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Logitech Alert 750e Outdoor Master Security Camera System with Night Vision (961-000337) (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
- Please note: Logitech Alert Digital Security Systems are not backwards compatible with Logitech WiLife Digital Security Systems
- HD-quality video with night vision and 130 Degrees wide-angle lens
- Free, remote viewing of live video on your computer or smart phone (iPhone, Android or BlackBerry)
- Motion-triggered recording and alerts
- Windows-based PC needed for set-up and control,Weatherproof with 100 ft. night vision
- Please note: Logitech Alert Digital Security Systems are not backwards compatible with Logitech WiLife Digital Security Systems^HD-quality video with night vision and 130 Degrees wide-angle lens^Free, remote viewing of live video on your computer or smart phone (iPhone, Android or BlackBerry)^Motion-triggered recording and alerts^Windows-based PC needed for set-up and control,Weatherproof with 100 ft. night vision
Logitech alert 750e outdoor master system is the weatherproof, night vision video security system you can set up yourself and count on when you need it. installation is simple and takes just minutes.
From the Manufacturer
Be there even when you're not.
Get peace of mind, even at night. The Logitech Alert 750e is a weatherproof digital video security system giving you instant access to crystal-clear HD-quality video anytime, anywhere—on your mobile phone, online or at your computer.
Logitech Alert 750e Outdoor Master
Digital Video Security System
|Alert 750e Outdoor Master System |
|•||Free apps for mobile viewing|
|•||Free viewing over the web|
|•||Built-in DVR recording|
Free apps for anytime access to live video
See what's happening on any camera, from anywhere
HD-quality video, night vision and wide-angle lens
Get the detail and coverage you need, even after dark
See the difference with HD
See in the dark with infrared night vision
No professional installer, extra wires, IP address setting, or router resetting needed
Free, secure online access to live video
Watch live HD video from any PC or Mac
Motion-triggered alerts sent to your phone or email
Be in the know, when you're on the go
Built-in DVR recording
Every camera works as a DVR with integrated memory card for secure, robust backup
2 GB microSD card included with each camera
Powerful software for total control
Manage your entire video security system with your PC, or through Mac via browser
Indoor and outdoor expandability
Add on cameras to extend your security coverage
|For set-up you'll need: ||For remote viewing you'll need: |
|What's in the box? |
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
1. Install the software.
2. Plug the master network adapter into the power outlet and plug the Ethernet cable into your router
3. Plug the camera into power outlet and click yes to update firmware (adapters and camera).
NOTE: Do not unplug the camera or the master adapter during the update.
Wow that was easy. It took less than 15 minutes to get the system up and running.
You can even use your neighbors WiFi signal (please ask first) - more below.
The picture quality is great (but not HD and not what you have come to expect from a digital camera) during daylight hours but not so great at capturing clear pictures of moving objects in total darkness. However in my case I have a flood light with motion detector that comes on when someone enters the area at night making the video bright and clear.
What I like is that you can draw areas on the actual image from the video camera to trigger recording. In other words you can eliminate false recordings from cars going by or movement outside your property.
You set up each camera individually providing ultimate flexibility in alerts, sensitivity and recording. In addition, once you have created a LogitechAlert account, you can select which cameras triggers an email alert.
You set the LogitechAlert account up from the Settings Menu (the gearwheel icon).
From here you can enter several email addresses. I have mine set to send a text to my cell phone (as I don't have a smart phone with email and web access).
Most cell phone providers offers an email address starting with your cell phone number that will be forwarded to you as a text message.
Please look the email address up on your providers web page. I can not put them up due to Amazon posting regulations.
You may get charged for each text by your cell phone provider so make sure to set the Alert Frequency and Motion Filter conservatively (from within the Settings Menu - Alerts-Advanced).
As mentioned above, I have not received one false alarm although my system is still set using the default values.
RECORDING WITH PC TURNED OFF - THIS IS A GREAT FEATURE.
The camera(s) stores all motion triggered activity regardless if you have the PC on or off. To review all recorded activity, start the PC and click the "Enter Playback Mode" icon. A very intuitive calendar and timeline shows up indicating recordings. Point to a time and click on play to see the activity.
You can review/playback history from only the dedicated PC on your network.
