After the smartphone market, Xiaomi tackles the vast universe of "connected home". The Chinese manufacturer sells a CCTV camera that films in Full HD and 360 degrees. A (too) good deal?
At the same time as the announcement of its Redmi Note 7, Xiaomi unveiled the Mi Home Security 360 °, a 360-degree camera very promising on paper. As its reference suggests, it is a CCTV camera capable of 360-degree filming. Until then nothing extraordinary, except that it is sold only … 39.99 euros. As usual, the Chinese manufacturer has decided to make a very attractive product on paper. What is it really? The case is too beautiful? Let's check that.
An almost easy installation
Once out of the box, at first glance, the camera does not really call criticism. The finish is good and the look rather successful, or at least quite discreet so that the device is not too noticeable in a room – or even he swears (too) with the furniture. To vary the facilities, there is a support in the box that will allow you to hang the camera on the ceiling. Note that a function allows you to return the image in the application.
But the first explanation of the very low cost of this camera is manifested quite quickly on the accessories side. Xiaomi delivers a USB cable that can power the camera, but no power supply.
It is therefore necessary to add one – why not that of an old smartphone that hangs in a drawer – or have a USB port within cable range. And with two meters in length, the installation may not be simple. Especially if you plan to put it on a high cabinet, or worse, fix it on the ceiling.
For our part, we have finally solved the problem quite easily by deciding to power the camera through one of the USB ports of a Wi-Fi router. Note that this can also work with your Internet box whose recent models all have of such a connector. Advantages: the camera will be closer to the Wi-Fi and it will be permanently powered.
Mi Home, the unique app for the connected home
It is a classic, the manufacturers of connected products group their different devices within a single application. At Xiaomi it's called Mi Home and it's available on the Play Store and App Store.
In general, manufacturers are really making sure that even the most novice users can install this type of product without problems. This is also the case on the Xiaomi side since the configuration of the Mi Home Security 360 ° is a breeze. Once the application is installed and the account created (via an email address and password), the app automatically scans devices within reach of the smartphone.
Once detected, simply present the QR Code that appears on the application in front of the lens of the camera and voila. In a few clicks, the thing is added to the Wi-Fi network. The identification information of the latter is also shared by the smartphone to avoid you to enter again the long security key of the network.
Also useful: a notification tells you if an update of the camera's internal software is available – this is our case. Some final steps explain how to use the main functions of the device.
Adding a MicroSD card is essential
Another point that explains the floor price of the Mi Home Security 360 ° lies in the storage offer. The manufacturer does not currently offer any online backup options (Cloud) associated with its camera. This avoids any fear of hosting your videos and data on a server in China (we hope so). In any case for now, because Xiaomi should propose such a formula in the future.
Anyway to keep track of what is happening at home, you must add a micro SD card in the camera. The connector is not visible "basic", it is necessary to raise the objective to access it. Once it's done, the camera records what's going on in the room.
And it will take time to configure the monitoring assistant, otherwise the Mi Home Security 360 ° films permanently. You are then as well assured of not missing anything as being polluted by a colossal amount of videos. For each hour of recording, there are 60 1-minute videos and 60 photos that are stored in folders on the memory card.
It is under the motion monitoring assistant that the motion detection function is activated. It is possible to select a period during which it is desired that the monitoring be active, an interval time between each alert, but also the sensitivity level (high or low) of the detection. This last option may help you limit false positives, if the cat has a tendency to trigger the recording for nothing.
On our side we have opted for the function of standby of the camera. This is very simple to configure in the application and allows, for example, to interrupt monitoring when you are at home. In this regard, it is regrettable, however, that the manufacturer has not provided in the application a key to suspend (or resume) at will recording. It is no more possible to hide the lens of the camera to be sure to be completely confidential.
A Full HD picture and a perfectly decent sound
These constraints put aside, let's move on to the quality of the image. For a camera less than 40 euros, difficult to be choosy. Moreover, it will not be necessary to find that the quality of the image of this camera is most suitable. The 2 megapixel sensor and the f / 2.1 aperture optics are an efficient duo for most daytime situations, whether the room is bathed in light or not.
The wide field of view of the camera is already very appreciable to see what is happening in the room. But it is obviously thanks to its motorized head that one can traverse the whole area. For this, the mobile application has directional arrows to quickly change the orientation.
From left to right, from top to bottom … nothing should escape the camera. Whatever. Indeed, if this motorized base makes it possible to scan the room, the Mi Home Security 360 ° is not endowed with so much function of follow-up of the subject. In fact, if a burglar moves into a large room and you are not connected to the camera to track their movements, they may well get out of the field of view. But again, at this price level, you can not have everything.
Note that if the vision is good by day, it is also good enough at night. It is even more surprising that despite the small size of the camera (12 cm high by 8 cm in diameter) the manufacturer has managed to accommodate 8 infrared LEDs to obtain a very correct result both in terms of quality and of scope.
Regarding the sound, nothing to report from the microphone. The capture is correct and it is quite possible to hear what is happening in the room. On the other hand, even if Xiaomi's "directional audio system" function is there, the result is very average. While we speak very loud in the microphone of the smartphone, the person facing the camera must listen to understand what is said.
