There's a lot to unpack with the TP-Link Tapo C225 Pan/Tilt AI Home Security Wi-Fi Camera. It's chock-full of features, including AI-powered ones that can distinguish between people, pets, and vehicles, as well as a tracking feature that follows a person within its field of view. And it's pretty affordable at S$95 for what it offers.
- Pan and tilt: 360-degree horizontal field of view
- Smart AI detection and notification
- Local storage (microSD card) and cloud storage (subscription required)
- 2K QHD (2,560 x 1,440 pixels) resolution
TP-Link sells many different types of home security cameras, such as the recently-tested wire-free C4202S. The C225, though, is wired, with a pan-and-tilt functionality that gives it both horizontal (360-degree), and vertical (149-degree) coverage. You can also set it to patrol, which basically means the camera will constantly pan or tilt within two preset positions within its field of view. And if it spots a person, the camera can track this activity till he or she moves out of sight. This feature works well for me. Besides video-recording the incident, the camera's motion tracking may also act as a deterrent to unwelcome guests.
Unlike some home security cameras, the C225 offers options for both local storage, and cloud storage. The latter requires a Tapo Care service that starts from S$4.98/month for a single camera for a 30-day rolling cloud storage plan. However, you can get almost the same experience here with an inexpensive microSD card (supports up to 512GB). The only feature that I would miss from not having Tapo Care is rich notifications, which are basically smartphone notifications (via the Tapo app) that include a photo of the detected activity, such as the person coming into a room. But the standard notification is good enough as it already indicates whether it's a person, pet, or vehicle. So far, it's been spot-on for person detection — I didn't get a chance to test the pet or vehicle detection.
The Tapo C225 also have several, more unusual features. For instance, it can detect certain abnormal sounds, like the barking of dogs or the meowing of cats. I didn't have a pet to test these features, but the camera didn't respond to YouTube videos with these sounds. It also failed to respond to a video of a crying baby, despite having this feature. Perhaps the camera can really discern that it's a recording, and not an actual baby. But I wouldn't bet on it. Besides these AI-powered detection features, you can customise the C225's motion detection to focus only on specific areas (activity zones), or even when a person or object passes a preset boundary (line-crossing detection). You can also specify privacy zones that will appear blacked out in videos. And of course, Privacy Mode will physically obscure the camera.
I like how the Tapo C225 tags each person in its view when you switch to the live video feed. The live video is around two seconds behind real time. This latency is decent, and on a par with other security cameras. The camera itself offers relatively clear and sharp images, though there's no HDR feature. You do get night vision, along with staples like a built-in alarm, and two-way audio through its microphone and speaker. In short, the C225 offers plenty of options, and features to explore in the Tapo app, which is straightforward enough to use. But some of its more experimental features may need more work. However, the TP-Link Tapo C225 already offers more than what most users would need. It's available exclusively from Challenger for one month. You can get it from its retail stores today, and we'll add online buying links when they are available.
Note: Review unit provided by TP-Link.
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