Trusted Reviews may earn an affiliate commission when you purchase through links on our site. Learn More

Linksys PCV2300 Review

Key Specifications

  • Review Price: £179.83

Linksys has never been a big cheese in the IP camera market with the WVC200 being its solitary offering for some time now. The latest PVC2300 signals a move into business surveillance territory as this chunky little camera delivers an impressive range of features at an affordable price. This puts it right up against leviathan Axis Communications and here we see whether it offers a suitable alternative to one of the biggest and most sophisticated ranges of business IP cameras on the market.


Two models are available with the wired version on review but Linksys also offers the WPVC2300, which brings 802.11g wireless into the mix. Other than this they are essentially the same and one feature that makes the PVC2300 stand out is support for PoE (Power over Ethernet) enabling the camera to be powered over standard network cabling when connected to a suitable 802.11af PoE compliant Ethernet switch.


The camera body is made of solid brushed aluminium and certainly looks and feels sturdy enough. Its hardware specification is reasonable as well, as you get an F1.7 CS-mount lens at the business end and this is teamed up with a 1/4in. CCD sensor. The lens needs to be manually focused using the outer ring and is also removable. You can use other CS-mount compatible lens and the body has a power receptacle for auto-iris versions although at the time of review Linksys itself didn’t offer any other models. The camera supports both MPEG-4 and Motion JPEG and a frame rate of up to 30fps means it should pick up the action well.


Motion detection is on the menu and the microphone in and speaker out audio sockets means you can listen to the area under surveillance and communicate with those being observed as well. The 10-pin I/O connector block at the rear offers 12V of power to devices such as alarms and it also links the camera up with other external security systems such as door sensors enabling them to trigger video capture if activated.


For testing, we powered the camera successfully from the lab’s HP ProCurve 2626-PWR PoE switch. Installation moved along at a swift pace with the bundled Setup Wizard hunting down the camera on the network and presenting it ready for initial configuration. Provide a time zone and a static IP address if you wish and then it’s over to the browser management interface where an ActiveX control is automatically installed on first contact. The home page opens with a live view with controls for the digital zoom while the snapshot button takes an instant picture that can be saved as a JPEG. If you have external devices attached to the I/O block outputs they can be activated directly from here and the night and day icons enable the lens filter to be manually activated.

The configuration pages look far more sophisticated than those offered by the WVC200 and are also easier to navigate. There’s plenty to play with as you can set the default image size and quality for MPEG-4 and M-JPEG, add a date and time stamp to the live view and bring in your own custom overlay. Motion detection isn’t as sophisticated as that offered by Axis but you can use full screen or up to three custom windows and set the sensitivity for each one.


If motion detection or any other sensor is activated the camera can download images to an FTP server, email them to three addresses and even use IM (Instant Messaging) applications such as Windows Live Messenger. For the latter you need to provide a Jabber server address and the manual is pretty useless on this but you’ll find plenty of assistance at www.jabber.org. The camera works with Apple’s Bonjour for automatic discovery – the same as used by iTunes to find shared music. You get predefined QoS (Quality of Service) settings for audio or video while CoS (Class of Service) options enable you to specify a traffic priority and which VLAN the camera should join.

(centre)”’The bundled Setup Wizard takes care of initial installation.”’(/centre)

—-

The configuration pages look far more sophisticated than those offered by the WVC200 and are also easier to navigate. There’s plenty to play with as you can set the default image size and quality for MPEG-4 and M-JPEG, add a date and time stamp to the live view and bring in your own custom overlay. Motion detection isn’t as sophisticated as that offered by Axis but you can use full screen or up to three custom windows and set the sensitivity for each one.


If motion detection or any other sensor is activated the camera can download images to an FTP server, email them to three addresses and even use IM (Instant Messaging) applications such as Windows Live Messenger. For the latter you need to provide a Jabber server address and the manual is pretty useless on this but you’ll find plenty of assistance at www.jabber.org. The camera works with Apple’s Bonjour for automatic discovery – the same as used by iTunes to find shared music. You get predefined QoS (Quality of Service) settings for audio or video while CoS (Class of Service) options enable you to specify a traffic priority and which VLAN the camera should join.


Any IP camera will have to go some to beat Axis for image quality and we found the PVC2300 is not the one that’ll do it. You have five options for quality and we found the Very High setting delivered a reasonably good picture. At this level quality is good with a sharp focus and accurate colour balance although motion does get a little jerky. Artefacts mar the picture at the default Normal setting although it does deliver smoother motion. As we expected, the digital zoom is of limited value and at the maximum 4X setting quality deteriorates sufficiently to make the image unusable.


Linksys provides a good software bundle, which enables you to access multiple cameras and record video direct to hard disk. Provide the IP address of each camera and you can access up to sixteen from the same interface, view and record their video feed and use the camera controls for activating outputs and taking snapshots.


”’Verdict”’


If you want the best image quality then Axis is still the place to go but Linksys’ new business IP camera does deliver a lot of quality features including PoE support and all at a very reasonable price.

(centre)”’Overall image quality at the highest setting is quite good although the digital zoom isn’t up to much.

—-


Different windows of opportunity are provided for motion detection.

—-


The camera offers plenty of notification options and support for IM apps as well.

—-


The recording and playback software provided add considerable value to this package.

—-

Trusted Score


Score in detail

  • Value 8
  • Features 8

Unlike other sites, we thoroughly test every product we review. We use industry standard tests in order to compare features properly. We’ll always tell you what we find. We never, ever accept money to review a product. Tell us what you think - send your emails to the Editor.

NAV BUG FIX