Unless you've figured out how to clone yourself, you can't be in two places at once. But you can keep an eye on, say, the baby's room, the babysitter, an elderly parent who's living on their own, an empty house, and so on -- even when you're not there.
All you need is a Webcam that feeds live video to your smartphone or tablet.
The Stem Innovation iZon Remote Room Monitor
is one such Webcam, and it costs far less than competing products. Ah, but is it any good?
Yes and no.The concept behind the iZon is excellent, the price quite reasonable. It's the execution that falls a bit short, though not so far that you should rule out buying one.
Small, white, and cylindrical, the iZon stands about four inches high on its curved, magnetic base. That base makes it easy to position the camera, and can even be hung upside-down. An appreciably lengthy power cord supplies the juice.
The device connects to your home Wi-Fi network, streaming live images to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch by way of the free Stem:Connect app
. (Alas, no sign of any Android apps just yet.)
I found setup to be a bit tricky, in part because you must first pair your iDevice with your iZon, then back to your home network. Also, my camera required a firmware update right out of the box, and that proved to be a slow, slightly complicated process.
From there, however, everything worked pretty smoothly. My iPhone detected the iZon, and with a few taps I was looking at live video.
Live, laggy, blurry, low-resolution video. It's okay if you're fixed on a fairly stationary object, like a baby's crib, but if you're trying to, say, spot the kid who's been vandalizing your flower beds at night, lots of luck.
Although the iZon can't pan or zoom like some higher-end wireless Webcams, it does offer motion- and audio-detection features -- including the option to automatically start recording video when a motion alarm gets triggered.
In my tests, however, I couldn't get motion detection to work. Time didn't permit me to resolve this with Stem's tech support, but at least one other reviewer encountered the same problem
. Thankfully, Stem does seem to be pushing out semi-regular updates to the app, so hopefully this will get fixed soon.
With a price tag of $129.95, the iZon is one of the most affordable wireless Webcams on the market. (FYI, Walmart currently sells it for $107
.) With a few performance tweaks, it could become one of the most attractive.
If you've tried the iZon yourself, hit the comments and let me know your thoughts about it!