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The Ezviz Mini 360 Plus smart camera is an affordable way to monitor a room

Why it matters to you

There is a strong case to be made for 360 video in home monitoring and the Mini 360's gets the job done for little money.

Three-hundred-and-sixty-degree video would seem to make a lot of sense in a home security environment, but budget-conscious consumers may have trouble finding a true 360 cam that offers the quality they want at a price they can afford. The Mini 360 Plus from Ezviz takes a different approach to immersive home monitoring by providing a single lens on a rotating base that can pan and tilt to reveal the contents of an entire room — and it does it for just $80.

The Mini 360 Plus shoots Full HD 1080p video at a viewing angle of 92 degrees. It can be mounted to a ceiling, or simply set atop a table or other surface. With a simple tap of a finger on their smartphone, a user can reorient the camera in any direction. The benefit of this approach, other than a lower price, is that footage can be viewed at full 1080p resolution. With true 360-degree video, the camera’s resolution is spread out across a spherical area, meaning the visible field of view could be less than HD. The 360 cameras have to record a significantly higher resolution to get around this.

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The downside of the Mini 360’s approach is that it is not possible to view an entire room at exactly the same moment. Ezviz has taken steps to ensure that any drawbacks of this approach are limited, however. The camera includes both motion detection and a motion-tracking feature, which can automatically pan with a subject (such as a pet) as it moves around the room.

Users can also visually select which part of the room they would like to monitor by simply tapping on the desired area of a previously saved 360-degree panoramic image. The Mini 360 will automatically rotate to point at the corresponding area in the room.

The Mini 360 also features night vision, two-way audio, and If This Then That support for creating custom triggers and integrating with other smart home devices.

Like other smart home camera manufacturers, Ezviz offers a cloud storage solutions that start at $6 per month or $60 per year for seven days of online backup. End-to-end encryption safeguards your video in the cloud and Ezviz’s servers are U.S. based. Without a cloud plan, users can still store video locally onto a MicroSD card. Card sizes up to 128GB are supported and redundant copies of footage are automatically saved if a memory card and cloud storage plan are used concurrently.

Ezviz says the Mini 360 Plus will begin shipping in February. Pre-orders are currently available through Amazon and other online retailers.