Zosi Wire-Free Camera Hands-on ReviewBy - 01/31/2019
When I think of battery-powered cameras, the first brand that pops into mind is Arlo. However, I understand that their cameras aren’t for everyone, especially if you’re budget conscious. If you’re looking for a low-cost Arlo alternative, then you might want to check out the wire-free rechargeable camera made by Zosi.
(Disclaimer: The camera was provided to us for testing by Zosi. This didn’t impact my opinion, but I thought you should know.)
Setting Up & Installing Zosi
Much like Arlo Wire-Free, Zosi’s battery-powered camera is designed to work cordlessly, both indoors and outdoors. The idea is to have a camera that doesn’t need to be constantly plugged into a power source. Instead, you will take it down every few months to recharge it.
However, Zosi isn’t exactly like Arlo. Arlo cameras require a base station to work. The base station is a hub of sorts that uses a low power signal to communicate with the cameras so they don’t have to use Wi-Fi, which is known to be a power-hungry communication standard. The downside of having a base station is that you have to have a place for it indoors and it requires connection to Ethernet and power, which means that the total system is not entirely wire-free.
on the other hand, Zosi doesn’t need a base station. It directly connects to your Wi-Fi router, making it a bit easier to set up than Arlo.
To set it up, all I had to do was turn on the camera (it shipped pre-charged), download the CloudEdge app, and connect Zosi to my Wi-Fi network. The setup process was similar to that of other inexpensive cameras I’ve tested. I entered my Wi-Fi’s SSID and password, scanned the QR code that flashed on the screen using the camera itself, and waited for the pairing process to complete. Once done, the camera appeared on the app, and I was able to view it remotely. One thing to note is that it only works with 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. If you have a dual-band router, be sure to enter the SSID and password for the 2.4GHz band.
As for camera placement, Zosi ships with a magnetic swivel base. You can mount the base on a wall using the included double-sided adhesive. If you prefer a more secure installation, you can use the included screws. Once the base is mounted, simply attach the camera to the base and adjust the angle.
Zosi is IP6-5 rated, waterproof, and has a working temperature range of -4°F to 122°F. Keep in mind that cold environments could cause the battery to drain faster.
How Good Is The Image Quality?
One thing I liked about Zosi is the camera’s image quality. Of course, one shouldn’t buy a $90 camera and expect it to perform as well as a $200 camera. Most high-end cameras offer a 1080p or higher resolution. That said, Arlo Pro offers a 720p resolution, so Zosi isn’t that far off.
When compared to other 720p cameras I’ve tested, Zosi offers one of the best image qualities. The colors are crisp and clear, the videos are smooth, and although I’m not sure if it offers HDR/WDR, Zosi can clearly capture both dark and light areas simultaneously.
Zosi also offers a decent viewing angle. Their website claims that the camera’s viewing angle is 120°, but the packaging says the angle is 130°. Regardless of which fact is true, it’s clear that Zosi offers a wide-angle field of view. Zosi’s night vision abilities are also impressive. It uses three IR LEDs to illuminate a distance of up to 32 feet.
Using Zosi To Enhance Your Home Security
Stream Videos Anytime, Anywhere
Adding a camera to your home allows you to monitor it anytime and anywhere using the live stream feature. Zosi offers this ability, but I recommend you limit using the live stream feature as much as possible. Using it strains the camera’s battery life.
While live streaming from the camera, you have the option to take a screenshot or record a short video, both of which will be saved to your phone’s memory. You can also use the “two-way talk” feature, which is executed as push-to-talk, meaning you press to talk to the person on the camera’s end and release the button to listen. Speaking of the audio, Zosi’s audio quality is quite good. It’s loud and clear even if you’re standing several feet away.
Instead of constantly streaming from the camera, you can turn on motion detection. With this feature turned on, Zosi detects motion and notifies you via the CloudEdge app when it senses movement.
Zosi uses a PIR motion sensor to detect movement. A PIR motion sensor is ideal for outdoor cameras as it’s able to ignore most false alarms caused by moving shadows, falling leaves, and even small pets. It only detects movement caused by moving heat signatures, usually emitted by humans. However, PIR motion sensors are not immune to false alarms. Cars, pets, and even appliances also register heat signatures, which might trigger the sensor. Unfortunately, Zosi’s only solution to false alarms is sensitivity adjustment. You can set the PIR motion sensor’s sensitivity to Low, Medium, or High. FYI, the lowest sensitivity setting wasn’t pet immune. My 40lbs dog was able to trigger the sensor.
Motion Activated Recording
Besides notifying you when movement is detected, Zosi records motion event videos. However, to activate motion-triggered recordings, you must add a microSD card to the camera. It supports microSD cards up to 128GB.
A common issue with battery-powered cameras in relation to motion-activated recording is the slow wakeup time. Battery-powered cameras flip to standby mode when there’s no motion in order to save battery power and wake up after they’ve detected motion. The problem with this is some battery-powered cameras are slow to wake up, causing them to miss important events. Unfortunately, Zosi is one of those cameras.
I tested it’s “wake up speed” several times. The fastest time I recorded was three seconds, but there were times when it took more than ten seconds for the camera to wake up.
On the bright side, the length of motion event videos is great. The camera records for around 30 seconds and then stops if it can no longer detect motion. However, if motion is in motion, Zosi will continue recording. During testing, the longest motion event it recorded was over two minutes.
Zosi Battery-Powered Camera FAQs
Q: Is the camera waterproof?
A: To some extent, yes. Its IP65 rating indicates that it’s protected against water jets from any direction. However, you must always remember to cover the SD card slot, power button, and reset button using the included rubber gasket.
Q: How long is the battery life?
A: I haven’t tested the camera long enough to drain its battery, but Zosi’s website claims it can last for up to four months under normal use, which they define as ten motion events per day. However, external factors such as the temperature could affect the actual battery life.
Q: How do I know when to recharge the camera?
A: The app shows the camera’s remaining battery power.
Q: How do I recharge the camera?
A: Zosi’s battery isn’t retractable, so you’ll have to remove the camera from the mount and recharge it indoors. A microUSB power cable is provided, but a power adapter is not included. You can use any 1A or 2A USB power adapter.
Q: Is there a cloud storage option?
Q: What happens if I remove the microSD card?
A: Zosi will still detect motion and notify you. However, it won’t record motion events. If motion is detected, the camera will capture two snapshots, but nothing more.
Q: Can Zosi record continuously?
A: Continuous recording is not an option.
Q: Is Zosi worth buying?
A: The image quality is impressive and so is the camera’s sound quality. It offers security features that will enhance your home security, but it misses out on smart detection features like person detection and zone detection. Overall, it’s a solid yet low-cost camera. If you have the resources, I recommend purchasing a high-end battery-powered camera as you will have access to more features including free cloud storage. That said, Zosi is a strong option if you’re on a budget.
Q: Where can I buy Zosi?
A: Zosi is available on Amazon.com for $89.99.