Oco2 Home Security Camera ReviewBy - 12/01/2016
I had high expectations for Oco2. Not only is it v2, which to me implies it is new and improved, but it’s backed by one of the highest rated camera apps, Ivideon. During their Indiegogo campaign, Oco also promised the ability to time warp, record to the cloud for free, and create free detection zones. On paper, it sounds dreamy, and when the camera first arrived, things were looking up.
When Oco2 arrived, I was impressed. The packaging was stunning, and setup a breeze. But it wasn’t a perfect experience. The camera stand makes it difficult to obtain a good vantage point, and the video quality lacks the crispness found in my other FHD cameras. (You can compare the video quality to Nest Cam in the video above at minute 1:00.) But it wasn’t the hardware that disappointed and confused me nearly as much as the software.
Ivideon Software Review
Ivideon has 4.5 stars on iTunes. The last version boasts over 200 reviews with an average of 4 stars. On Google Play, the app has 20,000 votes and is rated 4.5 stars. I was expecting app performance gold, but the app performance was typical and not without issue. To me, there were three glaring problems:
- App Crashed While Using Two-Way Audio
- Creating a Zone is Nearly Impossible Due to App Layout
- Prompts for Cloud Service Are Confusing
Also, the app lacked many features I was expecting after ordering from Indiegogo. Of course, had I poured over the Q&A section hidden neatly at the bottom of the campaign, my expectations would have been more realistic as they do call out that the timeline feature requires a subscription. That said, I was still disappointed the timeline feature was missing as was the time warping feature – both require a monthly subscription.
Finally, though Oco comes with free cloud storage, you will forever be haunted by a prompt to “turn on cloud archive”. If you click on this option, it warns that,
“Connecting the cloud archive means your camera will automatically save videos to the cloud, where you will be able to watch them via the web or our app”.
Hit the pause button. Isn’t that exactly what Oco offers for free? It is. However, the free access isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. There are little limitations you wouldn’t expect or know about until using the app. If you sign up for one of their plans, you will gain access to several new features.
|Price||$0 / month||$4 / month
$40 / year
|$9 / month
$99 / year
|$19 / month
$199 / year
|Cloud Recording||24 Hour History, 10 Second Clips||24 Hour History, Clips Recorded Until Event Ends||10 Day History, Clips Recorded Until Event Ends||30 Day History, Clips Recorded Until Event Ends|
|Shared Access||2 users||2 users||4 users||4 users|
|Export Videos||Unlimited, clip length up to 1 hour||Unlimited, clip length up to 2 hours||Unlimited, clip length up to 2 hours|
Oco2 Claim vs. Performance
A camera’s performance can often be vastly different from a camera’s promise. Is it fancy marketing? Is it me? Maybe it’s both. But in comparing Oco’s promises to its claims, it did fall short in several areas. Most of the claims about Oco2 were tested in the video review above. However, some of them deserve a little extra color.
In the chart below, you will find an outline of what Oco claims the camera can do. Under the performance column, you will find details on how it performed against said claim.
