Review: D-Link 2K QHD Pan & Zoom Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera: You can hang the new weatherproof D-Link 2K QHD Pan & Zoom Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera on the wall or attach it to a pole and it is really for outdoors, even though in theory you could also use this model very well indoors. The camera offers 2K QHD 1440p resolution with night vision, motorized 360-degree coverage, two-way audio with 90db siren and AI functions such as automatic people tracking and glass breakage detection.
The new D-Link DCS-8635LH features multiple storage options and supports cloud storage, micro SD card and ONVIF for continuous recording with a compatible NVR, VMS or NAS. Images feature dual WPA3/TLS encryption for more secure connectivity. The camera was already announced last year and has a suggested retail price of 163 euros.
Installation and the app
Before we start installing, it is first important to download the D-Link app. The app is called mydlink and is available for Android and iOS. Create an account and add a product. Insert the plug (luckily with a long cord) into the socket and the camera is quickly found via Bluetooth Low Energy 5.0. That goes very smoothly. Then there will be a firmware update and that took at least 20 minutes. Finally, that was also done and we could start.
You can hang the camera on the wall with the supplied mounting material. Drill and screw a back wall and click the camera on it. Tie wraps are also included if you want to attach the camera to a pole. The latter doesn’t look very nice, but it works. Ceiling mounting is also possible. You can also choose whether you want to connect the camera via WiFi or via an Ethernet cable. All kinds of rain-resistant caps and adapters are included, so that you have the choice is always a plus.
It’s been a while since we’ve used the mydlink app. The last time I worked with this app was two years ago when reviewing the D-Link Smart Full HD and Mini Full HD Wi-Fi Camera . One of the biggest downsides back then was the way too cumbersome app. And I was pleasantly surprised that the app has received a complete makeover. It’s not perfect yet, but it is much clearer and clearer.
In the previous app there were always several roads that lead to Rome, so you quickly lost the overview. Fortunately, that is much better this time with this new version of the mydlink app. However, it does have a learning curve, because it really works very differently from the apps of Eufy Security or Ring, for example. Globally this time you have an ‘on’ and an ‘off’ that you can set at Automation. When off, the camera goes into privacy mode, for example when you are at home, and the camera actually does nothing at all. With ‘on’ you can indicate events yourself when the camera should take action, for example the detection of people, vehicles or other movement, the sound of broken glass or noise above 80 dB. You can then link actions to this, including push notifications,
It is a pity that the app still tries to reinvent the wheel by coming up with scenes in addition to automation, where you can set a status such as Home, Away or Sleeping. Here you in fact use the same automation rules again, but you can also use additional D-Link products such as a smart switch at the same time. When you get home, the camera can then switch to privacy mode and the lights will then turn on automatically via the D-Link smart switches. Yet again it feels a bit double in the app. The option for geofencing that you will find here is useful. For example, the camera can automatically protect when you leave the house and return to privacy mode when you get home. This way you have fully automated the operation of the camera.
Various settings can be changed for the camera itself. From the motion detection to the resolution and from the automatic tracking to the siren. The device settings themselves are all very clear in the revamped app. It is therefore a pity that the automation and scene just lack that last piece of user-friendliness. We must honestly admit that it has progressed with giant steps compared to the previous app.
D-Link 2K QHD Pan & Zoom Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera in use
So far, everything looks good for the D-Link DCS-8635LH, but how does this smart security camera work in practice? In terms of connection, everything here is stable. We mainly used this camera via WiFi, but you can also connect an Ethernet cable via the cable if the stability of the WiFi network is not sufficient. Glad you have the choice. In terms of flexibility, you have to sacrifice something compared to a camera like the Google Nest Cam or the Arlo Pro 4. These cameras have a battery and can be placed in any conceivable place. That is not the case with D-Link, because you are stuck with the cable. And besides, you really have to screw the camera somewhere, or tie it to a pole via the tie wraps. This is of course slightly safer than attaching via a magnet, but it comes at the expense of flexibility. Once it hangs well, then it is of course completely fine. The big advantage is that you don’t have to charge, because that sometimes drove us crazy, especially during the cold winter months.
The D-Link 2K QHD Pan & Zoom Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera comes with reliable notifications of events and during the test period it is able to distinguish people well from objects such as vehicles or animals. We have not had any false reports. In fact, the Google Nest Cam hangs next to it and this D-Link knows how to recognize people over a greater distance, even through glass. The siren is also a nice extra and we don’t always see it in this price range, but it really should. The siren is nice and loud, so that should deter any intruders and wake up the neighborhood.
