Ezviz C3X smart security camera review

Dual lens home security camera makes the C3X a serious contender

Ezviz C3X
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Most 'cheaper' outdoor security cameras try and offer the same features as the big boys, just on a lower budget. It’s nice to see the wired Ezviz C3X break that mould, and it’s the first security camera that I’ve seen with dual lenses, used to create richer, full-color nighttime modes.

You’ll get more features and a better app experience from one of the big names, such as the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor or the Arlo Pro 3.

However, the C3X delivers on its promise to bring the best-quality night-time footage, all at a slightly friendlier price.

You can pick it up for around $130, putting it up against the likes of the Eve Cam, Reolink Argus 3 and the Logitech Circle, in the battle for mid-range home security camera supremacy.

Here's what you need to know...

Ezviz C3X smart security camera dual lenses

Ezviz C3X: Design

With its dual wireless antennas on the side, the Ezviz C3X looks more like some kind of alien probe than a security camera. In fact, the supporting line for the camera (AI-Powered Dark-Fighter) would, in many ways, be a better name.

While the antennas aren’t the most attractive thing in the world, they’re there for practical reasons make sure that the camera can connect to a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi network.

You can also connect the camera via Ethernet, with a waterproofing kit provided in the box to secure the connection.

At the front of the camera are the dual lenses, on records ambient brightness and one color, with the two images then assembled together. It’s this technology that Ezviz says lets its camera capture full-color night recording.

Night color rival: Vacos Cam review

One slight downside is that the viewing angle is just 106-degrees, so you don’t capture quite as much as with other cameras, so location and positioning are both very important.

Installation is pretty easy, as you need just three screws to put the wall/ceiling mount in place, and then the ball head gives you the flexibility to point the camera where you want it to go.

Ezviz C3X mounted to wall

There’s a power adaptor in the box with a 6m extension cord to help you place the camera where you need it to go.

Cables can be routed around the outside, but the wall mount is hollow, so you can run the cables straight through a wall if you prefer. This is a better option in many ways, as it makes it harder for anyone to cut power to your camera.

Finally, there’s a microSD card slot on the camera, held in place by two screws, which you can use if you don’t want to pay for cloud storage.

Ezviz C3X microSD

Once the camera is in place and powered on, you can use the Ezviz app to connect it your wireless network, which takes just a few minutes.

Ezviz C3X: Features

You get all of the controls that you really need, although the Ezviz app is a little confusing, and it’s a touch clunkier to use than its main rivals.

Fire up the app and you get a thumbnail preview of what the camera can see. You can tap this to view the live feed and have a two-way chat with anyone that you can see.

There’s a bit of delay on the feed, so it’s hard to have a detailed chat, but the camera’s speaker is loud enough to be heard and the microphone picks up anything said back to you.

In the main app there are two buttons at the top: At-Home Mode and Leaving-Home Mode. The first one turns off motion alerts, although the C3X continues to record; the latter turns on motion alerts. It’s nice to be able to manage all cameras in this way, but there’s no indicator to show what mode you’re currently in.

Ezviz C3X settings in the app

You’ll want to adjust the default motion settings, as they’re exceptional harsh: turn on alerts for the first time and as soon as the C3X detects motion it plays an exceedingly loud alarm. That might be alright in an isolated area, but try this anywhere urban and it won’t be long before the neighbours come round and rip the camera off the wall.

Fortunately, there are other options from the default Intensive: Soft plays a voice message warning people that they’re in a protected area; Silent mode just records; and Custom Sound lets you record your own message. I’d go with Silent to prevent the camera annoying too many people around you.

You’ll want to reduce the number of alerts that you get using activity zones. Confusingly, Ezviz has three options. First, you can pick the parts of a grid that are active. Secondly, you can draw boxes. Thirdly, you can draw lines and choose to only get an alert when motion crosses in one direction.

The first mode is superfluous, as the second mode is better; the third mode is potentially useful if you want to record people approaching your house but not leaving it.

Ezviz C3X smart security camera activity zones

There’s an option to adjust motion sensitivity, too. Finally, you can choose your choice of alerts based on whether you want to be told about people, vehicles or both. All-in, if you focus on the right areas, you can stop the flood of alerts that the default settings have.

Even so, the Ezviz app is a bit clunky: while it can tell the difference between people and vehicles, if you have the app set to detect both, the alert messages just say, “person or vehicle spotted”. A refinement that tells you which would be better.

You get a free 30-day trial of the cloud subscription plan, after which you can choose a premium plan based on the amount of cameras you have and the number of days of storage you require. Plans start at $3.99 a month, right up to $15.99 monthly.

There are yearly plans too, which save you a bit but it's still a little expensive and both Ring and Nest have cheaper plans - especially the latter with the revamped Nest plans. Of course, you can skip this entirely and use a microSD card instead, avoiding all fees with the only risk that someone steals the memory card out of the camera.

Footage is automatically saved to the SD card or cloud. For each camera, you can tap its thumbnail to view the recorded history, and you can save clips to your phone. Annoyingly, downloaded clips are first saved to the app’s album, and then you have to go into that and save them to your phone’s gallery.

Ezviz C3X: Video quality

Recording at 1080p using the H.265 compression algorithm, the video footage is impressive and up there with the best of the competition.

During the day, footage is well exposed, with plenty of detail: grass looks like grass without being blended into a green mess, and you can clearly see features on people’s faces.

It’s at night when the camera really shows what it’s made of. Thanks to those two lenses, the camera picks up everything in full color, maintaining a higher level of sharpness than cameras that use IR.

If the Ezviz C3X is pointed at a building with lights on, these can blow out part of the picture, but people approaching the camera are shown in full detail.

Given that this camera is a lot cheaper than the main competition, this level of performance is impressive.


Ezviz C3X
Ezviz doesn’t have the same app quality that Arlo, Ring or Nest has, and features are often a bit fiddly to set up, while notifications aren’t quite as detailed or as nice. Added to this are the higher prices for Ezviz’s cloud than the competition offers, and the unreliable service where clips can’t play. That said, you don’t have to pay for cloud storage if you don't want to, and the camera is considerably cheaper than the main competition. What it does well is shoot high-quality, detailed video, even managing impressive full-color imagery at night. If you’re just after quality video, then the Ezviz C3X achieves that with ease.
PROS
  • Excellent image quality
  • Full-color night vision
  • MicroSD card slot
CONS
  • Annoying default settings
  • Fiddly activity zone control
  • Expensive cloud plans

TAGGED    security cameras

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