I’ve been waiting for this gadget forever, though unfortunately now about six years to late to use it to monitor my son’s crib. The
iZON is one of many new monitors finally making the scene that use WIFI and the internet to bring images back to you rather than short distance broadcasts. Devices like this have existed for at least three or four years, but were all built on preposterous business models involving a big upfront cost followed by a long term monthly hosting charge.
iZON and some others are finally using the magic of open connections on Skype or WIFI networks to do the same thing. While the $129 MSRP for the iZON is not small, it’s a one time cost (apparently a more feature-packed subscription plan was dropped). And, in this case, the iZON uses the magic of the iPhone and iPad iOS to bring the video to you wherever you are in the world.
But there are quite a few other reasons this is a magical little toy. From the moment you start opening the box, you know that people who love design are involved. The packaging, which secures the mini-camera, is actually fun to open with sliding doors and intelligently designed stabilizer holders. The camera itself is also pretty to look at. It’s a simple and small white tower only about four inches high. It’s base is magnetic, so you can position the camera at an angle if you wish, making the iZON look like a mini Tower of Pisa.
The instructions though were my favorite part. They are about four steps long and dead simple to follow if you are at all familiar with hooking your phone up to your home WIFI network. All you do is plug in the iZON, connect your phone or iPad to it’s WIFI signal, sign in to the iZON system, and then log back into your own home WIFI again. That’s it. No hiccups. In literally 60 seconds, I was watching myself on video on my iPhone (I have read other mixed comments in Amazon reviews however, so your home network may not be as easy).
The video is crisp, but with VGA and 1.5 Mbps, don’t expect High-Def cinema quality. Additionally, video quality degrades with lower light, though the camera is meant to take pictures in rooms lit as dimly as with a common 7.5 watt nightlight.
The iPhone interface is easy to use and allows you to set up the camera to start up with sound or light triggers. You can also record up to 30 second movies onto your phone or on to a private YouTube account.
Video delay can be up 20 seconds which might be frustrating if you’re witnessing a crime that has already happened, or worse, a baby who is in distress. A faster near real-time update to the software is expected in Spring 2012.
Stem:Connect v2.0 for iZON supports 300 kbps (kilobits per second) bitstream, QVGA video at 10 frames per second for video playback*. iZON supports up to 1.5 Mbps, VGA video at 30 fps — an app update is in development to unleash the full playback capabilities of iZON. The viewing angle for iZON is 60 degrees.
Video playback when on the same local wireless network as iZON currently has a 20 second delay. Remote video playback may be impacted by your network strength and data download capabilities. An app update in development for early Spring 2012 release will provide near real-time video playback for viewing over local networks.
In order to provide optimal quality for video at all levels of illumination, iZON does not have IR (infrared) capability for full-dark environments. Unfortunately, IR capability not only improves night-time viewing but also tends to wash out the video under normal lighting conditions. iZON has enhanced low-light capabilities and is able to automatically adjust to a broad spectrum of lighting conditions while preserving image quality under normal illumination. iZON is sensitive to light levels as those found in a room lit by as little as a 7.5-watt bulb (an average night-light).
Mono, 40 Hz – 8 kHz, sample rate 16 kHz. iZON responds to sounds at levels from 35 dB to 95 dB.
iZON connects to a standard power outlet (100/240v) using the included USB power supply and the 9′ USB-to-USB-mini cable with optional safety/breakaway adapter.
Stem:Connect v2.0 for iZON supports QVGA recording with upload to your free, private YouTube account. Motion or noise detection alerts can record clips that begin 5 seconds prior to the triggering event and end at least 5 seconds following the event, up to maximum of 30 seconds. Manual recordings are initiated from the “Record” button in the Live Camera View and automatically record 30 second clips to your YouTube account. Specifications:
80mm x 194mm x 55mm
Weight: .74 oz. (334g)
GreatDad.com Review Policy: The featured product for this review was provided to us, at no cost, by the manufacturer or representing PR agency for the sole purpose of product testing. We do not accept monetary compensation for reviewing or writing about products. We only review products that we have personally tested and used in our own homes, and all opinions expressed are our own.