The Lenovo P1 Smart 360 Camera is a product that will appeal to a lot of people. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and I’m impressed with its ease-of-use and, predictably, its 360-degree camera.
There are a few things that I do find frustrating, though, and I’ll come to that in a bit. But the quick take from this review is that for NZD$129.99, The Lenovo P1 Smart 360 Camera represents excellent value if you want to set up a simple home security camera.
See also: Lenovo Smart Display 7 review
- 360-degree camera (1080p)
- Two-way audio
- Works with Google Assistant and Alexa
- Lacks geofencing
- No physical camera cover
- Needs power cable
As the name suggests, the main attraction here is the 360-degree rotating camera (plus a small range of vertical motion). This allows you to adjust where your camera’s 80-degree lens is pointing at the press of a button – an on-screen D-Pad – through your smartphone or iPad.
The picture quality is 1080p, which is fine for making out a face or object in your home (I’m always opening the Lenovo Link Pro app to check my TV is still there and I haven’t been burgled).
The only issue I’ve had with the picture quality is that it, like all mid-range cameras, struggles to display certain objects in bright conditions.
There are a few nice features that accompany the 360-degree camera. Motion tracking is the most interesting. When the camera recognises a movement, it will use its built-in motor to rotate and track the moving object.
I’ve tested this a few times, often by accident, and can confirm it works well.
Unfortunately, there is no geofencing mode on offer here. Other home security IP cameras, such as Arlo, have automated location-based triggers than turn your camera on/off depending on your vicinity to your house. The lack of this feature here is disappointing as it requires no extra hardware, only well-designed software.
This is a pet hate of mine. After paying hundreds of dollars for a home security system, manufacturers then sting customers will monthly cloud-storage fees. Arlo does it. Ring does it. And this Lenovo does it.
What’s even more frustrating is that Arlo, Ring and this Lenovo camera all have their own cloud storage setups – which is annoying if, like me, you already pay a subscription to Arlo for its cloud storage.
The only good piece of news here is that Lenovo’s cloud storage is cheaper than its rivals. 30-day free trial; then the Basic monthly plan is $4.49/month (14-day event recording); Premium monthly plan is $9.99/month (39-day event recording).
Alternatively, you can insert a physical SD card directly into the camera and record video on the device. This sort of defeats the purpose of an IP security camera though, as an intruder could simply take device (or just the SD card), and you’d be left with no way to access your video.
What else do you need to know?
The rest is pretty routine. There’s two-way audio; IR Night Video; Online push notifications; away to connect multiple Lenovo Smart cameras; it works with Google and Alexa voice assistants; and a scheduler that lets you arm the device when you’re usually at work or away.
Lenovo P1 Smart 360 Camera: Verdict
I rate the Lenovo P1 Smart 360 Camera. It fills a niche in the market and achieves its desired effect well, and at an affordable price point. The need for power cables, rather than being battery powered (like Arlo), means its appearance is a little untidy. But it’s important to remember this is only NZD$129.99. The bottom line here is a simple one: if you’re looking for a versatile, cheap, 1080p IP security camera, this device won’t disappoint.
Read next: Best Phone NZ 2020: What’s the best smartphone I can buy in NZ?