Since its India entry in 2014, Xiaomi has grown meteorically. The brand has time and again tried to evolve itself in the country. After being the smartphone market leader for 15 consecutive quarters, Xiaomi has set itself a goal of becoming more than a smartphone brand. With a focus on smart devices, the company is now expanding its IoT lineup in the country.
Xiaomi is a huge ecosystem player in China, where it sells everything from clothing to stationery to home appliances. In India, it is still scratching the surface. At the Smarter Living 2022 event, Xiaomi announced its third indoor security camera. Called the Mi 360° Home Security Camera 2K Pro, this is an improvement over its existing offerings in every major way. However, is it worth Rs 4,499 and do you even need an indoor security camera? I will answer that in this review.
Box contents and setup
For the purpose of this review, I spoke with a couple of my friends and relatives to understand what they know and don’t know about smart home devices. One of the common misconceptions seems to be that these devices are difficult to set up. So, let’s start by busting that myth. With the Mi 360° Home Security Camera 2K Pro, Xiaomi includes almost everything you will need to get this device working out of the box.
In the box, you will find the Mi 360° Home Security Camera 2K Pro, charging cable, power adapter, wall mounting kit and user manual. The indoor security camera can be placed on a horizontal surface like a desk or mounted on a wall. In order to mount it, Xiaomi includes the base on which the camera will be mounted along with two plastic wall plugs and two screws. All you need to do is mark the positions, drill the hole and mount it with the screws.
However, even before you mount the camera, it is important to note that Xiaomi does not include the memory card needed to store the recordings locally. So, as soon as you take the camera out, push the lens upward to reveal the microSD card slot. Now, insert the memory card (minimum 32GB Class 10 card is recommended) and then connect the charging cable to the power adapter and turn on the camera.
Once the camera is turned on, you will see an orange indicator light blinking right above the lens. This means that the camera is waiting to be connected. Now, download the Mi Home app on your phone and click on the plus sign at the top right hand corner. After scanning for a few seconds, you will see “Mi 360° Home Security Camera 2K Pro”. Click on this prompt and select your WiFi network and then within a few seconds, your camera will be ready. Once connected, a solid blue indicator will confirm that the camera is working properly.
Even before we get down to the features of Mi 360° Home Security Camera 2K Pro, let’s talk about the app because that’s how you will be controlling your camera. The Mi Home app is a no-nonsense type application with a very clear and distinct purpose of controlling all the Xiaomi smart home devices in your home. As mentioned before, you will need to connect the Mi 360° Home Security Camera 2K Pro using this app.
Even though I have Xiaomi’s smart bulbs installed in my home, I decided to go for a fresh setup so that anyone starting with smart devices for the first time can understand the process. As soon as you open the Mi Home app, you will be shown the space where your device is and you will be able to turn them On or Off. In the case of Mi 360° Home Security Camera 2K Pro, you can enable or disable the live feed coming from the camera.
Once you click on this feed, you will enter the full view from where you can control the camera and change settings. This is important because you will be controlling actions like panning and tilting the camera from here. During my time testing this camera, I ran into zero issues with panning or tilting the camera. The whole action is buttery smooth and the joypad shown on the screen is very intuitive to use.
At the top right corner, you will see three dots from where you can enter the full camera settings. From checking for firmware updates to general Bluetooth settings to changing image settings, you will be able to make all those changes here. If you have Network Attached Storage, you will be able to set that up from here. It is simple and structured in such a way that even a layman can understand and set the device up according to their own liking.
Design and performance
The Mi 360° Home Security Camera 2K Pro is undoubtedly the best looking smart camera yet from Xiaomi in India. It essentially looks like a miniature version of the conference cameras that you will find at most offices. It has a circular base on which the whole camera system stands and the top is curved and looks like a dome. The matte white colour adds a minimalist allure that makes it perfect to be placed anywhere.
At the front, you will find the indicator, lens, microphone, microSD card slot and Mi logo. The rear side of the device is home to a microUSB port, loudspeaker and a reset button. At under 400g, it is compact and light enough to be carried around. However, it is still an indoor security camera and should be used as one. It is compatible with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, which means you can see the feed from your Echo Show or Next Hub devices.
The Mi 360° Home Security Camera 2K Pro has a 3-megapixel camera that outputs 2K video (2,304 x 1296 pixels) at 20 frames per second. With a focal length of 3.6mm, it covers 360-degrees and has a 110-degree field of view. It can work on 2.4GHz and 5GHz WiFi signals, which seems to be the theme with smart devices launched at the Smarter Living event yesterday. It relies on Bluetooth 4.2, supports AI motion detection and infrared night vision.
In terms of output, I found the Mi 360° Home Security Camera 2K Pro to be quite good. It has absolutely no problem during the day and even with human tracking enabled, the camera is good at panning and tilting to follow people in the frame. I did run into an issue where the camera would be off angle by a few degrees when person tracking is enabled. It was easily fixed by camera calibration in the app and I didn’t notice the issue again.
While tracking a subject or outputting an image during the day might not sound like a big feat, the Mi 360° Home Security Camera 2K Pro excels at night. At midnight when there is little or no light, Xiaomi Mi 360° Home Security Camera 2K Pro automatically switches to infrared night vision to produce footage that is easy to follow. With its wide f/1.4 aperture, Xiaomi says it is able to suck in a lot of light. I think that’s true but the colour image is still grainy when there is not enough light in the room.
With privacy in the minds of everyone these days, Xiaomi has built a feature called physical privacy shield. When you don’t want the camera to see or follow you, enable physical lens blocking from the app and the camera will retract to a position from where it cannot see what’s going on. You can of course playback the recorded footage or set home surveillance where the camera will record automatically when it detects human movement.
Like a lot of you folks reading, I have hardly stepped out of my home in more than a year. As a result, I haven’t really worried about the indoor camera already mounted in my home or home security for that matter. However, once things go back to normal and when I am away from home, I do see a reason why I would want a security camera that does more than 1080p, has a discreet design and also takes privacy into account.
I am always worried about my ageing parents, and this security camera gives me peace of mind while letting me check on them in high resolution. With its two-way voice calling function, I can quickly alert my dad on the security camera instead of calling him on his phone. However, at Rs 4,499, this is one expensive indoor security camera. While it’s worth it for the 2K recording, if you don’t see value in jumping up the resolution chain, there are a number of 360-degree 1080p security cameras out there, including Xiaomi’s own Mi Home Security Camera 360 1080p.
Pricebaba’s rating: 8/10
- Discreet design
- Alexa and Google Assistant support
- 2K video and infrared night vision
- Human detection feature
- Two-way voice calling
- Double the price of 1080p cameras
- Minor glitches with camera controls
- Colour images are grainy in low light