I’ve got 2 new IP cameras from Imou to look at. It’s not my first running with the company, already covered the Imou Bullet 2E and so far experience with these was pretty solid. They sent me Imou Ranger 2C in 2MP and 4MP (AmazonUK 2MP, 4MP, AmazonUS 2MP, 4MP, Imou Store) flavours so let’s test it out and decide which one suits your home security needs first and if the upgrade to 2K is necessary.
Taking closer look at Ranger 2C
It’s not my first Ranger camera either. A few months ago I made a “notenoughtech” style setup guide to Ranger IQ (it’s funny). The only difference between these cameras is the sensor resolution. The Imou Ranger 2C 2MP records the stream in 1080p while Imou Ranger 2C 4MP ups the resolution to 2K. I will cover the shared features first, then we will focus on the difference in the video quality.
Imou Ranger 2C 2MP/4MP – Features
Imou Ranger 2C is a WiFi camera with human detection, smart tracking and a 2-way audio system. You will be limited to the 2.4GHz band on your WiFi, but I had no issues connecting these and keeping them in range inside the house.
Mounted on 355° swivel, Imou Ranger 2C covers 360 degrees around and -5° to 80° moving up and down. This means no blind spots, especially if mounted upside down (the camera comes with a handy attachment for that). Note that vertical adjustment is only -5° so don’t place the camera too high otherwise you may end up with blind spots near the camera.
The power is delivered via a micro USB connector (no extra points for USB-C) and you can plug it into any USB port or charger that has enough juice to power it up.
Detection is split into motion detection and human detection. Both events can trigger smart tracking and the camera will follow the target around until the track is lost. Sensitivity can be adjusted in case your background isn’t static and detection areas can be narrowed down by selecting active areas on the screen or by specifying a detection schedule.
This gives Imou Ranger 2C owners enough flexibility to set the IP cameras to their liking, without getting annoying false positive alerts. Bear in mind, that in “human detection” mode, the camera will suppress motion notifications unless a human is recognised.
What’s missing is the autonomous movement. It would be nice to see the camera follow pre-defined paths while looking for humans or pausing to monitor for movement.
Smart tracking is pretty reliable, and you have to go out of your way to escape the camera’s tracking. The movement is near silent, so the sound of the camera adjusting its position won’t bother you. It’s worth noting that the resolution of the camera did not impact motion tracking or motion detection in any way.
While intended for indoor use, I have used it to monitor outside as well to see how well the camera would perform. It was able to trigger motion events far away from the camera itself which was impressive (25m range). I had a couple of false positives, but as the camera was trained for indoor use, I’m not surprised that an occasional van would trigger it. I had no false positives in the indoor use. Just note, I have no pets to test this on, so all I could do is wave my hands while being hidden behind a wall.
As I have been given 2 cameras to test, I will break down the quality to 2MP and 4MP sensors. The playback and associated recordings recording look nice, however, the 2MP version of the camera is not worth zooming in on. The image will deteriorate quickly in close up. The 4MP version of the sensor produced a more saturated colour and more pixels to look at, resulting in more pleasant image quality.
The night performance is good as well. Both cameras rely on IR to sens the black and white image over (unlike Imou Bullet which comes with a special coloured night mode). The frames are well exposed and details clear. You will obviously lose all colour information this way.
The night images are alike, with 4MP getting a couple of more pixels to play around when zooming in.
The audio is pretty decent. The 2-way conversation is easy thanks to the built-in speaker at the back of the unit. Voices recorded on the camera are ok with appropriate volume levels, and the integrated speaker does its job despite the size.
It’s pretty loud too, in case you want to use sound to chase a cat or a dog off the sofa while you are away. There was a little latency, but nothing that should cause concern.
Smarter app for Android and Windows
It’s always nice to see the company making an extra effort. Security survivance can be done via a dedicated Android/iOS app and Windows software.
