Panda Reviews: Safeguard Your House
Has this ever happened to you? You’re alone at home and someone suddenly tries to open the door. They can’t open it, of course, because the door will be locked. But when you run to the peep-hole to try to catch the person in action, the corridor outside reveals nothing. Isn’t it frustrating and scary at the same time? I’ve had the exact same thing happen to me once, and the experience was enough to spook me into getting a peep-hole camera for my home. You can never be too careful! Especially in new estates where most people wouldn’t have moved in yet and strangers (contractors and the like) are roaming around. For the purpose of keeping an eye on the area outside my door, I looked around on the internet and found the Brinno Motion Activated PeepHole Camera (PHV MAC) from Kaplen IT Services (authorised partner/distributor for Brinno products).
According to the user manual, “the PHV MAC will detect when someone approaches your door, turn itself on and display a clean crisp image on the 3 inch TFT LCD inside the door and store a time and date stamped video of the person on a Micro SD card.” Sounds promising, right? It was exactly what I needed since a camera will quickly capture whoever was at the door without me being there or even at home.
The PHV MAC came in a small box, but it’s packed with lots of goodies to set things up.
- 4 AA batteries (approximately 9000 triggers)
- 3.0″ TFT LCD Screen
- 2GB ScanDisk Ultra MicroSD card
- Peep-hole barrel, 12mm (fits any door 35 to 57mm thick)
- Base Flange
- Tightening tool
- Washer (this will cover your door hole if it’s too big for the peephole barrel that comes with the package)
Installing it was rather easy too. All I had to do was follow the steps in this video:
If you’ve been following my RenoZilla posts, you would have known that my current flat is a BTO flat so my door is one of those standard doors supplied by HDB. The package came with a 12mm peep-hole barrel, but it was too small for the hole in my door after I removed the original peep-hole. To solve this problem, I was given a washer to cover the hole and hold the peep-hole barrel securely. The washer can be seen in the photo below.
The whole installation took me about 30 minutes to set up, but it should take you guys less time. =)
The washer outside the door
The base flange inside the door
After I installed the camera
Usability & Product Fulfilment
After installation, it was just a matter of leaving it to do its job. It’s really quite easy to use because whenever people came to ring my bell, all I have to do is press the power button and the camera will capture whoever is at the door and display the image on the LCD Panel Screen. I can even zoom in and out using the same power button! The image on the screen is as not crystal clear as I would like, but the quality is good enough.
You know how people can tell if someone is at home with certain peep-holes because of the light shining through? Well, you don’t have to worry about that with this camera. It may look like a traditional peep-hole on the outside, but you won’t be able to see the light shining through thanks to the camera. If I’m going out, I will turn on the auto-detect switch which is located inside the camera. All images or videos captured will be stored inside the Micro SD card in monthly folders so I can review the contents later. I can either playback the visitor log or export the pictures into my computer for backup. There is even a low light enhancement button if the area outside your door has poor lighting.
Overall Opinion (After 1 month of usage)
Is it easy to use? Yep, but it’s quite energy-consuming especially when you turn on the auto-detect switch so do be sure to prepare lots of batteries. The camera has a Micro USB port though, so you can plug in an external power supply if you need to. It also performs pretty much what it says on the box.
A 2GB Micro SD card is provided with the package, but trust me when I say it’s not enough. You either have to clear the pictures on a regular basis or the camera will delete the oldest monthly folder in order to make space for new photos. Oh, and the photos are time and date-stamped too, so they can be pretty handy if you need them as evidence or something like that.
The Brinno Motion Activated PeepHole Camera (PHV MAC) is retailing at $279 and can be bought at places such as Qoo10, HipVan and BoxBoss Outlets. For the full list, click here.