|Easy Setup||Setup takes 1-2 Minutes||Quick and Easy. Also the camera responded well when moved, it reconnects quickly.||NA|
|Video Quality||HD 1080p, 140 wide-angle view||Works||NA|
|Night Vision||Automatic||Works, You Can Also Turn Night Vision Off||NA|
|Live Streaming||Included For Free||Works||NA|
|Self-Learning Motion & Sound Detection||Gets Smarter by the Hour||Detection Works, But the Camera Did Not Get Smarter During Testing||NA|
|Events Preview||10 Second Clips Free||Works. Oco promised 24 hours of event history, but I can see a 48 hour history.||NA|
|Android and iOS App||Free, Top Rated||Tested iOS Only, App Performance Typical||iTunes rating has since dropped to 3 stars|
|Web Portal Access||Included||True||NA|
|Detection Area||Free||Works, but setting a zone is challenging due to app layout. Also, you are limited to one zone, square shaped.||Problem Resolved. It’s easy to create a zone, though you are still limited to one.|
|Two-Way Talk||Free||It’s included, but the feature’s performance renders it unusable. Audio is garbled and causes the app to crash.||Performance Improved. No longer causes the app to crash.|
|Integrates with IFTTT||Free||Works||NA|
|SD Card Storage||Stores Video When Wi-Fi is Down||Not Tested||Did not work for me. See Below.|
|Export Videos||Export is a Free Feature||Apparently, you can only export videos from the SD card. Cloud exports require a subscription. I was able to save this clip, but it appears it is now publically accessible forever as I can’t figure out how to delete it.||SD Card export did not work for me. See Below.|
|Time Warp||Watch the whole day in minutes.||Requires a Subscription||NA|
|Facebook Bot||Control Oco2 using Facebook Messenger||Coming Soon||NA|
|Price||Buy Now $159|
Using Oco2 With an SD Card and Support
Per requests, I retested Oco2 with a microSD card (5/4/2017). Unfortunately, I couldn’t get it to work, and troubleshooting the card put a spotlight on another potential Oco problem: Support.
In theory, adding a microSD card will allow you to record longer clips, even if you are using the free plan. Secondly, the SD card should kick in and continue recording events even if your internet is out. Now I’m not saying that the camera doesn’t work this way, I am saying that it didn’t work for me. I tried multiple microSD cards, I reformated the cards, I even cut the internet to the camera for over 10 hours one day just in case I wasn’t waiting long enough, I tested the card in another camera to make sure it wasn’t the card, and finally, I reached out to support.
Support for Oco cameras is managed centrally by Ivideon, and they do use offshores support. In the cloud camera world, this is actually unusual. Most companies use high-level support reps and communication is quick and painless. This was not my experience with Ivideon.
I first contacted support on April 29th. I explained that my card was not recording during internet outages. I received this reply,
As we can see in our system you hava a free Online plan and you have no cloud recording. We also can tell that there are some recordings on your camera. You have some recordings to the SD card of your camera. It means it is recording fine. To make sure you have more recordings please check the settings of a motion detector. Please set it up for High sensitivity and choose the zone of detection. Your camera is recording only when there is motion in front of it or when it detects sound.
Of course, it wasn’t working fine. That’s why I contacted support. Unfortunately, each reply added another 24 hours to the process as they reply when I’m sleeping, and I reply when they’re sleeping. Three days of back and forth later, he suggested,
Please try to do the following: when the camera is plugged please take the card out and put it back in, then please unplug the camera and plug the camera in. It should format the card.
I did that. No luck. Two days later, they write back and suggest the same troubleshooting steps. I patiently try again. No luck. I email and wait two days; I hear nothing. This time, I decide to call. The rep, coincidentally the same one I’d been emailing, puts me on hold for ten minutes, comes back and suggests the same troubleshooting steps. If you’re counting, that’s the third time… So I try again. No luck. After thirty minutes on the phone and a conversation that made my head spin, he suggested the same troubleshooting steps. I actually tried the steps again. No luck. At risk of losing my cool, I decided to give up.
In my state of frustration, I started to question my opinion and that led me to Fakespot. Fakespot grades Oco’s 4-star Amazon rank as an F. Of the dozens of products I’ve run through Fakespot, I’ve never seen an F. What does that mean? It means that they feel that only 30% of Oco’s Amazon reviews are reliable.
How Does Oco2 Compare to Nest and Canary?
