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Y-Cam Black SD review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £170
inc VAT

A simple interface and lots of recording features make this camera a great buy, whether you're keeping an eye on the cats or securing your home.

Y-Cam’s original Black IP camera won our Best Buy award in Labs, Shopper 249, thanks to its easy configuration, outstanding image quality and excellent infrared night vision.

One of the few limitations was that, with no onboard storage, it relied entirely on a network connection to save the data it recorded. This has been addressed in the Y-Cam Black SD, which has a MicroSDHC slot.

It’s incredibly easy to set up. Just plug it into your router and install the Y-Cam setup utility. Once the camera is connected to your network, you can use the setup utility to tell it to use a specific IP address, which is vital if you wish to connect to it remotely over the internet. A button in the utility opens the web interface in Internet Explorer. A control panel lets you zoom in digitally, adjust the microphone level, record the feed to your PC and save snapshots. You can use other browsers to view the video feed, but these controls aren’t available. Web-based viewing is limited to a small window, but over your local network you can use the Multi-Live utility to see full-screen video. As its name implies, you can view feeds from up to 16 cameras simultaneously.

Configuring the camera is easy whatever your browser. A web-based wizard helps you configure it for an 802.11b/g wireless network, which gives you a lot more choice about where to position the camera. The MicroSDHC slot is a great touch, as your camera can continue to record security data even if your network connection goes down. Its sturdy stand can be wall-mounted or placed on a convenient surface. It’s not immediately suitable for outdoor use, but a weatherproof shell (the Y-cam Shell) is available for around £50.

The camera can record video (as MPEG4 or MJPEG-formatted MOV files) or JPEG snapshots to a memory card, networked PC or FTP server. It can also email snapshots or stream content over the web, and has Real-time Transport Protocol (RTP) support – the most common videoconferencing standard. Support for popular free Dynamic DNS services means you’ll always be able to access the camera remotely, even if you have a dynamic IP address. Recording can be continuous, triggered by a motion sensor or according to a schedule.

Video quality was impressive, with some of the least grainy footage we’ve seen from a reasonably priced IP camera, although video takes on a slightly yellow cast under energy-saving bulbs. Black and white infrared footage is sharp and full of detail. A gently glowing red ring of 30 LEDs makes the camera stand out at night. It’s not subtle, but it might deter would-be intruders.

With a built-in microphone, infrared, great video quality and a wide range of alarm, scheduling and recording features, the Black SD camera is great value. It costs around £20 more than its predecessor, but the memory card backup makes it well worth the extra. It’s a Best Buy.


Rating *****
Maximum image resolution 640×480


Ethernet connection speed 10/100
Wireless networking support Yes
128-bit WEP yes
WPA2 yes
upload images to FTP server yes
Dynamic DNS yes

Other Features

Night vision yes
Weatherproof no
Audio yes
Video recording format MJPEG, MPEG4
Movie frame rate at max quality 30fps
Motion detection yes
Software included Y-Cam Setup, Multi-Live 1
Power consumption on 4W

Buying Information

Warranty one year RTB
Price £170

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