Logitech suggests not loading the software on more than on PC on the network.
If you do, you can only watch live video but review/playback will not work from the other PC's (also unexpected results may occur).
NOTE: You can view the real time images from anywhere on the web with the free Logitech Web Alert Viewer. To get full control with playback via a remote PC you must purchase the Logitech Web and Mobile Commander for an annual fee* of $80 (at the time of this writing).
You keep a PC turned on all the time and control it from any PC (or web enabled phone) on the web using Teamviewer or LogMeIn (both are free for private use - you can download the programs from Cnet.com). Then you can access the Logitech Alert Commander interface as you normally do from home.
UPDATE 1: I am using the free version of LogMeIn and it works great. The only disadvantage is that you can not hear audio from the home computer. But you can see the live video feed and use playback along with camera adjustments etc. Actually you can operate your home computer just as if you were sitting in front of it. You can access it from work or anywhere in the world via the internet.
UPDATE 2: I have now used both remote programs for over a month. Logmein appear to be unreliable with respect to video quality. TEAMVIEWER IS THE WINNER (To get perfect video quality: select "View", "Optimize Quality" from the TeamViewer screen on the remote computer). TeamViewer will also let you transfer recorded video files (or any file for that matter) when you are away from home.
Cost for leaving your home computer on all the time.
The cost for a 40 Watts consumer** 24 hours per day, 365 days per year = $35/year at $0.10 per kWh.
However, Teamviewer allows you to use "Wake Up On LAN" so you can turn your home computer on from the remote computer (Too much to cover here).
For details Google: How does Wake-on-LAN with TeamViewer work?
* Come on Logitech!!! Reduce it to a $50 one time fee and sell more systems to happier customers.
** One UPS manufacturer estimates 40 watts power consumption from an entry level desk top with a 20 LCD monitor. Turn the monitor off and bring the cost down even more. Also set the hard drive to turn off if not in use via Windows "Power Options Interface". You may also be able to set the home computer to "Wake up on LAN".
INSTALLATION OF THE CAMERA'S POWER/DATA ADAPTER IN THE ATTIC
First of all I wanted to hide the wire to the camera.
Logitech's instructions show the power/data wire going from the camera to a power outlet on the side of the house.
Consequently a thief can easily unplug the camera.
Pull an extension cord from a power outlet in the attic (or somewhere else) and connect it to the grey power supply/adapter for the camera.
NOTE: WHATEVER YOU DO WHEN PULLING WIRES MAKE SURE THEY ARE IN COMPLIANCE WITH LOCAL CODES.
I know Logitech Customer Service had told another reviewer "The adapters CANNOT be installed in the attic".
Logitech may be concerned about high attic temperatures present in some climates.
My attic does not get very hot; in addition I mounted the adapter just above the lower perimeter soffit vent where outside air constantly flows in.
The power/data Ethernet cable to the exterior camera (mounted under the roof overhang) is now routed through the soffit to the camera adapter in the attic.
Drill a 9/16" (14 mm) hole to allow the Ethernet plug to pass through the soffit. Mount the power adapter over the soffit vent with the power cable coming out at the top as shown in Logitech's instructions.
NOTE: I used a 100 foot grounded heavy duty extension cord plugged into a grounded power outlet. I don't know if using a grounded outlet and grounded extension cord matters because none of the adapters are equipped with grounded plugs. You may not need a heavy duty cord as the camera adapter uses very little power.
PREVENT BLACKOUT DURING POWER OUTAGES USING A UPS (Uninterruptible Power Supply)
I still want the surveillance system to work during power outages or if the power line to the house is cut.
The Manual tell you it will not work if you use a surge protector or UPS.
I already have the cable modem and the wireless router plugged into an APC BN600R Battery Backup (UPS), so all I had to do was to plug the black Logitech network adapter into the UPS and pull an extension cord from the UPS to the grey Logitech camera adapter. All the equipment is fed from a single UPS.
The disadvantage is that you have to pull extension cord(s) from the UPS to the camera adapters. In my case it was not a problem because the extension cord would drop down from the attic between the studs in one of the walls to where I have my router.
I am sure you can use a higher capacity UPS as long as ALL your Logitech adapters are connected to it.
