5 December 2014

REVIEW: Yale Easy Fit CCTV

Easy as ABC(CTV).

Burglar alarms just aren't enough of a deterrent. When one goes off on your street do you actually think "Mmm, better go and check on number 54", or do you say out loud, "Bloody number 54! Damn alarm going off again!"? Even if burglars do trigger an alarm, it could be minutes before someone actually bothers to check, giving them ample time to pinch all of your lovely stuff. No, what criminals really hate is having their ugly mugs captured by cameras. And so, we jumped at the chance to test the new Yale Easy Fit CCTV system.

We've reviewed home security cameras before; those that can connect to your WiFi router so you can keep an eyes on your house while you're away. The Yale system does exactly the same, but uses good old fashioned (read - reliable) wires to link up the cameras, with a far higher quality of materials to make this an indoor/outdoor bit of kit with non-stop digital recording.

In the box you get two HD cameras (or four, or six, depending on what set you buy), a DVR which looks like a very slim DVD player, a Yale-branded mouse (which is one of the cutest mice we've ever used) and a butt load of cables to connect it all together. Installation and set up shouldn't come as too big a surprise to those already familiar with cameras and modern home security, but even to the uninitiated the task is fairly straightforward thanks to Yale's included instructions. In a nutshell, the cameras plug directly into the  DVR, which in turn connects to your WiFi router.

Fixing the cameras is (or is not) a breeze - depending on where you want them to go. Each one includes screws and wall-plugs, something that is always very appreciated, meaning you can whack one up in just a few minutes. Installing them outside however is a trickier affair as you will have to drill through the exterior walls to accommodate the power/data cable. That wasn't massively appealing to us, so we decided to set ours up as a purely inside job... although it's great to know that the cameras are fully water and weather-proof - something quite rare in the home camera industry.

Each camera produces a crisp HD image in full colour during the day, and by way of infrared, black and white at night. The Yale cameras possess probably the best night-vision we've ever tested, with the IR light seeming to reach much farther than other models - again, peace of mind if installing to cover a large lawn or driveway.

And that mouse. Despite being a neat looking accessory in itself (you should branch out into mice, phone cases, etc. Yale) it serves a very useful purpose. Unlike many home camera set-ups, the Easy Fit CCTV system comes with a dedicated DVR which, by way of a smorgasbord of ports on the back (most notably HDMI) can connect to a monitor or TV. This means that you can flick between watching the telly on one channel, and watching your property on another. The mouse therefore lets you navigate the operating system of the DVR, which is a very handy thing to include. But obviously, as there are USB ports on the back, you could connect any number of wireless mice and controllers to make the experience ever more convenient.

Speaking of the DVR itself, it comes pre-installed with a 500GB hard drive meaning you can record constantly from all your cameras, without having to delete footage, for an entire month. After that the data will automatically overwrite itself, so you don't have to do a thing with it; just leave it recording 24/7. And of course a real selling point of the system is the fact that the DVR is connected to the internet via your router. To access your camera's feeds from the other side of the planet is a simple job thanks to the Yale app, a free download available for iOS and Android. The app is easy to use and laid out very clearly, and it can access all your other Yale kit such as your house alarms.

So, no the Yale Easy Fit CCTV system isn't a WiFi product and the cameras do need a physical connection to their parent DVR, but if you ask us, that makes us feel better about it. Something like a total CCTV system in your home feels like it should be wired, so that go-betweens (such as your ISP) aren't in the way and the only thing you're reliant on to guarantee a recorded image is electricity. For that, and the superbly made gadgets which comprise this set, we give the Easy Fit CCTV from Yale a double thumbs up.

And we can do that, because no burglar was able to nick our thumbs. Thanks Yale.

£299 (for the two camera set)

© The Test Pit

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