In this day and age when CCTV surveillance is becoming cheaper and more accessible to everyone, more and more people are just going to be faced with the question of which brand to take the plunge with. To be clear, in this post I make no observations on other brands (as I don’t use them), but I will go through as much of my experience with the EZVIZ branded ecosystem as possible. At this point, you would hopefully be able to find an equivalent article for competing brands, or maybe have done enough research on the competition that address whatever you find missing (or unsatisfactory) within the EZVIZ ecosystem.
Overall, EZVIZ is what could be considered an “entry level” CCTV brand that’s more targeted at home consumers (despite being a child company of the CCTV giant Hikvision). The products that I ended up getting (not all at once) can be split into 3 categories (there are more but I do not own them and as such won’t comment on them):
- Pure wireless cameras (C1C, C1T, etc.)
- Mixed cameras (C6CN P&T, C3WN, etc.)
- NVR (X5S-8)
My initial set up started out (as with many other people I’m sure) with a few purely wireless solutions like the C1C (720p) combined with MicroSD cards of various sizes. Over time, I added on a few mixed cameras (like the C6CN) as I had already laid some basic network cabling throughout the location, and upgraded the C1C 720p to a C1T 1080p. To be absolutely honest, if you have a decent ISP and are using it as a home surveillance system in a residential area, you’d probably be completely sorted with a set up like this – even if you were to use the C6CN in wireless mode. My issue unfortunately is that my location is semi-commercial with numerous WiFi APs located in every direction. YMMV with this as not all wireless routers are created equal, not all locations have the same layout, nor do they have the same materials in the walls.
It was at roughly this point that I decided that I wanted a way to view all the cameras from a single location that wasn’t a mobile phone app, and I picked up the X5S-8 which is an 8 channel NVR from EZVIZ. The NVR ticked most of the boxes that I wanted (that I knew of at the time) which mainly revolved around output to a TV via HDMI/VGA and wired connectivity. That said, the NVR made the shortcomings of the wireless cameras more apparent, and became the reason I decided to eventually swap out all of the wireless cameras. My full set up now consists of purely wired cameras (C6CN P&T, C3WN, C3N, etc.) – most of which are indoors despite the C3WN/C3N being outdoor rated cameras.
There are some points that I feel like I must bring up in case anyone is interested in going down the EZVIZ CCTV route like me. Things are absolutely not all rosey, and some of these points may be dealbreakers for some people. Others points may just be me being nitpicky. Here they are in no particular order:
- C3WN/C3N – These outdoor cameras are AC adaptor powered, and the provided adaptor has a cable that is ridiculously short for what is supposed to be outdoor usage (~1.5M / 5 feet). In my case, I picked up a bunch of female/male extension cables for all of them ranging between 3M/10 feet to 10M/30 feet.
- C3WN/C3N – The weather proofing jacket provided is only for the network cable, but not for the power cable – which is rather strange, but whatever. That said, the weather proofing jacket for the network cable is built for those who are crimping their own cables (only a cable can fit through the washer/jacket) which means the fancy flat cables and pre crimped cables may require “work-arounds” if you want to use them with the weather proof jacket.
- X5S-8 – This NVR is limited to viewing/recording of 8 cameras, and doesn’t appear to have any option to “subscribe” to more.
- X5S-8 – The WiFi AP cannot be disabled on the NVR and will always be on. I can’t imagine any situation where I would want to use an NVR as my preferred AP/router, so I find it strange that the WiFi can’t be disabled/turned off.
My final and largest pet-peeve of the EZVIZ ecosystem is sort of a “combination” of numerous factors (which I can’t narrow down to a single point otherwise it would be in the list above). If you open up a brand new EZVIZ camera (confirmed on C3WN/C3N – can’t remember on wireless only cameras) and link it to the X5S without updating the camera firmware, it’s possible to get the X5S to stream AND record at a high bitrate – from recollection, I vaguely recall seeing up to 8,192kbps or possibly even higher. However, on my most recent camera (which I intended to keep at the out of the box firmware), I neglected to check my EZVIZ app, and that resulted in the app auto-updating my camera in the night – which resulted in a max stream rate of 512kbps and a max record rate of 2,048kbps. Essentially, the bitrate limit is something that is added in to the camera firmware at a later point (it may or may not be related/linked to the X5S firmware). This is extremely annoying to me as the 2,048kbps limit seems ridiculous to me considering all my cameras are hardwired at a camera limited 100Mbps.
For those of you who are considering joining the EZVIZ ecosystem and are considering an X5S setup – Do seriously consider disabling the auto-update on your cameras (in the EZVIZ app) to allow higher bitrate recording (on both pure wireless and mixed mode cameras). As far as I know, the firmware updates are mostly extremely minor bugfixes, which in my opinion are worth far less to me than high bitrate recording which potentially could result in significantly better clarity/framerate overall in your recordings.