WHATEVER YOU DO WHEN PULLING WIRES MAKE SURE THEY ARE IN COMPLIANCE WITH LOCAL CODES.
Out of the box there was no audio from the camera.
To turn the sound on:
1) Un-mute from the Command screen (slider at the right hand bottom) and
2) Click on Settings (gearwheel icon) and click on the camera name (your camera(s) will be listed by the name you give them during setup "Entry way", "Hall way" etc.)
Then check the box Enable Audio (after accepting the legal notice).
Note: If you have more than one camera, you have to Enable Audio for each one.
GOOD QUALITY PRICE RATIO*
Overall I will rate the Logitech 750e a quality system for the money. As an alternative, you can purchase professional systems that will cost thousands of $ but it is unlikely that they have the remote access this system has.
* UPDATE Aug-21-2014: The price quality ratio was good when the camera system was first introduced. Since then the price has doubled and new products with higher resolution and remote access have entered the market.
However the new systems may require a good Wi-Fi signal strength to function properly or require that you pull wires from the router to the cameras (or install a Wi-Fi booster).
However if you have low Wi-Fi signal strength where the camera(s) are going to be installed you may be better off with this Logitech Alert camera solution because the data is transmitted through existing electrical house wiring and you only need to plug the camera(s) into an electric outlet for it to work. - END UPDATE.
Perhaps Logitech have "beefed up" the mounting hardware for the camera. My hardware is rigid and of good quality. Another reviewer had problems with the hardware.
(I tightened and pre-adjusted the holder/adapter and added a drop of Locktite (blue) to the threads prior to installation. It is easier done on the ground as compared to the top of a 15 foot ladder).
UPDATE: The mounting plate is covered with a rubber cover. You have to tighten the holder rod FIRMLY to the base to ensure a rigid mount (or else the camera will wiggle).
Also, one of the cameras would turn freely no matter how hard the thumbscrew was tightened. It turned out that there is a phillips screw hiden inside the short rod which is being clamped by the thumbscrew assembly. The phillips screw was loose. Simply remove the thumbscrew completely to take the assembly apart. Then tighten the phillips screw and put it back together.
Logitech, QA/QC you need to address this issue. This is probably why so many people are complaining about the camera mount.
ALARM SYSTEM - Section added October 7, 2011
Before installing the system I had tried a couple of alarm systems with wireless sensors on the windows and doors. It was a lot of work to set up and configure but I could have lived with that if it wasn't for the false alarms. THEY DROVE ME AND THE NEIGHBORS CRAZY.
Now I use the Logitech camera-setup as a silent alarm system. The email/text message alert tells me if a camera detects motion and I can immediately check what is going on over the internet via my Android phone (I finally got one) or from the PC in the hotel lobby.
This way you can actually watch what is going on in and around the house before calling the police.
Suggestion: Add the number for the dispatcher at your local police station to your phone book. (Calling 911 from Florida will probably take too long if your house is in Maine).
Here is what I have learned.
A camera MAY report motion (and send an email/text message*) if the shadows from clouds etc suddenly moves across the area the camera is set to monitor. I say MAY because it very seldom happens.
The solution is to exclude these window or potential "moving shadow" areas from the cameras trigger area(s).
A camera WILL report motion if a large insect or flying leaf moves over the trigger area. Even a small chipmunk on the ground will trigger the camera. Consequently I do not use an outside camera to send me text messages if motion is detected.
When an outdoor camera is operating in night vision mode insects are attracted to it like a regular light bulb. Fortunately it is only a special type of insect that triggers my camera. It looks like a white flying spiral worm that is one to two inches long and 0.5" in diameter (I have not observed any other type of insects trigger a camera).
* Providing you have armed the system.
HOW TO CONNECT WITHOUT CABLE, DSL or ADSL INTERNET SERVICE - Section added February 21, 2012
We have a cabin without wired internet service and without 3G broadband signal. The good news is that my year-round neighbor has internet service and a WiFi router. The signal from the router is very weak. However I managed to get EXCELLENT signal strength using the Alfa AWUS036H 1000mW 1W 802.11b/g USB Wireless WiFi network Adapter with 5dBi Antenna and Suction cup Window Mount dock - for Wardriving & Range Extension antenna connected to the USB port on my computer.
