One of the benefits of a Smart Home is building your own Security Camera system. Homeowners can customize the system to meet their particular needs. Plus, you control the footage which minimizes the risk of unauthorized access. Basically, it’s an investment for peace of mind. I operate an Airbnb in my home so I’m always looking to improve my home security. Today, I got to try three new smart security cameras from TP-Link.
I’m reviewing three security cameras from TP-Link: the Tapo Wire-Free Outdoor Security 2K QHD cameras (C420S2) , the Tapo Wired Weatherproof Outdoor 2K camera (C320WS), and the Tapo Semi Wireless Indoor Pan & Tilt 2K camera (C225). Together, they provide a DIY home security solution that anyone can set up. Is it any good? Let’s find out, starting with the camera design.
Design of the Tapo Smart Cameras
Each camera has different design elements but share two common characteristics. First, they each produce 2K QHD (2560×1440 px) video resolution. Video footage can be stored in the cloud or locally. That’s because each camera comes with microSD ports. This is a huge selling point for me because I try to avoid cloud storage fees. Live footage can also be recorded directly onto a smartphone. Let’s now look at some notable design characteristics of each camera.
Tapo Wire-Free Outdoor Security 2K QHD cameras (C420S2)
The Tapo C420S2 comes in a pair of bullet shaped cameras with rechargeable batteries. These can be charged in the camera itself or removed to charge somewhere else. They also come with two mounts that can be screwed into any surface. As wireless battery powered cameras, you can place them virtually anywhere you have Wi-Fi. It comes with a IP65 water and dust resistant rating.
Tapo Wired Weatherproof Outdoor 2K camera (C320WS)
The Tapo C320WS is a compact wireless camera with two adjustable antennas on each side. It has an IP66 weatherproof rating and features waterproof seals. A cable is attached on the back with two ends. One is for optional Ethernet connection to the camera. The second is for the power connector. Thus, this wireless camera requires a direct power source at all times to operate.
Tapo Semi Wireless Indoor Pan & Tilt 2K camera (C225)
The C225 has an unassuming discrete design with a cylinder shape and a camera that sits in a rotating ball. The entire unit can turn almost 360 degrees and the camera rotates up and down. One clever design element is the privacy mode. The camera moves so the lens is completely blocked by the housing. Pan/Tilt functions are all done on the Tapo app. The field of view is 360 degree horizontal and 140 degrees vertical. Unlike the other two cameras, this one is designed strictly for indoor use. Like the C320WS, this camera also requires a direct power source.
Using the Tapo Smart Cameras
Getting the cameras up and running is easy. Simply follow the steps in the Tapo app, and they will connect to your Wi-Fi network. For this review, I installed the Tapo Wire-Free Outdoor Security cameras (C420S2) in my front yard. I recorded myself on each camera to assess the 2K footage.
For the Wired Weatherproof Outdoor 2K camera (C320WS), I got creative. I installed it in my backyard facing a squirrel picnic table installed on my fence. I built this during the lockdown for backyard entertainment feeding squirrels. Once installed, I placed some nuts on the table and armed the camera.
Lastly, I placed the Semi Wireless Indoor Pan & Tilt 2K camera (C225) on my covered back deck. It’s a big open area perfect for assessing the Pan and Tilt function.
What I like about the Tapo Cameras
The Tapo cameras are very easy to set up. This makes it very user friendly. I also like that you can install a microSD card. With the rising cost of living, the last thing we want is to pay for more cloud subscriptions. With microSD cards, you can avoid that. I also like the smart AI detection feature. The AI is embedded into the camera itself. It identifies people, pets and even cars. The cameras also recognize abnormal sounds like broken glass and babies crying.
The 2K footage on all these cameras look amazing. I got some great video of a squirrel eating the nuts on the squirrel picnic table. I was able to zoom in with a lot of clarity in the image. Audio and video are clear both in the daytime and at night. In short, these camera produce high quality video footage. Criminals are not going to like this.
What I don’t like about Tapo Smart Cameras
My one wish is for free cloud storage. Customers should get at least a week of free cloud storage with the option to get more for a fee. This was the standard when wireless cameras first came onto the scene. Now virtually every smart security camera brand requires a monthly or annual cloud storage. To get the free month of cloud storage, they wanted my credit card information. I opted to not try it out of fear I would forget to cancel it afterwards. Thankfully, I had a spare microSD card that I could use with the cameras. It would be nice if they each would come with one. Even a small 16GB or 32GB microSD card would be nice.
Should you get the Tapo Smart Cameras?
Smart cameras are easy to set up. However, before buying them, assess your Wi-Fi signal strength in the area you plan to place them. If the Wi-Fi is poor, you’re going to be disappointed. Read this networking buying guide to see how you can improve your Wi-Fi, especially outdoors.
After that, the Tapo smart cameras are for anyone who wants to avoid cloud fees. Just make sure you buy microSD cards with the camera. Occasionally, you will have to clear the SD card but it’s way more affordable than cloud subscriptions over the long run. The Tapo Wire-Free Outdoor Security 2K QHD cameras work great for monitoring areas like driveways and the side of the house. You can virtually place them anywhere you have Wi-Fi. If you do have an outdoor power source, consider the Tapo Wired Weatherproof Outdoor 2K camera (C320WS). Finally, if you’re looking to monitor pets or others indoors, check out the Tapo Semi Wireless Indoor Pan & Tilt 2K camera (C225). It works great to indoors with the ability to Pan and Tilt the camera remotely. So, if you are in the market to build your own DIY home security, I highly recommend you check out TP-Link and their Tapo line of smart cameras.