Calex Holland Camera Test Smart Indoor IP: good or bad surprise?

Our opinion on the Calex connected indoor camera

The world of cameras is as big as the universe can be. There is always something new to explore. We have therefore found a new brand for you in this area: Calex Holland. If the brand is not completely unknown to you, it is because we presented you last year its very beautiful Calex Holland Globe bulb or the very efficient LED strip it offers. This time we are going to explore the Calex Holland Camera Smart indoor IP. Sold around 40 €, let's see what this small Wi-Fi camera working on the network 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi will reveal to us. We have a tradition of thinking that surprises should rather be stored in the maids drawer, but is this still the case?

26,20€
In stock
3 new from € 26,20
August 10, 2022 10:50 a.m.
Amazon. Fr

Calex Holland camera: a mini Tuya camera / Smart Life

Unboxing

Calex Holland presents its articles in an original way by displaying a visual of the product in the corner of the packaging spread over two sides. The cardboard is thick for a good protection, glossy for the side pleasing to the eye and smooth to the touch. The colors of the camera are in tune with those of the box, black and white. The logos of main features are highlighted and repeated on the back of the box. On the sides, we find the various products of the brand compatible with Wi-Fi and the logo " Powered by tuya » without further mention.

Let's open the box and discover its contents:

We extract a relatively flat and cut box to let the convex shape of the camera and its base stand out. At this point, only the Quick Start Guide and Certificate of Compliance are visible. The box opens from the side and contains:

  • La Calex Holland camera of course.
  • The cXNUMX meter USB cable long only (a little short depending on the location, it may be necessary to provide a longer one).
  • THEDC 5V adapter +/- 10%.
  • Un double sided adhesive. Here no screws provided for fixing.

Let's approach the camera. She is small with her 11 cm high for 5.3 cm wide placed on its round two-tone plinth. The outer casing of the "head" is white plastic while the part accommodating the lens is black, with however a white reminder encircling it which breaks the rather large dark surface, and this is not to displease us. Below, an operating LED indicates according to its color:

  • Steady red: Wi-Fi network problem.
  • Flashing red: waiting for the Wi-Fi network.
  • Solid blue: camera in service.
  • Flashing blue: Wi-Fi connection in progress.

 

When the camera is in night mode, above the lens, the infrared LED, single LED for lighting, lights up. The LED below, blue, seems to go through the plastic and come out at the back. In fact, this is what is happening.

In profile we can see his thin since she only does that 3.2 cm, but also the many breakthroughs that surround the camera, they are not only there for the aesthetic side. We better understand their usefulness when we take the camera in hand after a short time of operation because it gets a little hot. On the left side of the camera, a slot for local storage on micro SD card with a maximum capacity of 128 GB (not included, but at this price, nothing abnormal).

On the back we find the label with the serial number, in the center the loudspeakerr, on the left the reset button if necessary (keep pressed for 5 seconds), on the right the slot for the microSD card. Here it is the only means of storage offered. No cloud storage. Under the speaker, the microphone may suggest that the sound may be muffled or at least attenuated since the person will be in front of the lens. To see by testing whether this aspect is confirmed or not.

A good part of the retaining rod is flexible because it is made of rubberized material and envelops the end of the upper plastic part. The junction is made by a socket and probably glued inside because it is solid. This flexibility will allow the Calex Holland camera articulate and orient the camera in the desired position especially if the choice of a wall mount is made. This is not a motorized camera, it's up to you to adjust its positioning correctly during installation. The black base is made of hard plastic like the camera shell and contains the USB socket. Only this part around the socket has a finish not as clean as the rest, and again it is not obvious to the naked eye. Below is the CE conformity label, Wi-Fi network compatibility and information about the importer. Electro Circle Retail owner of the Calex Holland brand.

The overall appearance and the quality of the materials, without being exceptional, make a good impression on us.

Calex Holland Camera Datasheet

  • Brand : Calex
  • Reference : 429260
  • Materials : Plastic
  • Camera dimension  L x W x H: 5.3 cm x 3.2 cm x 11 cm
  • Camera weight : 54 grams
  • Color : White and Black
  • Video resolution : Full HD 1080p maximum resolution
  • Angle of vision : 110 °
  • Night vision : up to 10 meters
  • Audio : Bidirectional
  • Warehousing : possible on micro SD card up to 128GB (not supplied)
  • Log in : Wireless
  • Frequency : 2.4GHz-802.11b / g / h
  • Power Input : 100-240 V - 50 / 60Hz, 0.2 A
  • Power Supply Output : 5 V - 1A
  • Cable length USB : 1 meter
  • Food : Wired
  • Voice assistants : NO
  • Usage : interior

 

Calex Holland camera: everyday use

Installation and use

The brand's products operate in a Tuya environment Smart and Calex Holland camera is no exception. The brand nevertheless has its own Calex app. Smart available Android et iOS, but it is quite possible to use the Tuya applications, as we are going to do since a very large number of devices can be supported from it and this allows us to limit the number accounts and, above all, applications installed on our smartphones.

