Review: Stem iZON Remote Room Monitor

When I first saw the press release for the iZON Remote Room Monitor I was quite stoked to give it a shot. Once one became available, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. “A remote camera that I can stream to my iPhone” was a winner right out of the gate. Over the past few weeks I’ve been using the iZON on WiFi and 3G to get a good testing on how the app functions. I heard there was a rumor to the iOS app, and I wanted to make sure that I used it after the update was released to see the improvements implemented. Below will be a viewing into the secrete life of introwebbernets, well, not really, the World is not ready to view the inner workings of my house…

Design

There really isn’t much wrong with the design of the iZON. It is incredibly sleek and stands around 4″ tall and about 1.5″ wide. So placing this camera in an inconspicuous place is very easy to do. I placed it in a few different areas to see if it was easily noticeable. You really had to go out of your way to find it in most cases. I do feel the iZON could be a bit smaller, but this is just coming from an age of ‘make gadgets smaller’ and really isn’t a complaint at all.

Where I might start to gripe is the color options – white – happens to be all you get. Stem would have a nice lead in the market if there was some options on changing the skin of the device. Not everyone has something glossy white to stick near this thing to keep it out of plain site. Another plus would be to be able to dim or completely shut off the front indicator light. When the iZON is plugged in, you are greeted with a bright green light shining its way into the unknown darkness. Other than these two issues though, we have a small and compact design that – in most cases – is very well hidden. Not everyone would use this as a “spy” camera of sorts, but for those that would like to discretely monitor a space, hidden is key.

Setup

Setup was probably the hardest part of using the iZON Remote Room Monitor. You are given step-by-step instructions on the iOS app that will walk you through the process. Where I found a problem is when you have the iZON plugged in, the app is telling you it is broadcasting a signal that you should join via WiFi. This caused numerous issues for me, and it wasn’t until I accidentally joined my personal WiFi that the ‘NEXT’ button was no longer greyed out and gave me the option to proceed. The app tells you to join Stem’s signal first, then connect to your WiFi, but when joining Stem’s signal, nothing happens. The steps were almost backwards for me. This may be different for any other user, but I had to improvise what my route in completion.

But once I was connected the entire app is a breeze to use. If setup would of went smoothly to begin with, taking the iZON out of the box would of been the longest part. Setup, in a sense, would only take around 3 minutes, from start to finish…Not bad at all.

iOS App

The Stem app is free from the App Store and is fairly limited in options. It also looks like the design wasn’t focused on heavily, as it is kind of bland. This is neither here nor there, as this isn’t the main feature of the process, just a note I thought I’d add. You are given a Settings button, a + to add other iZON cameras, as well as the Stem TimeCommand Alarm Clock. On the bottom you have yourself the iZON icon for the camera you have attached, as well as an alerts pane. The Alerts pane will show you all of your notifications, which you can toggle on and off the types you’d like to receive. You can be notified upon motion, noise as well as if the iZON goes offline. Each Notification Alert tells you the time, the camera that was tripped, as well as a URL to the YouTube clip it was recorded to.

The rest of the app is pretty straight forward. You can choose to have video uploaded to a private YouTube account, for easy viewing/recording. While streaming the live feed a push of a button will automatically beging recording to your YouTube. Extremely easy to configure and use.

When streaming on WiFi when I first hooked up the iZON, I was experiencing a 20 second delay between what was happening and what I was viewing on my iPhone. After the app update, I noticed it drop to around 13 to 15 seconds. iZON still claims a 20 second delay, but I saw that beat every time I used it.

When streaming on 3G I would see a delay of 20 seconds. I feel if a local, very strong WiFi signal gets 13-15 seconds, 3G should take a lot more time to relay. This isn’t the case at all. But, with a 20 second 3G delay, I think the local WiFi should be quicker.

Picture Quality

When viewing on both WiFi and 3G, the picture quality was outstanding. I was actually quite impressed with the quality of picture I was viewing. There were some issues in extremely low light environments, but this is also given to you in their Tech Specs. For normal low-light situations, the picture adjusted very well and still gave me a decent picture. It wasn’t until we were in a full-dark area that it was useless.

The iZON is giving you a 60 degree viewing angle. This isn’t bad, if you are far enough away from the room you want monitored, or if you have enough money for cameras for various areas and rooms. When I first received the iZON, I was almost convinced that the base of the camera was on a swivel, for remote angle changing. I feel like this could be a feature built into the future cameras. With a tick of a button on your iOS device, you can pan from side to side, giving you an even wider viewing angle.

I won’t have a separate section for the audio, but just a quick note – loud and crisp! I could whisper from across the room and the iZON would pick it up. I am really surprised with the picture and audio output to my iPhone from this little camera. Excellent quality!

Conclusion

For $129.95, piece of mind is a few finger taps away. I haven’t used any other remote camera devices, but I would like to start giving others a try to compare them to iZON. Quick set up, simple iOS app and a sleek device make the iZON a great buy.

Adding the ability to swivel the camera, maybe some night vision for ultra-dark situations and other color options are the only features I would like to see added in. The entire package is well worth the price tag, and to be able to watch your house from anywhere in the World is a feature anyone should be willing to pay $130 for.

Gadgetsteria’s Rating: 7.5/10


Gallery

Thanks to Stem and Max Borges for the review unit – my wife is forever in your debt :)