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Review: Baseus Security N1 home 2K camera kit - Expandable storage with no cloud sub needed

Apart from my Ring doorbell, this Baseus N1 camera kit was my first proper foray into dedicated home security with locally stored footage accessible via the smartphone app.

So as a newbie to kits like this, it was a great opportunity to see just how easy it was to not only set-up, but to use day in day out, as well as compare how the AI-infused system works at differentiating humans/animals/objects that cross the camera's field of view.

Baseus N1 Outdoor Security Camera Kit

Baseus have stepped into this category with two products, the S1 Pro, and the N1. The S1 Pro being cameras with solar panels on top.

The N1 is what is being reviewed today. The setup process between both kits is the same as they share the same app and hub HomeStation unit which plugs into your home network.

Specifications

Model N1 2K 2-cam kit
Camera

2304x1296 @ 15fps

HDR? No
AI system NeuraNex with self-learning & facial recognition
Night vision Black & White via 8x IR emitters / Colour via LED spotlight
Battery

7800mAh

Smart integration Alexa & Google Home (to arrive with firmware update)
Networking 2.4GHz WiFi / 100Mbps Ethernet
Encryption AES+RSA + Complied with TUV Rheinland EN303645 and CCPA-certified
Weather sealing IP67
Activity zones 4
Storage 16GB eMMC built into HomeStation, espandable via 2.5" SATA SSD/HDD up to 16TB
Warranty 2 years
Dimensions

Camera: 2.8*2.0*3.6in / HomeStation: 4.2*3.0*5.5in

Weights

Camera: 280g / HomeStation: 580g

Price $199.99 / €199.99 (Amazon USA / Baseus USA / Baseus EU)

Out of the box

What becomes apparent out of the box is how heavy each f the N1 cameras are. They pack a 7800mAh battery each, there's also a speaker inside there too, as well as the array of sensors and optics for the sensor.

Baseus N1 Outdoor Security Camera Kit

The HomeStation can only be wired in, so be sure that it is located somewhere near your broadband router. The Ethernet port is only 100Mbps, but because the camera sensors are only 2K resolution, the theoretical max of 12.5MB/s doesn't pose a problem streaming footage to the HomeStation.

In practical use, I only found that downloading the footage to my phone via the app to be slightly slower than expected, but nothing major since the videos are recorded at 15fps using the H.264 AVC codec with mono AAC audio resulting in small file sizes. There is also no HDR so video complexity is even less so.

Baseus N1 Outdoor Security Camera Kit

A screwdriver is needed and possibly a drill to insert the wall plugs depending on your installation needs. The screws and wall plugs are included in the package, and the whole process was straight forward.

The simple act of unboxing the cameras resulted in quite a bit of dust attracting to the surface of the black gloss on the camera fascia. This seems to be because of the static nature of the plastic finishing used. Thankfully this wasn't an issue when installed outdoors, probably due to the weather cycles blowing them away naturally.

Baseus N1 Outdoor Security Camera Kit

Each camera has an indicator LED that can be disabled via the app, the LED spotlight flanks the top of the face, and the black domed area contains the motion sensor. The eight IR emitters circling the camera lens are invisible to the naked eye, but can be seen when taking a photo of the front when in low lighting as shown below:

Baseus N1 Outdoor Security Camera Kit

The mounting system on each camera is a standard tripod thread, so you don't have to use the Baseus mounting brackets supplied with each camera and opt for something more suitable for your own use-case.

Baseus N1 Outdoor Security Camera Kit

I found no major issues with the ball joint brackets that come with the kit, though, and once installed, look quite smart.

Home and HomeStation

This lightweight box is another item in a wide range of smart home devices needing their own hubs these days which will need to be constantly powered at the mains. It takes a 12v 2A input from its wall wart, largely to add additional power should you slot in a HDD or SSD to expand the local storage.

Speaking of which, here is how a drive is slotted in:

Baseus N1 Outdoor Security Camera Kit

Once plugged in and connected to the internet, adding a compatible camera is very easy, first the HomeStation needs to be added to the app, and then cameras are added via the app and paired to the HomeStation.

Baseus N1 Outdoor Security Camera Kit

The whole process is easy and no different to adding a Ring or Google camera into their respective apps and ecosystems. Once I fine-tuned the camera aiming and other settings, the homescreen then shows a glimpse of the last preview image from the live view of all cameras, with options to access global or individual views and features just like on Ring/Google Home security products.

