We get hands-on with the wire-free Moobox Security Cam and the Moobox Hub to find out whether a small startup can compete against the likes of Netgear’s Arlo & Amazon’s Blink
As a species, we’ve always felt a need to protect our homes, only in recent years, it’s switched from castle walls and guards to tiny little cameras.
While these cameras don’t deter any would-be thieves, they do let you promptly call the authorities, provide evidence and give you the ultimate gift… peace of mind when away from your home.
In the past, home security setups were bulky things with complicated installations and, well frankly, all looked a little too ‘big brother’ for the home.
Those days are thankfully long gone. 2018’s security camera ranges are minimalist, stylish and most importantly discreet. Taking that discretion to the next level is the battery powered completely wire-free Moobox HD Camera which I’ve been using for the last 4 weeks.
But, with stiff competition from some of the biggest names in tech, can the Moobox compete?
- Portable & Convenient
- Simple Setup
- Cheapest Wireless Offering
- Minimalist Design
- 15GB local storage with the Hub
- Free 7 Day Cloud Storage
- App is basic + buggy
- PIR doesn’t work through windows
- No weatherproofing
- Magnet sometimes slips
- Signal strength
The Moobox IP cam records using a 1280×720 HD resolution and can be streamed to your smartphone in either a medium or high-quality feed. The camera also uses a 120 degree fish-eye wide angle lens.
Tech specs aside, how good is the actual video quality?
Most scenes take a couple of seconds for the camera to adjust to the lighting conditions and are often then very pixelated.
The footage quality is good enough to alert you to an unknown presence in your home, but the quality isn’t great. Compared to the Xiaomi IP cameras we tested recently, the Moobox daylight quality isn’t the best.
Surprisingly, the night vision recording we captured work well, producing a relatively clear image. The Infrared sensors do have a limited range, but are good enough for most medium sized rooms.
It’s not all about image quality when it comes to choosing a security camera. I put the emphasis on reliability.
Motion Detection & Reliability
The motion detection works well, picking up my movement and alerting me (on my phone) with a video prompt. You can then watch a 15 second clip from the camera.
At the moment, there a no motion settings to tweak, just an ‘on’ or ‘off’ mode. It’d be great to be able to setup scheduled alert times and also be able to play with the sensitivity.
One downside is that the night vision and PIR sensor won’t work through a glass window. This means you can’t point the camera looking through a window at night.
Aside from the motion detection, you can also use the live-stream functionality by clicking your camera feed in the app. This worked around 80% of the time, with the other 20% I was prompted to restart the camera which takes around 10 seconds.
Overall, the software side of Moobox camera lacks options and feels very basic. Even so, the motion detection functionality worked well and was reliable during our testing.
Setup, App & Features
Set up is easy. You first connect the hub to power, then to your router and then sync the wireless cameras by holding the button on each down for around 4 seconds.
Once it’s done its thing, you’ll get a green light on each unit, and you’re good to go.
The Moobox Hub and HD cam connect wirelessly using WiFi and the manufacturer’s state 150 feet line of site.
The real test is how well the signal travels through floorboards and walls. The answer: just about acceptable. You’ll want to place the Moobox Hub as close to the middle of your home as possible or in between where you want to place your Moobox cameras.
You can either mount the Moobox brackets permanently with the included kit or mount using a 3M sticky tab or place it on a flat surface.
On one unit, the magnetic mount worked well allowing me to adjust the cameras to any direction easily. On my second addon Moobox cam, the magnetic force was weaker with gravity making the camera slide downwards.
The Moobox Hub
The big question is, do you even need the Moobox Hub? The simple answer is yes.
Without the Hub, you won’t be able to use the camera. The single cameras sold are to add to your existing Hub package. They aren’t standalone units.
The Moobox Hub also has 15Gb of internal storage for you to store your recordings. As well as local storage, Moobox offers 7 days cloud storage for free.
Design & Build Quality
The design of the camera is nice. The Moobox uses a clean white matt plastic exterior with smooth appealing curves throughout. If you’re thinking this camera design looks familiar, well that’s because it’s borrowed from the Netgear Arlo HD, even the magnetic ball is almost identical.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you’re going to copy, then copy the market leaders.
One area that’s not been copied is the waterproofing. The Arlo HD offers an IP65 rating, meaning it’s safe to use outdoors in the rain. The Moobox HD is strictly for indoor use only.
While tapping on the Moobox reveals a hollow echo, it doesn’t creak or bend when applying pressure. It feels well built and should survive the occasional small drop.
One area that Moobox can improve upon is the flat bottom surface. It’s a little thin leaving the unit easily knocked over.
The Moobox Hub follows the same bright white matt plastic finish and is small enough to hide of the way. It does have a constant flashing LED where the Internet connection goes which can be off-putting at night.
The Moobox HD camera comes with a 3200 mAh rechargeable battery built into the unit. I charged the batteries fully when I set it up and over a month later there’s still 50% left.
This is impressive as during testing I’ve been using them a lot more than they would be used typically.
The website states up to 4 months usage from a single charge, but this will really depend on how many times the camera is activated or live streamed. But, this is more than enough for almost all situations I can think of.
What’s in the box?
The Moobox HD arrived well packaged in a thick white cardboard box. Inside you’ll find: A Moobox HD Camera, Magnetic Mount, Screw Kit, 3M Stick Mount, Ethernet Cable, Power Cable, USD Cable and instructions.
If you’re looking for setup instructions, you’re better off downloading the Moobox App as they are much more comprehensive.
Moobox IP Security Cam – The Verdict
While the MooBox cameras are well-built, the video quality is only okay and the app is somewhat lacking a professional finish and camera options.
Battery life & motion detection is excellent and on par with the market leaders.
So it all comes down to price & weatherproofing. If you need to use your camera outdoors, then you’re out of luck as Moobox doesn’t offer any weatherproofing.
If you’re looking for indoor use only? The Moobox is actually the cheapest option available with the same level of included features.
You can currently get the Moobox HD Cam + Hub for £120/$297. That’s £30/$40 cheaper than the Blink and £50/$68 cheaper than the Arlo.