Next step was to get the signal into a router. Again, Alfa to the rescue; they make a small but very sophisticated router that connects to their antenna (or a 3G USB adapter). Alfa R36 802.11 b, g N, Repeater and Range Extender for AWUS036H can also be used as a 3G Router - Enables you to Extend to Signal that is picked up by the AWUS036H and distribute the internet to multiple Users (Desktops, Laptops, tablets, iPods or iPad...
It was very simple to set up: WiFi signal from neighbor -> to Alfa Antenna -> to USB port on the R36 router -> to the black Logitech network adapter via Ethernet cable -> to PC running the Logitech software (this last step is optional).
NOTE ALL COMPONENTS MUST BE POWERED DOWN AND UP AGAIN FOR THE CAMERA TO BE FOUND AND BECOME LIVE VIA THE Alert.Logitech.com website.
That was easy...
... and my neighbor did not have a problem sharing his WiFi signal in the spirit of neighborhood watch and safety.
Now we have our own private LAN with full WiFi and internet access for all our WiFi gadgets throughout the cabin.
Ever wondered how to set up a PRIVATE LAN using your neighbors WiFi signal - NOW YOU KNOW!
- Very easy setup
- Great picture quality in daylight but not in total darkness
- Motion detection is very reliable
- Flexible email alert settings
- Workaround if you don't have a phone with email or web access
- Recording with PC turned off - great feature
- Workaround to avoid paying $80 per year for remote access
- Attic installation of the camera's power adapter
- How to connect "Battery UPS backup"
- How to turn the sound feature on
- Using the cameras as a Security System
- Connect the system to the internet via WiFi or 3G
I hope this review helps you. The system is very easy to get up and running. YOU CAN DO IT!!!
Disclaimer, I am retired and do not work for or have stock in any company. I write reviews because I use them extensively myself before I make a purchasing decision.
I recently installed a TRENDnet Powerline 500 AV Nano Adapter Kit, TPL-406E2K in the house. This interfered with the cameras causing loss of signal from one or more cameras. The problem went away when the Trendnet Powerline kit was removed.
SETUP: Setup isn't too bad. Just remember to read the directions but there are a few gotchas such as, you can't plug the camera side or the network side plugs into a power strip because of the circuitry screws up the data making it out of the power strip. This leads to the first problem I have. You have to use a dedicated outlet for each plug. In my older house, plugs are few and far between.
SOFTWARE: The software installation was quick and painless. Immediately the software updated the firmware for my camera which was nice. The software controls are OK. It's missing some key features in my opinion. There is no "record" button. So it only records if it detects motion. I want the ability to be able to record on demand.
MOTION: You can select up to 6 zones that trigger recordings and alerts when there is movement. The downside is, the zones are only square. I wish you could make angles as well. The motion is too sensitive imho. I have it all the way down and it finally seems to be only pick up large movement.
CAMERA: The camera is of very high quality. It is all metal and it feels solid and like it will last a long time. I was surprised on how well built it is. It also has a microphone that works really well. It picks up everything. The last thing is the night vision. It works pretty good. The image quality is pretty good. I give it an 8 out of 10 when looking at the picture in the software. To my surprise, the image when viewing the videos manually are better!
REMOTE VIEWING: Viewing the image on my iphone is pretty cool. There is about a 5-10 second delay, which is to be expected. Viewing the image at [...]is decent, though you already know from the other reviews that there is no sound with remote viewing.
ALERTS: The email alerts are cool but I wish they would send you a screen shot as to why there was an alert. So imagine you get an alert, you log onto [...] or view the picture on your phone and now whatever it is that triggered the alert is gone, so you have no ideas what happened. On top of that, the free viewing doesn't have any way to rewind to see what's going on, so you'll have to wait until you get home. One workaround is, if you have remote software for your PC, you can remotely connect to your PC and view the software that way, but most users will have no idea how to do this.
The other alert is right on your desktop, which seems cool at first, a sound is made and then a small picture pops up. the problem is, you can't click the picture to make it bigger, it just disappears after a few seconds.
OTHER: The cord that comes with the camera is not long enough. I think it's 25ft. Which is decent, but they should give you 100ft for the money that you pay. You can buy more cord but I feel you shouldn't have to with the first camera.
