What’s in the box?
- Xiaomi XiaoFang Smart Wireless IP Camera
- Power Adapter
- USB Cable
- Chinese Manual
One of the many ways to secure your beloved homes and properties is to put a security camera on places that require surveillance like the garage, terrace, your main gate or other important parts of the house.
A couple of weeks ago, there had been some unpleasant events that occurred at our home unnoticed. One of the tires of our car was punctured by a round head nail. It was roughly around an inch long but enough to flatten the tire. Another perplexing incident happened on the same car and its fuel door. It was forcibly opened and someone siphoned almost all the fuel inside leaving the care close to empty the following day my mom noticed the eerie incident.
At this point, we still don’t know how these obnoxious incidents happened. But we are thinking that some psychopath from the neighborhood did it. I’m not sure about the culprit’s motives but clearly we have to do something to apprehend his uncivilized behaviours in case it happens again in the future. This is why putting security cameras around our home came into our heads.
I spent almost a week looking for the most economical ways of installing security cameras for houses and most of my research ended up with some expensive CCTV cameras, complete with DVR and a complex installation process. But one cheap and affordable alternative that outshines them all is the Xiaomi XiaoFang Smart Wireless IP Camera.
The Xiaomi XiaoFang Smart Wireless IP Camera luckily has everything you would expect from a security camera. It is capable of taking photos and videos up to 1080p with audio using its F2.0 aperture, 110° viewing lens and built-in microphone.
The Xiaomi XiaoFang doesn’t run on batteries but on electricity using its power adapter along with its usb power cable that is 1.8meter in length.
The base of the unit is magnetic so you can easily attach it on metal surfaces. Its base can also be configured in multiple angles and positions. It rotates up to 360° and has two hinges for tilting the device up and down. The base also covers the microSD slot, setup button and some tiny holes that are probably for expelling heat.
The back part has the micro usb port for powering the unit, a status light indicator and a USB port for connecting the unit to a computer where you could retrieve all the files saved on the memory card. There is also a speaker at the back which transmits voice and sounds sent from the MiHome app.
The front portion has the the light and infrared sensors, camera and microphone.
Unlike normal CCTV cameras that store videos in a DVR, the Xiaomi XiaoFang has a microSD memory card slot for saving captured photos and videos. I am currently using a Samsung 32GB EVO UHS1 Class 10 memory card and it can hold up to 4 days continuous recording which is roughly 96 hours in total. And once the memory card reaches its full capacity, it overwrites the oldest file leaving enough storage for the new ones.
Tip: Use a double sided tape to attach the unit on a concrete surface. I suggest using this 8-pieces Scotch indoor mounting squares I bought from Ace Hardware for P129. One square can hold up to 0.25lb weight. One square would probably be enough but using four squares like what I did as seen on the photo above can cover exactly the entire base of the unit. This would securely put the camera into place on any concrete surface.
Setting up the Xiaomi XiaoFang may be a little bit difficult at first but once it’s done you could entirely leave it and just control everything with the MiHome app. The paper manual that came with the unit is entirely written on Chinese so if you’re having a problem with that, might as well check my other blog on the step-by-step guide on setting up the Xiaomi XiaoFang for the first time (Coming Soon).
Camera Features, Settings & the MiHome app
The MiHome app is everything you will ever need to remotely access almost all the things the camera could do. Once you have the MiHome app synced perfectly with the camera, you could already perform everything it is capable of doing such as changing various camera and recording settings, take a snapshot, perform real-time zooming, do a timelapse, flip its view, speak to the unit’s speaker and many more.
This camera has a lot of customizable settings depending on your needs and how you want it to do certain tasks. For example, you have the option to set a specific time of the day on when it would start and stop recording as well as the day or days of the week it would repeat recording.
There is also an option to flip the image in case you mount the camera upside down.
You could also toggle the date and time watermark on or off which would appear at the bottom right of the footage while it’s recording. Under the settings menu, there are also additional toggles to turn on and off its other features such as Motion and Sound Detection Plus Alarm, Smoke Detection Plus Alarm, CO (Carbon Monoxide) Alarm and more.
Remote & Sharing Access
One of the coolest features of the Xiaomi XiaoFang is it allows you to share the device with other people. This feature works really well especially if you live in a house with your family. Sharing access gives other users same access to everything that you can do with the device and the app. Another great feature worth mentioning is remote access. As long as the camera is setup with your home’s wifi with internet connection. Anyone that has authorized access with the device can remotely view the camera using the app anytime, anywhere. This neat little feature gives us peace of mind when we are away from home for we can view it anywhere we go.
Xiaomi XiaoFang has a built-in speaker. Using the app’s Speak Button, you can transmit sounds such as your voice directly into the camera’s built-in speakers in real time. The sound comes out clear and loud enough that a person 6feet away from the camera can hear it without problem.
Picture and Video Quality
Xiaomi XiaoFang has two options in terms of the quality of its recordings – High Quality and Provincial Traffic. The High Quality records video at at an average of 90kb/s while provincial traffic is the low quality setting and records at 30kb/s. Both quality records audio in mono.
You could also take a snapshot and record video manually of the live footage using the app. And the these files will be saved automatically on the device’s memory card and could be downloaded and shared to your phone.
The quality is very acceptable and adequate for a security camera. Both photos and videos are captured in full high-definition (FHD) or 1920×1080 resolution. Image quality during daytime is clear and crisp, it may go overexposed sometimes but the camera adjusts accordingly when sunlight is too harsh. In addition, I am able to recognize the people’s faces easily even they are 15-20 feet away from the camera. Image quality during night time works fine too. When Night Mode is set to Auto, the camera will switch to night mode automatically in the evening, turning the image into black and white. However, it may be difficult to recognize people’s faces at night especially in dark spots with insufficient light. But this could be fixed by putting some soft, low-powered bulb in those areas.
Here are some sample snapshots taken with the Xiaomi XiaoFang. You could also use the photos as a quick comparison of the image quality between daytime and nighttime.
Night Time (Night Mode ON)
Day Time (Normal / Night Mode OFF)
I simply adore the Xiaomi XiaoFang Smart Wireless IP Camera and all its cool features. For me, there is nothing to dislike in this product for it simply has everything I am looking for in a security camera. Xiaomi is known for making quality and affordable consumer products so I am confident that there is no comparable product that could beat the Xiaomi XiaoFang‘s build quality, features and price. Packed with everything you need in a security camera, I could easily recommend this to my family and friends without second thought.