Ezviz CTQ3N review: Cut-price camera with high-quality video

This low-price outdoor camera is real contender

Ezviz CTQ3N
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Ezviz has built a good name for itself, delivering high-end features at lower prices. The Ezviz CTQ3N, on review here, is a little different: it’s a more standard camera but at an exceptionally low price.

Its app is a little basic and you’ll get more features if you opt for a high-end model, such as the Arlo Pro 4 but if you’re after a simple high-quality outdoor camera, then this is a great low-cost security camera that can outperform another budget favorite of ours, the TP-Link Kasa Cam Outdoor KC200.

Affordable rivals: Best budget smart security cameras

The competition: The best smart home security cameras

Read on for our full Ezviz CTQ3N review...

Ezviz CTQ3N: Design

Ezviz is firmly of the school that security cameras should really look like security cameras. With its curved body and aerials sticking up, the Ezviz CTQ3N certainly fits with that design philosophy.

Ezviz CTQ3N

As we previous cameras from the company, the CTQ3N comes with a flexible mount that can be screwed to a wall or ceiling.

Base buddy: Ezviz BC1 review

With its tripod mount, you can swivel the camera to point exactly where you want it.

Ezviz CTQ3N mounting

There’s a 120-degree field of view on this model, which is towards the lower side of what I’d expect from an outdoor model.

Still, that’s enough that you can capture a good amount of the outside of your property easily enough.

Other models to consider: Ezviz C8C review | Ezviz C6CN review

If there’s one thing that I don’t like about Ezviz cameras, it’s the fiddly connectors. Once again, this camera has two inputs dangling down: an optional Ethernet port and the 12V power connector.

The former has a weatherproof connector in the box; the latter does not. For long term installation outside, you’ll want to wrap that connector in electrical tape to stop water from getting in.

Ezviz CTQ3N ethernet connector

If you get decent Wi-Fi outside, then you won’t need the network port, as the camera can connect to your network using 2.4GHz wireless.

There’s no need for cloud storage on this camera, either, as there’s a microSD card slot hidden behind the screw-in panel on the underside of the camera.

Ezviz CTQ3N microSD local storage slot

Ezviz CTQ3N: Features

The Ezviz app is used to control the camera. It’s a little on the clunky side, lacking the polish of rival systems, such as the Arlo Ultra 2 or the new Nest battery Cam.

Some things are just plain confusing to use and it takes a while to work out how to do everything. Still, once you don get used to it, the app and camera combination get the basics covered well.

One of the main things to do with a security camera is to reduce the number of alerts that you get, so you only see important information. Here, the Ezviz CTQ3N has a few tricks.

First, you can choose which alerts you want to see, picking from all motion (called Image Change Detection) or just people (called the rather ludicrous Human Shape Detection).

And, you don’t have to see alerts all of the time, as you can schedule when you do and don’t want to receive them.

Motion Detection Area is the company’s name for an activity zone. The tool is a touch basic, and you can only mark up the area to monitor using the grid, rather than the more free-flowing option to draw a detection box.

Ezviz CTQ3N app

Still, this option at least lets you focus on the areas you want to monitor, cutting down on the number of alerts you get. I got few alerts once I’d set the camera up properly.

It’s worth overriding the default recording options, too.

Out of the box, the Ezviz CTQ3N will turn its spotlight on as soon as it’s dark. Given I had the camera pointing at the back door, it felt as though I was living in a prison camp or interrogation room.

It’s far better to change the option so that the camera only turns on its spotlight when motion is detected, which lets the camera record in colour at night.

If you really hate the light, you can turn it off completely and resort to black and white images captured via IR.

Ezviz CTQ3N spotlight settings

From the app, you can dive into the live view to see what’s going on in real-time. Here, you get the option to record video, take a snapshot or turn on Active Defense.

On Ezviz cameras that have a speaker, Active Defense plays a siren; here, there’s no speaker, so this option just flashes the light. It’s not particularly useful.

Without a speaker, there’s no two-way talk option, although the camera does have a microphone, so it can record sound.

Ezviz CTQ3N review: Cut-price camera with high-quality video

All footage, whether manually started or through motion detection, is recorded. You get the option of recording to the cloud and/or microSD card.

Cloud storage is super expensive with the Ezviz CloudPlay subscription starting at $3.99 a month per camera for 3-days of event history, up to a massive $10.99 a month for 30-day storage.

Ring’s $10 a month for all of your cameras for 30-day history is positively a bargain.

My advice is to use a microSD card mostly and then grab the cheapest cloud-subscription plan if you’re going away and want a bit more peace of mind.

CloudPlay clips are shown underneath the live view, although you have to use the View All button to be able to download a clip.

Clips aren’t downloaded straight to your phone but to app’s library; once in there, you can save them to your phone’s storage.

MicroSD card footage is available in the Video History section, but I had to use the Record button to record the clip I wanted to my phone, which is a bit of a faff.

It’s probably easier to pull the microSD card out of the camera and copy any clips you want directly onto your computer.

Ezviz CTQ3N review: Cut-price camera with high-quality video

Ezviz CTQ3N: Video quality

Running at a Full HD resolution of 1920 x 1080, the Ezviz CTQ3N shoots decent video.

During the day, the image is well exposed, even with the sun shining towards the camera. There’s clearly a lot of image processing going on, and the end result looks a little over-sharpened and lacks that lifelike feel to it.

Still, you can see what’s going on and people are easy to identify.

At night, the camera’s footage gets a lot softer if it uses IR, although its range is very good. When motion is detected and the spotlight turns on, you get full-colour night recording.

Again, the image is overly sharpened, but you can more easily see what’s going on and identify individuals.

Ezviz CTQ3N
There are much better cameras than the Ezviz CTQ3N with more features and more natural-looking images but they’re a lot more expensive. What this camera does is shoot more than good-enough video, with the option of cloud or local storage. Fiddly as its app is, Ezviz has nailed the basics, making this a great budget choice for anyone that needs an outdoor camera.
  • Low price
  • People detection
  • Local recording option
  • Fiddly to get video clips off camera
  • Image is oversharpened
  • Cloud storage is pricey

TAGGED    security cameras

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