Review: BT Smart Home Cam 100

BT Home Cam

The BT Smart Cam is a WiFi home video monitoring device capable of streaming and capturing footage in high definition.

Upon receiving the BT Smart Home Cam I was a little skeptical, despite having a very sleek design it didn't look too different from the average webcam, if maybe a bit bulkier. So I was curious as to what the device could really offer me as opposed to a much cheaper webcam.

The device comes packaged in a relatively small box, in which you will find the camera itself with the stand attached, the power supply, a user guide and a couple of screws and wall plugs so you can fix the camera to a wall, if you wanted.

Setting the camera up couldn't really be more straight forward; first of all you are going to want to download the Home Cam app from the iOS or Android app store, which is of course free of charge. Once the app is installed connect the device to the power supply and make sure the switch on the back of the camera is on setup mode.

Next you need to navigate to WiFi on your smartphone, tablet or PC and connect to the camera, which emits its own WiFi signal. You won't need a password so once connected launch the app you have just installed. Then you'll be prompted to set the camera up, so select yes. Continue through the in-app setup, in which you will need to connect back to your home WiFi, so have your password handy. Once setup is nearly complete you will be required to create an account and then flick the rear switch back to camera.

The provided User Guide is very clear and contains pictures for every step so it's almost impossible to get stuck.

The app itself is great and really easy to navigate around. Once you've logged in you will see the name of your camera (you give it a name during the setup process), and if you press it you will be taken directly to your camera's live stream. From the live feed you can take pictures and record videos, both of which get saved to your device's camera roll; you can also enable sound.

What I like

The design, it's simple, sleek and sophisticated. The actual camera has a glossy black finish with a horizontal silver stripe just above the BT logo; the camera module itself is located slightly above centre. The ball and socket joint between the camera and the stand makes it very easy to secure the camera head in any position that you might want.

HD and night vision. The live stream and all videos are captured in high definition, so don't expect to see any grainy videos like those you get on old webcams. The night vision feature is also fantastic, inside the in-app camera settings you can select to have night vision on, off or automatic. So even if it's dark your camera won't miss a thing.

The free app. Considering the device itself is priced at £99.99 on BT's website, you don't want to be going out and having to purchase the application too, so finding out that it is free was a nice bonus.

Friends sharing feature. You can easily share your stream or clips with friends and family by going into the camera's setting and changing sharing from private to shared.

What I didn't like

Something that bugged me quite a bit was the sensitivity of the motion detector. It picks up any movement and records a short clip of whatever it is that is moving. The sensitivity of the motion trigger was sporadic at the best of times; you can change the sensitivity from X Small up to X Large, but the difference that makes is very debatable.

Very often clips would be captured with no movement whatsoever. Also when movement is detected you are notified via a push notification and email (which can be altered in settings), so as you can imagine it can get a bit frustrating receiving a lot of notifications about absolutely nothing.

Another negative is the not so obvious subscription charge. Motion detected clips at first are saved in the BT Cloud as part of a 14 day free trial. When that expires you have to pay BT £10 per month if you want to continue using the motion detecting feature.

Should you buy it

Firstly it isn't cheap retailing at £99.99, plus £10 extra per month if you want motion detection alerts and cloud storage. Considering we are in a world of free cloud storage systems like OneDrive and Dropbox, this is quite expensive.

What the device does do though, it does mostly well. It has great video and picture quality and is a walk in the park to setup and navigate the app. For me the motion detecting was a bit hit and miss, but with enough tinkering in the settings you might be able to get it to suit you.

If you're somebody that spends a lot of time away from the home and want to just keep track of things like kids or pets then this device could be what you're looking for, provided you can afford it.