The Foscam FHD R2 1080P IP Camera is a compact surveillance camera that offers wireless or wired connectivity and the ability to pan, tilt, and optically zoom. The Security Camera market is growing in popularity due to the availability of affordable systems with wireless connectivity, allowing the general public to install and set up the systems themselves. Foscam currently lists 29 different models of cameras on their website. Many of them are available in your choice of black or white, with resolutions of both 720p and 1080p.
Let’s open the box and run it through its paces together.
What’s in the Box?
Your camera will arrive in a box 6 inches tall, 5.5 inches wide and 4.5 inches deep. There is a white inner box covered on 4 sides by a glossy outer sleeve.
The front of the box has a picture of the camera, while the rear lists fifteen features to be discovered. One side has a graphic walkthrough of the 3 step setup process. The other side lists what’s in the box, and has two pictures to compare the normal view to the 8x Magic Zoom view.
You can easily slide off the outer sleeve revealing a luxurious white flip-top box with the Foscam logo printed on top. When I received the camera for review I noticed that the security seal attaching the sleeve to the box was broken. (When I asked about this I was told that they have to open the boxes intended for the US market to swap out the power supplies and this was normal).
The inside of the lid is covered in soft foam to compress the contents, ensuring that nothing moves around in shipping. This camera is really well packaged! As soon as you open the lid you will see the camera under a clear plastic cover, adding even more protection from shipping. It is nestled very comfortably in a molded plastic tray, that sits flush with the top of the box. Believe it or not, the camera is wrapped in a thick sheet of clear plastic, with another clear plastic cover over the infrared light assembly. It’s very hard to see this cover so look carefully and remove it.
You will lift out the camera and inner tray revealing 2 inner boxes. The smaller box contains the wall/ceiling mount. The larger box contains the Power supply, 3 drywall anchors with screws, the antenna, quick installation guide, mini CD, (don’t use with a slot load optical drive, download the software) a security warning, warranty card, and warning sticker to let everyone know there are cameras on site.
You will notice that the rubber feet are missing from the bottom of the Foscam 1080P IP Camera FHD R2 (I was certain they had forgotten to install them). After looking very closely in the bag with the drywall anchors and screws, I found the feet and was able to attach them with no problem.
The Foscam FHD R2 features a resolution of 1080P which should provide clear, detailed video and two-way audio to allow you to have a conversation remotely with anyone near the camera. It will send alerts to your mobile devices due to any motion or sounds it senses, while you can also take advantage of an optional web service to save your video and snapshots with a free 30-day trial (the Cloud subscription is not required unless you want offsite storage capabilities).
The FHD R2 is equipped with pan, tilt and optical 2x zoom capabilities with the ability to control them remotely. Night vision with a range of 24ft, and a 100-degree viewing angle are both available. For back-lit, high-contrast situations – for example, near a window that lets in a lot of light, the Foscam 1080P IP Camera FHD R2 offers a feature called WDR 2.0.
The camera can connect to wireless networks, with support for 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi with WEP, WPA and WPA2 encryption. Multiple network protocols are also supported (IP, TCP, UDP, HTTP, HTTPS, SMTP, FTP, DHCP, DDNS, UPnP, RTSP, ONVIF) to allow you a lot of flexibility in where you place it.
Once connected to a network, the camera supports remote viewing & recording from any location on desktop computers (with standard web browsers such as IE, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari) and on smart devices such as iPhones, iPads and Android mobiles (with the included Foscam Viewer app). Other popular apps such as Live Cams Pro and TinyCam Monitor are also compatible – a convenient feature for monitoring cameras from multiple manufacturers.
The Foscam FHD R2 is attractive – it’s a bullet shaped device with the front face dominated by a large lens, resembling an eye! You can see the line that separates the base from the camera pan assembly. Also noticeable is the slot in the center that allows the camera to tilt up and down as needed and a very small hole for the microphone, located just below the logo.
On the top of the camera, you will see the speaker for the two-way communication feature.
The right side is where the WPS/Reset button is located (we’ll come back to this, later in the review)
The left side is where you will find a Micro SD card slot, just in case you want to save video on the camera, rather than the optional cloud-based storage subscription.
The rear of the FHD R2 is where the power adapter plugs in and a 10/100 Mbps Ethernet port is located for hard wiring to your network. The Antenna jack is also located on the rear of the camera. To the left of the Ethernet port are the two traffic LEDs.
Finally, on the bottom of the camera, you will see the rubber feet (that will need to be manually applied – they are located in the bag with the wall mount screws) plus a threaded hole to attach the enclosed wall mount assembly. Notice a QR Code is also located here – you will need to scan this in the setup phase.
Getting Up and Running With the Foscam FHD R2
The FHD R2 advertises an easy 3 step process to get your new camera up and running. For the most part that is true. However, I did run into an issue that I will explain shortly.
First you need download a free app from the App Store or Google Play. Once you open the app, you will be prompted to log into your existing account (if you have one, otherwise you will need to set up a new account). The account is free and is required for setting up the camera, remote access, and cloud storage – if you decide to go with that option.
Then, connect the camera to power and data, via the Ethernet cable or wireless antenna. When you plug in the camera it will move through its complete range of motion and center itself. You will hear a female voice say “Hello Foscam” as its going through this process. After about 30 seconds the voice will prompt “Ready to join network”
Once logged in, you can tap the “+” button on your screen to add your new camera to your account. Then simply follow the wizard through the configuration process. This involves scanning the QR Code on the bottom of the camera, which automatically sets the MAC address and model of camera you are adding to your account.
You will need to let the application know if the camera is connecting via Ethernet cable or wirelessly, which available network you want to connect to, and the password for that network.
Once that is done, the application will display a status screen. With the connection completed you will hear the friendly female voice say “Network De-configuration is completed”. Yes, I know that makes no sense but that is what she says! At this point, you will see a screen with a still photo of what your camera is currently viewing. Click the picture and you will be prompted to create a username and password for that specific camera, if you haven’t already done so. You can check the remember my login option to avoid needing to input it each time (unless you want to keep the connection secure on your device). That’s pretty much all there is to it – very simple indeed.
If you remember, though, I mentioned an issue. Let me explain what happened, and how I resolved the problem – just in case it happens to you. Once I connected to the camera, I went through the settings pages on the app. I noticed there was a firmware update available so I installed it. Upgrading is very easy – all you need to do is click on the “Upgrade Firmware” button and the app does all of the work for you.
However, once the firmware update was completed, I found that I was unable to reconnect to the camera. I tried uninstalling and reinstalling the camera, uninstalling and reinstalling the app but I still couldn’t reconnect. A quick online search uncovered that this was a common problem.
I wasn’t able to find a solution online so I went back to the instructions that came with the camera and found my solution. In the FAQ section, it mentions what to do if you forget your username and password for the camera. Pushing and holding down the “Reset” button for 10 seconds resets the camera to factory settings. I found this restored connectivity, but I was forced to walk through configuration once more.