Home security is a big thing these days with devices like the Ring door bell cam and the wireless Arlo cameras grabbing a lot of attention. The main draw of these devices are that they capture video when you’re away, upload them to the cloud when something happens, and then you’re alerted of it and are able to view those videos right away. You can even view live video if you just want to check out what’s going on in your home. Those aren’t the only brands however that do these types of things which is why I want to bring your attention to the IMILAB EC2, which is part of the Xiaomi Ecosystem. This is a brand that is more well known overseas and one that you should be considering based on features alone.
The IMILAB EC2 is a completely wireless security camera solution and unlike some other cameras on the market, it does not require you to change the batteries out every few months or so. Each charge is supposed to last about four months with the recommended settings which is a good amount of time before having to pull them off your walls to charge. These also use standard USB cables to charge so you won’t need an special hardware in case you lose a cable.
Installation of the IMILAB EC2 should be simple enough.
- You need to download the Mi Home app on your smartphone (iOS/Android)first and create a login.
- Next is to power up the included gateway first and pair/syn to the Mi Home app. In the Mi Home app, look for IMILAB EC2 when you’re adding a device and once found, just follow the setup instructions.
- You’ll need to then connect the gateway to your wireless network to complete the installation.
- After this step, you’re now going to add a camera to the gateway and you’re done. Each gateway can handle up to four cameras at a time. For this review, I only have one camera hooked up.
- This step is optional, but you can also connect the gateway directly to your router/modem via LAN cable, but do this only after everything is set up.
That’s pretty much it. You do want to make sure you charge the camera fully before installing it where you want it to go. While the IMILAB EC2 cameras come with their own dedicated mounts, you can mount these on anything really that has a standard camera mount on them. That means you can mount them to tripods if you don’t want to commit drilling holes in your walls just yet.
Since were on the topic of design, the first thing I’ll say is that the gateway itself is quite small. It’s a tiny little square-ish box that doesn’t take up much room at all. It’s very light too so my solution for installation was to just mount it to my wall next to my modem/router with double sided tape. This keeps my install secure and doesn’t use up valuable counter space.
Next up are the cameras themselves. These don’t really look much different from a lot of the other wireless security cameras out there. They have a black face and a white body with some decent weight to them. Like I stated above, you screw these into the wall mount not unlike what you would do with a camera on a tripod. It’s the same kind of screw mount. The mounting hardware comes with instructions and it’s not very hard to do. Also, in my opinion, the screw mount makes the installation sturdier and less easily stolen as compared to camera systems that use magnetic mounts.
Back to the cameras, the cameras come with a lot of tech built in. They come standard with night vision, passive IR detection, 120-degree lenses, 1080p resolution, a two way speaker system, and a built-in 5100mAh lithium rechargeable battery. All of this is encased in a body that is rated IP66 waterproof. Do not however submerge the cameras. It is not rated for that.
Experience So Far
The IMILAB EC2 so far has been a joy to use. For review purposes, I had set up the camera in my family room on a tripod in order to watch my cat during the day. Now you might say, man, didn’t your alerts go off constantly each time the cat moved? The answer to that is no because the IMILAB EC2 is powered by artificial intelligence technology that can tell the difference between a human being and a small animal.
There are two ways the IMILAB EC2 detects movement in order to reduce false alarms. The first method is PIR (Passive Infrared). This is a thermal sensing technology that can detect heat generating moving objects. That means humans and animals and not rustling feathers on a tree or a sheet of paper falling on the ground. It detects actual “live” objects. Second, thanks to its AI technology, it can tell the difference between humans and animals which let me tell you, it works.
So as I was saying before, I had set up the camera to watch my cat during the day and I had set the monitoring system to detect motion. The entire day, no alerts and I know for sure my cat roams the house as watching live video, I see her moving around all the time. Instead, as soon as my wife comes home with the kids, that’s when my alerts go off that there’s motion in my home. That means that you can actually set these up inside your home and not have to worry about false alarms if you have pets.
Secondly, if you’re using this outdoors, it’s possible to use the IMILAB EC2 like you would a Ring door bell camera. When you’re alerted that someone is at your front door or near your house, you can use the app to speak to that person as well as hear them because of the two way speakers. This is great if you want to find out what someone is doing on your property or to give instructions to someone if you’re not around.
Lastly, you can always view your cameras live and in real time. This way you can check up on your property at any moment. Not only that, it’s possible to snap photos and save video while you do this. Also, it saves these videos to the cloud, but only the past 7 days worth of video. The goo news is that you get free cloud storage for the lifetime of the product. In case there is no network available when the IMILAB EC2 is recording, you can install an optional SD card into the gateway and it can record video to that instead.
That’s pretty much it. Video quality is excellent in the daytime and at night, the night vision kicks in on its own and it certainly is crazy how much you can see even if an area is pitch black. The IMILAB EC2 can see it all. It’s very impressive.
The only issues I had was at the beginning during the setup phase. At first, the Mi Home app would not sync up with the IMILAB EC2 gateway because it could not find it. Since it’s a new device, it was not officially listed in the devices section yet when I first got it. I had to instead find the device via location in which it found it as a nearby device that could be paired with.
This was really the only issue I had and it’s been smooth sailing since. I’m sure that when the IMILAB EC2 finally does come out, they’ll have this part ironed out.
I’ve been hesitant to install cameras in my home mainly due to privacy issues but I finally gave in just for the safety aspect. I have family members who have cameras up in their homes and I’ve seen first hand how being able to monitor your home remotely gives you a peace of mind you just can’t get without them. Plus now with the advent of two way speakers, it’s like being home without actually being home.
I think it’s just a great way to keep your home safe and if you do get broken into, at least you’ll have video evidence of it which helps catch those responsible.
On that note, the IMILAB EC2 is a great first step towards total security for my home. I only have one camera right now but after this, I’ll probably add a couple more so I can have a great view of everything around the house. They’re easy enough to set up too. I’m also a fan of the fact that there are subscriptions or any cost associated with saving videos to the cloud.
If you want your own IMILAB EC2, there’s currently an Indiegogo campaign for it where you can pick up some bundles at heavily discounted prices from retail. It just started a few days ago, but funding has already exceeded the goal with shipments scheduled to go out at the beginning of December.