Cameras are all around us in these modern times, and many people use them to keep track of their kids, dogs or even their properties. One of the biggest issues faced when using an outdoor camera is having to run a wire for power, so the Kami Wire-Free Outdoor Camera by Yi provides an alternative by relying only on rechargeable batteries.
Installing the Kami is very easy. The box comes with a battery recharger and four batteries that go inside the Kami. There is also a metal mounting plate and some screws as well as anchors for easy mounting on various surfaces. All in all, from opening the box to having the camera installed was maybe 10-15 minutes tops, and most of that time was deciding the best place to put it. Setup using the Kami Home app (available on both the App Store and Google Play) was also extremely easy, and I was up and running in no time.
Remote viewing of the camera through the app also worked very well, although it does take some time to connect to the camera every time — most likely due to battery conservation– but when it’s connected the video quality is very good and stable. You have options to record videos, take pictures, speak (it does do 2-way audio, which is nice), among other things. There’s also a handy battery indicator so you can keep an eye on the battery level.
So far so good right? That’s what I thought as well until I tried to use the Kami as a security camera. At the very top of the app, there are two large toggles that say Home or Away, similar to what anyone with a home security system would be used to. When it’s on Home you won’t get Alerts at all (I haven’t figured out how to at least) for any motion detected which is fine. When Away, as you’d expect, you will get (or should get) push notifications when there is a motion alert, and the camera should take a video clip that you can review.
As you can tell from my words, this is, unfortunately, something that hasn’t been reliable or in many cases has plain just not worked for me while reviewing this security camera. As an example, just this morning I woke up and had notifications for 5 alerts which startled me so I opened the app and there was nothing there in the video clips. I’ve also had times when I got an alert at 10 am, and when I launched the app the clip showed a video from 11 PM the night before!
Also worth noting is that by default the camera does not come with any cloud backup or history. You can purchase this as a monthly/yearly plan, but by default, it will only store one day’s worth of clips/videos. This is not a huge sea,l and I believe it’s pretty standard across multiple companies, but it’s worth mentioning.
I can only guess that this is largely due to battery saving features that are not quite working and perhaps issues with the Android app (the version I’m using). However, I can only review based on my experience, and based on that this camera is completely useless for security as it is today. I think the overall ease of wire-free setup combined with the strong video quality make it a great camera for monitoring something like your backyard, pool, garage, driveway, whatever — as long as you don’t expect it to alert you accurately and timely when there’s motion.
The Kami Wire-Free Outdoor Camera by Yi retails for $89.99 and is currently only available on the Yi website
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Super easy to install and setup; Great video and audio quality; Nice application and user interface; Comes with a nice battery charger; No wires at all; Affordable
What Needs Improvement: Alerts are unreliable and in the end useless for security; Very limited functionality out of the box without subscribing to cloud service