D-Link HD Pan & Tilt Wi-Fi Camera review: the smart camera that can look around

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If you’re after the best security camera for keeping an eye on your property, your pets, your possessions, and the people who mean the most to you, you’ve got no shortage of options to pick from: and the D-Link HD Pan & Tilt Wi-Fi Camera now adds another to the list.

It’s certainly one of the more unusual-looking security cameras that we’ve had for testing, with its dinky, mini-robot-style looks and its rotating camera. The idea is that it can peer around and watch over an entire room, rather than staying with one fixed perspective.

D-Link has been in the hardware business for a while now, so you would hope you can trust the brand when it comes to gadgets, and we’ve been busy trying out the D-Link HD Pan & Tilt Wi-Fi Camera for a few days to see if it’s work a place in your smart home.

It offers simple setup (no smart home hub is needed), 720p HD video, two-way audio, night vision, and compatibility with IFTTT, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. Add in the panning and tilting, and it sounds great on paper – so what’s it actually like to use?

(Image credit: Future)

You shouldn’t run into any problems getting this D-Link camera set up – like a lot of devices of this ilk, you just install the relevant app on your phone, and then it guides you through the process. Connect the camera to your Wi-Fi, install any pending firmware upgrades, and you’re just about done.

One of the tasks you’ll need to complete during setup is giving the camera a ‘home’ position – the spot it focuses back on when it’s done all its tilting and panning. This is easily done via a panorama the camera shoots.

As for design, it’s a really nice-looking camera. Maybe aesthetics aren’t the biggest priority when you’re choosing a security camera, but this D-Link HD Pan & Tilt model will nestle in nicely alongside whatever else is on your shelves or desks. The motorised actions are a little loud, but nothing too bad.

Video gets archived in the cloud for a day, but you can pay to go beyond that – prices start at £21.99 a year to keep recordings for seven days, and go up to £87.99 a year if you want to keep your recordings for 30 days (the number of cameras included, and the number of recordings you can keep permanently, goes up at each price point as well).

(Image credit: Future)

With 340 degrees of rotation and 105 degrees of tilt, the D-Link HD Pan & Tilt can cover a lot of a room – just about all of it, in fact. The 720p HD video quality isn’t the best on the market, but we found that it did the job, and the integrated night vision works well too. Overall we were impressed with what the camera had to offer.

Motion detection is perhaps a bit on the sensitive side by default, but you can adjust the sensitivity as necessary, so it’s not really a problem. The built-in motion tracking is really cool, and works well in our experience, following a pet or a person as they move around a room and keeping them in view.

(Image credit: Future)

(Image credit: Future)

Controlling the two-way audio, and the panning and the tilting, is as easy as just tapping on your phone screen – the camera is responsive and obeys your commands in an instant. In fact it’s a lot of fun to play around with, especially if you’re out of the house and want to take a peek at what’s happening at home.

Admittedly the app isn’t the most polished or the most intuitive we’ve ever come across, but it works fine, and does what you need it to do. As usual with these sorts of smart home devices, you need to sign up for yet another (free) account so you can manage your devices across multiple phones and tablets.

(Image credit: D-Link)

The big sell here is the panning and the tilting, which immediately gives the D-Link camera the edge over a lot of its rivals. Imagine the frustration if something is just out of view of your home security camera, and you can’t just nudge the view to the left or the right to see what’s happening.

It’s more expensive than a lot of similar cameras too, so you’re paying for the extra functions and being able to focus on different parts of a room. That said, we do appreciate the way D-Link lets you archive recordings on your phone or on a microSD card inside the camera if you don’t want to pay for cloud storage.

The accompanying app for Android and iOS isn’t the best in class but it won’t let you down, and with support for Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and IFTTT on board, you’ve got a few options when it comes to controlling the camera. The 720p HD resolution isn’t the best either, but it’ll do.

Take away the pan and tilt features and this is a run-of-the-mill Wi-Fi camera without much to recommend it over others. However, as one of the few cameras that can look around on command, it’s going to appeal to users who want that functionality included.

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