My impression about the Xiaomi external camera is a sine wave. When Xiaomi presented the new product in June this year, I was convinced that it would be a sales hit. An external camera with a built-in battery that withstands 100 days on a single charge, sounds perfect. The reality is different, however ...
How does the Xiaomi external camera work, what is the range?
Xiaomi Mijia Outdoor Camera 1080p is simply screwed to the wall and then paired with the included hub that we pair with the home network. The connection between the hub and the router can be made in two ways: using a cable or wireless using Wi-Fi 2,4 GHz. The result is that the external camera does not need ANY cable, all you need is a wireless connection between the camera and the hub.
What is the range of mutual communication? If you are wondering if the hub has sufficient coverage before buying, you can easily check it. The hub creates its own Wi-Fi network at 2,4 GHz for communication with the camera. The network range is greater than the signal emitted by my Xiaomi Router Pro to which I have connected all devices at home. My router and hub are several centimeters apart. When I go outside with the smartphone and stand next to the camera, the quality of the connection between the smartphone and the Wi-Fi network is two lines. In the same place, the Mi Home application in which we manage the external Xiaomi camera indicates the maximum range, three lines. Of course, you can put the hub further away from the router, so the range between the router -> hub and the camera can be even greater.
In theory, everything looks beautiful, and how in practice?
My first days with the Xiaomi external camera were hard, we definitely didn't broadcast on the same waves. I have described the problems I encountered in this entry, you'll also find exactly what's in the box with the Xiaomi Outdoor CMSXJ11A camera.
Fortunately, after a few days Xiaomi released an update of the plugin to support the switchboard and the situation has significantly improved.
After updating in 90%, I started working live view. It usually works, but there are sporadic moments when unfortunately I can't connect to the camera / Chinese servers to check the current situation outside. Problems arise from Xiaomi's policy. We do not connect directly to our camera, the connection goes through Chinese servers (smartphone -> hub -> Chinese servers -> smartphone). However, I have good information, if the live view does not always work, then the Home Monitoring view always works. Home Monitoring is our virtual guardian angel. In the application we can set the hours when we will receive notifications on the phone when the camera detects movement. Events detected by Home Monitoring are saved in the cloud, and on a microSD card that can, but does not need to be inserted into the hub.
Recordings only last 10 seconds!
In my opinion, the biggest downside of the Xiaomi external camera is the length of the recordings. When the camera detects motion, it only records the 10 second clip, both on the microSD card and in the cloud. Longer recordings cannot be set. You also can't look back, as is the case with the Dafang camera, which allows you to play any moment back saved on the microSD card. In the case of an external camera, only moments that have been recorded by Home Monitoring can be played.
This is the price for the possibility of 100 day work on a single charge. The camera records only when it detects motion, otherwise it is "dormant". I will add that traffic is registered with a delay of about two seconds. When a person walks from the right to the left, the recording will start when it is near the "center of the screen".
To avoid receiving too many notifications, you can set the alarm interval. You can choose between 1, 3, 5, 10 or 30 minutes. When we set the longest time, 30 minutes, when the camera detects motion at 10: 00, then the next 10 second recording in case of motion detection will be received only after 10: 30.
Is 100 days real time on one charge?
As I mentioned, the camera only records when the motion sensor "detects something". Therefore, the working time on one charge depends on the Home Monitoring configuration. It all depends on how many notifications we receive per day. If the notifications are too frequent, the battery life can be shortened even to 50 days.
Xiaomi Mijia Outdoor Camera 1080p, also means the symbol CMSXJ11A is a product with very significant restrictions. Restrictions that future buyers should be aware of. We install monitoring in order to know what happens at home when we are not there. In the situation when we receive an 10 second alarm snippet, which will not tell us much, we will immediately want to start live preview, and here the meatball. The preview has been working all the time, and this time we can see disconnected and the preview won't start. It will only give us even more stress and we will want to "break this crap." The possibility of extending Home Monitoring recordings to 30 seconds would be very helpful to me.
The device itself is cool, but if you want to base the security of your home on it, in my opinion it will be a bad choice. Works for large properties. We have a large garden and we want to monitor the back, but we do not have electrical installation ready for it. We will mount the Xiaomi camera anywhere and on the way, we will put the hub closer to home and that's all. Additional monitoring works, as the main one in my opinion not, better to look for something better ..
Damian recommended cameras to the brand in a comment Reolink, model Argus 2 it can also operate wirelessly using solar panel energy sold with the camera. Another plus in favor of Reolink is the desktop application, which is not the case with Xiaomi cameras. I ordered the 4 MP Reolink indoor camera and I will check it for you, maybe it will be a better "ecosystem" of cameras than those offered by Xiaomi.
An external Xiaomi camera is available in the store Banggood.com. For those interested, there is a discount coupon: BGBATC6.