 

For the handling and the first steps in the application we refer you to our Tuya tutorial / Smart Life.

TO READ :
Tutorial Smart Life: how to use the Swiss Army Knife

Once you arrive on the home page, click on " +". On the next page, in the left menus go to the category: video surveillance and in the center select the first icon " Security camera (Wi-fFi)". Turn on the camera if it has not yet been done. It should be flashing red quickly. If this was not done, press 5 seconds on the button reset on the back of the camera to switch it to pairing mode. Confirm this state to go to the next step. If you have ever used Smart Life your Wi-Fi network information (SSID and password) is just to be confirmed, if not, fill them in, mentioning those on your 2.4GHz network. On the next page a QR code is displayed that must be swept about twenty centimeters in front of the eye of the Calex Holland camera for the pairing to take place. This is successful when a little music is heard. An operation that is done very quickly and without any difficulty. Confirm that you have heard the music to start pairing.

The search is then carried out very quickly and you will see the new camera titled: "camera outside" displayed. As often translation problems persist at Tuya because this camera is well planned for a indoor use and not outside. At this point you can rename camera or not ... Because it must be admitted now, the Calex Holland camera is not compatible with Alexa or Google Home. If you've read the spec sheet, you already knew that, but it's a small disappointment. Although on the packaging the compatibility is not mentioned at all, it is true, we had hopes for a device operating under Tuya environment. Nay.

The actual installation is complete, the Calex Holland camera takes place on the home page of the application. When you click on it for the first time, you will be presented with an invitation to test the reception of notifications as well as other settings.

 

With that done, let's see how the display looks in the app. The feed view page looks like a lot ofother cameras that we have already tested. So on the image you will find the following information:
  • THEtimestamp.
  • La signal strength reception.
  • Le loud speaker : activate or deactivate listening.
  • La flow quality broadcast. Click on it and you will switch from the flow HD to SD stream (without further details when the standard is disseminated)
  • Le full screen mode : to switch to landscape mode. Here you have to activate the switch by clicking on it. It will not be done systematically even if you have allowed automatic rotation in the settings of your smartphone. It is not the most embarrassing, if the smartphone is in a case that allows it to be placed horizontally, you just have to click on the function.

The image quality in SD in "normal" vision does not differ too much from that in HD. On the other hand, when zooming, there is a big difference in rendering. It's obvious. The rasterization in SD mode is very coarse. In HD 1080p (the only data provided), even by zooming in, we get a completely correct image when it comes to zooming in on the image.

By switching to landscape mode, only the speaker and microphone functions are available and can disappear if you tap on the image. Click on the return function of your smartphone to switch back to portrait mode. We often see the Fish Eye effect that we find on almost all cameras.

The menus available below the image are:
  • The screenshot : to take a photo. You will find the photo in "Photo Album". When you click, nothing informs you if the capture is taken: no visual sign like the icon which flashes or sounds, it is only by going to the gallery that you will see the shooting.
  • Speak : click to speak with the microphone of your smartphone it activates the speaker of the camera but it cuts that of the smartphone while you are talking. You have to "play" the button by pressing either the microphone to turn it off or that of the speaker, but above all, take turns speaking. Even if it avoids the cacophony this is not the most practical at all
  • Save : record a video that you will also find in Photo Album
  • Litterature : the icon is active which if you have inserted a Micro SD card and opens a page for you to search for a recording, play the video and extract a screenshot that you will recover in the photo album.
  • Alarm : it is a shortcut to the section of the “parameters” page allowing to determine the type of detection:
    • Movement and / or sound
    • Sensitivity levels
      •  low, medium or high for motion detection
      •  low or high for sound detection.

The page is also used to plan schedules.

  • Photo album : shortcuts to the gallery of smartphone of captures and videos taken at your initiative.

When looking at the pictures at night , We observe that night vision is good, although provided by a single LED. “Normal” vision is very satisfactory even in SD mode but remains problematic when zooming. In HD mode the shades of gray are more noticeable.

Night vision is good.

