1. Computing

Review: Logitech Alert 750e Outdoor Master System

A Mac User's Perspective

By

Review: Logitech Alert 750e Outdoor Master System

Logitech Alert 750e

Photo: Logitech Inc.

Until recently, Logitech Alert security camera systems had been PC-only offerings. Logitech recently added Mac support in the form of a Mac version of their Logitech Alert Commander software which provides the desktop user interface for controlling the Alert camera systems.

The Logitech Alert line of security camera systems are offered in 2 flavors, an indoor master system or an outdoor master system. You may purchase additional indoor cameras with or without night vision, and outdoor night vision cameras to add to either version of the master system. Each master system supports a maximum of 6 total cameras.

We tested the Logitech Alert 750e Outdoor Master System (website / compare prices). The master system includes a weatherproof outdoor camera with night vision, a couple of HomePlug AV compatible powerline network adapters (one connect to your router and one connects to the camera), camera control software, camera mounting and cable management hardware, and Ethernet cables.

Setup was simple. The provided instructions were straightforward and to the point. Cables were color-coded and the only tools required were a Philips head screwdriver and an electric drill for drilling mounting holes for the camera mounting hardware.

The camera that comes with the outdoor master system is connected to an outdoor-hardened powerline network adapter that uses your home's wiring to communicate. The camera's powerline adapter serves double duty, supplying network connectivity and providing power to the camera via a single cable. The single cable setup results in a clean-looking install since only one cable must be concealed during mounting.

The camera itself feels heavy and has a solid build quality. Weatherproofing is evident in the rubber gaskets used to hold the cables that seal together nicely, once fully assembled.

Software installation was accomplished via the Mac App Store (or using the enclosed software CD for Windows users). The Alert Commander App was free and was quickly downloaded. Once installed, the onscreen instructions guide you through the process of creating a free Logitech account (needed for remote viewing). After the account was created the camera was scanned for and found by the software.

The setup was delightfully trouble-free. I was up and running in minutes and presented with a live image from the camera that required no tweaking on my part. My only complaint was that the camera uses digital pan / zoom which results in unnecessary cropping of the camera image. This was easily fixed by zooming all the way out of the image in the PTZ settings area so that no cropping would be present on recorded video.

The camera is motion activated. Motion trigger can be easily set by dragging a box around an area of interest within the live camera image on the motion detection settings page. Defining specific motion trigger areas allows you to screen out objects, such as a busy street, that might cause unnecessary triggering of the motion-activated recording.

The Alert Commander software allows for recording footage to local or network drives as well as to Dropbox cloud-based storage. The camera has a built-in 2GB Micro SD card DVR. You can purchase a larger SD card to replace the one that ships with the system should you want more on-board storage capacity (up to 32GB). The inclusion of an on-board DVR is a great feature as it ensures that the camera can continue to record even if it loses it's connection with the network. It also provides redundancy in case your computer is stolen.

Alert Commander can also e-mail you when motion sensors are triggered. The alerts may be accompanied by a snapshot of what triggered the sensor if you so choose. You may find yourself flooded with motion triggered snapshot e-mails until you are able to tweak the motion sensitivity settings and motion filter settings to get the right balance. The alert schedule feature helps cut down on annoying false alarms by preventing motion alerts from being sent during hours that you're at home and don't want to be notified.

A Logitech Alert Mobile app (iPhone, Android) is available for remotely viewing your live camera feeds. The free mobile Alert app is very basic, only allowing you to view the live camera feed, unless you opt to pay for additional features such as DVR control. This app is in desperate need of a pinch-to-zoom feature so that you can see details of the images which can be otherwise hard to make out on your smartphone's small screen. A snapshot feature would also be a welcome addition.

Your camera view is also accessible via the Logitech Alert website. Viewing is protected by your login credentials which are required to access the camera's live feed.

The image quality of the camera is billed as 720p. The level of detail provided by the resolution helps when reviewing footage for license plate numbers and facial features which are often difficult to make out with lower resolution cameras. Color accuracy was excellent in daytime viewing. Night vision mode was fairly uniform with no major spotlighting effect present.

Overall I'm impressed with the Logitech Alert 750e system on a Mac. I'm glad Logitech didn't go for wireless connectivity on this camera as I've had loads of problems with wireless IP cameras losing their connections. This product feels well thought out, however it still lacks in the mobile viewing functionality and advanced pro-level features.

Pros:

  • Simple setup. Easy to understand instructions
  • Built-in DVR and Dropbox cloud-based backup support
  • Solid build quality for both camera and powerline network components
  • Excellent image quality, color accuracy, and night vision visibility
  • Easy to add additional cameras later
  • Desktop software is easy to use

Cons:

  • Motion activated recording only. No 24/7 continuous recording mode
  • Extremely limited functionality in the free remote viewing mobile app / web viewer
  • Add-on cameras are a little pricey
  • Only works with other Logitech Alert Cameras

Note to advanced users:

If you are trying to use this camera with software such as EvoCam, you may be able to access the RTSP feed from the camera so that you can access the feed to setup 24/7 recording. Check the Logitech support forums and search on RTSP to find out the correct link for the camera's RTSP feed.

The system is easy to use, simple to setup, and has great image quality. I would definitely recommend this system for home or small business users looking for an entry to mid-level IP security camera system.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.