Having a single-story back extension overlooking my rear patch, there was no way to hardwire a camera without the cable being on show, not to mention the heavy through-wall drilling drudgery involved. And while a wireless one would cut out the need for hardwiring, for me it would mean having to get the long ladders out once the camera needed recharging.
So I was very keen to test out EZVIZ's eLife BC1C 2K+ battery-powered home security camera which already promises an industry-challenging 270-day battery life after a single charge, thanks to its ultra-large 10400 mAh rechargeable unit.
And the icing on the cake is that now sitting proudly by its sister product on my extension apex is the EZVIZ solar panel, plugging neatly into the eLife BC1C 2K+ and hopefully meaning my ladders can stay where they are for much longer.
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So let's take a look at the camera itself. In my opinion you need to have it well above head height to deter intruders interfering with it, so ideally it should be fixed upstairs where you can access via a window for charging.
A one-off bit of wall drilling is necessary, but before you do so, it makes sense to first test that the camera can access your wifi clearly from your chosen spot.
Hopefully you've also given your camera that extra bit of juice via the included cable and charger plug, as you never know the amount of power the camera already has.
You can now download the EZVIZ app from the iPhone App Store or Play Store for Android phones, press the large '+' sign top right to add a device, scan the QR code on the camera or included quick-start manual, and then follow the wifi connecting prompts.
Once connected and you can see the camera's images on your phone, you can mount the camera base to your outside wall. Choose between the screw thread or magnetic half-sphere mounts which attach to the same base, which will need affixing with two screws (6mm drill bit did the job for me).
So now you're all ready to go, what can this camera do?
There are so many outdoor cameras on the market at the moment but what makes the BC1C 2K+ that bit different is the amount of built-in features it can offer for the price (which I'll come to later).
For me the standout feature is the in-built 32gb of storage that negates the need for an SD card or cloud storage, though the latter is still an option if preferred.
It also has incorporated LED spotlights, two-way talk (to advise a would-be burglar to scarper!), and on-board ‘AI’ for detecting people. You might read reviews that bemoan it lacks the abilty to detect animals or cars - but who wants notification when a cat or fox crosses your territory? For me, I just want it to pick out and capture human intruders!
You can also adjust the sensitivity of the PIR detection, so you can get the device to ignore people walking along the street outside your house or your neighbour in his back garden, and record only when someone approaches your door.
The pictures/videos on my phone are pleasingly sharp as the camera has 2K+ [4MP] video clarity, but the app allows you to choose between Ultra HD, Full HD and Hi-Def to save on storage space.
The app also lets you choose between four different working modes (continuous record, performance, power saving, super power saving) plus an extra 'configure working mode' where you can customise the working mode over different periods via a calendar.
The camera is IP66 weatherproof weather-resistant which ensures it works properly on rainy days. Other features include colour night vision, and active defence with siren and strobe lights to, again, frighten off anyone you see who shouldn't be there! If you don’t like the siren, you can record up to three short voice messages and choose one to play instead of the siren when a person is detected.
This is useful to activate when away from home or at night, as it can be a bit irritating to keep hearing my sinister 'Get off my land, I can see you!' tones every time you wander down to sniff the roses.
I would have liked to be able to schedule this siren/notification/flashing lights facility via an app calendar but, unless I'm mistaken, you can only do this manually so it means you having to remember to do it each night/when away on holiday.
I was particularly reassured to see that over a few days my app told me the battery level remained at 100% thanks to its being constantly charged by the EZVIZ solar panel. This was in June so it will be interesting to see how this may or may not change during the winter months when days are shorter and the sun is not as powerful.
The panel is IP65 waterproof and can easily withstand rain, dust, snow, and sun. Made of single crystalline silicon solar cells, the solar panel delivers up to 4.2W of power. It will max out on sunny days to make sure the battery camera has enough power to operate all day and night.
Installation is as per camera, with an adjustable bracket that can rotate 360 degrees. The panel has a 4-meter long cable, so can be mounted elsewhere if your camera is located in a shady spot.
What's in the boxes?
EZVIZ eLife BC1C 2k+ camera
Adjustable mounting bracket wich choice of screw/magnetic mounts
Drill template and screw fixings
Quick start guide
Plug charger and cable
EZVIZ Solar Panel
Adjustable mounting bracket
Drill template and screw fixings
Quick start guide
EZVIZ eLife BC1C 2K+ Camera
Image Sensor: 1/2.8” 4-Megapixel Progressive Scan CMOS Sensor
Minimum Illumination: 0.01 Lux @ (F1.6, AGC ON), 0 Lux with IR
Lens: 2.8 mm @ F1.6
116° (Diagonal), 100° (Horizontal), 52° (Vertical)
Lens Mount: M12
Day & Night: IR-cut filter with auto switching
DNR: 3D DNR
Night Vision: 10 m / 30 ft
Max. Resolution: 2560 × 1440
Frame Rate 15 fps. Self-adaptive during network transmission Video Compression: H.265 / H.264
Wi-Fi Standard: 2.4GHz 802.11n
Smart Alarm: AI-powered Human Shape Detection
Local Storage: 32GB eMMC
Cloud Storage: EZVIZ cloudplay
Operating Conditions: -20°C to 50°C (-4°F to 122 °F )
IP Grade: IP 66
Power Supply: DC 5V/2A (microUSB)
Battery Capacity: 10400 mAh
Power Consumption: Max. 5W
Product Dimensions: 104.76 × 62.80 × 62.80 mm (4.12 × 2.47 × 2.47 inch)
Weight Product: 365 g (12.8 oz)
EZVIZ Solar Panel
Open Circuit Voltage 7.2V±5%
Short Circuit Current 740mA±5%
Power Voltage 6.0V±5%
Max. Power 4.2W
Max. Power Current 700mA±5%
Solar Cell Efficiency 21.6%
IP Grade IP65
Operation Temperature -20℃~60℃ (-4℉~140℉),Humidity 90% or less(non-condensing)
Solar Cell Type Monocrystalline solar cells
Product Dimensions 222.6 × 155.9 × 14.9 mm (8.76 × 6.14 × 0.59 inch)
Packaging Dimensions 230 × 161 × 78 mm (9.06 × 6.34 × 3.07 inch)
Weight With package: 611 g (21.5 oz)
Panel body without bracket: 334 g (11.78 oz)