the Android app, on my tablet,
these settings were available.
The web interface varies considerably across devices, from near full
control to only pan functions.
The WatchBot’s microphone is quite sensitive, and the built in speaker
function is fairly loud. However, using the MS Windows interface, unless you
disable the two-way functionality, or use headphones, audio feedback occurs.
This is avoided in the Android app, as holding the mic button disables the
Useful & Well Made
I didn’t use the SD card function, or the I/O connection option, and so I
am not able to review these.
Despite the above, this is a useful and well-made piece of equipment and I
have enjoyed testing it.
When the software wrinkles are ironed out, this camera will be the perfect
solution to home and business security.
Monitor Several Devices
You can monitor several devices from the same interface and the ability to
connect remotely, without knowing your IP address (the camera has a unique
signature which is identifiable remotely,
by the software) is a definite plus and all-in-all I will give this
camera a conditional thumbs up.
The S.W.H. spent a good couple of weeks, in between work and all the jobs moving house entails, working on getting the Watchbot camera to work as it should.
The day after he sent me this review, the FTP upload on motion detection decided to stay on continuously. We have no idea why and it’s been working now for the past week so somehow it’s sorted itself out!