D-Link DCS 3220G Wireless Internet Camera
- Looks like a professional CCTV camera
- It isn’t a professional CCTV camera. It’s far too expensive, too big, has a fixed base, has digital zoom only and it’s not that easy to set up
A decent enough camera but overpriced and lacking features
Price$ 800.00 (AUD)
D-Link has a seemingly endless array of internet cameras in their range at the moment, with no less than twelve models. These range from cheap and cheerful models such as the DCS-2100G, to the more expensive and feature packed DCS-5300G. So when we unpacked the DCS-3220G we were wondering where it would fit in the scale. Well unfortunately it appears to fit in at the "basic yet expensive" end of things. Taking this into account, we're not entirely sure why anyone would want to buy it.
The DCS-3220G appears to be masquerading as a CCTV camera and in fact wouldn't look out of place sitting atop a barbed wire fence at the local prison. However, as we all know, appearances can sometimes be deceptive. In this case, the DCS-3220G is certainly no high-end camera. Looking at it, you'd expect it to feel big, solid and heavy but when you pick it up, it feels like a children's toy. We wouldn't have a problem with this were it not for its inflated price tag, but we feel this camera simply isn't worth such a lot of money.
Firstly, setting up the camera for use wirelessly is too much of a hassle. It really ought not to be, as D-Link has provided several useful software tools, but for some reason the manual lacks the necessary information on how to configure the camera's settings. The quick install guide barely mentions the wireless connectivity, even though the DCS-3220G is billed as a wireless camera. However, if you have a networking savvy friend on hand it shouldn't be too bad. After you've set up the wireless connection you then need to set up the internet side of things. Another primary function of the camera is the ability to control it remotely from anywhere in the world simply by using Internet Explorer. This is also a bit tricky to set up and once again you'll need some knowledge of networking.
Once you've finally got it all figured out, actually using the camera is fairly straightforward. The main browser window shows live video footage from the camera. From here you can zoom in (digitally), change the size of the picture or activate the security features. The picture quality is generally good, but no better than a regular web cam. The DCS-3220G offers a maximum frame rate of 30fps at its standard resolution of 352x240 but this drops substantially to 10fps at 704x480. We were disappointed that the camera only offers digital zoom at this price bracket. The picture quality isn't really good enough to make the digital zoom a useful feature either.
Where the camera really shines though is in its security features. Like all the D-Link wireless cameras the software included is easy to use and highly customisable. Many useful options are offered such as automatically emailing snapshots when motion is detected. The ability to record at set times of the day is another useful inclusion. One feature which D-Link are keen to point out is support for 2-way audio. To achieve this you will need your own powered speaker to attach to the camera, but even once you've done this, we feel this feature is of limited use. Sound detection isn't supported so in effect all you have is a glorified walkie-talkie.
The DCS-3220G isn't an overly bad camera. The picture quality is good enough to make it a viable option as a security camera, but it's just far too expensive. If you want to spend this much money we'd recommend the DCS-5300G, essentially the same camera but smaller and with the extra bonus of having a motorised lens mount.
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