EZVIZ C3X Dual-Lens Colour Night Vision Security Camera Review – Hikivision tech gets trickled down

The EZVIZ C3X is the latest outdoor camera from the consumer branch of Hikvision.

This new camera sits at the top of the outdoor range and priced accordingly at £149.99. The camera adopts a lot of the technology you find on the commercial Hikivision cameras. Combining a dual-lens colour night vision recording with smart object detection this is one of the most advanced consumer-orientated cameras you will find.

Specification and Features

  • Full HD 1080p – Consistently reviewed as best image quality in class (EZVIZ Brand)
  • Intelligent Dual-Lens – Proprietary and provides Vivid and Natural Colour Night Vision. One lens records the ambient brightness and the other captures colour information. Then the two images are merged to create an image in unparalleled detail and realistic colour.
  • Embedded AI Deep Learning Algorithm – No extra cloud subscription fees required for AI features.
  • Human and Vehicle Shape Detection – Minimizes false alerts
  • Customisable Motion Detection Zones & Notifications – Draw specific zones within your cameras field of view where you would like to detect activity. When activity is detected, you will receive a notification in real-time.
  • Customizable Voice Alerts – Personalize the alert that C3X plays when activity is detected. Record a message that warns intruders they are trespassing or something softer to greet welcome guests.
  • H.265 Video Compression – Saves up to 50% storage space required for video recordings
  • Active Defence with Siren and Strobe Light – Each camera also serves as a fully functional alarm system.
  • IP67 Dust and Waterproof – Can operate in extreme weather conditions.
  • Customizable voice alerts – Record personal messages to be played when activity is detected.
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz band transmission
  • Storage – On-board micro-SD card storage up to 256 GB
  • Next Level Home Security – C3X is an advanced and fully featured security system, with Full HD image quality, customizable alarm system, two-way audio, intelligent AI algorithms, and revolutionary colour night vision clarity.

Set up – No POE

The Ezviz C3X ticks a lot of boxes but also stumbles at the first hurdle. There is no POE even though there is 100M Ethernet, so you are forced to use the included power cable, they do kingly provide you with a long extended lead. However, I would have thought someone spending £150 per camera may be willing to invest in a POE switch which is far more convenient to use than physically wiring up power, then connecting via 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi, especially if you are installing more than one camera.

As critical as I am of the absence of POE, everything else about the set up is easy. You download the Ezviz app and add the device by scanning the QR code. The cameras have a pre-define random encryption code which is more secure many competing options, but you need to make sure you write this down or change it to something secret to yourself.

Recording Options – No ONVIF / Blue Iris

As usual, for recent Ezviz cameras, there is no ONVIF support, so you will be locked into the Ezviz ecosystem, Blue Iris users need not apply.

If it were ONVIF compatible it wouldn’t be able to pass the smart events back to the NVR, however, for a user like me, I would happily use the Ezviz app for smart alerts then leave my Blue Iris server to record 24/7.

Technically, Hikvision and therefore I assume Ezviz was supposed to be suspended from ONVIF due to the ongoing political issues with the US. Though ONVIF still list them as full members and this issue doesn’t seem to prevent them from offering ONVIF support.  

Network Video Recorder

Ezviz do have their own NVR and I previously purchased the CS-X5C-8EU, but it was not very good at all. The user interface was poor and just wasn’t the best experience. This was made more apparent since reviewing the Reolink NVR, which itself wasn’t amazing to set up, but much better than the Ezviz. Technically, once set up, you can forget about it and access the 24/7 footage remotely, so it did technically work as advertised.

Micro SD

That is no longer available in the UK, instead, the X5S-8W is the only NVR option, which has more favourable user reviews.

The alternatives to an NVR are microSD or cloud storage. With microSD, you can record 24/7, but most cards are not designed for this, even the endurance rated cards.

For example, the SanDisk High Endurance is rated for 20,000 hours, less than 3 years. You would instead need to use the Max Endurance card, which costs twice the price and is rated for 120,000 hours (over 13 years).

Cloud Recording

The cloud storage works well, but they charge £75 per year or £7.50 pcm for 4 cameras and 7 days recording. If you want 30-days history that will set you back £14.99 / month or £149.99 / year

Arlo charges £8 pcm for 5 cameras and 30-days storage, Ring is £8/month or £80/year for unlimited devices and 30 days storage, and Eufy is $9.99 per month or $99.99 per year for 10 cameras and 30 days storage.