An update to the IMOU app dropped during the review process, bringing automation for IMOU cameras. These are simple smart scenes that allow you to change the camera setting based on your location. You can set all IMOU cameras to be more alert when you leave the house and ease on notifications when you are back. I like this approach, as schedules for monitoring and notifications don’t take into account your daily routines.
The app allows you to stream up to 4 cameras at the same time, which is handy if you have more rooms to keep the tabs on. Each camera interface comes with the preview of the camera stream in SD/HD and settings to control camera position or initiate the 2-way conversation.
Extra options allow you to start recording the footage directly to the phone or capture a screenshot. Pinching the screen enables zooming – an option that works much better on the 2K variant of the camera due to extra resolution.
Settings bring control over the motion detection events and notifications. You can set the sensitivity of the camera motion detection, limit it to humans only and specify the schedule and the area for active detection.
Cameras can be linked to the alarm siren and you can play a sound on them once an event is detected to scare away intruders. Advanced settings bring HDR, image rotation, sound and LED configurations.
Smart Home integration
Imou Ranger series comes with 2-way audio and compatible smart home integration. I have Amazon Show (review) so I tested the IMOU skill. Alexa located the cameras without any issues, but the stream from both cameras was interrupted by buffering. The audio pickup was bad as well on both units.
Moving the camera to a different location to improve its WiFi range didn’t change anything. This wasn’t the case when using the IMOU app. I reached out to IMOU, they have confirmed the issue and that the fix should follow soon. Until then, disable the microphone to mitigate the stream issues over Alexa skill.
Browsing the timeline for cameras requires finesse. The timeline is small and motion events narrow. It takes more time than I would like to hone onto a precise moment on the timeline. I wish you could just zoom in on the timeline to change the resolution of your actions.
Files stored on the micro SD card are saved in a proprietary format so you won’t be able to easily look them up without exporting them through the app. On that note, a 32GB card will store approx 3 days of footage. While on the subject of storage, data plans are available for recordings. You will preserve the motion events only (no continuous recording) and the price plans are as follows:
|7 Day||3.99 29.99|
IMOU Windows software wasn’t without a fault either. I could access the history of motion events, but the timeline was not responsive at all. In fact scrolling through the timeline would cause the camera to reboot. It’s another thing that IMOU engineers confirmed as an issue and are working on a fix.
RTSP made… not easy
There is no mention of NVR on the product page for Imou Ranger2C however the camera supports it, at least not officially. It’s the same as with Imou Bullet 2E which supports NVR unofficially.
Long story short, the NVR works via ONVIF, but the setup is messy (not documented). To make it work (I verified the stream with VLC) Depending on your client, you will need to provide the URL stream. The Imou Ranger 2C uses 554 and 37777 ports to output the stream.
To get the safety code, navigate to your camera options in the IMOU app and you will find a barcode in the general camera information with a safety code listed. This is the password to use the RTSP stream from the camera. To troubleshoot and manage the camera you can use the manufacturer software from this page. There is a configuration tool and NVR SmartPSS software that you can try with the camera.
Thanks to the Windows version of the IMOU app, you can set up your IMOU cameras with the NVR software provided. The software will take care of the monitoring for you, offering similar options to the Android counterpart.
Unfortunately, I had issues accessing the video storage on the cards for both units. It’s not something I experienced with the Android app. Looks like the Windows app will need a bit more work if IMOU wants it to be useful. The issue was affecting the timeline recordings, accessing the motion events didn’t cause issues for me.
Alexa integration remains the biggest issue right now. Anything else works pretty well and Imou Ranger 2C (AmazonUK 2MP, 4MP, AmazonUS 2MP, 4MP, Imou Store) is an interesting option. Don’t be afraid to pick the 1080p version as other than an increase in the resolution, the camera doesn’t perform better, and for indoor use, 1080p is perfectly adequate. The 4MP model is recommended for monitoring bigger spaces where the bump in resolution comes in handy. Feel free to let me know what do you think about the IMOU Ranger 2C series in this Reddit thread.
🆓📈💵 – See the transparency note for details.