What matters, of course, are the unique features of this camera, which allow D-Link to really set itself apart from the competition. The D-Link Pan & Zoom Camera has to follow any intruders by automatically ‘Panning’, so that you always have a view of what is being done. People can only be tracked horizontally. The camera cannot move vertically. Time to hang up the camera and see if the AI detection really works. We grab the tie wraps, tie the camera around a pole and play an intruder ourselves. And that automatic tracking appears to work fantastically. You have to check the box in the app for automatic tracking, but after that the possible intruder will be tracked effortlessly, even all the way to the side of the camera against the wall. You have to hang the camera a little higher than we did, because if you stand 20 centimeters away and move very quickly, the camera will lose you. Everything from a meter or two is effortlessly tracked and that is the real added value of this D-Link camera. You can suddenly monitor a location in almost 360 degrees, something we don’t often see with a consumer camera. Handy for this is the Auto Home function, in which the camera will look again at the preset location, such as an access road, after a period of inactivity. An intruder can always be seen from afar through this D-Link. Our garden only manages to reach ten meters from the location of the camera, but from that distance, disasters were immediately observed and recorded. It is also nice that the camera always takes a few seconds before the event. Are you replaying a recording? Then you always see the reason a few seconds in advance.
However, not everything is perfect. The lack of flexibility regarding placement remains a thing. You should actually immediately choose a good place, hide the cables inside the house and then plug it into the socket and then just stay away from it. Hanging in another place quickly is really not possible. That is usual for professional security cameras, but for consumers a little more flexibility is nice. The sound is adequate, but could be better. The microphone is often affected by the wind, so that noise can take over. Even with cloud recordings, processing sometimes takes a very long time. Due to the motorized function, there are no further detection zones to set. This camera looks at the entire image. Do you get a notification that a person has been detected? You are quickly brought to the livestream, but do you want to watch the entire video afterwards via the cloud? It can take several minutes before everything is processed. However, the reliability turned out to be great, we always found videos in the recordings, even if it sometimes took a little longer. A big plus is that live with this camera is really live. With many other cameras there is always just a small delay of half a second or sometimes even more. With the D-Link DCS-8635LH, live really is live.
Cloud and smarthome integration
D-Link has also overhauled cloud subscriptions with the improved app. And that means good news and bad news. The good news is that when you buy a D-Link camera, you get a year of free cloud storage with a camera limit of three cameras. Cloud recordings are saved for one day in HD quality with a maximum of 50 clips with this free subscription. Every D-Link camera that you subsequently buy adds another year of free cloud storage, so that is beneficial. After that year, however, you must take out a paid subscription if you want to continue using the cloud. This is also necessary if you want to keep recordings longer with the free subscription. This is now possible from 2.49 euros per month, but there are additional costs. Fortunately, you don’t have to. You can also record via the micro SD card or via ONVIF with a compatible NVR, VMS or NAS. And where with cloud and micro-SD card you can only record ‘event-based’ videos, you can continuously record on a NAS, even though we have not been able to test the latter. In terms of smarthome integration, it is otherwise quite meager. Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa are supported, but that is of little use to you. Unfortunately, events are not automatically shown on your Nest Hub immediately. You really have to ask for this yourself. It remains with a few simple voice commands that you can do without. Unfortunately, events are not automatically shown on your Nest Hub immediately. You really have to ask for this yourself. It remains with a few simple voice commands that you can do without. Unfortunately, events are not automatically shown on your Nest Hub immediately. You really have to ask for this yourself. It remains with a few simple voice commands that you can do without.
D-Link 2K QHD Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera – Conclusion
D-Link always had a somewhat dusty image with me. It always scored a large pass, but it often didn’t really stand out. However, that has now changed, because the richly equipped D-Link 2K QHD Pan & Zoom Outdoor Wi-Fi Camera (DCS-8635LH) really knows how to surprise. Not only in terms of extensive storage options with the cloud, micro-SD card and ONVIF, but also the excellent automatic tracking function of the camera that really follows any intruder. The reliable notifications, good image quality, loud siren and the improved app ensure that this smart security camera achieves a good score. However, the app isn’t perfect yet and still needs a bit of attention to rise above ground level, and you’re somewhat limited in terms of flexibility regarding the placement of this camera.
- Fantastic automatic tracking
- Good image quality
- Richly equipped
- Also records the trigger of an event
- Built-in siren
- Lots of storage options
- Cloud recordings cost money after a year
- App not perfect yet
- Limited in placement
- No adjustable detection zones
- Few options in terms of smarthome integration