D-Link DCS-5222L Cloud Camera Review: Call It 'Professional Lite'
At a Glance
If you’re looking for a pan/tilt IP camera for security purposes, but you don’t need the top-shelf performance and design features that drive the price of more business-centric models like the Axis M5014 beyond five bills, the $250 (as of August 5, 2012) D-Link DCS-5222L is worth consideration. The D-Link model offers many of the same features as the Axis camera does, at half the price. It also boasts a couple of features that the Axis lacks: night vision and two-way audio.
So what do you give up in exchange? Video quality, for starters. Although the DCS-5222L delivers 1280-by-720-pixel resolution—just as the Axis M5014 does—video from the D-Link camera looks much fuzzier. The DCS-5222L is also more vulnerable to tampering, since its lens and pan/tilt mechanism are unprotected. And anyone who wants to prevent the D-Link camera from recording need only pull out its MicroSD card; in contrast, Axis put the M5014’s card slot on the bottom, where it’s inaccessible once the camera is mounted.
D-Link’s software wizard walks you through a rudimentary setup process, but a complete configuration will have you jumping through hoops like a circus animal. In addition to the wizard, you’ll need to learn the D-View local client interface, the MyDlink online interface, and (if you want to get deep into the camera’s firmware) the Advanced Settings interface.
D-ViewCam allows you to monitor up to 32 D-Link cameras using a local PC. A free companion app, MyDlink, can run on your PC, smartphone, or tablet, and lets you easily view video streamed from your cameras over the Internet. The app conveniently eliminates the need to sign up for a dynamic DNS service and to set port forwarding on your router, but it has some limitations: You can view only one stream at a time, you can’t resize the video window any larger than about 645 by 350 pixels, and streaming automatically times out after a few minutes.
The D-Link DCS-5222L provides a lot of features and flexibility for $250, but it stumbles on image quality. If image quality is paramount to you, check out Logitech’s night-vision Alert cameras, which offer much better picture quality despite having a lower resolution than the D-Link does.
This review is part of a network camera roundup. You can read the introduction to the roundup here.