All in all, I like this setup though it could use some improvements here and there. I plan to keep mine and add more cameras hoping they improve the software.
UPDATE: After doing some research over the weekend, I realize how bad the Logitech software really is. Instead I decided to go with software called, "Blue Iris" which is worlds better than the Logitech software in every way. So much so, I paid $50 for it. After that, I realized that the appeal of the Logitech camera system starts to fade since I could literally buy any camera and use it with Blue Iris. Currently I am running Blue Iris with one Logitech 700e and my Logitech C910 HD webcam and it works flawlessly. Admittedly it's not going to be as easy for normal folk, but for a techie like me, it's more than worth the effort. Bottom line, if you decide to get the Logitech camera, don't waste your money on the "System" package and just get the camera and purchase Blue Iris instead. Or, do what I plan to do, research similar cameras and see what my options are.
BTW - If you want to just connect to your camera, download VLC player and then use the "Advanced File Open" menu and type "[...]" or "[...] Cheers!
11/5/2011 Update: OK, I've had the cameras for almost a year now. I've been really happy with them. For the price, you can't beat it. I raised the stars back to 3. I still ding it for a few things. I really wish it was 30fps, but I guess it would be a lot of bandwidth over the internet, so they probably made a decision to chop it 15fps to conserve bandwidth and to save a little money on the camera side. I still use Blue Iris for 99% of my recording(I record 24/7 for 7 days). I actually use the email alerts with Logitech over Blue Iris since Blue Iris has a bug where it spits garbage onto the screen and falsely sets off the motion. I mentioned in my earlier review that there are no pictures with the email alerts. I was wrong, there is! I have caught somebody casing my house(they ended up robbing my next door neighbors house), I caught an accident, and a couple of drug deals. I see which critters walk around my house at night(raccoons, cats, and skunks), and catch everything from spiders to birds to every solicitor that comes to my door. I love knowing when people are coming and going. I see when packages are delivered and all with great clarity. If Logitech could add 24/7 recording, diagonal blocks on the motion page and lower the price of the yearly subscription, I would give them a 5. Anyhoo, just thought I'd post again since I felt my 2 stars were a bit low.
The micro-SD cards are a royal pain - and should NEVER have been mounted in the camera itself - way too inconvenient to reach if you mount them "out of reach" from others (most of us would, right?) Whoever thought that up was not an end-user, that's for sure. They should be in the power supply, which hopefully would be easier to reach and certainly easier to work on (these are very tiny cards.) I see their purpose and that's great BUT perhaps a standard card would have been smarter and easier to work with.
The software is not ready for prime time at all - again, whoever designed this software has apparently no experience with security camera systems. YES, the software looks nice and the clarity (daytime) is pretty awesome compared to most systems but this is not most systems - in fact it costs about double or even triple what most of the standard run of the mill systems costs, so I would expect better clarity. And night vision, well, it's pitiful - like looking at reverse negatives and no adjustments can be made whatsoever - all automatic. And the frame rate drops from about 15 to 5 (if you are lucky) - making movements all "run" together on playback or live. Almost worthless.
Support is not good - you can learn more on the forums from others (who are mostly complaining about Logitech support!) than calling Logitech. I know more about these cameras than most Logitech support personnel, who seem clueless and to be reading from a check list. And don't waste your time asking for Tier 2 support - they will NEVER call you back; apparently the sport at Logitech ALERT Support(separate support, not like most Logitech support, which is typically great!) is to hide behind the support forum and private message people with "pat" answers - ignoring the question - I actually had 5 exchanges with a Tier 2 person asking me question after question that was PREVIOUSLY ADDRESSED IN GREAT DETAIL IN THE FIRST EMAIL - so that proves they don't even read the question. Simply amazing.
All in all, these cameras COULD be great - they are sleek looking, sharp in design, with good weight and balance; they mount easily (but the mounts are nothing impressive) and have some nice features (like ability to turn off motion lights) and wide panoramic field of view (Zoom is a joke though, you lose so much clarity with digital zoom it's all but worthless.)
