Qihoo 360 Smart Camera: your digital third eye – a review

What's In the Box

Several security measures are being implemented and used to ensure the safety of a person or an establishment. Companies are now considering innovative ways to improve such measures. Today, the 360-degree camera is being used to ensure full security without using several cameras in one area.

The 360 Smart Camera D503 model was manufactured in Chaoyang, Beijing by Qihoo 360, a Chinese internet security company that also specializes in antivirus, web browsers, and mobile app store.

The user manual my unit came with is in English, while the text at the back of the box is in English, Chinese, and Korean, making it user-friendly for those who really don’t know how to read Chinese like myself.

Qihoo 360 Smart Camera + surfaces = the perfect match

The camera could be set up on a flat surface using its built-in stand which has a magnetic bottom or by using the magnetic tape that came with the camera unit. The magnetic bottom makes the camera sturdy when placed on a flat surface. It is also sturdy when placed on non-magnetic surfaces so you are assured of shake-proof videos every time.

What's In the Box
The box contains the unit, the USB connector and its plug (for the camera’s power source), a magnetic tape, and the device’s user manual.

Convenience and clarity defined by Qihoo 360

The camera also has a 1280 x 720 resolution with a frame rate of 20 fps, which produces a clear video in real-time. It also has a built-in microphone and speaker, which makes you hear the sounds. You can view the videos in the app, which you can view through the app. You could also control the angle of the camera’s view by using the app. It could be downloaded through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store by searching “360 Smart Camera App”. Not only can you view the videos, you can also record it by pressing the camera icon as seen on the screenshot below, and you can download them as well. You can also easily take a screen capture by pressing the scissors icon. You can also mute the sound and change the video quality (standard definition, high definition, and ultra-high definition) in the settings while the camera is turned on. The unit also has a Micro SD slot for local storage but the memory card is not included in the packaging.

In-app-Qihoo-360
A screenshot of the app when the camera has been connected to your mobile. Here, you can see the video that the camera is capturing.

Set up: Configuring your 360 CCTV Camera is a Walk in the Park

Registering in the app is very easy. All you need is to type in your mobile number for the system to send a verification code to it and a passcode. Once you have registered for the app, you will be led to a menu wherein you can now set-up your camera. The camera also needs to be plugged for it to work. The set-up requires a stable Wi-Fi connection for the process to be completed, and your phone needs to be close to the camera unit since the app and the camera will send voice prompts. The voice prompts are helpful because it serves as an indicator whether the set-up is going smoothly. One of the steps sends a sound wave from the phone to the camera. For me, it was glitchy the first time since the camera was not able to detect the sound wave but when I tried it the second time, it was able to detect the sound wave so you don’t have to worry. After you have set-up your camera, you can also set up other 360 Smart Camera units and assign names for them in the app. Overall, the process is smooth, easy, and time-friendly.

Powers? No, that’s just your 360 Smart Camera

While using the app, I placed the camera in our living room. I tried going outside where our Internet was a little out of reach and then I tried monitoring video in my room where there was low Wi-Fi connection. Surprisingly, the app was still able to connect with the camera considering that the connection in my room gave me just a bar of signal on my phone.

Qihoo-CCTV-Camera
Here is the unit in its box. As you can see, it is not too bulky so it could be conveniently positioned even in small spaces and its size makes it easy to set up.

 

Lightweight champ of smart cameras

The unit is lightweight, weighing 102 grams. Its weight makes it convenient to move around and transfer whenever you would want to. It also saves space due to its size, making it easy to position and maneuver so you won’t have to worry about tinkering the camera too much to figure out how to reposition it. The only problem is the USB cord not being able to reach higher places if you would want to put the camera on a higher surface.

See in the dark with Qihoo 360

Just like other security cameras, the 360 Smart Camera also has a Night Vision feature. The video output in low light is also as clear as a video taken with ample lighting. Although it is a little grainy, it does not sacrifice the video’s details so you can still see the video clearly.

Qihoo-night-mode-360
A screenshot of the video in night mode

Qihoo 360 Smart Camera: the law approves

In terms of legal aspect, the law allows people to install such type of cameras if it does not invade the privacy of another residence, establishment, or person because the act is no different as eavesdropping.1 Article 26 of the Civil Code of the Philippines also states that “every person shall respect the dignity, personality, privacy and peace of mind of his neighbors and other persons. The following and similar acts … shall produce a cause of action for damages, prevention, and other relief: … (l) Prying into the privacy of another residence”2. In cases that a person’s invasion of privacy shall be affected, he/she should be informed that such will happen. For example, some establishments in the Philippines have the “CCTV protected” sticker stamped on the doors and inside the premises to inform the public that whatever footage that the CCTV takes will be used for security purposes.

Giving Qihoo 360 its golden buzzer

Overall, the 360 Smart Camera is convenient due to it being lightweight and space-saving, and accessible through a mobile app which you can download. It also saves time because setting-up the unit only takes a few steps and it is easy to transfer and move around. It also makes sure that your loved ones are safe and secure at home, even if you are not by their side due to its long-range reach from the camera to the app, still making it possible for real-time video output.

I would recommend this product to those people who 1) have kids or elders at home because it gives the convenience of working at home to do chores and other things while making sure their loved ones are safe, 2) have business establishments and would want to monitor the security of the place, and 3) would want to secure their homes by being able to see what goes on from day to night.

 

1 Palabrica, R. Restrictions of CCTV use. Retrieved on August 1, 2017, from http://business.inquirer.net/145899/restrictions-on-cctv-use#ixzz4oUIc4gkg

2 Civil Code of the Philippines, Article 26

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