In landscape mode, only one type of stream is offered, HD in view of the quality, whether in "day" or night mode.
Let's move on to the camera settings.
Accessible by clicking on the pencil at the top of the page, you will find the classic information inherent in the device settings pages such as:
  • Click on the camera icon to change its name,
  • Scenarios and automations : to view and manage those established from the “scenario” page. About that, the scenarios created go back well in the application Alexa or Google Home, but do not add anything since they are not a triggering fact but the consequence of a prior action. The scope is irrelevant.
  • Setting the basic functions :
    • Activate / deactivate the status indicator,
    • Reverse the image if you install it on the ceiling (better than torticollis)
    • Overprint: enable / disable timestamp. The translation is not very representative of the function, but it is also true that it appears in “superimposition”.
  • Infrared night vision function : 3 possible modes
    • Automatic, you don't have to do anything, the camera switches to infrared when the brightness drops, the LED lights up.
    • Off: You will not see anything on the screen if the camera is in complete darkness.
    • On: The LED is on and you will only have a black and white stream even during daylight hours.
  • Detection alert settings : we saw it above with the “bell” shortcut on the visualization page.
  • SD Card Setting: This item only appears if you have inserted a Micro SD card. Do not look for it otherwise! you will find your card information and the configuration for the recordings: continuous or "if event". On this page you can move the red cursor to view a specific moment.

Finally in case of problems, a FAQ is available, in FrenchThis should be noted with the possibility of contacting support by attaching photos of the problem.

Sharing the camera with a third person is planned, but they will also need to create an account. Smart Life.

You also have the option ofadd a shortcut to access the camera on the home page of the smartphone to get directly to the live and it is a very good idea. We are encountering this possibility for the first time.

Finally the information on the firmware or firmware that you can automatically update to keep the Calex Holland camera always performing well.

Let's go back to the home page of the application. By clicking at the bottom of the page on:
  • Scenario:

This is the page to create an automation or a manual scenario (but less interesting in the case of a detection camera). So when movement is detected you can for example plan to light a lamp to attract your attention. To do this, from the " Automation »Click the« + »At the top right, then on« when the device status changes“, You only have one mode available: motion detection. Then click on " Run device", Designate the lamp also installed on the application Smart Life which should light up, choose the mode ON and save. Here is your scenario is created. It is he that you will find in the section previously seen.

  • profile:

To access the camera log, you must go to "Message center" you arrive at the various alarms that you may have already recorded in the application Smart Life. Click on the camera and you will get the reported detections: Sound and / or movement. Here too we can see the more than fanciful translation with "the status of the little unicorn"! If you "click to view" you return to the live stream. Why is it mentioned "Voice control failed" for motion detection? We don't have an answer for you.

With voice assistants

As said before, the camera is not compatible with voice assistants Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. On the other hand, the scenarios created in the application Smart Life, go back well in the scenes of the two applications. Only we cannot get something out of it since it is only a scenario and it is not in itself a trigger for another action.
In use, the Calex Holland camera is quite responsive, but with a rearming ranging from 50 seconds to 1 minute 30 for a new detection, which remains in the average of the cameras that we tested. The settings are limited and therefore simple for the layman, a good point. The big frustration remains the incompatibility with the voice assistants, a little incomprehensible since the scenarios manage to go up in one and the other application. In defense, the compatibility is not mentioned on the packaging and it is not a cloud camera.
La video quality is excellent in Full-HD 1080p and only poses a real problem in SD mode by zooming where there is a glaring difference in quality with pixelation.
Audio side, although the microphone is placed at the back of the device, the sound quality is also good. On the other hand, the fact of cutting the speaker when you press on the microphone is a good idea because the speaker turns on again once the microphone is deactivated, but you receive a sound detection alert since the speaker speaker perceives a sound… A little odd, but logical at the same time, it does not make a "distinction" of the origin of the noise.
26,20€
In stock
3 new from € 26,20
August 10, 2022 10:50 a.m.
Amazon. Fr
In conclusion, if you are looking for a camera compatible with voice assistants, go your way. If, on the other hand, you are looking for a small camera without the hassle of configuration and its application is sufficient for you, then the Calex Holland camera Smart Indoor IP will suit you. No subscription required, storage is provided locally. The video quality is very good and the audio just as decent. The microphone is ultra powerful because it will pick up the surrounding noises far. In the end, she does well everything you ask of a camera in the first place.
Simple user and novice fallen into the pot Alexa, this one fascinates me and thanks to the boys, Jean-Christophe and Alexien Modo, I learn a little more every day. Loving the different aspects ofAlexa, I turned to skills to share my discoveries with you.