- Flexible, easy-to-implement sharing
- Easy-to-navigate web portal
- No sound detection
- Limited motion-detection controls
- Big differences between mobile, web interfaces
- Web portal not compatible with Chrome, Firefox
- Apparent quality-control issues
The EZVIZ Mini is easy to set up and attractively priced. But it has limited features, confusing interfaces and a poor build quality.
Everything about the EZVIZ Mini is tiny. We can imagine it being easily hidden in plain sight, should you not want to have people know that you’ve placed a monitoring webcam in your home or office. It’s easy to use and, at $90, inexpensive, but it suffers from a cheap-feeling build, inconsistent software and bugs that plagued two different review units.
If you’re only trying to capture or share video feeds, the EZVIZ Mini does a decent job. We’re just not sure it would be reliable enough to use as a security camera.
Measuring only 3.5 inches tall, the glossy white EZVIZ Mini is the tiniest webcam-based security camera we’ve recently reviewed, and the simplest. It looks like a giant Chiclet on a stick.
The 115-degree lens sits off-center on the front of the 2 x 2-inch rounded-corner square camera, next to two infrared LEDs. A blue status light in the lower right blinks when the camera is connected, and a tiny microphone is barely visible in the lower left corner.
The head sits on a 0.5-inch leg that connects to the 2 x 2-inch square base via a ball bearing, and the camera pivots forward and backward about 100 degrees. The head can rotate and pivot in all directions. The base is magnetic and comes with a small metal plate (and two screws) for wall mounting. On the camera’s side are a microSD card slot and a reset button. The cover of the card slot felt flimsy; the card sits deep in the slot, making it difficult to insert or remove. When we used the reset button, it sank into the body of the camera and became difficult to press again.
The short (5-foot) power cord is fixed to the camera head and ends in a USB/AC adapter plug, so that the camera can be powered by a computer or an AC electrical outlet. The slim USB/AC adapter won’t block adjacent outlets.
The EZVIZ mobile app (for Android and iOS) is minimal and clean, but its features are limited and its icons not always self-explanatory. The main screen shows previews of the recent feeds from each connected EZVIZ camera, but on our Nexus Android tablet, the preview was scrunched and distorted.
On our Nexus Android tablet, the preview was scrunched and distorted.
A pale gray stylized arrowhead above each preview image gives you that camera’s settings. Navigation icons stand for Home, Messages and More, which leads to My Album (snapshots and videos created from Live View), Account Management, Function Settings, Feedback and About. Function Settings were limited in the iOS app, but inexplicably much more varied in the Android version.
Multi-view on iOS.Each preview image opens a multiple view of up to four Live feeds. The tiny unlabeled icons on the grid of Live feeds were hard to distinguish on our Android tablet, and only marginally clearer on the iPhone. We had to use a magnifying glass.
The Live View screen has three circled icons: to record a video, to take a snapshot of the Live feed or to switch among Basic (512×288), Standard (768×432) and Hi Def (1280×720) resolutions. Since the camera’s optical resolution is 720p, the latter two options are for interpolated image data.
The ezvizlife.com web portal (for Microsoft Internet Explorer or Apple Safari only) has a much better design than the mobile app, with a navigation bar on every screen and larger, labeled icons. Its home page features a sizable preview image from each camera and links to My Video, My Album, Messages, Cloud Images and Sharing Invitations.
The large Play button in each preview image leads to the convenient and intelligent Live/Playback page. Initially, that page shows the live feed from a single camera, but a large orange button switches to a multiscreen displaying feeds from up to four cameras. A zoom tool draws rectangles in the image to enlarge a specific area, but the zoom tool doesn’t work in captured videos.
The Timeline below the Live image lets you view incident video clips. Hover your mouse over the orange arrows above the Timeline to display thumbnails of recordings, and click on a thumbnail to play it. Move the Timeline to a blue line (indicating that a video was recorded), and it will play the video clip.
The EZVIZ Mini’s daylight videos were generally well exposed, if a bit over-contrasted, in the mobile apps. But on the web portal, videos were dark and underexposed, even when shot in good light. The two EZVIZ Mini units we tested gave us very different experiences with night mode. With the first, we saw significant blue glare in the highlights. But the second camera produced a nice, clear grayscale infrared image.
The low 720p resolution of the 1/3-inch progressive scan CMOS sensor doesn’t capture much detail, which is noticeable when you zoom in for a closer look. It can produce soft, sometimes noisy pictures, especially in night mode.