With the US release of Vocolinc’s latest product, the VH1 MistFlow Smart Humidifier (read our in-depth review HERE) You would think things would go a little quiet. However, the company are already in the process of preparing to their very first smart camera, as part of their security-focussed range of products, which includes the T-Guard Smart Lock, and the recently released VS1 Smart Contact Sensor. This camera was inadvertently leaked last month but was spotted briefly by our friends over at SmartApfel.de, although there was unfortunately little to go on in terms of specs at that time.
The new camera, dubbed the VC1 Opto Smart Indoor Camera, is scheduled to be released later this year and is already now listed on the company’s EU site as due in March, priced at just €47.99 incl. VAT. The Opto will come with a 3mp camera at 1080p resolution and will be exclusively compatible with HomeKit and HomeKit Secure Video (HSV), so no options for working with Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. It will have night vision capabilities, using four built-in IR LEDs with a purported range of 6m or just under 20ft.
Unlike the Eufy cameras released this summer, the Opto will have two-way audio. As it will be compatible with HSV, it will have all of the functionality that the Apple service brings, which includes 10 days of video footage, smart detection for people, animals, and vehicles, as well as facial recognition. You will need a suitable iCloud plan to use the HSV functions, however, which starts with the 200Gb plan for one camera, or 2TB plan supporting up to five cameras. The camera is also capable of Pan & Tilt functionality, being able to rotate to 350º horizontally, as well as tilt to 117º vertically.
Also like the Eufy equivalent, the camera can be mounted on a ceiling, with an included plate that screws into the base of the camera. One peculiarity of the Opto compared to pretty much all other HomeKit cameras, is that the LED indicators you tend to see with HSV compatible cameras – Red when recording, or Blue when just streaming – are located on the rear of the camera. Some might see this as an odd choice, but in many ways, it makes sense, as some people prefer not to have an LED glaring at them all the time, with some finding that the red light can be disconcerting, especially if they’re aware that red means you are being recorded.
The Opto does not come with an option to record locally to an SD Card, however, so if that’s something you’re looking for, the Opto may not be the camera for you, although some HSV-capable cameras don’t have this option, including the Logitech Circle View and the Eve Cam. One final small, but appreciated detail with the Opto is that the power supply uses USB-C, which surprisingly enough is still rarely seen on many devices, with the Onvis C3 being the only other HomeKit camera we’re aware of that uses the USB-C interface.
We’re not sure when it’ll be released in the US, but chances are high it will be out at the same time that it debuts in Europe, and for around the same price.
Thanks to Mariusz for the tipoff.