On Oco’s Indiegogo campaign page, they share a comparison chart of Oco2, Nest, and Canary. Of course, as they created it, they made it rather favorable toward them. And as I own all three cameras, I feel confident in saying they got a couple of things wrong. (Quick disclaimer, I purchased Nest Cam and Oco2 on my own, but Canary was given to me for testing.)
|Free Storage||SD Card, 10 Second Clips with 24 Hour History||3 Hours of Snapshots||24 Hours|
|Installation||Wall Mount, Tripod Support, Stand||Wall Mount, Tripod Support, Stand||Stand|
|Paid Storage||$4/month 24 hours, $9/month 10 days, $19/month 30 days||$10/month 10 days, $30/month 30 days||$9.99/month 30 days|
|Monitors For||Motion, Sound||Motion, Sound, People ($)||Motion (Temperature, Humidity, Air Quality Monitored Without Alerts)|
|Advanced Motion Detection||Detection Zone, Learning, Time Warp ($)||Detection Zones ($), Person Detection ($), Advanced Intelligent Algorithms ($)||Learning|
|Motion Scheduling/Automation||Schedules, IFTTT||Home/Away (Geofencing), IFTTT||Geofencing, Wink|
|Create, Download Clips||($)||($)||Unlimited Downloads|
|Learn More||Canary vs. Nest vs. Piper vs. Angee|
*($) Indicates the feature requires a subscription.
When choosing a security camera, it sometimes comes down to the details, and there are four more minor differences between these three cameras.
1. With a Nest Aware subscription, Nest Cam will record events 24/7 where Canary and Oco2 only record based on event. While recording 24/7 can put a strain on your bandwidth, sometimes it’s needed for home security.
2. Nest Cam takes a long time to reconnect if it loses power or internet. With Oco and Canary, you can plug them in, and they are ready to go.
3. Canary and Nest Cam produce a better FHD picture than Oco.
In trying to deliver so many features for free, I feel Oco2 under delivered. While they offer detection zones, one square shaped zone is too limiting. While they offer SD card storage, the feature doesn’t work for me. While they offer cloud storage for free, you can’t download the footage unless you pull it off an SD card, which is not included with the camera purchase, and may or may not work for you. All of the useful home security features including time warp and timeline require a monthly fee. Plus, if you need support, fasten your seatbelt.
Comparing Nest Cam and Oco2, I prefer Nest Cam with a Nest Aware subscription as a home security camera. Where Oco wins over Nest is with a more customizable family access feature and also connectivity. Not only does Oco2 tend to stay connected, where Nest Cam sometimes falls offline, it also reconnects faster when it does lose access. When you plug the camera in, it’s almost instantly ready to monitor again. Oco2 also wins in that it requires less bandwidth. In some homes, bandwidth may be a challenge, and streaming FHD video 24/7 (as is the case with Nest Cam) may be an issue.
Comparing Canary and Oco2, I again prefer Canary. I use Canary without a subscription, and I love it because it works. I’ve never had issues with the camera falling offline, when I lose power, it reconnects itself, and it automatically arms and disarms itself based on my camera’s presence. It also has a better video quality than Oco2 and a cleaner app interface. Oco wins with two-way audio, as Canary lacks this feature. Also, Oco2 uses a stand that is more versatile for placement than Canary’s. Finally, Oco2 integrates with IFTTT which has a greater potential than Canary’s Wink integration.
You can purchase your own Oco2 here.
Does the SD card only work when WiFi is out?
From what I understand, you can use it for storage when WiFi is out or when it’s on. However, this feature did not work for me. According to my support rep,
It is a backup. When the camera lose Internet connection, it will still record to the card. When it comes back online, you will be able to see what was going on there. If you use only cloud recording, they will be lost for the time of outage. So some users have both cloud and SD archives, some have only SD with free Online plan.
Can the camera automatically arm and disarm?
Not on its own. They include a feature that allows you to set a timer. For example, I can disarm my camera now, and it will ask me if I want to disarm it until I turn it back on, for an hour, two hours, eight hours, 24 hours, or 48 hours. My other option is to use IFTTT, which has a geofencing feature. Unfortunately, I’ve found that cameras that include geofencing as an integrated feature are more reliable than those that rely on IFTTT. This is an IFTTT issue, not a camera issue.