If you have heard of the Nest Cam, it’s incredibly popular because of its amazing features (you can see some reviews of Nest Cam here on this website) and the YI Dome Camera 1080p Pan/Tilt/Zoom Wireless IP Security Surveillance System is a stripped down version of that. It’s being sold at around one third of the price they’re selling the Nest Cam for.
For the money, the manufacturer has claimed that you will still get most of the benefits the Nest Cam provides, which is a big claim right there. Is that true? We’ll find it out here (it’s inevitable that we’re going to compare the YI Dome Camera to the pricey Nest Cam).
- 112 degree wide angled lens
- Remote viewing
- Good design
- Very cheap
- Motion detector
- 2-way audio
- 7 days free storage on the YI Cloud
- Not much range on the night vision
The picture here is 720p so that’s step down from the Nest Cam. The Nest Cam was 1080p. How much of a difference is this? Well, you’re paying a third of the price, and you’re getting about two-thirds of the picture quality of the Nest so we’d say it still represents pretty good value. There’s a similar theme with the lens.
You get a 112 degree wide angled lens compared to 130 degrees on the Nest Cam.
So for one third of price you get just 18 degrees less on the lens angle. You get about the same amount of range here too. You will be able to see out to about 30 feet, but again this is 30 feet at 720p so it’s less clear than the 1080p of the Nest Cam.
Now, you will start to see where the stripping down happened when you check out at the night vision. On the Nest Cam you’d have about the same amount of vision as in the day, but in YI Dome Camera it’s only a few meters. Then things start to get blurry.
So you’re going to weigh up the much lower price of the YI Dome Camera with the superior night vision available on the Nest Cam. How important is that to you? If the night vision is important to you, then you might not need the YI Dome Camera. Otherwise, you’ll be okay with this product so keep on reading.
Unlike the Nest Cam, the YI Dome has full 360 degree rotation and you can even go to the app to see recorded panoramic views of the entire room.
You can also go to the app to watch live footage of the house while you’re on vacation or at work, and here you’ll have access to Pan/Tilt/Zoom.
The zoom in particular helps with the picture because at 720p sometimes you need to zoom in to really capture something.
This camera system doesn’t get a hard drive, so to record many days worth of footage you’ll want to buy one. They can be bought cheaply but it’ll still be an extra $40 to $50 bucks. However, you can still watch recordings on the YI without a hard erive.
The YI Cloud can store up to seven days of motion alerts and you get that for free. There’s also an SD card that will enable you to watch recordings on your phone or computer. SD cards are not included here in this unit though, so you have to buy one yourself.
Perhaps the main difference between the Nest Cam and the lower-priced YI Dome is the motion detection. The Nest Cam would intelligently learn your movements and your routine to reduce the possibility of false alarms. So it would know a dog passing by the camera from a burglar passing by.
That means hardly any false alarms so you’re not at work being bombarded by useless messages.
The YI doesn’t have that. This means that birds flying past the window can trigger a recording and a text message to your phone. There are no e-mail alerts on this system, too. So, you must have a phone to get the alerts. Otherwise you’ll have to just check the app.
You can set this camera to “Normal” mode where it will face forwards in a fixed position capturing everything in its site. Or you can go to Auto-Cruise Mode and the YI Dome will Pan around the room.
In either one of these modes the YI will be alerted to any motion in the vicinity.
Just like with the Nest Cam, you can speak from the app and be heard by anyone in the room the camera is in.
They can also speak to you and you can hear them.
There are two further modes here I wanted to talk about because they relate directly to audio. Intercom Mode allows one person to talk and listen at the same time. Hands-Free Mode allows both parties to talk and listen without pressing any buttons. The quality of the sound isn’t as good as the Nest Cam but it’s still good enough, considering the price.
Let’s forget about the motion detection for a minute. If you just took the picture quality at 720p, the wide angled lens, and the Pan/Tilt/Zoom; the YI Dome is a better value compared to the Nest. The picture is almost as good, as is the lens, and the Pan/Tilt/Zoom is an improvement. The recording capabilities are also an improvement on the Nest. You get seven days of recordings free on the YI Cloud and an SD card slot.
That’s big for the price. But ultimately the motion detection does come into play and it’s clearly more likely to send false alarms.
Anything moving will trigger an alert and a video sent by text to your phone. Is this annoying? Only you can answer that question.