Xiaomi is a Chinese tech company producing affordable and great products. They started with phones, but now they are diversifying with lifestyle and smart home products.
The Xiaomi Smart Camera C200 is one of these products. This security camera only costs 35 euros at the moment, but is it just a gimmick or can this camera really do the job?
I’ve never felt like leaving my stuff at home was somehow secured. Even if I had a vault, I would still feel like someone could break in and steal my stuff.
I’ve actually experienced many home burglaries, and each time it really feels like being violated. Lately, my car has been stolen, less than two months after I bought it.
I couldn’t believe that in 2023 it would be that easy to steal property from someone else without any repercussions. To be honest, I am still feeling down about it. It really makes you question your sense of justice and the moral values of other human beings.
Why get ourselves a security camera?
One thing I’ve learned from these terrible events is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. My C-HR could have been easily found with a 35-euro Apple AirTag hidden in it.
At the time, I assumed that because three identical cars were parked on the same street, it was safe, or because it was parked in front of a building, it was difficult to steal.
The worst part is that this night I was extremely careful not to go and park in Paris because of the 49.3 protests. I chose to go pick up my friends, bring them back to their place, and come home again, just to be safe.
I didn’t drink while being out with my friends; I even ordered a “Virgin Mojito.” When I came back home, I made sure to park in a real parking spot to be covered by the insurance.
At the end of the day, I still lost my car.
It’s always a good idea to protect yourself from certain outcomes by being very cautious. It’s better to be cautious than sorry.
Why choose the Xiaomi C200?
This camera has been bought to protect our belongings when we are leaving home. Even in Vietnam, where I never got anything stolen and had a single bad experience of this kind, it’s always a peace of mind to leave your home and know that you can actually be alerted if some intruders come inside.
Before, I used to open my MacBook’s webcam to monitor intrusions. This worked fairly well; the only issue is that this was not a proper solution because the software I use was not sending me the pictures.
I would have been alerted by a camera movement or the scene changing, but it could have simply been the lighting outside changing. It was far from reliable.
This camera is an entry-level product; it’s lightweight, simple, and cheap. It is connected via USB to power it, and it has a microSD slot to record the footage.
The image quality
It’s a 1080p camera, and the brand also offers other models with a higher resolution but at a slightly higher price. The 2K C300 costs 50 euros.
In my opinion, 2K is still a good choice, but the larger file sizes will only slow down the uploading of the videos and cause your card to fill up quickly. In any case, most security footage is of very low resolution.
The 1080p footage is very good and very light in size; I think it’s using the H265 codec so this means you’ll get the best compression. In my opinion, unless you need to zoom, like for an exterior camera, this is probably more than enough.
The camera has a base and a ball that can rotate 360° horizontally and a decent amount vertically. I think it would be perfect fixed to the ceiling.
These are basic specs. I can’t confirm, but I am pretty sure the hardware of this camera is used by many other companies, such as EZVIZ.
The thing that makes this camera special are the features and the mobile app made by Xiaomi.
One thing I like about this camera is that it can track humans and follow them automatically. There’s also a speaker for instructions on how to set it up, which is quite easy.
One of the most important features of this camera is that it can be accessed via the Xiaomi Home app on your smartphone.
The mobile app
This mobile application will give you the ability to connect to your camera and get a live feed from it. You can also move the camera in any direction you want with some controls.
From the app, you can also turn on and off the camera, take a picture, or record the live feed. One funny feature is the ability to speak through a speaker, making this camera a baby phone as well.
The light signaling that the camera is on can be turned on or off. It’s a good idea to turn it off to attract less attention.
Xiaomi Home Secure
Home Secure gives you the ability to receive live notifications on your phone if a movement or a person is detected. It will automatically upload a short video of the event. The video is probably stored in the cloud, and you’ll be able to download it for a while.
Note that you’ll have a free trial, and after a while, you’ll have to pay 5 euros a month to keep the service.
Is this a perfect solution?
Of course not; everything has its limitations. I won’t go too much into detail on why this camera is not the safest tool. Just know that to send you notification, it needs wi-fi and an Internet connection, and burglars these days have wi-fi jammers.
This camera has a backup through the microSD card, but it can physically be taken off unless it’s unreachable from the thief or he can’t really see it.
That’s why hiding the camera is a good idea; thieves are in a hurry and will not have the time to check areas that are not likely to have valuable items in them.
The field of view of the camera is not extremely wide, which is why it has to move frequently to track people. The 2K version is, it seems, wider.
The camera motors are making some noticeable noises. This camera, when tracking, will attract attention unless the thief is deaf.
The main idea behind a security camera
A security camera is supposed to be a dissuasive tool. The harder it is for the thief to come into your house, the less likely he will take the risk.
Ideally, you need some cameras outside your home to cover the main entrance. These need to be wired cameras as well as wi-fi, in case someone tries to jam the signal.
Also, most thefts are called “thefts of opportunity,” meaning that this is mostly people seeing an opportunity to steal.
Putting a sticker or a camera outside your front door is sometimes dissuasive enough for most thieves to give up. It’s not like you have a safe with gold bars.
The second goal of a camera is obviously to get the identity of the thief and bring them to justice. The fewer unpunished thefts there are, the less likely they are to occur in the first place.
This camera comes with free months of cloud hosting for you to host your video online. One issue I’ve found is that as soon as this free version ends, you won’t be able to watch the footage after you receive a notification, and you’ll rather have to rely on the internal microSD, which defeats the purpose of the camera.
Now we understand that this has a cost for Xiaomi to host those videos, but perhaps they should find a solution that would allow the user to host those files somewhere else, like a private server.
Once you are out of the service, you’ll have to rely on the microSD, which doesn’t record over the existing footage when full. You’ll need to format it through the app every time your microSD is full.
This camera is basically a 1080p camera, which is more than adequate for most uses. However, if you want to record outside your home and get details such as faces or plate numbers, you’ll have to get yourself a higher-resolution camera.
This camera is only good for being used in interiors where the thieves are a few meters away from the lens.
If you want to know if the newer models would do a better job in terms of resolution, check out our review of the Xiaomi C400.
8.5 out of 10.
This security camera by Xiaomi is great value for money. It’s not the perfect security system, but it’s better than nothing—much better.
It will help you have some peace of mind with the notification system at Home Secure. You’ll be able to discourage most thieves with this and perhaps catch one.
Of course, the system can be defeated, but most thefts are thefts of opportunity. These are the ones you want to dissuade. For the rest, I would suggest that you have a second security system.
For example, putting an Apple AirTag on your valuables would be a great idea as well. I really can emphasize that it’s better to be cautious than sorry. It’s just a few hundred euros to save you from future headaches and give you a bit of peace of mind.
Xiaomi Smart Camera C200