In March of 2019, my desire for home cameras drastically changed.
I had tried some cheap workaround tricks, such as using old smartphones or tablets as cameras. I had a video doorbell that I loved. Yet, I never found a camera that was both worth the money, and at a low enough price point where it was worth trying out. That was until March of 2019 when my son was born.
I immediately began to think about worst-case scenarios — what if something happens when I’m at work to both my wife and my son? Or what if something happens to my wife and then my son is left alone?
The search for cameras became as common as scrolling mindlessly through my Instagram feed. I became obsessive over finding the perfect camera for my home, at the right price.
Enter the Hoop Cam Smart AI Home Wireless Indoor Camera. I was able to test both the standard model that costs $89 and Hoop Cam Plus with a taller base that costs $129. I must say, it is everything I could have wanted in a Wi-Fi camera.
The camera itself is minimalistic and clean looking. Even the bigger camera with the base is only the size of a soda can. Both cameras host a wide range of incredible features such as a 1080p full color live display on your phone, night vision, two-way communication, WPA2 security support, motion and sound alerts, motion tracking and tagging, facial recognition, Alexa and Google Home capabilities for voice control and, get this, a magnetic base.
The setup was so simple and made so much sense. I’m not sure why other companies haven’t jumped on board yet. I opened my phone to the companion app and selected “add a camera”. Then my phone displayed a QR Code and asked me to show it to the camera. I thought to myself, no way it’s this simple! Yet, sure enough, the camera scanned the code and paired itself — just like that.
The app prompted me to do a profile picture. I did this and now, any time the camera sees me, it notifies me that “Collin was seen in the living room”. I set it up to do the same with my wife and even my 11-month-old son. When the cam sees a new face, I get a notification.
The picture on the camera is very clear, along with the night vision mode. Additionally, the camera has full-motion capabilities that allow for a full left and right circle pan and a decent range of up and down tilt. This makes it easy to see what is in the room.
I have also loved making use of the two-way audio. While the speaker on the camera itself is not very loud, the microphone is decent enough to be able to hear a response or check in on my family to make sure all is well while I am at work. The companion app makes this effortless with simple and easy to understand mic and speaker toggle switches.
Another huge feature that I am incredibly grateful for is the ability to store content locally on expandable microSD cards. There is one slot available to add as big of a card as you want to allow for localized, not cloud-based storage of either any movement or for constant recording. This feature is accessible through the Companion app. This was an unexpected and warmly welcomed feature, as most cameras are exclusively cloud-based.
All in all, this camera has matched and exceeded my hopes for a Wi-Fi-based security camera in price, features, ease of use and setup, style, storage and overall quality.
If you’re looking for a security camera to check all of these boxes for your home, make sure to check out the Hoop Cam.