TP-Link Kasa Cam (KC120) review

A super cheap smart security camera – but does it cut corners?

TP-Link Kasa Cam review
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A bit of an ageing entry here, but, given this Kasa Cam KC120 can be picked up for less than $75, we thought it best we put it through its paces to see if it's a budget smart security camera worth considering.

The short answer to that is 'yes', but read on for more details on why the KC120 is a home security camera that could be right for you.

TP-Link Kasa Cam (KC120) review

TP-Link Kasa Cam: Design and installation

Let's not pretend that the Kasa Cam is anything other, looks-wise, than a Nest Cam Indoor copycat. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as the flat plate stand means you can put it on a shelf or hang it from a ceiling and, either way, it's discreet enough to go unnoticed, while at the same time slick enough to fit into your smart home.

It uses a standard Micro USB for power, which is handy if you do want to mount it somewhere the 3m cable you'll get in the box doesn't stretch to.

Weatherproof model: Kasa Cam Outdoor review

The shiny face is a bit of a smear and dust magnet, so try and keep your paws off it if possible. That LED on the front, which tells you the camera is recording, can be turned off if you want using the app (no word on whether TP-Link will follow Nest's lead by disabling this feature).

TP-Link Kasa Cam (KC120) review

TP-Link Kasa Cam: Features and video quality

The Kasa Cam is very simple to set up within the Kasa app, which also houses TP-Link's smart plugs, switches and more. The good news is that it works on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz, so you shouldn't experience any connectivity issues.

You can choose to have the camera record in Full 1080p HD, 720p HD or 360p – the higher the quality, the more bandwidth you'll need. Image quality on the two HD versions is pretty good, and there's a 130-degree wide angle lens so it captures far and wide.

The Kasa Cam works around snippets, which are recorded every time motion or sound is detected. You can choose exactly what you want to start a snippet recording – motion, sound or both – within the app, and you can also turn down the sensitivity on both if you find you're getting bombarded with notifications. You can also set activity zones so you only get alerts from specific areas in and around your home.

From the Kasa app, you can also create manual capture moments: you simply tap a button when watching live footage to record a moment… your cat being funny, your kid being cute, your cat and kid fighting, that sort of thing.

You can, if you want to use the Kasa Cam as a baby monitor, for example, also just view a live feed continuously from within the app, although you'll be prompted every now and then to tap a button to keep the feed alive.

Kasa Care, the name of TP-Links cloud storage solution, has a nifty free option that will keep your clips – up to 1GB's worth, at least – for two days. The paid plans are $4 or $7 a month for 14GB/14 days' storage or 30GB and 30 days'. Yearly subscriptions are $40 or $70.

In the UK, there's no Kasa Care yet, but you will get to try out the premium version, currently in beta, for 30 days after you first connect your Cam to the cloud.

Push-to-talk is on offer, offering two-way chats, but we've encountered lagginess with this, making it a bit unusable. Generally, audio quality is pretty crappy, to be honest – so if crystal clear audio is a major concern for your security setup, look elsewhere.

TP-Link Kasa Cam (KC120) review

TP-Link Kasa Cam: Integrations and the app

The KC120 offers great integrations with both Alexa and the Google Assistant, with footage from the Cam able to view on Echo displays, Google Home displays, Fire TVs, Chromecasts and the like.

Guide: How to view security camera on your Amazon Echo / Google Home

You simply need to ask your digital assistant of choice to "show [camera name]" and you'll see a live feed on a compatible device. You can also use your voice to turn your Kasa Cam on or off.


TP-Link Kasa Cam KC120
The Kasa Cam is a superb option at its current price tag. It may not have the advanced bells and whistles of its more expensive rivals, but it does nail the basics of a smart security camera, while at the same time offering free cloud storage for a couple of days. If you're looking for a no-frills, easy-to-use, smart security camera that also offers compatibility with your digital assistant and smart displays, the KC120 is a great bet.
PROS
  • Superb value
  • Slick (if somewhat familiar) design
  • GA and Alexa compatibility
CONS
  • Audio quality is poor
  • Two-way talk is laggy
  • Minimal AI on board

TAGGED    security cameras

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