Internet-connected cameras aren’t new. The Dropcam become a popular choice, and after Nest acquired the company the Nest Cam is one of the most popular choices. They’re all similar with features to record movements, see objects in low to no light, and access it from any smartphone or laptop. They’re also very limited in their usefulness beyond checking up on your pets or see who’s eating all the cookies late at night.
The Pivot from Zmodo is a 1080p security camera smart home hub for only $149. It’s not just another internet connected home camera, but also an intelligent home hub where you can connect smart lights, sensors, and other smart devices. It’s also a speaker where you can stream music through Bluetooth. The camera is set on a swivel so it can look 360 degrees around which is perfect for a room with multiple entry points or an apartment where you would like to look around.
A camera is a surprising tool in my apartment which I didn’t think it would be. I used the two included door/window sensors to have the camera move and look towards the front door or the sliding door when it’s opened. It’s allowed me to watch multiple angles when maintenance workers come and go, or record who’s eating all the cookies late at night. The camera unit also comes equipped with a temperature and humidity sensor, so you can use it to see the temperature even while you’re away. I’ve used the sensor in the camera to monitor the different rooms and then see if my Nest thermostat is reporting the correct temperature in the house.
The Pivot is a great smart home camera and hub to have in the house, and in this review, we’ll break down what makes it so great.
What’s included & Setup
In the box, you’ll find the Pivot Camera, two door/windows sensors, some instructions and the power cable for the Pivot. Setting up the camera and door/window sensors is a breeze, taking me ten minutes tops to get everything set up and going. The app for the camera is on iOS and Android, meaning any device you have can monitor the camera, and you can even access the stream online. The sensors are also easy to install, with only two or three steps to get the sensors connected to the Wifi and then to the Pivot.
Overall the setup went smoothly, and I was pleasantly surprised how quickly I got going. I’m used to devices taking a while to set up or having a bunch of hoops to jump through, to get going.
- 1080p HD resolution
- 360-degree rotation
- Night vision
- 360-degree motion detection
- 2 wireless door or window sensors included
- 2 way audio
- 16 GB of local storage (up to 2 days of 24/7 footage)
- Built-in temperature and humidity sensors
The camera on the Pivot is a 1080p HD camera which works in bright light, pitch black, or even when it’s just starting to get dark. A lot of cameras struggle to adjust to light when it’s not dark enough for night vision, but the Pivot manages to excel in these instances. The camera in normal cases looks great, and when I zoom in to focus on someone entering or at something it doesn’t look grainy or pixelated.
The ability to move the camera 360 degrees also makes the camera more powerful. This allows you to move with a person or check on not only the front door but also a window in a different direction. The controls work quickly and using the two-way speaker has little to no latency. Overall the camera is a high quality and is one of the best internet connected cameras I’ve seen in years.
Smart Home Hub
The smart home hub on the Pivot is going far and beyond other internet connected cameras. The Pivot lets you connect the window/door sensors so when you open the door or window the camera can move towards the direction to see who’s entering or exiting. The sensors included in the box only work with the Pivot, and to order more you’ll simply go onto Amazon to buy a pack of 4. The device can support up to 32 sensors, which is a lot and I’m not sure I could ever have that many doors or windows in a house.
The only downside to the hub is there isn’t an extensive list of compatible products or even a list I could find. The Zmodo products including lights, digital doorbell, and other internet cameras work with the Pivot, but devices from Nest, Wink, or Lifx don’t cooperate with the Pivot. This is limiting if you’re adding the Pivot to your smart home, but if you’re just starting it, you can build around Zmodo.
What I wish it had
Mr first thought when I opened the box is “I wish this had Amazon Alexa built in!” The device has a decent speaker, can already play music, and has some limited controls of the smart home around you. The Pivot would become a thousand times more powerful, and become a better alternative to the Amazon Echo. The price of the Pivot is also similar to the Echo, making it a steal when you consider all the technology crammed into the Pivot.
The other wish I had was more integrations with smart home objects like the Nest. I have the Nest in the hallway, but the Pivot moved from room to room, when I was trying to see where would be the best spot for it. Along the way, I noticed the baby’s room was always a little cooler or warmer than the rest of the house. I would love for the Pivot to alert the Nest of this so it could turn on the A/C to circulate the air, and hopefully, make the room the correct temperature I set the house too. I would also love to have the sensors on the doors turn on my Wink lights when I came home or turn them off when I left.
The Pivot is a solid device that doesn’t cost a lot either. The device is competing directly against Canary, Nest, and other smart home cameras. The Pivot goes above and beyond with the camera, speakers, and smart hub. They have laid the groundwork for a fantastic product, but still need to tweak some small things to make the device an impulse buy.
The Zmodo Pivot is available on Amazon for $149, with extra door sensors going for $35 for a pack of 4.
Tell us in the comments below what you think about the Pivot by Zmodo, and tell us if it’s something you’re going to add to your home.