Baseus N1 Security Camera Kit

A minor gripe on this homescreen view is that you cannot see the exact battery percentage of each camera here. You must click into each camera, which then shows the percentage in the top left corner.

The internal storage reported on first batches sent for review are 32GB, the production units will be 16GB as listed in the specifications. This doesn't change the info in this review, notably on having a month+ of recordings without having to expand the storage later, as even with a month's of recordings stored on my review unit, there's still loads of space to go:

Baseus Security App

Baseus Security app

The app is available from the app store and during my testing on this review sample, Baseus has provided direct updates to the app and is due to release more software and firmware updates very shortly I am told which will add integration of Google Home and Amazon Alexa.

I have had one firmware update so far and the whole process was done wirelessly in a few minutes.

Baseus N1 Outdoor Security Camera Kit

The onboard 16GB of eMMC storage allows 30 days of recordings to be stored, which should be more than enough for any household, but for those wanting more storage, you can just slot in a 2.5" SATA HDD or SSD into the HomeStation.

Baseus Security App

Another quirk is that with the recorded events viewer, unlike Ring's events viewer, is that there is no option to flag a recording to lock it from auto or accidental deletion. You can only download, playback, share or delete footage.

It would be nice if Baseus adds a flag feature that locks selected recordings.

Overall, if you have used any of the popular smart home security camera systems before, then there is nothing new here that will feel alien. Things are laid out differently, but the way things are accessed or configured is very similar which is nice to see.

Baseus N1 Outdoor Security Camera Kit

For the privacy conscious, up to four zones can be added to each camera, meaning anything blanked away are redacted from recordings.

The Baseus Security app is also usable when out and about. I originally expected it to only be usable when home and connected to my network since it stores everything locally, I discovered that the app and the HomeStation communicate directly via P2P networking, which means video data is directly streamed to the app on the phone and not sent via any Baseus server. The N1 system uses AES-128 encryption for reference. Baseus further added "Our servers are only used to establish the initial connection and manage user accounts. We do not actually save the user's video data.".

So in a sense the HomeStation acts the same way Philips Hue Bridge does for those with Hue lighting products. Being usable from anywhere comes in handy since each camera has a loudspeaker and microphone onboard, and you can activate a siren mode too in the event of an intruder or rogue animal being spotted whilst you are away, or you simply need to have a two-way conversation with someone at the property.

Baseus N1 Outdoor Security Camera Kit

I raised some questions regarding the nature of the account log-in security/management from within the app, too, and Baseus were happy to provide the answers:

  • Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol is used to protect data transmission to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks and other potential network threats.
  • Video data is encrypted using AES-128 during transmission to ensure that data cannot be read or tampered with by unauthorized parties during transmission, this communication is direct P2P between app and the HomeStation.
  • The app will regularly push reminders to change passwords.
  • Accounts logged in with uncommon mobile phone models will be marked as abnormal and require 2FA verification login.
  • Addition of log-in logs, and push email reminders for remote log-ins.

Baseus N1 Outdoor Security Camera Kit

I also note that signing into the app does not offer a method of two-factor authentication. Perhaps this is another feature that Baseus should add in an update to the app.

Thankfully, the only way to view the cameras is via the Baseus Security app, so as long as you only install it from the official app store on your phone, and your phone is secure anyway, then things should be fine until 2FA updates arrive.

Event recordings

As this review is done in a home environment, there's only so much I can show in terms of footage, but I am happy to report that the quality is fine and on par with similar products from Ring in their non-Pro line of cameras.

My Ring Video Doorbell Pro v2 produces better quality videos which have HDR, for example, but that costs more for the one camera than the entire Baseus N1 kit so wouldn't be a fair comparison.

Taking a manual screen capture during live view have enough detail to read car numberplates and also make out facial details. Clarity is good, I would say:

Baseus N1 Camera Kit

Likewise human details whether daytime or night are captured well enough to make out identifying markers in the video:

Baseus N1 Outdoor Security Camera Kit

Nighttime footage at 15fps has fairly a decent level of clarity overall, there doesn't seem to be any unwanted glare or lens flare effect when car headlights pass by or even the driveway motion activated lights come on:

Baseus N1 Security Kit clip

Quality settings

There are no settings to change the video encoding quality or framerate, there are only settings to tweak how pro-active the recording length is based on the mode being chosen in each camera's Power Manager settings screen:

Baseus N1 Outdoor Security Camera Kit

I did not notice too much of a battery drain difference in any mode here, so left it on the "Optimal Surveillance" option for the fairest balance.