There are literally hundreds of people who have purchased these cameras asking for the most basic of basic features that come standard with most security systems, such as a scheduler, better motion sensitivity controls, better night vision (and controls); ability to manually record (nope, you cannot decide what or when to records, MOTION is the only way these cameras will record - no motion, no recording.) No motion indicator so you even know when or if they are indeed recording. Ridiculous.
Before you buy these cameras, read the threads carefully on Logitech.com under their Alert system - I do believe that Logitech is working on some serious updates and improvements - their first update to Commander software was fairly pathetic, but they are promising some BIG enhancements (long overdue) with the next release (March? who knows, they won't say more than "soon") - if they do incorporate some of the needed improvements everyone is asking for, these cameras could/would be SUPER DUPER. But right now, they're expensive, pretty to look at and while they do offer HD quality (again, daytime only and not in zoom mode) they are also somewhat unreliable (some cameras trail several minutes and refuse to catch up to "LIVE" - also very annoying). Logitech needs to get their act together - but based on most comments from former WiLife users (previous generation) this system's SOFTWARE is not as sophisticated as their earlier system (but the cameras are MUCH better.) Basically, they put this system out almost like a Beta test and are SLOWLY making improvements and enhancements that should have been in the initial release of any basic system. If I wanted to be a beta tester, I'd sign up to be one.
Will it be a good system one day? ...probably - it does has tremendous potential but honestly, it's not ready for prime time - having spent almost $2000 to buy and install this system, I'm committed and just hoping that one day soon Logitech will issue a MAJOR software update (and some firmware improvements too) that lifts this camera up to the level it deserves. RIGHT NOW, the cameras are substantially under-served by the software, which is almost so elementary it's pitiful. And if I were to go away and the power flickered, even for ten seconds, I'd have 0 access to my system and no way to reset it. Again, RIDICULOUS!
I finally managed to get Logitech's attention with a rant on their forum (like so many of us have had to do) and they actually had a L2 supervisor call me - we had a nice discussion but basically nothing great came out of that except a lot of promises for future enhancements - if they are true to their word, I may ultimately be a very happy user, but so far, I could have gotten twice the cameras for half the price in another brand - probably not the video quality - but acceptable. That is Logitech Alert's saving grace: video quality during daylight hours, is excellent. At night, not so much.
Wake up Logitech! You have a great product with lousy software (and even worse "support") - time to get your software engineers off their hind ends and get this nice camera system working like it should! It's taking way to long and the general lack of "response" from Logitech on the forums is at best, limited and contrite. After spending nearly 2 G's, I expect better than that.
Oh, one more thing: if you want to have "full function" access on your Iphone or via a web browser, you will have to pay an annual fee - not very reasonable at $89/yr - especially when the only thing it brings is ability to playback "motion alerts" (of which there will be MANY if it's raining or snowing or the wind is blowing because their sensitivity controls are not able to adjust for these normal, almost daily "events" - and cannot distinquish between rain falling and some unauthorized human prowling around your home or business. AND you cannot have full control of your cameras if you install this system on your laptop and go on a trip - you must leave the "Commander" on the network for it to work - otherwise you are limited to your SD recordings (all 2 GB of them, which can be a day or so if it's raining!)
Good luck - but if I was you, I'd wait until you see some glowing reports about improvements and software enhancements before spending this kind of money. It's just not quite ready for prime time.
Others have mentioned the sad state of the bracket. I did not imagine it could be so bad. It is worse. It is weak and flimsy and, if the extension arm is put on, destined to fail.
The product description says: "Complete outdoor digital video security system, easy to install, no new wiring or networking needed". While possibly true in some cases, it certainly was not in ours.
Few of us have a free wall outlet within a few feet of our computer yet you must plug a giant power supply/HomePlug bridge into a wall outlet by your computer. It cannot plug into a surge strip or UPS and, if you place it in the upper outlet (as illustrated) it will block the lower. If you try to hang it off the lower outlet it is unsecured and is constantly trying to fall out. So much for dependability- no backup and limited stay-in. And you are out one entire outlet.
The power supply/HomePlug bridge then is supposed to plug into your router with a short, flimsy flat CAT-5 cable. If you are wireless you are out of luck. It is "wireless" meaning it uses HomePlug powerline carrier but not 802.11 Wi-Fi.
