iCamera KEEP Pro Indoor Security Camera Review
Can I tell you something that’s a bit strange about me?
I really like security cameras that follow me everywhere… Well, at least the ones that I purchase for my home anyway.
I know. I know. It sounds creepy, right?
But if you really think about it, a camera that has the capacity to track me around a room will also be able to follow any sneaky intruder lurking around my house. With a camera like that, I know I’ll have my bases covered.
That’s why I was super curious to check out iSmartAlarm’s iCamera KEEP Pro. It’s one of the rare DIY cameras that has the ability to track what’s going on it the room you are trying to monitor.
As soon as I got the chance, I ordered the camera online for about $150, and as soon as it arrived, I was looking forward to using my new device. But before I got too excited, I knew I needed to make sure that the iCamera KEEP Pro was up to snuff.
Let’s check out all the specs. The good, the bad and (hopefully not) the ugly.
When I look at the design of the iCamera KEEP Pro, it looks like a human eyeball. And judging from the features, it kind of behaves like one too — if not better.
- 1080 HD video and 4 megapixel resolution for clear, precise visuals.
- Motorized 350 degree pan and 40 degree tilt to look around the room.
- 140 degree viewing angle, which is actually 20 degrees wider than then natural viewing span of the human eye.
- Night vision. Alas, humans don’t have cat-eyes, but that’s why we’ve got cameras to back us up, no?
- 8 x digital zoom. If my eyes could do that, I could cancel my contact subscription stat!
Beyond visuals the iCamera KEEP Pro has:
- Intelligent motion detection for accurate motion alerts.
- Motion tracking to keep moving objects in sight.
- Free Cloud Storage for up to 30 ten second clips.
- Local SD card storage for up to 32GB (about a month’s worth of video).
- Two-way audio to talk to people in different rooms.
- Sound recognition to alert you when things like alarms or smoke detectors are set off
- Smart platform integration to connect to Amazon’s Alexa and other iSmartAlarm devices.
- Time lapse to snap cool videos for the Gram … or more serious security reasons.
At first glance, the iCamera KEEP Pro appeared to me to be a very promising product.
What’s in the box?
Once I opened my package I found the camera, the mount, mounting hardware and the power adapter with its cord.
The iCamera KEEP Pro itself is tall, black, and sleek. It sort of reminds me of HAL from 2001: A Space Odyssey — without the eerie, omnipresent voice of course. (Sheesh. I just shuddered thinking about it.) Since the camera is about five inches wide and a little over two inches in depth and width, I can pretty much hold the camera in my hand. It’s pretty lightweight at 10 ounces.
At the back of the camera, I found the power port and a slot for the SD card. It’s awesome that the camera has the ability to store information locally, but unfortunately I didn’t have a memory card on hand to take advantage of that feature right away. If you buy this product, note that you probably want to put a 32 GB micro SD card in your cart as well.
As for mounting it, I found it pretty easy just to set the camera on the table by itself. It has a base with rubber padding on the bottom so it won’t slide on slippery surfaces or anything like that. I didn’t try this, but if you prefer to have your cam on the wall, you can screw the mount onto any surface you choose. When I actually placed the iCamera KEEP Pro in the mount, it fit rather snuggly. I also noticed that you can secure it with tiny screws at the bottom of the base. Once I saw that, I was fairly confident that if I did hang the camera on the wall, it wouldn’t be bumped off easily.
It didn’t take long for me to put the iCamera KEEP Pro together. It took me just over five minutes. I made sure to time myself because the box said that it would only take me that much time. I think the advertising held up to its promise pretty well.
All I had to do was plug my camera into an outlet, download the app and connect my mobile device via Wi-Fi. This was a bit tricky for me at first because originally I tried to set everything up near my Google mesh extenders. I thought that would suffice but nothing was working.
Then I looked at the instructions again, which clearly stated that I should be near my router when I set everything up. (Insert palm-to-face emoji.) The moment I got close to the router, my camera linked up with my phone almost instantly and I could access a live stream of my room right away.
Security Baron Necessary Features
Now let’s talk about how the iCamera KEEP Pro holds up against Security Baron’s standards because it’s important to know if this camera can hang with some of the top home security products on the market.
