DCS-930L Wireless N Network Camera
- Wireless connectivity
- Easy setup
- Relatively low cost
- Poor image quality
- Software is unintuitive
- Seizure-inducing blinkenlight
As advertised, the DCS-930L supports 802.11n, meaning you can set this sucker up anywhere your router's microwaves and your home's power grid can reach. Initial setup is painless and, thanks to an internal web server, viewing footage is easy. Just type the IP address that's assigned to your camera into your browser and there you are, streaming live and looking pleasantly surprised.
You'll need to set the cam up over Ethernet first, but after that you're cable and carefree. That's just like the DropCam Echo, which looks so much like this thing we'd swear they shared a womb at some point. At the very least an assembly line. The stand rotates 360 degrees and has indentations to let you screw it to the wall if you're so inclined, though an unfortunately short power cable means you'll probably need an extension cord if you'll be poking holes in plasterboard too far up the wall.
The camera has a single button, which resets it, and on the front there's one blinkety light that can blissfully be darkened.
In fact you can use the camera with just about any IP cam software that you like, and there are some good ones out there, but D-Link thoughtfully includes a reasonably comprehensive option called D-ViewCam. It's ugly and about as intuitive to use as an old DOS partition manager, but it is effective. Through that app the camera can act like a DVR, archiving footage to a disk share to be viewed later. Unfortunately it's not in a standard format so you'll need to use the app to export the footage back out again, and for whatever reason we couldn't get it to export the audio, despite that audio being captured.
The camera can also be configured to look for motion and, when it's detected, e-mail a photo to you or even dump it on an FTP site. That means you're just a little scripting away from hosting an auto-updating, live view of your iguana lounging in its habitat -- or your My Little Cthulhu doll having some lunch.
The camera is VGA, so lower thy expectations. Even then it disappoints, with grainy images that are distorted and dull. Low-light performance is poor as well -- the sizeable profiles of our dogs easily disappeared into the shadows at night when a single light was left on. Finally, the lens isn't wide enough for our tastes. Given the resolution you can't make out much detail here anyway, so we'd just as soon have a big 'ol fisheye view.