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With its massive bunny-ears antennae and decidedly industrial appearance, it’s probably a good thing that the Lorex 2K Pan-Tilt outdoor security camera is designed for outdoor use. Discreet it’s not, a security camera that measures 8 inches high (with antennae extended) and 5 inches across, with an all-seeing eye capable of rotating through 360 degrees on demand.
There’s no formal spec on the degrees of freedom of vertical tilt, but it appears to be at or close to 90 degrees, from horizontal to directly downward (when mounted on a ceiling). While the plastic housing doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence, the specified IP66 level weatherproofing promises an impressive level of outdoor protection. With that level of ingress protection, Lorex is promising this camera is entirely protected from damage from dust, and that it can withstand water projected in powerful jets from any direction (e.g., a pressure washer at a reasonable distance). If you’d like to get all the details on IP codes, click the preceding link.
This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best home security cameras, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.
The camera has a solid resolution of 2560 x 1440 pixels, with a diagonal field of view of 110 degrees—a solid, moderate angle that doesn’t overly distort the image. Video looks good at all resolutions (and turning on HDR mode helps to even out brightness). While the unit contains two reasonably powerful spotlights, it isn’t necessarily designed to record using them; Lorex treats these spotlights as “warning lights,” designed to scare off intruders, not particularly illuminate them on video. The unit does tout “color night vision” but traditional infrared lighting kicks in automatically when things get very dark. Night vision video quality is fine, but I found the motion sensor didn’t pick up as much after hours as it did during daylight.
Lorex is a rarity in that all its recordings are stored locally to an onboard microSD card—a 32GB card is even included in the box. If you want more storage, the camera supports capacities up to 256GB (you’ll find a list of compatible cards at this link). Lorex doesn’t push a cloud storage service because it doesn’t offer one. Also note that the unit contains no battery and must be connected to an electrical outlet at all times.
Connectivity is designed to work via 2.4GHz Wi-Fi or wired ethernet. Unfortunately, after hours of trying, I was never able to complete wireless setup, the Lorex Home app eventually dying somewhere along the way (and at different times) with each attempt to set things up. I had much better luck when I plugged the camera in directly to my router via ethernet, and the Lorex Home app quickly discovered the camera after I scanned a QR code printed on its shell. (Pro tip: Make sure you use the Lorex Home app, not the Lorex Cloud app, which is what was returned first when I searched for “Lorex” in the Apple App Store.) Even after completing setup via ethernet, I was unable to later bridge the camera to my Wi-Fi network.
It’s worth noting that this camera is compatible with Lorex’s Fusion family of home security devices. That means it can be connected to a network video recorder (NVR), so that video is recorded continuously, 24/7. Fusion NVRs can support wired cameras and up to two Wi-Fi cameras, but Lorex’s documentation indicates that this camera’s Fusion compatibility depends on a wired ethernet connection. The camera can also be used with the Lorex Smart Home Security Center we reviewed in November, 2021.
With the camera finally installed over ethernet, I was able to work with it freely through the Lorex Home app. It’s a busy app that takes some time to master, though manual control options for the spotlights, two-way talk, and a loud siren are front and center, as are options to grab a live snapshot or video clip. Two different options are available to let you view recorded clips, both right next to each other. “View Events” provides a chronological series of thumbnails, while “Timeline” offers a scrubbable 24-hour view which you can drag back and forth to search for action. The former is more convenient, but both systems are easy enough to get the hang of. There doesn’t seem to be any setting for maximum clip length nor any specified cooldown between clips. If you have motion detection turned on, the camera will seemingly record it for as long as there’s activity.
Lorex Home has tons of user options available that essentially run the gamut of smart camera features. Notifications—which work quickly and accurately—can be sent with or without thumbnails, and on a schedule if desired. Motion zones are available—although this is always tricky with a PTZ camera that is moving—and Lorex’s beta “Smart Track” feature, which sets the camera to automatically follow any motion, worked quite well in my testing, except for one time when the camera tracked behind an open door and stayed there for hours. Even the brightness of the spotlights and volume of the siren can be set. If you have a Alexa or Google Home smart display, the camera can feed video to it. An option to record 24/7 video is also available, though Lorex notes this will limit the life of the included SD card if it’s enabled. Deploying one of Lorex’s NVRs would be the better option here.
The camera was responsive in my testing, with no real lag encountered—although that is likely in large part due to testing over ethernet instead of Wi-Fi. I did encounter a few instances where the app completely froze up, requiring a force quit and restart to get things going. These were fortunately seldom, and for the most part the Lorex was quite stable. The inability to connect at all to my Wi-Fi network will be a dealbreaker for most, though my assumption is that it had trouble navigating a 2.4GHz/5GHz dual-band network, which is a common problem. Work out that snag—and maybe freshen up the design—and this camera could be a big winner.
Best Prices Today: Lorex 2K Pan-Tilt Outdoor Wi-Fi Security Camera