If you have anything else plugged into your router you may also be in trouble. I have a network printer, streaming DVD , satellite dish and a DSL modem which all got along fine before. When I plug in the Home-Plug device the whole network goes down. Tech Support might help me trick it into functioning but they do not call back or answer emails.
The outdoor installation is interesting, too. The HomePlug bridge/power supply plugs into a right angle adapter that cannot fit in an outdoor box with anything else. It also wants to rock out of the outlet and must be secured. You are out one entire outlet.
The two circuits for the two HomePlug adapters have to be free of other devices that might interfere. If it doesn't work the instructions say to "just" plug it in to another closer outlet. So you have the "freedom" to mount it anywhere you have a dedicated outlet that has nothing else on the circuit. You cannot, necessarily, place the camera where you wanted to place it. I had an electronic outdoor lighting timer that could not coexist with the HomePlug. You are now out one entire circuit.
The outdoor supply/bridge is on a 2 foot cord and can be placed anywhere. Anywhere, that is, within about a foot of the box in a single acceptable orientation at the same height as the box and with a drip loop below. It cannot mouth sideways right or left, above, or upside down. And then for the best part- it cannot be mounted in the sun! You just bought an "outdoor" system that cannot be mounted in the sun!
The camera once mounted on the aforementioned flimsy bracket is then wired with an equally flimsy flat CAT-5 cable. The camera and the power supply have to be opened up to receive it. Oh, by the way, the camera cannot be mounted in the sun either! Their outdoors must be different than my outdoors.
After it doesn't work you call Tech Support and hold for half an hour if you are lucky. The guy then tells you that he thinks you have a bad camera but that he has to escalate to Second Tier Support who work sometime Monday through Friday. They do not call or answer your email.
My wife and I are both technical people in the electronics industry. We are not intimidated by technical issues and know quality when we see it. We haven't seen it in this product.
The really impressive feature of the Alert system is that it can be up and running minutes after unpacking. The software installs quickly, the cameras simply plug in to outlets, and there is nothing to configure or customize beyond that to start viewing images from the camera. Likewise, the web browser application and mobile app are simple to install and launch. The outdoor cameras will probably require a little more mounting time, but that is to be expected with any type of security camera installation.
No Technical Knowledge Required
Unlike some of the other IP camera options available, the Alert cameras require no technical prowess with things like port forwarding, SMTP configurations, or other router security options. The cameras simply plug in, and the signal is sent ethernet-over-power to the router adapter. I tested several outlets in my home, and they all worked without problems.
The video resolution at ~900x700 is very good. Stationary objects are exceptionally clear.
Support for mobile devices
A nice feature is the mobile app to view live feeds of the cameras on devices like the iPhone and Droid. It works very well with very minimal delay. I use this feature on the iPhone, and it streams perfectly on 3G.
Although it is only digital, the zoom feature is a nice option and easy to use.
Custom motion detection
The ability to "paint" motion detection areas on the camera's view is a great feature for outdoor cameras where there may be a lot of traffic in the background, or tree movement that will set off the motion detector all the time.
ADDED 12/15/2011: I have been using the indoor and outdoor cameras for over a year now, and I must say that the reliability of the cameras themselves is first-rate. I have not had any issues with lost signals over the ethernet connections or problems with the SD cards. All video records perfectly, and the outdoor camera still looks new. Remote viewing through the connection to the Logitech website could be improved some, as this is routinely slow or down.
Broken Out of the Box
Unfortunately, my outdoor camera was broken out of the box. The camera was not communicating at all with the SD card inside the camera, and therefore not recording anything to the computer hard drive either. I was disappointed that there was no alert to indicate that there was a problem with the SD card. The only indication of the problem was a red exclamation point over the SD icon on the storage section within Settings, which is not readily noticeable. Hovering the mouse over the icon displays the message "SD Card Problem", but there is no other information about the problem. I had to return the defective camera, and thanks to Amazon's quick replacement service, I had a working unit within a couple days. It seems that are a number of reported problems with SD card communication. This is clearly an area that needs improvement from both a quality testing standpoint as well as software diagnostics.
Night Vision Movement and Frame Rates
It appears that the video frame rate degrades quite a bit when IR night vision is activated. There have been comments that the frame rate is as low as 5fps. I believe that is about right. Trying to make out anything moving is very difficult unless the subject is very close. During the day, the frame rate of 15fps is generally acceptable, but still creates blur in moving subjects. These cameras would be awesome with something like 30fps at this resolution.
