There are several different small wireless camera/camcorders that act as remote monitors that you can find for sale today. Now a company named Stem Innovation has decided to jump into the fray with their own unique take in this specific space. The folks over at Stem Innovation were good enough to send us their iZon Remote Room Monitor to try out with our iOS devices. The iZon allows users to remotely monitor and listen in on spaces being viewed by the iZon. All you need is the iZon, a WIFI network, and the free to download Stem:Connect application from iTunes. The video and audio can be streamed onto your iOS device while connected to a cellular or WIFI network. Check out video after the break for hands-on!
The iZon from Stem has an MSRP of $129.99, but can currently be found on sale for slightly less at different online retailers. While the price and small size of the iZon are very appealing there are also a few drawbacks to the device. The iZon currently only comes in white and is in a tube form equipped with a camera/camcorder (QVGA video at 10 fps and VGA at 30 fps), microphone, and 802.11 WIFI support (B/G/N). In the box, as you can see on video below, you will find the iZon along with a mini USB to standard USB cord, an extension USB cord, AC adapter, magnetic base stand, quick start guide, and even some extras for those that would like to mount their iZon on the wall. Once users have gotten acquainted with what comes in the iZon box than users can download the Stem:Connect application from the iTunes App Store on their iZon supported iOS device which includes the iPod touch 3rd generation or later, iPhone 3GS or later and any iPad. The app allows users to set up a free stem account and connect to their iZon devices from wherever they are, provided they are connected to a cellular or WIFI network. Although we only tried out one iZon for our review, users can purchase even more units if they desire to keep more than one area of space remotely monitored.
The iZon is without an LED light of any kind and also is infrared (IR) absent and that can lead to no luck in dark environments. According to Stem they withheld IR capability because it “not only improves night-time viewing but also tends to wash out the video under normal lighting conditions.” So if you need a monitoring system to record in either dark rooms or low-light environments than forget about the iZon. There is also somewhat of a delay from the time that video and audio is viewed by iZon and then played back on iOS device. The delay seemed to remain consistent at 15-20 seconds at the max whether we were on a cellular or WIFI network. We were sad to see there was not much control we had with the camera on the iZon through our iOS devices other than viewing, recording, and listening. We were not able to zoom in and out or pan the room and that can lead to a very narrow view of a monitored space. We we would also like to see some expanded ability of ways to save and download video captured by the iZon. Right now you can only upload video directly to YouTube from the Stem:Connect application and in the future we hope to see the ability to download directly to computer or even to email your recorded video.
As you will see mentioned in first hands-on video we did with the iZon we found some of the alert notifications while using the Stem:Connect application on the iPhone initially appealing. The fact that we could adjust the sensitivity on alerts that consisted of movement or sound seemed like a cool feature in theory until we actually tried to use them and learned that there was not a 100% consistency in the alerts. We do want to point out that Stem claims it will be releasing a new software update to the Stem application in early 2012 and we assume there will be fixes to any inconsistencies. Stem claims that the future update will bring increased recording quality and additional capabilities.
Overall the iZon and its application are perfect for those wanting to monitor well light spaces without paying any recurring service fees. But for those wanting a bit more versatility while controlling a remote camera/camcorder while away than we have to say look elsewhere. To be certain whether the iZon is right from you without any fear of commitment than purchase your iZon from a retailer who has a good return policy such as Best Buy.