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Xiaomi XiaoFang Review: 1080P Wireless IP Camera

Product Introduction

The XiaoMi XiaoFang is a compact wireless portable camera, capable of recording video at maximum resolutions of 1080P. Designed in a shape of a box, very portable in size (50x 50 x 56 mm). It can be used as Smart IP security camera compatible, with most external power sources, for example, Power Bank or PC equipped with standard USB interface, what makes this product very handy using outdoors or indoors in a living room, bedrooms and so forth.

Xiaomi added few innovative functions, such as multiple camera linking and sharing. Remote operation and controlling via WiFi network using a mobile phone. In addition, it offers special intruder alarms, motion, and sound detection functions as well as a smoke alarm in case of a fire. The camera is also has a magnetic base that makes very easy to mount on most metallic surfaces. Information about the product, including price, can be found on the GearBest website link posted below:

Buy It From GearBest

Review Content:

  • Product introduction
  • Package
  • Unboxing (Package Content)
  • Appearance, Design, Build Quality
  • Operation
  • Storage
  • Main Features
  • Performance
  • Final verdict
  • Pros & Cons
Style: Box camera
IP Camera Performance: Night Vision, Two-way Audio
Feature: WiFi, Remote Monitoring, Voice Intercom
Sensor Type: CMOS
View Angle: 110°
Video Resolution: 1080P
Memory Card: TF
Max. Memory Supported: 64GB
Wireless / WiFi: 802.11 b/g/n
Power Supply: 5V/1A
Installation Type: Rotating Base Magnetic Adsorption
Lens Specifications: F2.0 Aperture
Infrared Lamp Board: 2PCS, 850nm, 0.5W
Night Vision Distance: 9M
Voice System: Support two-way voice transmission
Working Temperature: 0℃ – 40℃
Application: Android 4.0 or iOS 7.0 and above
Size: 56 x 50 x 50 mm / 2.20 x 1.97 x 1.97 inch
Weight: 100 g / 3.53 oz

 

XiaoMi XiaoFang Camera Highlights

  1. Mobile Phone Controlled.
  2. Remote Voice Intercom.
  3. Wi-Fi Direct mode – Can be used with mobile phone without Wireless Network.
  4. Can Be used with a Power Bank as power supply Source.
  5. Cloud Data Encryption – Integrates with Xiaomi cloud service for privacy.

 

Special Alarm / Monitoring Functions

  1. Motion Detection – Record and notify when the camera recognize movement.
  2. Smoke Alarm Sound Detection – When placed near a smoke Alarm detector.
  3. CO Alarm Sound Detection – When placed near to a CO detector.
  4. Support automatic synthesis of 180 degree super wide-angle picture.
  5. Support Real-time Zoom function.
  6. Night Vision- environment can be viewed in a complete darkness.

 

Other functions

Multi-picture in One Screen – Take your smartphone as a mobile monitoring room, 110° wide-angle lens, distortion correction algorithm, wider and more real. You can use Xiaomi APP to bind multiple cameras to show all their real-time shooting screens in the phone screen simultaneously, grasping the overall situation.

 

Camera Linking 

Two cameras can be combined by magnetic force to automatically composite 180° super wide-angle picture, no delay like Mechanical PTZ camera, no need to wait, slide the screen and see picture immediately.

 

Magnetic Base

Put it to anywhere as you need. The camera can be rotated to any angle. You can attach the camera in any metal like refrigerator or heating, or fix it on the wall with double-sided adhesive tape, even hang it from the ceiling.

 

Package

The XiaoFang camera came well packed in a nice green and white colored package with illustrations and icons on the back of the package showing various functions this camera has to offer.

Xiaomi XiaoFang Camera Package

 

Package Contents:

  • 1 x XiaoFang Camera
  • 1 x User Guide (in Chinese Language)
  • 1 x 1.8M USB to Micro-usb (Power Cable)
  • 1 x Retrieve card pin

Appearance, Design, Build Quality

The camera body has a clean, squared shape box made from plastic with a base unit connected to is with a pin / axis. The surfaces of the body of the camera are glossy that gives it a very high quality, stylish type look to the product, as you are holding an expensive product and not a low cost ~$26 camera. That said, The camera can be rotated in 360 degrees, including an up and down directions. Another nice idea by Xiaomi was the fordable magnetic base unit that lets you attach it to metal surfaces. A great option for mounting the camera to metal doors and Door frames.

Xiaomi XiaoFang Camera | Full View

  • XiaoMi XiaoFang Camera | Front View
  • XiaoMi XiaoFang Camera | Top View
  • XiaoMi XiaoFang Camera | Full View #1
  • XiaoMi XiaoFang Camera | Full View #2
  • XiaoMi XiaoFang Camera | Folding Base View
  • XiaoMi XiaoFang Camera | Back with highten base View
  • XiaoMi XiaoFang Camera | Buttom View
  • XiaoMi XiaoFang Camera | Rotation View
  • XiaoMi XiaoFang Camera | Uper movment View
  • XiaoMi XiaoFang Camera | Full View
  • XiaoMi XiaoFang Camera | Side Profile View
  • XiaoMi XiaoFang Camera | Base View
  • XiaoMi XiaoFang Camera | Back View with folded base

 

Xiaomi XiaoFang Mounted on Metal Door 

Power Requirements 

Operate the camera you will need to use a 5V – 1A power source. Optional power sources can be a standard power adapter, PC / Mini PC with a standard USB Host interface. For outdoor usage you can even use a Power bank, solar panel, or connect it to the small single board computer, such as the Orange Pi Zero with an external WiFi antenna and set to operate in access point mode and get the power from its USB host port.