There’s no question: The iCamera KEEP Pro’s ability to grab footage of an entire room is incredible. Not only can the camera capture so much with its 140 degree viewing angle — which, by the way, is above the industry standard — it does so with amazing clarity. Since the iCamera KEEP Pro records in 1080 HD with 4 megapixel resolution, I never had trouble distinguishing what was what in my footage. You can expect most top of the line cameras to record in 1080HD nowadays but the 4 megapixel resolution is a huge plus.
Video clarity is so important when it comes to security cameras. If you can’t tell what’s going on in the footage, how can you feel safe? Confusion is unnerving.
The same goes for “Night Mode”. It can see things up to 30 feet away. I switched off the lights in my office and moved around in front of the camera to check for blurriness and I was happy to see that everything remained rather detailed and clear. The only thing is there was a bit of a lag on the 1080 HD setting. If I dropped it down to 720 — a visual setting that’s not as clear — there was no lag at all. If I was using this camera, I would choose clarity over a little bit of lag any day.
Most of the things that we are afraid of happen in the dark when we can’t see anything. So it’s vital that security cameras have night vision to give us peace of mind.
So the iCamera KEEP Pro fails in this category. There is absolutely no form of facial recognition with this camera. The iCamera KEEP Pro will not be able to tell the difference between your dog, your family member or even a friendly neighbor coming to water your plants. Unless you turn your notifications off, it will alert you every time it senses movement in the room.
But I discovered that you can modify what the camera picks up, which adds some saving grace. I can customize activity zones so it doesn’t send false alarms when birds are flying out my window. I can also keep my camera focused on areas near doors or wherever I think intruders are more likely to invade.
The iCamera KEEP Pro has great audio quality and I really enjoy the two-way feature, too.
Say if I wanted to hit up my coworker in another office where I have a camera set up, I can press “Talk” on the app and say, “Hi.” Then when I tap “Listen,” I can hear what my coworker says to me.
We actually played around with this for a bit because it was just so fun. It felt like we were using walkie-talkies. But you how when you play with those gadgets there’s this a two-second lag in the audio? The same experience applies to the iCamera KEEP Pro. I wouldn’t say it’s a huge flaw, though. The fun far outweighs the lag.
Not only can you use two-way audio to talk to your kids or a significant other in another room, you can use this feature to spook intruders with the sound of your voice. Just imagine: You can even become a real, live version of HAL….
See, I’m spooked already.
Like I said earlier, the iCamera KEEP Pro is extremely easy to set up. Just make sure you’re close to your router and have a strong Wi-Fi connection for things to go smoothly.
Convenience is so clutch when it comes to DIY security devices. Why? Because if you can’t “do it yourself” then you might as well ship the product back to its makers. Plus we want to make sure that our device is easy to reinstall if something crashes. That way we can feel secure about the reliability of our camera.
The iCamera KEEP Pro definitely passes the convenience test. I had no problems putting it together and the camera stayed online the whole time I was using it. No going “offline and online” like some other cameras sometimes to do.
I think it’s pretty awesome that iSmartAlarm offers its consumers some free cloud storage for those who purchase the iCamera KEEP Pro.
The cloud will store up to 30 ten-second clips from motion and sound activated events. There are no monthly or hidden fees for this service. But in my opinion, 30 ten-second clips doesn’t seem very satisfying. What if I wanted I wanted to watch a video of my cat playing around with a paperclip on the floor? I’d need more than ten seconds for that amount of cuteness.
However, I am impressed with the local storage. With a 32GB micro SD card running 24/7, you can record up to about a month’s worth of footage. Since this memory is stored on an SD card, you can then pop it into your computer for viewing.
Smart Platform Integration
I was stoked to find out that iCamera KEEP Pro can pair up with Alexa and other iSmartAlarm devices. It definitely makes things more convenient and integrated.
In reading the manual, I found out I can connect this camera to iSmartAlarm’s Spot+ security cameras, Contact and Motion Sensors. Seems like adding putting these devices together could make an even more comprehensive security system for my house.
The instructions say I can add up to ten devices to my system, which is pretty rad.
I can then make things more hands-free if I add Alexa into the mix. If I’m running out the door and I don’t want to search for my phone to turn on my preferred camera settings, all I have to say is, “Alexa, tell iCamera KEEP Pro to arm,” and voila! I can be assured that not only will all my camera alerts will be activated.