No Options for Alternate Streaming
Although using Logitech's website for video feeds is easy and convenient, not everyone is tech illiterate, and this product would be much more attractive if the feeds could be easily configured to stream through any server, like other products such as the Foscam IP cameras. The Logitech site was down for many hours within the first week I had the camera, and it was very frustrating not being able to remotely view the camera. Reliability is key in a security camera, and I would rather be able to configure my own access than worry about a site that has already proven to be unreliable. Since the camera is configured with a local IP address, I know it can be accessed with other software, but it should have alternative setup options available out of the box.
I understand Logitech's incentive to create a revenue stream with so-called "premium" services. However, giving the consumer the simple functions to watch recorded video and control the camera settings remotely is not very premium, and once again gives this product a bad taste for the tech savvy consumer. There are many ways to remote to a home PC and control all the features with the installed Commander software, so paying $80 per year for this feature really is just for those who don't want to leave their PC on all day, but would have to leave the router on anyway for this work.
Although the software is fairly simple in functionality, I was surprised how many little glitches existed. For instance, when expanding the Advanced sections of some of the Settings screens, the text is cutoff and doesn't display fully in the window, and there is no ability to scroll that area. Another problem is that if you disconnect one of the cameras from the system, you then cannot remove that camera from the list. This could be really annoying for someone who has to deal with a broken camera that cannot be recognized again. They will never be able to remove the camera from the list. There was clearly very little quality or usability testing done on much the software.
Motion Detection Spotty
The logic incorporated into the motion detection and recording seems to have some glitches. There are times when motion is detected and recording begins, but then recording stops and does not continue even though motion starts a few seconds later. It is almost as if the camera waits for a certain amount of time before starting to record again after a previous recording. This has led to major movement in the subject field not being recorded, and is definitely something in the software/firmware that needs to be fixed. There are also times where the start of the recording is delayed, and a subject moving through the motion detection area is filmed just going out of sight, even though other times the motion is detected and recorded just as the subject is entering the area. There is a sensitivity adjustment for each camera, but changing this one way or another has not improved the detection/recording spottiness.
UPDATED 12/15/2011: After using the camera for over a year now, Logitech has done a pretty good job of improving motion capture. There are far less lost activities, and captures start just prior to the movement entering frame instead of when the movement is going out of frame.
Live Remote View Times Out
The downside of streaming the video with the remote viewers through the Logitech site is that they do not want it streaming constantly, and their software will time out after a few minutes. Although this is understandable from their perspective, it is annoying for those of us who want to monitor constantly. I like to monitor audio, and leave the browser window open in the background to do so. I would like to not have to switch to that window constantly to restart the connection.
No Audio for Mobile Devices
I was disappointed to realize that the mobile app did not support audio. It seems like such a simple feature to add considering it is supported in the browser app.
UPDATED 12/15/2011: The latest iPhone version of the mobile app now supports audio.
For the price of these cameras, it would seem like mechanical tilt and pan features could be incorporated. The $80 Foscam indoor camera can tilt/pan. Without pan, it will take more cameras to cover the same area.
No Two-Way Audio
Again, a simple feature that less expensive cameras include.
No Multi-Camera Remote/Mobile View
The browser and mobile apps only allow viewing one camera at a time, unlike the desktop Commander software.
No Resolution or Frame Rate Adjustments
I would like to see settings for less resolution at higher frame rates like some other cameras.
Overall, the Logitech Alert system is a decent enough product, and for the non-technical consumer provides a simple way to install a video security system in the home. There are better options out there, but these require a lot more knowledge about technical setup, and also may require dedicated computer hardware to support. The Alert cameras are very good quality, and the software is easy to understand and configure. What this product lacks is maturity in the software/firmware, and quality testing before leaving the factory. Hopefully, future versions will improve upon these flaws and provide a truly 5 star product - for now, I'll keep it a 3.
UPDATED 12/15/2011: I decided to upgrade the rating to 4 stars based on the improvements made by Logitech over the past year. I would still like to see more custom options in the software, and the ability to remote view directly without using 3rd party software.