When an unusual product lands in our labs, we develop our own testing methods. Then comes the D-Link DCS-8525LH. D-Link is calling it a “full HD pan & tilt WiFi camera” but I think that name is a bit clunky – so let’s just call it a WiFi CCTV instead.
Why would you want to get a WiFi CCTV and how does it work? Let’s find out here in this unusual review.
We also did a live stream featuring the D-Link DCS-8525LH where we run through our initial impressions by setting it up and take it for a test drive.
Comes in a fairly standard box with a blue and white packaging design, with a few feature highlights at the front. Take note of the top right corner where it says it works with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and also IFTTT.
At the back of the box we can see a mosaic of features being highlighted – full HD clarity, video recording, smart home compatibility, motion and sound detection, day and night visibility, pinch to zoom (digitally), two-way audio, and also remote access.
On the right side of the box we can see a list of capabilities and sensors that is built into the D-Link DCS-8525LH and also the ports on the back. There, D-Link also listed the contents that are inside the box itself.
Opening up the box we can find an egg carton style cradle for everything to sit inside. Here, we can see a bunch of paperwork including an alignment assistance sticker.
You get a mounting kit, a microUSB power adapter, an Ethernet cable, quick start guide, and also a D-Link DCS-8525LH.
Looking at the D-Link DCS-8525LH
The overall design of it is fairly basic and generic for an IP camera. It has two prong-like structure that suspends and holds the ball-shaped camera head.
The bottom of the D-Link DCS-8525LH is where you’ll find the mounting screw hole for the included mounting kit. D-Link included a printed template for you to stick on the surface that you want to mount the D-Link DCS-8525LH, then drill through the paper for a precise fitting.
Funny enough, the mounting screw under the D-Link DCS-8525LH is actually a 1/4-20 screw hole, which means you can prop up this WiFi CCTV with camera tripods as well.
At the front of the D-Link DCS-8525LH, there are two LEDs – one for LINK and another for power, and a microphone in between. the “link” LED will light up when it is connected to the internet, and will blink when someone is looking through the camera via the mydlink app.
At the back of the D-Link DCS-8525LH is where you’ll find the power jack, a microSD card slot, and also an Ethernet port.
Setting up the D-Link DCS-8525LH
It’s fairly simple and straightforward. To begin, you’ll need to download the mydlink app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store depending on what device you’re using. Once you’ve done that, go ahead and sign up for a free account.
The free account will allow you to record one day’s worth of footage in their cloud storage. It’ll automatically delete the oldest footage by the minute when the one-day time is up. You can pay to get longer data retention, of course.
However, it’s quite unfortunate that you cannot use the microsD port at the back of the D-Link DCS-8525LH if you’re using the cloud recording feature.
Since this is a review unit, I encountered much more issue than I signed up for. One reason is that the D-Link DCS-8525LH itself has been logged in by other users. I have to factory reset the WiFi CCTV to pair it. Fortunately, it’s smooth sailing after that.
During the setup process, the D-Link DCS-8525LH can be given a name and assigned a location so that you know where this particular camera is located. If you have a few of this camera, you can assign the other cameras with different names and locations as well.
I connected the D-Link DCS-8525LH to my WiFi network – and then I’m done setting it up.
The mydlink app
This app is created to control D-Link utilities around the house – and that ranges from cameras (like this one) to smart plugs, hubs, and even sensors. The interface a little too fancy for my liking, but it’s definitely functional.
Focusing on the D-Link DCS-8525LH alone, we can tap on the camera and have a look at the current live stream together with the status of the camera.
Tapping into the individual camera we can see the current view that the camera is showing. It has quite a minimal amount of lag while peering into the camera through 4G network, as I experience only about 1~2 seconds of delay.
At the bottom we can see a few buttons for controls. A speaker button for you to disable or enable sound recording via the WiFi CCTV, a camera button takes a picture instantly and save it in your phone, a menu button, and also a “record video” button.
The menu button brings up 3 more different settings – first one being video resolution, which you can toggle between 720p and 1080p. Depending on your internet and home network infrastructure, you might want to downscale. Then there’s a “location” button which is only useful if you have a few of D-Link’s cloud-connected cameras around the house as you can switch between cameras here.
Lastly, there’s a microphone icon which you can use it to converse via the D-Link DCS-8525LH like a walkie-talkie. You’ll have to hold the button to speak but you can’t hear what the other side is saying while speaking.
Then the video record button. Once you hit record, it’ll automatically save the video into your phone – but you can only save up to 3 minutes in one video. I wanted to do a video review of this camera that I record through this D-Link DCS-8525LH, but I realized that the video somehow is out of sync with the audio by a long shot – like 30 seconds! Though, if you’re only using it as a CCTV, that shouldn’t matter.
Whenever the D-Link DCS-8525LH detects sound or motion, it’ll send a notification to the phone and tells you what has been detected and at what exact time. You can tap on it to have a quick view of that highlighted detection.
Using the D-Link DCS-8525LH
Upon setting up and getting versed with the mydlink app, the D-Link DCS-8525LH is ready to roll. Instantly when I moved out of the camera’s view, I got a notification on my phone saying that it detected motion.
I then opened the mydlink app and viewed the timeline of noise and motion detected, and there I can see an entire list of them. Tapping into these entries bring up a video that highlights what triggered the detection. D-Link did a good job in creating this neatly designed interface.
As mentioned earlier, all customers are eligible in using the cloud recording storage for free, but it’ll only store the footages for 24 hours. After that, they’re listed as “expired”.
One of the feature I used a lot is conversing with the other person via the D-Link DCS-8525LH’s walkie-talkie feature. I find this feature to be useful as it can potentially replace intercoms since I can see who’s at the door and talk to the person at the same time.
Once the lights are off, the D-Link DCS-8525LH switches to “night mode” where it turns into a black and white camera and the ring of infrared LEDs around the camera lights up.
Whenever the D-Link DCS-8525LH is disconnected from the internet, the mydlink app will have a notification as well. That means you know if someone is tinkering with the camera.
Wrapping up the D-Link DCS-8525LH review
This product is an IP camera with features that make it work like a CCTV or even an advanced intercom system. There are room for improvement – like the audio-video synchronization in recording mode, recording to the microSD card while cloud recording is enabled, and definitely enable real-time two-way communication without the walkie-talkie limitation.
I like how the mydlink app notifies me whenever there’s movement or sound and automatically changes to night mode when it’s too dark. The app itself is actually quite good as well, and has room to improve as well.
For the price of RM359 (the cheapest we can find) at Lazada, it’s actually not a bad deal. Honestly speaking, the D-Link DCS-8525LH can actually become a baby camera as well. Imagine you getting a notification whenever your baby cries or moves around – and you can speak to your baby too. Just don’t be too loud, though.