Sold at around $150, I think the iCamera KEEP Pro is a pretty fair buy given all of the standard features it comes with. Plus there are a bunch of other unique capabilities, which I think makes this camera quite competitive on the market.
Extras! Extras! (Read All About Them)
Intelligent Motion Detection and Tracking
As I said earlier, the fact that the iCamera KEEP Pro has the ability to follow things around the room is pretty cool. With the motorized 350 degree pan and 40 degree tilt I know that this camera will hardly miss a thing.
My only complaint is that the camera’s motion is quite noisy. Every time the camera moved, I could hear the motors whirring and whirring and whirring. I suppose that’s a sound I could get used to after a while, but I hope that future models of the iCamera KEEP Pro are quieter.
This feature is an awesome plus for safety reasons. If a smoke detector, carbon monoxide siren or any other security alarm went off in the house, my iCamera KEEP Pro would then send a notification to my phone right away.
8x Digital Zoom
I love the fact that I can play around with the iSmartAlarm app and zoom my camera to any object I want to focus on. I’ve tried other cameras where I could pinch the screen to hone in on something that was going on in my footage. The image got larger, but things just got blurrier. With the iCamera KEEP Pro I know that the image will still remain clear on the zoom.
I think this is just a fun addition to this camera. I can see it being useful if you want sped up footage off the activity in your home or if you want a cool storytelling effect for the next film you’re working on. It’s just a nice perk in my opinion.
The iSmartAlarm app does not have the greatest reviews — 2.2 stars out of five in Apple Store, three out of five on Google Play) but when I got my hands on it, I didn’t have much trouble using it. I actually enjoyed my experience.
When I opened the app, I found it has a simple, barebones interface. You’ve got your buttons for controls, cameras and devices. From here, I can “arm” or “disarm” my camera (or activate and deactivate my alerts), customize my activity zones and connect other iSmartAlarm devices. I can also capture live video right on the app which I could save on my phone and share with others.
I’m not going to lie: I spent about 20 minutes playing around with the camera’s zoom, pan and tilt features. It’s great to be able to control the camera’s movement with the tips of my fingers.
What You’re Not Getting
While the iCamera KEEP Pro is unique in many ways, it’s not the complete package when you compare it to other top-of-the-line security cameras.
For example, it doesn’t have:
- Geofencing. While you can set customized activity zones with the iCamera KEEP Pro, it does not have geofencing software. That kind of software would allow the camera to create a virtual geographic boundaries around any area you choose, and any time a mobile device enters or exits that area you would get an alert to your phone. This could be a good way to check in on when family members are in and out the house.
- Facial recognition. I harped on this earlier. This is a major loss.
- Privacy features. While you can turn the notification alerts on and off, there is no privacy setting with the iCamera KEEP Pro. This means that the camera will keep recording even when you don’t really need it to — like when you’re chilling with your friends and family.
iCamera KEEP Pro vs. The Competition
Given the value of the iCamera KEEP Pro, I think it can be best compared to NETGEAR’s Arlo Q, the Nest Cam and Samsung’s SmartCam Pro. The cost of these cameras range from $100-$200. Let’s see how they all stack up against one another.
NETGEAR Arlo Q
It seems to me that the iCamera KEEP Pro and the Arlo Q are pretty similar cameras with very similar features. They both:
- Record in 1080 HD
- Have sound recognition
- Night mode
- Motion tracking
- Two-way audio
- Wide viewing angles
- Cloud and local storage
The only thing is the Arlo Q is pricier at $199.99. But what’s it’s true value in comparison to the iCamera KEEP Pro?
The iCamera KEEP Pro does win the video department. The Arlo Q has no pan and no tilt capabilities. And while it has a 130 degree viewing angle (the industry standard is 120) it’s still 10 degrees narrower than the iCamera KEEP Pro.
In terms of integrating with other smart home platforms, the Arlo Q can pair up with Alexa and Google Assistant. I think iSmartAlarm might want to figure out how to pair up with Google.
The Arlo Q also offers free seven day cloud storage, which to me makes more sense than having 30 ten second clips that the iCamera KEEP Pro promises. But if I want to add more than five cameras to my Arlo system, I have to update my subscription package. Since iSmartAlarm won’t charge me extra to add over five devices (save the cost of the products), I’m not sure if the Arlo Q is actually worth it.
