George Orwell’s 1984 had it right when it talked about Face Crime: allow your mind to wander and they will find out!
OK, so we’re not quite there with the whole thought-scanning tech just yet (despite what Zuckerburg might think) but we can now lock down every inch of our home - covering all conceivable angles, detecting every a cough or hasty movement, even recognising faces and learning your daily routines.
Scary stuff or just a webcam with added smarts? We’ve put four of the latest home monitoring systems to the test to see if they deliver peace of mind or Orwellian dreams.
*Additional words: Khumail Thakur
Withings Home (₹23,249)
It might look like a tea light holder but the Home is rather fancy, with a 5MP wide-angle camera, 12x zoom with auto-enhancement and infrared night vision. Besides wide-angle recordings triggered by noise and motion, the Home packs a baby monitor mode, which comforts your little one with light and sound, alongside an air quality sensor and a two-way speaker, in case you need to warn your mates away from the beer fridge - or, you know, accost an intruder.
Playback is seriously good fun with the 24hr time-lapse option, like watching your life in fast-forward, and it also monitors indoor air pollution. Apparently, we should all be looking out for volatile organic compounds. Who knew?
Nest Cam (₹22,799)
This app-controlled security cam is the latest addition to Nest’s smart home ecosystem, which already has a thermostat that learns when you actually need your house heated, and smoke detectors that send alerts straight to your smartphone. With one of these, you’ll be able to see your toast burning in real-time.
Even as a standalone smart-cam it can record all sound and motion – with sensitivity and accuracy enhanced if you subscribe to Nest Aware. The speaker allows you to talk to whoever is in your house – scare a burglar, get the dog off the sofa or (more likely) annoy your nearest and dearest.
Nest’s app is as simple as they come, showing live previews and a three-hour snapshot of everything the Cam has spotted just a few taps away. Setup takes less than two minutes using your phone, and picture quality is top-notch - both during the day and at nighttime.
Netgear Arlo Q Plus (₹26,450)
The Q is the most basic member of the Netgear Arlo family, but that doesn’t mean it’s lacking in big features. It records 1080p full HD footage via a camera with a nice, wide 130-degree view, has a two-way speaker, and a night vision mode which makes it easy to find out who it keeps raiding the chocolate stash at midnight.
It’s also relatively well priced and comes with free storage of the last seven days of video clips; this can be upgraded to continuous 24hr coverage for some extra bucks.
YI Home camera (₹9,560)
This Xiaomi backed company has entered the Indian market very silently. Dropping to an affordable category of home security cameras. The Yi Home camera records in 720p along with the 2-way audio recording.
It has a 111° wide-angle lens and 940nm infrared non-invasive sensor. No sneaky rat will invade your fridge at night because it does guard duty at night as well. The 4x digital zoom will help you find the rat’s dungeon as well.
Best thing? No monthly subscription fees. Secure your videos on a microSD card (not included) and access video history anytime. Using the YI Home app you can stream in real-time to your phone and it also gives activity alerts when the Mr.Ratatouille is in motion.