D-Link OMNA review
Just stop for a minute and think of all the cool stuff you have in your house. Even the average household has thousands of pounds worth of gadgets, gear and possessions. We’ve never had it so good! But we’ve also never had so much that thieving little scumbags won’t try to get their grubby little mitts on. Nowadays people concern themselves with all sorts of online security options, but how much thought is spared for physical security.
One handy option is the Omna home camera from D-Link. It’s a dinky little unit that houses a fisheye lens capable of capturing images from 180 degrees in full 1080p and recording them on a micro SD card as well as streaming it live to your phone. Nice!
It’s an absolute doddle to set up thanks to its Apple Homekit compatibility. Simply scan the code on the back of the device with your iPhone and it practically sets itself up. So simple even I could do it! I liked this a lot. There are some very basic functions through the Home app and the rest are handled by the Omna app.
The Omna is designed to sit innocuously in a room thanks to its contemporary styling. There is a microphone built into the unit along with the camera so you can hear what your home invaders are saying and built in speakers allow you to tell the rotters exactly what you think of them from the safety of your phone or tablet. Or more likely, to tell your dog to get off the sofa when he thinks you can’t see him (which is highly entertaining). I opted to position the Omna by one of the windows overlooking the front of my house so I could see who was coming to my door and this worked pretty well.
The unit was visible from the outside, but handily, there is a function in the Omna app to switch off the power indicator led, so it’s not quite so obvious. The app itself is basic, but easy to use. To be honest, I found it a bit too simple. There are some functions that I would definitely like to have had available to me. The glaring omission was the ability to turn off the Omna’s remarkably sensitive microphone. Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I don’t like the idea of spying on myself in my own home! I wanted to see what was going on between my gate and my front door. I didn’t need or want the microphone recording what was going on inside my house every time the postman delivered the mail! This was such an obvious option that I spent ages searching through both apps to find it, only to be left disappointed. I also discovered that if you check the live feed in the room with the camera in it, the squeal of feedback will make you think twice about ever doing it again.
The picture quality on the camera is very good though and the 180-degree view is excellent. There is a night vision option which actually works very well, however, if, like me, you are setting the Omna up at a window, the reflection will wash out the night vision. Thankfully the low light capabilities of the camera are surprisingly good. With standard streetlights outside and the night vision turned off, I was able to get a picture that was more than good enough to get the job done. There is a motion detection function on the camera and you can select the zones you want this activated on as well as being able to set the sensitivity of the detection. With the scope of the cameras image, this is essential, although the zones are quite big and I would have liked to have perhaps seen more, smaller ones so you could really fine tune the area you wanted to cover. The detection is very sensitive, so if you don’t want a notification and recording of every blowing branch, you’ll definitely want to turn that down.
The Omna sits on a flat base which, unfortunately is not adjustable. Personally, I think being able to tilt it slightly would be really handy. I had to put it on a block to reach the desired height and then put a little piece of wood underneath it to get the right angle. It’s a minor quibble, but I feel it’s a legitimate one.
The Omna is a great little piece of kit and I found that I really enjoyed using it. It was super easy to set up and the quality of the image is excellent. The microphone always being on is a bit of a deal breaker for me personally. Checking to see who has just arrived at my front door and having my wife’s hairdryer as the sound track is not what I want! If this was sorted, I’d heartily give this a thumbs up as the camera itself is actually really good.