A little more anecdotal that can deter a burglar or, on the contrary, to point out that a camera has filmed and encourage him to leave with … microSD card included. It will be necessary to take care to record first the sequences on the smartphone under penalty of being without any video evidence.
Note that we perform our tests in an ideal configuration since our internet connection is fiber optic and particularly fast: 1 Gbit / s downhill and about 200 Mbps uphill. No latency was then deplored, but a good ADSL connection is recommended.
Interesting automatic functions
Xiaomi has developed within its application a rather welcome function. In the parameters there is an "automation" menu. There, it is possible to create sorts of routines. Thus, if you have other connected Xiaomi brand equipment, you can make them interact.
This gives rise to particularly interesting functions. In our case, with just a few clicks, we were able to create a routine that automatically turns on the connected Mi Led Smart Bulb as soon as the camera detects an activity. Convenient to use the camera as a wireless switch in a room, but also very convenient to optimize the CCTV function. Firstly, if you connect several bulbs to the camera, the fact that all of them light up (or even if there is only one) can deter a burglar. In addition, once the light is on and the room is brighter, the environment will be conducive to optimum image quality.
Beware of false alerts
But that's not the only option. It is quite possible to use this same function to be alerted of a motion captured by the camera. If, for example, you live in a two-storey house and the camera is in the living room, you can use this feature to turn on your connected lamp in the bedroom to be alerted that an intruder is detected.
Be careful though, in the same way that the Xiaomi camera does not track objects, it does not tell the difference between a human and a pet. Beware of false alarms and unnecessary fright.
Compatible Google Assistant and Alexa they said
It is even more interesting that this function is available on the Xiaomi Mi Home application that the promise of compatibility with voice assistants is not really proven. During the presentation of the camera, the manufacturer put forward the compatibility of Mi Home Security 360 ° with Google Assistant and Alexa. For the latter, we forget. The "skill" that interconnects Amazon's wizard with his Xiaomi account is not available.
The association with Google Home worked, although we had to do it several times. The problem is that even after adding the camera to Google Home, we found only one possible interaction between the camera and our connected speaker. An "OK Google, turn off the camera" allows to put the camera on standby, and thus stop monitoring. But that's all. For example, with an Arlo 2 Pro, it is possible to view the video stream of the camera on a TV or box compatible with Google Assistant. Here, it does not work. According to the spokesman of the brand, the problems are now known and Xiaomi teams would be on the spot to get everything back in order as soon as possible.
And why not storage on a NAS
The addition of the MicroSD card in the camera unlocks another interesting feature: that of being able to transfer videos to a home storage server. Videos are first recorded on the map and then automatically transmitted to the NAS.
Again, a few clicks are enough to activate this function in the application. In our case, everything went well with our Synology model. Once the username and password entered in the Xiaomi application, it remains only to choose the destination directory. The problem is that if you do not use the camera's sleep mode, its continuous recordings will seriously damage the storage space of the NAS. Count around 600 MB per hour of video.
Price and availability date
The Xiaomi Mi 360 ° Home Security Camera is already available at 40 euros on the official site and in Xiaomi store, but it is possible to find it also at other online resellers like Amazon.
Day image quality: 8
Without being exceptional, the daylight image quality delivered by this camera is most acceptable. We include in our notation an additional point to the fact that its base is motorized and also silent and fast.
Night image quality: 7
At night also the result is surprising. Even though the eight infrared LEDs are invisible at the front of the product, their effectiveness is indisputable, with even a very comfortable range that we estimate at about 5 meters.
Ergonomics and application function: 6
The best remains to be done on the side of the app. Very excited at first sight by the ease of connecting the camera to its home network, we are finally frustrated by the lack of a function to stop the recording. Our biggest disappointment is the incompatibility yet announced by Xiaomi with Google Assistant and Alexa Amazon … which also costs him a few points.
Microphone and HP quality: 6
Hard to be too much on this subject. The microphone captures the sounds of the room very well, but the small speaker on the back of the camera is no miracle. Do not expect to react to your pet who took advantage of your absence to lounging on the couch.
On this point, nothing to complain about, or almost. The sleek look of the Mi Home Security 360 ° Camera should allow it to integrate easily into any environment. We appreciate the mounting bracket for the ceiling, however, it is obviously the only accessory that can be used. Forget the extension arm with a screw thread, for example.
Difficult to be very demanding with this CCTV camera as its price is particularly attractive. At less than 40 euros, the Mi 360 ° Home Security Camera can monitor his home in "every nook and cranny" with a motorized head. Without being exceptional, the sound captured by the camera and the Full HD video are of good quality. Correct mention also for the night vision that makes the job. The Mi Home Security Camera 360 ° even reserves some good surprises such as automated functions. But it does not mean that Xiaomi does not keep all its promises, with Google and Amazon not yet fully operational.
Value for money
Automated functions of the application
The ability to easily save your videos on a NAS
The very limited Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa compatibilities
The lack of mains unit
No function to easily cut off monitoring in the application