Security cameras have undergone huge upgrades now that mobile devices are used as their view screens. This has led to cameras with varied feature-sets, although all continue the basic process of transmitting a picture. D-Link’s DCS-2330L Outdoor HD Wireless Network Camera provides for more than just the basics when it comes to providing a remote image. And as will be seen, its ability to weather inclement conditions makes it eminently suitable for use outside.
The DCS-2330L is small and unassuming, although the side-mounted external antenna does call some attention to what it is. But without the antenna, wireless transmission wouldn’t be possible and the DCS-2330L wouldn’t be portable — although it does require an AC power supply to function. The lens itself looms large, as it is a wide angle lens situation with the ability to “see” in the dark and has motion-sensing capabilities.
Setup for the DCS-2330L consists of two steps, the first being that of deciding where it’s going to be used (on the included base or mounted to a wall, etc.). There’s a rubber stopper on the back, right next to where the power cord goes into the camera’s body (the cord is permanently attached). Remove this waterproof cover to access the Ethernet socket beneath. Attach it to a home router and mate it to the home network — this can be super fast if you have a D-Link router; otherwise download what’s needed from the D-Link website (in my case, the Macintosh wizard). Once the DCS-2330L is configured online through a personal account, it’s ready to be disconnected and moved to whatever location it’s to be used at. As an aside, a stopper is included as part of the Ethernet cable that comes with the camera.
I put the DCS-2330L on my balcony late in the day so it faced out onto the back alley. Through the free app on my iPhone, I was able to select the resolution of the recording (up to 720p if the network has enough bandwidth — mine could only easily do 480p) and other settings while watching, for example, whether it was a day or night viewing. The wide angle lens covers a wide area and the fixed focus lens provides a sharp and detailed picture, although once viewed “outside” my network (i.e., at a remote location like through Starbucks’ WiFi), there was much more jerkiness in the video being presented. Aiming the camera at the inside of the balcony and switching to the night-vision setting when in was dark gave me a black and white image, but one that was quite viewable. D-Link says you can see about 15 feet out in the dark, and that seems about right. I could see how using the DCS-2330L to monitor the front door or the back porch and out towards the back yard would be easily doable, providing that an outlet was available.
I also took this opportunity to try the motion sensing and information signaling features (fancy way of saying it can send a email to a predetermined account). I activated the feature at the website (which offers more control over the camera than the app does) and then returned to the camera and approached it, waving my arms until I entered its peripheral vision. As anticipated, the camera became active and Iess than 2 minutes later I received a notification.
The DCS-2330L is rated as being highly waterproofed, which was good as it rained later that night and it got soaked. But it continued to work when I accessed it the next morning — I will note that the power plug was well out out of the way and out of danger from the rain.
Now since I couldn’t stream 720p, I took advantage of the micro-SD card slot that the camera has, and which enables the camera to store imaging directly to local storage. Using it, I was able to get video at 720p resolution, and could ascertain that the quality was exactly that. This is an inexpensive way to store what the camera “sees” on an ongoing basis.
Bottom line: D-Link’s DCS-2330L Outdoor HD Wireless Network Camera does everything it says in the name: it’s a high-resolution camera that can deal with being outdoors in good and bad weather, and provides a variety of methods for viewing and recording what it sees day or night. This makes $219.99 retail cost more than acceptable.
IP65 weatherproof, Rugged enclosure, Night vision, Remote management
High bandwidth network needed to access camera's full resolution
Marshal Rosenthal is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer and journalist specializing in technology, consumer electronics and pop culture.