So Ezviz cloud storage pricing is not competitive in the slightest. So your best bet is microSD, which in fairness Arlo and Ring don’t offer.

Similar to the POE issue, if I were spending £150 on a surveillance camera, I’d probably want to record to an NVR rather than microSD cards.

Motion Alerts

Where this camera excels is the motion alerts and alarm settings. Hikvision has trickled down some of their AI deep learning smart detection features to the Ezviz consumer range. Hikvision offers the most advanced motion detection features on any camera that I am aware of, and most of these are now on the Ezviz C3X.

The highlight is the ability to intelligently distinguish humans and cars rather than just objects that move. Several companies offer this, I first experienced it with Netatmo, the Eufy cameras and doorbell do an excellent job, and now Reolink has rolled it out onto their RLC-510A & RLC-810A cameras.

However, the Ezviz also has a draw detection area which is an area of the image you can set to create warnings. With this enabled, you can have the camera shout out a warning to leave the area.

Then there is line crossing detection, allowing you to set up notifications if someone walks across a specific point.

The accuracy of smart detection is considerably higher than competing products too. With Human shape detection on, I have experienced no false positives, and so far, I am not aware of it missing anyone.

Unlike the commercially focussed Hikvisiion options this has the addition of an alarm, voice alerts and a quite a bright LED to aid night vision and to act as a warning mechanism. So a lot is going on here, making it one of the best cameras I have used for smart detection and also deterring would be ne’er-do-wellers.

Video Performance

This only records in 1080P, so the overall video quality is not quite as good as the likes of the 5MP Reolink RLC-510A, however, it is good enough, and low light performance is orders of magnitude better.

I’d personally take great low light performance over a higher resolution if I had to choose. So I think the Eziviz does well here.

As you can see in my images, there is considerable street lighting, so it has not been possible to test ultra low light performance. The colour night vision will be complemented with the built-in LEDs when required, and if the lux levels get too low, it will switch to traditional black and white.

This camera has a similar issue to the Reolink in that it is a pain to get the footage off the camera itself. There is no easy way to download a clip, you have to go to the clip, record it, where it will then be saved to your device. If you do this on the phone, you then need to upload it via Google drive or similar, sending it via certain apps such as Telegram lowers the quality.

On the PC with the Ezviz studio app, you only have access to the microSD footage on the camera rather than the motion-activated cloud recordings. However, via this, it is quite easy to hit the record button where it will save the footage to a pre-defined folder.

Price and Alternatives

This has launched at £149.99, which makes it quite expensive for a camera of this nature.

The Reolink 4K RLC-810A is £94 while the 5MP RLC-510A is £65. The smart detection is not as good, there is no colour night vision, it doesn’t have a flash light or audio warnings, and there is no Wi-Fi. So quite a bit different, but they do have ONVIF support, and the NVR is superior from my experience. You can buy a 4 camera system with NVR for just £454.

Technically, the best alternative would be to move up to Hikvision themselves. They don’t make it particularly easy to buy, as Hikivision moved to trade only for some reason. The 4MP Hikvision DS-2CD2346G1-I Dome camera (Gen 1) or the 4MP DS-2CD2046G2-IU bullet camera (Gen 2) are both around £150 and use the AcuSense technology for smart detection. You can then pair this up with the far superior Hikvision NVRs or BlueIris.

The 8MP Hikivision DS-2CD2386G2-I is available via eBay for £170, though it is physically huge.

The Foscam G2EP FHD Outdoor PoE Security Camera is the only other option I can find with human detection. Is cheap at £60 but has some poor reviews.

Overall

There is a lot to love about the EZVIZ C3X, I would say it is the most advanced consumer surveillance camera I have used to date, and the overall performance is superb.

The 1920 × 1080 resolution is much lower than some competing models, but the colour night vision and support AI smart object detection makes up for this in my opinion.

All the negatives of this camera appear to be as a result of making it consumer orientated. No POE, no ONVIF, and questionable quality of NVR options. Cloud recording pricing is not competitive, either.  To be fair, the microSD option works very well, and the SanDisk Max Endurance cards offer you a viable alternative to an NVR for 24/7 recording.  

Overall, if you already have Ezviz cameras, this camera will complement them perfectly. Ezviz have a huge range of camera options too, so even if you are looking for a brand new system and will to commit to Ezviz only, they make an excellent option. I think they are the only brand on the market with a doorbell, floodlight camera, wired and wireless cameras so you can build a comprehensive system to accommodate almost any requirement.

Posted by Mighty Gadget Blog: UK Technology News and Reviews

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