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Discover what all the fancy-sounding features of a sophisticated Wi-Fi security camera are actually good for

You might think that once you've seen one security camera, you've seen them all, but although there are several features common to various models, the details definitely vary. If your eyes are glazing over from trying to compare the pros and cons of all the different units, freshen up your mind with this easy-to-follow rundown of why these features might be relevant to you!

Wi-Fi connectivity lets you operate your camera via your home's Wi-Fi network. In practice, this means you can connect the camera to the internet – and in a sense, this is where the magic happens. Network capability allows you to control the camera, view footage, and send audio (in other words, talk to whoever you're looking at) using an app on your smartphone, or via your web browser.

Resolution is a measure of how much detail the camera can record. A 1080p camera has a sensor capable of capturing 1920 x 1080 pixels. Some security cameras can record in up to 4K, or 3840 x 2160 pixels.

Standalone recording is a feature of some cameras which allows the camera to record directly to an onboard MicroSD card (sold separately) as its storage media, instead of just sending the footage via network to your phone, an NVR system or cloud storage.

Pan/tilt control means the camera is mounted on a motorised gimbal that allows you to turn it left or right, and up or down, to view exactly what you want to look at. This can all be done remotely from your smartphone.

Motion sensing activates or 'wakes' your camera from inactivity when it detects motion nearby, and can make it start recording, send a push notification or sound an alarm, depending on how it's set up.

Push notifications are pop-ups sent immediately from the camera to your phone or browser to let you know the camera has detected something, and are often accompanied by footage to show you what's triggered the sensor.

IR illumination comes from infra-red LEDs for night vision without using visible light.

Two-way audio means the camera has an onboard speaker as well as a microphone. This lets you talk to whoever you're looking at remotely, instead of only seeing and hearing what's going on.

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- March 2020

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