Home security cameras are quickly becoming a commodity these days, and they all follow the same basic formula – the more you pay, the more you get. The Hoop Cam Plus seemingly breaks that mold by offering a very affordable camera that is attractive, easy to both operate, and setup that even includes panning and tilt in its feature list. The Hoop Cam Plus has no right to be this good for this price, and I’ve been impressed with how good it truly has been.
I’m relatively new to Hoop Home, but their Hoop Cam Plus really caught my eye when I unboxed it. The model I received to review was a pleasant red color, and it came in a tall cylinder packaging that felt very well thought out as it wasted minimal packaging. The box itself only contained the camera and charger with the requisite cable. The cable itself is worth mentioning because it’s a flat cable (think how old school phone line cords are), which makes it easy to hide out of the way or staple/tape to the wall. Great touch there.
Setting it up was very easy, I just downloaded the Hoop Home app (available on both Android or iOS) and went through the fairly smooth setup. As is often the case, there was an update waiting, which took a few minutes to install, but after that, it was ready to go.
I placed the Hoop Cam Plus on my fireplace mantel and left it there for over a week to see what it would capture and perform. As you can see in the picture, the camera can pan and tilt using the app, which is an incredibly useful feature but is mainly for when you are viewing the camera live. When you leave the camera alone, there is no way that I found to have it continuously pan and tilt over a specific area, for example. I also don’t think this is a big deal or a major issue since the camera lens is wide-angle enough that it picks up a large area even when static.
The mobile app is surprisingly good because it feels like while there are a lot of companies out there that can make great hardware, great software is always more challenging. Luckily, Hoop has a very solid and usable mobile app available that is enjoyable to use.
The main screen gives you a nice scrollable list of clips that are recorded and stored on the cloud for the day. You can scroll the list left to see prior days, and it’s all sorted in chronological order so easy to find what you’re looking for. Each clip has options to be shared, favorited, downloaded, or deleted. One of the better user interfaces I’ve seen in a mobile camera app and most likely the area you will spend the most time on.
There is also a quick toggle for the various modes such as Home, Away, High Alert. Each mode has a day and a night mode, which is an excellent feature. So this will allow you, for example, to turn everything off for Home – Day, but maybe at Home – Night, you want to have some motion detection on or be alerted if anything is depending on where the camera is.
The live camera screen is also very easy to operate. There is a virtual d-pad below the screen you can use for pan/tilt, or you can actually flick/touch the viewfinder as well. I have to admit this is very satisfying and works as well as I would expect so more kudos to Hoop for getting this detail down.
The camera also integrates with both Alexa and Google Home, so I was able to add it to my Google Home app, which allowed me to view the live feed on my Google Home Hub Max or Google Home app even. This seems basic, but you’d be surprised how many products don’t have this functionality, so it’s nice when it’s there and works.
The video quality itself is excellent as it’s 1080p, but it’s nothing that will stand apart from other similar cameras – many you’d expect from higher price ranges, though. The camera also supports 2-way audio so you can have fun scaring your kids or partners when you wish while also being able to hear them curse at you for doing so.
The final point, perhaps the most important one, is that this Hoop Cam Plus costs $69. To me, this is an incredible value given the quality of the video/audio, the excellent hardware design, the fantastic mobile app experience, among many other things. After having used this myself for this review, I would expect to pay maybe twice that much and still be impressed with it, so to get it for what it costs, it almost feels too good to be true!
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Excellent hardware design with different colors; supports pan and tilt; solid 1080p video with audio; 2-way audio works as described; motion and sound detection works well; fantastic mobile app; integrates with Alex and Google; phenomenal value
What Needs Improvement: None that I discovered during the review