 

Operation

You will not any internal power source built inside the camera. In power supply Xiaomi included 1.8M USB to Micro-USB flat cable that is more than enough in length if you are placing the camera at a distance from the power source. If a shorter cable is needed you can always use a standard mobile phone charging / data cable.

XiaoMi XiaoFang Camera Power Cable

The user guide is written in Chinese language because the XiaoFang camera is mainly designed for Chinese domestic market. Despite that, with some basic logic and understanding its very easy to understand all steps needed to connect the camera with “My Home”App that has English and guides the user during the setup process.

For first time step you will first need to download “My Home” Application by scanning the QR code located on the side of the left side package or alternatively download it directly from google play store. The next step is opening an account, by registering via email and password. After you are logged inside the app you can choose the camera connection mode you prefer.

Now, for the less positive thing in setting this camera. The setup process involves inserting a pin tool inside the camera setup hole to establish a link between the camera and the phone. Its less comfortable and sometimes annoying if you need to repeat the sames steps a few times. In my opinion, it was a much better idea in terms of design to use a small button without depending or needing to use it.

 

Establishing Camera Phone Link:

Cloud – After subscribing logging inside the ‘Mi Home’ App you will need us the pen tool and push it inside the setup hole of the camera until you hear the verbal Chinese instruction telling to proceed to the next step that guides you to scan a QR Code, until you hear a second voice prompt and for a final step you just need to select a local wireless network, enter your password and that’s it you are ready.

 

First Steps:

  1. Installing Mi Home App
  2. Registering an account
  3. Selecting Camera Mode: Cloud / Wi-Fi Direct

Mi Home Android App

Operation Modes:

Wi-Fi Direct – in this mode the camera serves as a type of access point and connection between the camera and the phone is done directly, without depending on a local network or server to pass the data. First, you need to define a pin code that is basically a pre defined password for linking both device. First, you need to define a pin code that is basically a predefined password for linking both devices.

This P2P mode has its limits if you are using the camera in a closed and not open environment, for example indoors, inside rooms where the walls may block and interfere the radio singles. Also important to mention that in this mode you can’t access the internet via other wireless networks.

 Camera Setup | Wi-Fi Direct Mode

Cloud – The connection with the camera is done trough Xiaomi cloud platform (server). This is the best option for operating the camera indoors or outdoors from every location. Control it a mobile phone from any location using data cellular mobile data connection. In this mode, the link between the phone and the camera is done trough Xiaomi server compared to the WiFi direct option that establish a direct P2P mode using an only the mobile phone and the camera.

 Camera Setup | Cloud Mode

Storage – video files and still photos are saved and stored locally on USB Stick and a Micro SD Card inserted into the camera. The user can also preview them by going to the ‘Gallery’ option and save them on the mobile phone. I am sure it’s a ‘work in progress’ type of project and Xiaomi will also offer cloud storage feature in the near future.

 

Main Features

Because this camera is a lot of functions. Focusing on its main highlights in terms of practical functions you can find in this product are the night vision feature that lets you view objects in a partial or complete dark environments.

Another option that’s also very handy if you are planning on it as a surveillance / security camera is the motion detection function that basically sends notifications when a moving object is recognized in front of the camera. With ‘Mi Home’ user can define different environmental scenarios according to specific needs and usage. For example, you can set a timer to start recording tasks at specific time, days and seconds.

XiaoMi XiaoFang Camera | Full Screen view 

Camera Control Functions:

  1. MicrophoneLets you listen to the environment through the mobile phone.
  2. Screenshot capturing still photos.
  3. Talk Speak with mobile phone and hear through from camera speaker.
  4. Gallery – Display all saved videos/photos.

 

Magnification

The camera has a zoom X8 factor. That means that you can also zoom on objects using a Pinch Gesture.

 

Note:

Xiaomi is constantly upgrading their cloud platform and changing  Mi Home’ mobile App UI, therefore there might be some differences in future software builds when out.

 

Performance

For a 1MP sensor the overall the quality of produced videos and still pictures in optimal environment with a lot of light was and relatively sharp. In low light conditions the picture became more blurred and unclear, but still maintaining reasonable quality.

XiaoFang Still Photos | Samples

File Formats:

  • Video file: Resolution of 1080P @10 fps , saved in MP4 format.
  • Captured Still images:  Resolution of 1080P, Saved in PNG format.

 

Calculating Video Recording Time (Approximation)

 

Average bit-rate:

  • Low light conditions: 245-251 kb/s
  • Optimal light conditions: 400 kb/s
  1. 32GB SD Card :  32×8 x 1000/0.248 x 3600 = ~146 hours
  2. 32GB SD Card :  32×8 x 1000/0.4 x 3600 = ~177 hours

 

Final verdict

Although the user guide is in Chinese language, if you use some common sense and follow the illustration during the setup screens in the mobile app you will get the hang of it and understand how to set the camera. The ‘Mi Home’ App could have been better in terms of UI design. I was missing simple functions such as visual recording progress bar displaying and indicating how much time elapsed since video task has initialized, but I expect Xiaomi are currently working on that. Overall, another excellent low cost product, and for a low cost wireless Camera its defiantly a great buy.

 

Pros & Cons

 

Pros 

  • Cheap
  • Great design & Build Quality
  • Alarm and notification functions
  • Multiple Cameras support via ‘Mi Home’ App
  • Great design & Build Quality
  • Good image
  • Night vision
  • Bi-direction (intercom mode)

 

Cons

  • UI could be better.

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