The Nest Cam Indoor is another $200 camera with similar high-quality features. But it seems to me like the extra dollars could be worth it depending on what you’re looking for.
Unlike the iCamera KEEP Pro, the Nest Cam has privacy settings that can be trigger by your phone’s location. So when you leave the house, the alert notifications will turn on, and when you return, they will turn off. You can also schedule alert notifications depending on the day or if you are going away for vacation.
Another bonus: Friends and family can have an account so they can also watch your home when you are away from a Wi-Fi/data connection. You can also share live video with those accounts or send a password-protected link to those people who don’t want to hops through hoops to set up an account.
I think this is big in terms of taking the onus off of one person to keep track of the house. But again the Nest Cam still loses to the iCamera KEEP Pro in terms of visuals.
Even though it has 8x digital zoom, it only records in 3 megapixel resolution and it doesn’t have any pan or tilt capabilities.
Honestly, the iCamera KEEP Pro is proving to be one-of-kind in this arena.
Samsung SmartCam Pro
The SmartCam Pro is probably my least favorite out of the cameras, and for some reason, it’s slightly more expensive than the iCamera KEEP Pro at about $170.
The video quality is not as great despite the fact it records in 1080 HD. The SmartCam Pro is only capable of capturing video in 2 megapixel resolution. The night vision is also very subpar compared to the iCamera KEEP Pro. You’re looking at 16-feet compared to 30. And once again: No tilt, no pan.
The SmartCam Pro still has other essentials though — audio detection, motion detection, night vision and two-way audio — and then it comes with things I’d rather do without.
I kind of laughed actually when I found out that the SmartCam came with three free no-so-quality lullabies, which I could play from the app. I could also record any sounds or voice recordings I want, save them to the app, them play them back any time. I laughed because I imagined annoying the crap out of my coworkers by scheduling random songs and noises throughout the day.
I’m not paying $170 for that, though.
The Customer Experience
So: Back to the iCamera KEEP Pro because that’s what I really want to talk about. I already think it’s a great camera, but I did wonder what other people had to say about it.
From my researched I gathered that people were satisfied with it for a few key reasons:
- Clear video. Consumers said that the camera does a really great job in capturing detail.
- Easy to set up. Many praised how quick it was to put things together.
- The pan and tilt is huge! Really. People have said that there’s nothing else quite like it on the market under $200.
- Loses objects that its tracking. Some customers complained that the lens doesn’t always follow whatever object it originally started tracking. They claimed that sometimes it doesn’t even track objects that are too close to the camera. I did not have this problem when I was using it.
- No scheduling for arm/disarm. Many said this was a big feature that was missing from the app.
- Goes on and offline a lot. Some people were bothered by the fact that the camera did not stay connected very well. This wasn’t my experience, but I urge people that they make sure to have strong Wi-Fi connections if they are using this device.
For a company that launched off of KickStarter and Indigogo campaigns, I think the people at iSmartAlarm have managed to create a top-of-the-line security camera — especially when you stack it up to the ones made my major companies such as Samsung and NETGEAR.
After browsing around iSmartAlarm’s website I can tell that they are solely dedicated to DIY security. They have many other products and accessories that compliment each other. Their other premier devices include the Spot+ camera, the iCamera KEEP, their motion and contact sensors and the CubeOne (which acts like the brain of your iSmartAlarm System).
iSmartAlarm has also won many awards for their devices. For example, they’ve earned design and program awards from Red Dot and the Mark of Excellence Home Technology App of the Year from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) TechHome Division.
To me, it looks like this company has a lot of potential to make even better more integrated products in the near future.
To tie everything together, I think the iCamera KEEP Pro is a great device and is definitely one-of-a-kind. However, the iCamera KEEP Pro is not the smartest cam in the store. If you’re looking for things like:
- Facial recognition
- Notification scheduling
This camera is not for you.
If you’re triggered by thoughts of HAL:
This camera is not for you.
But for real though: If lacking those capabilities doesn’t bother you, I would definitely recommend this camera. It’s affordable and you can be confident that this camera will cover nearly every angle of whichever room you want to keep an eye on. When it comes to home security, you want to make sure you don’t miss a spot.