Eve Cam review: a simple and small HomeKit camera
the Eve Cam is a simple indoor camera for HomeKit and HomeKit Secure Video. By relying solely on HomeKit, there are no additional subscriptions to pay and no complicated third-party services to maintain. Everything works (almost) simply, all using Eve’s device and Apple’s operating system apps and integrations. Read on for my full review.
the Standby Camera is small and sleek, about the height of a human palm. The bulbous head comprises the main hardware of the camera, with the rod serving as a simple support. The base is magnetic and the camera itself can be tilted 180 degrees back and forth, so it fits most lifestyles. You can even mount it on the wall if you want. By default, the Eve Cam will glow a blue or red LED as a status indicator. Luckily, for those who want something inconspicuous to tuck away in the corner of a room, this light can be turned off in the accessory’s settings.
The Eve Cam’s quality is pretty good, with a wide 150-degree field of view that can easily cover a large room if you place the camera in a corner. It also has a night vision mode which automatically activates when the camera detects that it is dark. As a bonus, the Eve Cam also doubles as a HomeKit motion sensor, which you can use as a smart home automation trigger.
Simple to set up, easy to use
HomeKit cameras are great because they’re so simple. You can set them up in the Home app with just a few clicks, and you don’t need an account or subscription with a third-party service. As long as you have a HomeKit hub connected like an Apple TV in the house, the camera only ever communicates with that. The HomeKit Secure Video protocol means the camera records events to iCloud and you can connect to the live stream when away from home, with all recordings stored end-to-end encrypted.
In the Home app on iPhone or iPad, you will see a recent camera snapshot in the room preview tab. Tapping this snapshot opens the live camera feed (which can also appear in a Picture-in-Picture window). As you watch, the Eve Cam includes a speaker and microphone so you can hear and see what’s going on in the room and respond. Your speech sounds a bit cracked and distorted through the Eve Cam’s speaker, but it gets the job done in a snap.
On Apple TV, live feeds from cameras can be viewed manually from Control Center, and motion events trigger notifications that display in the corner of the Apple TV UI, with the live feed visible.
HomeKit Secure Video
On the basic 50GB iCloud plan, Apple lets you have an active-recording HomeKit Secure Video camera. The 200 GB plan allows up to five cameras. And the 2TB plan means you can have unlimited HomeKit cameras at no extra cost. HomeKit Secure Video stores events for the last ten days, so if you notice anything wrong, you can check the tapes for peace of mind. Either way, the file size of the recordings themselves don’t cut into your available iCloud storage; Apple simply uses iCloud Tiers to scale the number of simultaneous cameras supported. On the free iCloud plan, recording is not possible, but you can still use the camera to stream live video and receive real-time motion notifications.
You can be notified when a camera detects any motion in the viewport or if only specific types of motion are recognized. HomeKit Secure Video can use machine-learning AI to detect people, animals, vehicles, and packages (the latter features being more suited to porch or outdoor cameras). You can even use facial recognition to have your home automatically recognize known people, like family members, and explore with even more granular notification options based on who is detected.
Features missing from HomeKit
Unfortunately, the simplicity of the HomeKit system is also the downside of HomeKit cameras like the Eve Cam. Most of the advanced features that you might find in a dedicated security system are not available. For example, you cannot configure a HomeKit camera to record continuously. It will only record when an event is triggered. Another limitation is that only one device can actively watch a camera feed at a time.
I wouldn’t necessarily want to rely on HomeKit Secure Video to serve as my sole outdoor security camera system for these reasons. But for indoor cameras, the functionality provided by standard HomeKit is usually all you need – and comes at no additional cost after purchasing the hardware, assuming you’re already paying for iCloud storage.
If you’re looking to upgrade your HomeKit ecosystem and you’ve already outfitted your home with smart switches and light bulbs, a camera might be the next best upgrade. And the HomeKit Eve Cam Indoor Camera does what it says on the tin, very well indeed.
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