Night vision also has a few modes to choose from, and here I found that due to the lack of HDR, IR night vision resulted in too dark contrast areas of the frame since it's in black and white, whilst turning off IR and spotlight entirely has decent quality.

The spotlight option seemed to be the best though as the LED spotlight can illuminate areas that the IR cannot. Here is a comparison of each:

Baseus N1 Outdoor Security Camera Kit

Battery life

I have been using the N1 kit for a little over a month now and the battery on both cameras appear to have gone down similarly. At the time of writing they sit at 77% - This month has allowed enough time for whatever neural AI network the system uses to learn trends around my household and adjust its motion detection intensity accordingly.

Baseus N1 Outdoor Security Camera Kit

At 77% in just over a month, my estimate is that I should only need to charge each camera once every 3 months. The cameras cam pre-charged at over 60% so I don't have an exact time on how long it takes to charge from sub 15% - Though since these have a 7800mAh battery each, and the USB-C power input is 5v 2A (10W), a few hours to fully charge each camera should be expected.

My method to do this will be using a 10,000 mAh USB-C power bank plugged into a camera whilst still mounted on the wall/shed and charging them one after the other. You could of course unscrew the mounting bracket by hand and removing the camera to charge indoors, but then you would have to re-align the aim again once done.

The S1 Pro might be a better option for those who prefer to let the cameras charge over solar power.

Equally impressive is the wireless connection stability for both cameras. The location of each around the house is equal distance apart from the centrally located HomeStation inside the house which is approximately 20 metres away for each camera, and I never saw any connection drops during live feed viewing.

Issues & observations

I did encounter a few bugs during my time with the N1 kit, it seems these can all be addressed with a software update. The main one being that notifications on my phone (Android) often get duplicated where the N1's AI gets confused on whether an event is a human moving or an object and simply displays both notifications even though the detected subject is the same, here is an example:

Baseus N1 Outdoor Security Camera Kit

This is from the 25th May, so a few weeks into the N1 kit being installed, so enough time for the AI to have learned patterns and deduced what is an object and what is human.

I also found that some image thumbnails that accompany a notification are overexposed as the thumbnail is taken from the first frame of a recording, and some recordings start off overexposed for a few frames before the camera sensor's metering settles to normal exposure, example below:

Baseus N1 Outdoor Security Camera Kit

From just the notification thumbnail in this instance, it is impossible to know what's going on at a glance, so I would have to load into the app and wait the 2-4 seconds it takes to load the event viewer or live feed and go from there. The notification thumbnails are also stretched vertically instead of following the correct aspect ratio.

Event recordings also take a bit of time to process into the HomeStation. I found that some recordings sometimes were not viewable until an hour later because the footage wasn't ready yet. This was in rare instances, like as if the footage was being queued up to be stored but had not executed the queue yet. If I then tried to play back that event, then all I would see is this looping:

Baseus N1 Outdoor Security Camera Kit

Conclusion

I found the N1 kit to be very good in general. There is room for improvement with a software/firmware update, and from my communication with the team at Baseus, they are open about the system and what measures they will put in place going forwards based on the feedback provided so far which is promising to hear.

As a general home camera kit, the N1 does the job and allows local storage expansion should you need it. The general array of features is not far off from the competition, with the N1 coming in at a more competitive price.

Since there is no cloud subscription that is needed like with Ring and others, if you want to make full use of the features, then Baseus' N1/S1 Pro kits could be the type of system you are looking for.

Verdict
7
Very good
Baseus Security N1
Pros
Good range of features High quality construction Strong WiFi connection No cloud subscription needed Expandable local storage 30 days+ of internal recordings Battery life
Cons
Events sometimes take a long time to process No HDR capture IR night vision loses some dark area detail Occasional overexposed thumbnail images Stretched notification thumbnail images No option to adjust video recording quality
Price
$199.99
Release
Q1 June 2024

 

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