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TP-Link Tapo C420S2 Smart Wire-Free Security Camera System review: Capable and cheap

TP-Link Tapo C420S2 Smart Wire-Free Security Camera System review: Capable and cheap

Tapo C420S2

The TP-Link Tapo C420S2 is the first wire-free security camera system from the Chinese brand. That means it runs on battery power, so you can place it anywhere inside or outside (it's IP65-certified for water and dust resistance) your home. More importantly, the C420S2 is very competitively priced for its features, especially compared to wire-free camera market leader Arlo.

Quick specs

  • Set of two security cameras and hub
  • 2K QHD camera with 113-degree field of view
  • Local storage (microSD card) and cloud storage (subscription required)
  • Motion detection, person detection, pet detection, and vehicle detection.

Besides a pair of 2K QHD security cameras, the C420S2 also includes a compact smart hub with a built-in siren, and microSD card slot (up to 256GB) to store the videos captured by the cameras. This hub connects to your home router via Ethernet cable. It looks like a door chime, and it can indeed be used that way — together with other Tapo smart home devices. To set up the cameras, you'll first have to add the hub using TP-Link's Tapo app (for iOS and Android), before doing the same for the cameras individually. This process takes several minutes. The cameras should be near the hub when this is happening, but you can move them to your desired location, like another room, after this step.

Tapo C420S2
Credit: TP-Link

The C420S2 camera has a decent 2K resolution with a 113-degree field of view. It has a black-and-white infrared mode, and a full-colour mode (using its built-in spotlight) for night vision. When the camera detects motion, it captures a short video clip, and sends an app notification to your phone. The notifications are prompt, with a lag of just a second or two. You can also get the cameras to sound an alarm and turn on the spotlight to deter intruders. Like Arlo's wire-free cameras, the C420S2 can distinguish between people, pets and vehicles. I didn't manage to test the latter two types of objects, but the AI recognition is accurate at identifying people. You can limit the camera to focus only on select areas, like a doorway, and block certain areas for privacy. There's also a privacy mode that turns off the cameras entirely.

Tapo C420S2
Credit: Vincent Chang/Can Buy or Not

Unlike the aesthetically-pleasing magnetic mount found in Arlo cameras, the Tapo ones come with two screw mount points — one at the back, and one at the bottom. You can mount them to the wall using the included mounting kits. Besides local storage, TP-Link's Tapo Care service (free one-month trial included) offers 30-day cloud storage for a monthly fee (from S$4.98/month for a single camera). Personally, I prefer the microSD card option. But Tapo Care has other benefits such as rich notifications that show a snapshot of the camera's view. TP-Link says the camera's removable battery can last up to 180 days if it detects around 10 to 20 events a day. My review set's battery dipped by 20% after five days of hectic use, with over 150 events daily.

The TP-Link Tapo C420S2 is a great addition to the wire-free security camera scene. It's certainly not short on features, from AI-powered object recognition to privacy and activity zones. The cameras' 2K resolution is decent, too. The option of local storage (microSD) to store recorded videos is a big plus. TP-Link sells the C420S2 at just S$249 for a set of two cameras and the smart hub. That's a lot cheaper than a set of Arlo Pro 4 cameras (~$700). Get the Tapo now from Shopee and Lazada.

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Note: Review unit provided by TP-Link.

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Affordable wire-free cameras that are packed with features.

Buy it at Shopee
Available at Lazada

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