Monitoring your home or business while you’re away should be simple. A great security camera makes your job as easy as viewing live or recorded video from anywhere. This is exactly what the ANNKE C500 PoE Security Camera promises. I recently had the opportunity to try out the turret model of this camera to see how well it works and if it really does make a good addition to your home security strategy.
Overview of Features
The ANNKE C500 PoE Security Camera actually comes in three versions: bullet, turret, and dome. Each are shaped differently with a few different features. For my review, I only used the turret model, so I’ll only mention its features and performance.
Instead of the typical wireless setup, the C500 uses PoE (power over Ethernet) to power the camera. Of course, you’ll need a router or switch that supports this. However, you can also use a 12V DC power adapter along with an Ethernet cable to power and transmit video. You can connect the camera directly to an NVR (Network Video Recorder) to store video.
While the Amazon product description lists support for SD card storage, the ANNKE site doesn’t. The model I tested didn’t have SD card support. This means you’ll need your own NVR system in place, which you can buy separately.
The camera does have some impressive features for the price, though, including:
- Sharp 5 MP HD video using a OmniVision imaging sensor
- EXIR night vision up to 100 feet
- Color images at night with some light or clear black-and-white images otherwise
- Support for up to H.265+ and H.265 encoding (reduces latency during recording and helps to store up to 20 days of recordings at once)
- Syncs with other ONVIF devices
- IP67 weatherproof (quick start guide did mention not letting the camera get wet, though)
- Access camera via web browser or free ANNKE Vision app
The turret design is also easy to adjust to get the perfect angle. However, it won’t move easily, so you don’t have to worry about it moving when you don’t want it to.
Inside the Box
Usually, I’m able to get started right out of the box. However, with the ANNKE C500 PoE Security Camera, you may have to buy some additional equipment before you can use it.
All that’s included is the security camera, mounting screws, quick start guide, and a drill template. As you may notice, there’s no way to power it initially. You will need to buy a separate Ethernet cable if you don’t have one long enough. Some Amazon reviewers state a cable comes with it, but the quick start guide doesn’t list one.
I had to wait to test the camera until an Ethernet cable and power adapter arrived as I don’t have anything that supports PoE at the moment. However, this combination works well with the camera. Sadly, the 25-foot Ethernet cable I ordered still hasn’t arrived, so I had to test the camera inside with a shorter cable.
Make sure you consider what else you’ll need to purchase before buying this camera. You’ll need an Ethernet cable and storage device at the very least. You may also need a power adapter, depending on how you install it.
Setting Up the ANNKE C500 PoE Security Camera
ANNKE promises a quick setup process. I honestly wish this was the case, but I’ve never had this much difficulty setting up a security camera. Usually, I have it installed, connected to the network, and the settings customized in 10 to 15 minutes.
With this camera, I finally finished part of the setup in a little over an hour. Despite what the quick start guide says, you will need to download the SADP software before you can activate the camera. The browser method never worked.
The next challenge came with trying to download the SADP software. My Internet connection was working well enough to stream video with no issues. However, it took six tries before the software would download. It’s only around 30MB.
The next step wasn’t too bad. I connected the camera to the network with an Ethernet cable and let the SADP software recognize it. Once you see the camera listed, you have to set up a password to activate the camera. While this wasn’t listed during the setup, the default username is “admin.” You’ll need this later.
This is really all the software does. You then need to use your web browser or the ANNKE Vision app to view the video feed and customize your settings. If using the web browser, use the IP address listed in the SADP software. Log in using your credentials, and you’re ready to set up the camera how you want it.
I completely gave up on the app as it never recognized the camera. The web browser worked great, though you’ll likely need to download an extension when prompted.
I tried customizing the settings, but anytime I tried, the interface locked up and suddenly the IP address wasn’t recognized. I had to repeat finding the camera with the SADP software three times just to view all the customization settings. And, the IP address changed twice, even though I set the IP address initially. I tried four browsers on two computers, a tablet, and a smartphone. Still no luck.
Needless to say, I didn’t make any headway with the settings, though I was impressed with just how much you can do, if you can get it to work.
Using the Camera
Even though I gave up on the settings, I was able to at least view the live video feed. Since it rained most of the time I had the camera, I tried it indoors. I didn’t want to risk damaging the camera since the guide warned against getting the camera wet. I did open a window and test the night vision, though.
The video quality was sharp, even in low light. I also didn’t have any latency issues when viewing it.
As far as the night vision, the sensor can be overly sensitive. The black and white was crystal clear. However, when used outside an open window, a little light caused a blurred mess, and you couldn’t see anything.
Also, I wasn’t able to set up motion alerts due to the customization settings freezing, so I honestly can’t say whether they work.
While the Amazon description lists audio support, I never heard anything via the mics, but this could be something in the settings that didn’t work.
Despite all the wonderful features, the ANNKE C500 PoE Security Camera didn’t quite live up to expectations. On the plus side, the video quality was great and the nearly non-existent latency keeps you from missing important moments.
On the other hand, you’ll likely need to buy additional equipment to use it. Plus, the setup process isn’t nearly as easy as advertised.
You can try the ANNKE C500 PoE Security Camera yourself and take 20 percent off with code PPQJR4 on ANNKE’s site, leaving you paying just $48. You can also purchase from Amazon. My experience may have just been a fluke, so please read some reviews from happy Amazon customers too to see if this camera is right for you.