Security cameras are a must-have in this day and age. While some people install cameras in every corner of their homes and offices, sadly, others don’t bother due to overly complicated setups and placement challenges. TP-Link changes all that with a new wire-free smart security camera lineup under the Tapo brand family. These cameras are water and dust resistant, easy to set up, and can be placed virtually anywhere, whether it’s indoors or outdoors.
One system is the hub-enabled TP-Link Tapo C420S2 two-camera system. Each camera ships complete with wall mounts that can also double as a base or stand for use indoors on a tabletop.
The C420 camera has a cylindrical pop-can shape measuring a mere (L x W x H) of 4.35 x 2.52 x 2.52in.(110.6 x 64.2x 64.2mm). It features a 2K QHD sensor with a 113 degree field of view, giving you over 70% more pixels than standard 1080p high-definition video. This enables capturing more detail with crisper and clearer shots, handy under low light conditions or times where you need to identify faces or read print like license plate number of a car illegally parked in your driveway.
Video is also smooth thanks to its 20 fps frame rate and the camera’s Full Colour Night Vision with Starlight Sensor also add high fidelity details in low light that illuminates the viewing area in the dark.
Additionally, a built-in siren and light alarm can help ward off intruders, making it the ideal front or back door camera.
Its Smart AI (Artificial intelligence) Detection that can help avoid those “false alarms” as it can identify and differentiate between people, animals and vehicles and notify you according to your set preferences. It’s so smart, it can even detect a baby’s cry.
The built-in mic and speaker offer 2-way communication which can be handy for conversing with your delivery person at the door or for monitoring your grandchildren or family pets.
Operationally, the cameras connect wirelessly to the compact Tapo H200 Smart Hub, 2.8 x 2.8 x 1.2 inched(71.45x 71.45 x 31.25mm). It connects to your home’s router via its RJ45 ethernet port. The hub is also equipped with a microSD card slot (card not supplied) so you can locally record up to 256 GB of video.
Should you wish, seven or 30-day cloud storage for your videos an optional TapoCare subscription is available. It offers added value by offering rich notifications with snapshots, advanced AI detection and privacy zones. Prices start at $3.49 per month. A free 30-day trial is available. The hub can also support up to an additional two cameras.
Power Saving Technology
One unique feature of the hub is the special way of sending wireless signals that uses very little power. It’s called TP-Link Patented Sub-1G Communication, which allows for the coverage of a larger area than regular Wi-Fi, while also saving energy and battery life.
The cameras are equipped with a removable rechargeable battery pack so you’re not constantly feeding the landfill. Battery life is rated at 180 days before recharging is necessary (based on triggering 10-20 events per day.)
Based on current drain during a testing period, realistically, I would expect that number to be closer to four months. Actual results will of course depend on use – how much activity is triggered, what resolution, video recording speed and environmental conditions like our harsh Canadian weather.
You can conveniently charge the camera’s battery pack– by either removing the battery or by plugging a charger directly into its on-board micro USB port located at the rear of the camera.
To save battery power, you can also reduce the camera’s overhead. Through the Tapo app used for all Tapo products for iOS and Android you can adjust a variety of settings. You can reduce the video capture resolution to 720p; reduce the frame rate from 20fps to 15fps or Adjust the sensitivity for triggering alarms and capture.
The app also makes it quick and easy to set up and monitor your cameras remotely in real-time. You can set it to receive instant notifications and a plethora of other features.
The system works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant to provide options for voice control. It also is compatible with IFTT but does not work with Apple Home Kit.
Overall, the TP-Link Tapo C420S2 is an impressive little bundle to give you that peace of mind. The wireless 2K QHD video, the Smart AI, and great night capture – make it a blessing. It would be nice it had a little longer battery life and perhaps a slightly wider field of view but that’s a trade-off for the high quality video and wireless capabilities at an attractive price.
In the box you’ll find 2 x Tapo C420 Cameras with battery packs, a micro-USB, Tapo H200 Hub, a USB adapter & adapter cable, DC power adapter, camera brackets with mounting templates & screws, an RJ45 Ethernet cable & a quick-start guide.
The TP-Link Tapo C420S2 comes with a two-year warranty and retails in Canada for $279.99. You can find it at your favourite retailers like Best Buy or on-line via Amazon.
You can also find more information at Tapo.com.
Greg Gazin, also known as the Gadget Guy and Gadget Greg, is a syndicated veteran tech columnist, communication, leadership and technology speaker, facilitator, blogger, podcaster and author. Reach him @gadgetgreg or at GadgetGuy.ca.