Whether you want to keep an eye on your house, pets or young children, IP cameras are an established means to do so. Solwise is a well-known maker of such devices, and the SEC-PCQ-500S lives up to the 500AV, 500Mb standard. The camera also features the AR7420 HomePlug chipset, making it compatible with any Internet-connected adaptor abiding by the Home Plug AV protocol. You could have seven of these devices on your network if you so wished. But that's no good if they're awkward to use.

Name:  Solwise SEC-PCQ-500S IR IP Camera with box.jpg
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Luckily that's not the reality. The 500S feels a solid and well built bit of kit. It's not ideal for outside use, but can be fitted to indoor walls or attached to a tripod if desired. Screws and wall plugs are included should they be required, and its manual pan (270) and tilt (90) make it flexible enough for most situations. The camera 'head' moves with an agreeable series of clicks and clunks, and doesn't feel as though it'll come away from the base any time soon.

That's just as well because the base is pretty crucial to set-up. With the camera powered on, users are advised to download the iOS or Android 'plugCAM' app to their smartphone you can use PC software with the 500S, but set-up is far easier with the apps. With the camera connected to the mains, opening the app provides you with three ways to find the device: manual entry of the device code and password; an automatic search of your network; or a scan of the QR code found on the camera base's underside. Not only does the last of these incredibly make QR codes useful for once, but it's also by far the easiest option.
With the camera connected and a password set up, the device options are uncovered. The 5005 uses a CMOS VGS sensor, and provides 12 frames per second at its top resolution of 640 x 480. This is decent enough for general use, although 20fps (320 x 240) and 30fps (160 x 120) modes are also available. The app allows users to choose between these settings, take snapshots and change between indoor and outdoor modes. However the last of these matters not one bit for the 500S, as it's patently not designed for outdoor use.

Finally, we come to the SEC- PCQ-500S's infra-red capabilities. Up to five metres is quoted, so larger rooms or long passageways aren't recommended should you want complete coverage. Still, in testing I was pretty satisfied that the camera fulfills the quoted distance, and I've no concerns about video quality.

For anyone requiring more comprehensive features there are other (more expensive) products on the market. However, Solwise's SEC-PCQ-5OOS offers solid performance and simple-as- anything set-up. At 70 you can't argue too much, and you can't go far wrong.