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Review: Y-cam HomeMonitor HD

by Ryan Martin on 23 July 2015, 16:06

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacszu

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Performance and Conclusion

The Y-cam HomeMonitor HD benefits from a simple plug-and-play design.

Performance of the Y-cam HomeMonitor HD is best measured by assessing the quality of the audiovisual recording it provides throughout a range of scenarios - daytime, lit night time and unlit night time. From our testing it seems the quality of the visual recording is strong enough to spot key visual cues such as peoples' movement and their faces, though the Y-cam does not handle complex lighting situations very well. For example, strong daylight coming through a window results in the Y-cam HD dimming other parts of the footage, to normalise the contrast, despite the areas being well-lit.


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Unlit night recording uses an infrared greyscale and provides enough clarity to detect a similar amount of visual information that the daytime footage allows at near-to-medium distances. At longer distances the night recording loses some detail compared to lit recording because the infrared LEDs only have a limited illumination range. The automatic transition between unlit-infrared and lit recording takes about three seconds to stabilise, and during that transition recording is still clear but there is some colour shift as the camera adjusts. We found that the motion detection is sensitive enough for effective detection of all significant movement. For reference, at the maximum level of sensitivity the Y-cam HD detects and records flying moths at night as motion.


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Audio quality is generally of low quality with most low-level noises difficult to discern from the background hum. Interestingly, the transition between the primary and infrared recording modes produces a loud click, as the infrared LEDs turn on, which obfuscates other noises for a short, two-second period. Depending on the volume of speech it is possible to discern the content of conversations but broadly speaking the microphone is only picking up noises that are noticeably different from the ambient background level with low quality.

The Y-cam HomeMonitor HD retails for £140 in the UK and $190 in the USA making it appear a pricey option considering the camera only and given similar offerings in the home surveillance market segment. There are home surveillance cameras of equivalent video quality with additional features, such as remote pan and tilt adjustments or built-in range extenders, available for less cost but Y-cam is targeting a different market segment - a complete cloud monitoring solution of which the camera is just one part. It's also worth noting that rival products and services often charge monthly subscription fees, ranging from $3 to $10 per month, for cloud storage options while Y-cam offers a free lifetime cloud storage solution as part of the initial up-front purchase cost. In addition to the promise of free rolling seven-day cloud storage the Y-cam HomeMonitor HD benefits from a simple plug-and-play design and well-polished companion software to stand out in such a competitive market.

While the well-polished web-interface and mobile applications make the Y-cam HomeMonitor HD a good choice for casual users who want a hassle-free and complete end-to-end experience, there are a distinct lack of advanced features for more enthusiast users. In particular the inability to configure the Y-cam to deposit video files on a local or off-site storage custom server is a notable omission, but is an understandable trade-off for a cloud-oriented product. The ability to record continuously but still receive motion detection alerts would be nice to have, too.

The Good
The Bad

Simple setup
Free Seven-day cloud storage
Good video quality
Polished app and web-interface


Low quality audio
Lacking remote position adjustments



Y-cam HomeMonitor HD



The Y-cam HomeMonitor HD is available to buy at the following link.


At HEXUS, we invite the companies whose products we test to comment on our articles. If any company representatives for the products reviewed choose to respond, we'll publish their commentary here verbatim.

HEXUS Forums :: 3 Comments

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NOT BAAAAAAAAAAAD offers free cloud.
I usually prefer to keep that kind of thing local instead of in the cloud.

I found another use for Synology Diskstation to do almost the same job using Surveillance Station on it and a wifi camera. Next time Hexus gets a diskstation in for review give that aspect of it a go and see how it compares to the Y-cam HomeMonitor HD.
I'm glad to see you mentioned the loud click when the infrared LEDs kick in. I am finding that if I watch TV with dimmed lighting it really confuses the Auto Night Vision option. When scenes on the TV change from light to dark the infrared lamps will click on and off as the light level in the room changes. At times the relays will be constantly clicking on and off which soon becomes annoying. This happens even when motion recording is disabled in the schedule.

I think some improvements could be made to the logic controlling when the infrared lamps are switched on. It would be far better if they only switch on when the camera is either being live monitored or motion recording is currently active. After all, what is the point of switching them on (and off and on and off and…) when the camera is not in active use?

I made this suggestion in the User Ideas section of the HomeMonitor website 6 months ago and although they did respond saying that the development team would see if improvements could be made, nothing has changed.

Here is a video of the clicking in action: