The Iris Digital Wi-Fi Outdoor Security Camera from Lowe’s ($149) is a weather-resistant home security camera that works exclusively with the Iris Smart Hub$59.99 at Lowe’s. It can be mounted indoors to monitor a specific room, or outdoors to see what’s going on outside. The camera can be configured to work with other devices connected to the hub, but you’ll have to pay a monthly fee for the privilege. It delivers sharp 720p video, but night vision is a bit too dark and there’s a 10-second lag while displaying live video. Moreover, it lacks a speaker and microphone for one or two-way audio communications. For a bit more money, our Editors’ Choice the Nest Cam Outdoor$183.43 at Amazon offers more features and better all-around image quality.
Design and Features
The Iris camera$135.28 at Lowe’s measures 3.0 by 3.0 by 1.2 inches (HWD) and has a white enclosure with a black face. The micro USB port is used with an included Ethernet dongle for setting up the camera. Also around back are a reset/WPS button, a power LED, and a network activity LED.The enclosure has an IP56 rating for water resistance and uses rubber caps to protect the power jack and the micro USB port on the back. In addition to the lens, the front of the camera has a motion sensor, a light sensor, and two infrared LEDS for night vision.You’ll need a nearby GFI outlet to use the camera outdoors. It comes with a wedge-shaped metal stand with tilt and swivel adjustability, mounting hardware for attaching the camera to a wall or soffit, an Ethernet cable and a micro USB Ethernet dongle, and a power adapter with a 10-foot cord.
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The camera has a 1,280-by-720 resolution and a 110-degree field of view. The spec sheet claims a night vision range of up to 60 feet, but 20 feet is a more realistic range according to our tests. It uses 802.11n Wi-Fi to connect to the Iris hub. Missing from the camera are a speaker and a microphone, which means it can’t record audio, and doesn’t support two-way audio communications.
You also need the Premium Plan to have other installed Iris components, such as contact sensors, trigger a recording.The ability to store and record up to 2GB of video in the cloud is limited to Iris users who subscribe to the $9.99 per month Premium Plan. Once you’ve reached your limit, older clips will be deleted to make room for new ones.
Iris By Lowes Indoor and Outdoor Camera (OC830)The camera uses the same mobile app as the Iris Smart Hub and the Iris Home Automation Pack$129.00 at Lowe’s. It opens to a Dashboard page where you can view the day’s history of events, and below that is a Favorites bar containing links to frequently used components. Components are grouped in sections called Cards and include categories for Cameras, Lights & Switches, Security Alarm, Climate, Doors & Locks, and more.
To access live video, tap the camera icon in the Favorites bar and choose Stream to view live video or Record to record video. Tap More to access the camera settings page where you can configure network settings, change the frame rate and image resolution, enable automatic night vision, and rotate the image 180 degrees. You can also rename the camera and add (or remove) it to your Favorites bar. You don’t get the motion-sensitivity settings that you get with the Netgear Arlo$244.99 at Amazon, nor can you create specific motion zones like you can with the Nest Cam Outdoor.
To have the camera begin recording an event you have to create a Rule. Tap the plus icon on the Dashboard page, select Rule, then select Cameras and Sensors. There are several recommended rules available based on installed components that you can customize, including Record Movement and Record When A Door Opens. There are also other rules that require additional components such as a door lock. The camera can also be configured to work with other devices in a Scene that triggers multiple devices at the same time, but it doesn’t support If This Then That (IFTTT) recipes that use internet channels and events as triggers.
Installation and Performance
Pairing the camera with the Iris Hub was fast and easy. I tapped the plus icon on the Dashboard, selected Device, and selected Iris from the list. I then selected the camera and followed the on-screen instructions. I plugged in the power adapter, connected the camera to my router using the Ethernet cable and dongle, and waited around 45 seconds for the app to find it. Once discovered, I used the camera settings page to connect to my Wi-Fi (this must be done before unplugging the Ethernet cable), then unplugged everything and relocated the camera. It immediately connected to my Wi-Fi and I was able to view a live feed.
The camera’s 720p daytime video appears sharp, with rich colors and no pincushion distortion. Night vision is sharp out to 20 feet, but the image is a bit too dark, and there are no settings to correct brightness or contrast. There’s also a noticeable 10-second lag when displaying live video. That said, it’s still better than what we saw with the camera that comes with the Smanos W020i Wi-Fi Alarm System$264.99 at Amazon, and it doesn’t exhibit any tinting like we saw with the Ring Stick Up Cam$199.00 at Amazon.
The built-in motion sensor worked perfectly and always responded to my rule to begin recording when a contact sensor was opened. Recorded video was every bit as sharp as live.
The Iris Digital Wi-Fi Outdoor Security Camera makes sense if you’ve already started building out your Lowe’s home automation system and want to monitor your home’s exterior. In fact, it’s one of only two outdoor cameras that work with the Iris hub. It offers sharp 720p daytime video with good color quality, and you can configure it to begin recording when other Iris devices, such as a door/window or motion sensor, are triggered (though you’ll have to subscribe to the Iris Premium Plan first). The camera’s night vision is sharp, but appears a little too dark around the edges, and there’s a noticeable lag for live video. Additionally, the lack of a speaker and microphone means you can’t have two-way audio communications with whomever is in front of the camera. If you’re looking for an outdoor camera that offers crisp 1080p video and two-way audio, consider our Editors’ Choice, the Nest Cam Outdoor. It won’t work with the Iris platform, but it does work with plenty of other connected devices.