Annke cram lots of value into their surveillance kits, with four hard-wired IP cameras, a 1TB recorder for your footage, and apps that support remote viewing.
Annke delivers top-value for the budget-conscious home CCTV buyer in 2015. Even with the compromises, is an Annke All-In-One surveillance system the kit for you?
Four cameras, an NVR and 1TB storage for your CCTV footage is mega-value, and the Amazon Annke price often dips below £300.
I’d never heard of Annke before, but they’re a decent-sized Honk Kong tech company specialising in surveillance camera kit.
Most IP cams are made in factories in the Far East. The big manufacturers like Hikvision have huge factories in China. They sell under their own name, and make rebadged camera kit for the likes of TRENDnet.
There are also lots of smaller outfits making white-label electronics sold as generic IP cameras on sites like Amazon. Annke falls somewhere in-between, making their own surveillance cameras and NVR solutions under their own name for the budget market.
What do you get with an Annke kit?
The Annke kit here comes with an NVR unit, 1TB of storage and four PoE cameras. PoE stands for ‘Power-Over-Ethernet’ which means a single ethernet cable is all you need for power AND data transfer for these units. There’s no extra power cables, and this makes for a much cleaner installation – simply fix the camera to the wall and choose where you want your ethernet cables (supplied) to go.
I shouldn’t have to tell you that you’re getting a lot of surveillance camera kit for your money. But I will.
The Annke kit offers LOADS of value for the amount of hardware you get.
- NVR unit with 1TB hard drive installed, with PSU
- FOUR IP cameras for indoor or outdoor use, with POE and 720p CCTV footage capture
- Four ethernet cables (2x 15m + 2x 30m lengths) to connect back to the NVR
- Mouse and a remote control – connect the NVR via HDMI to a TV and control your home CCTV system
Plug everything and you’re good to go. Almost, but I’ll come to that. Your POE cameras plug straight into your NVR unit. You run a cable back to your home router and it should be remote accessible. Power up with a monitor attached via HDMI and you can control the Annke via remote and mouse.
Picture quality is superb and these camera do 1280×720 resolution. They have night vision with a suggested 30m-range (cough-cough). No Pan-Tilt-Zoom, and there’s been some confusion over how weatherproof these cams are. They are IP66 rated so will survive outside, and you can position the cameras under the eaves or a windowsill for more protection.
Annke suggests these are Plug and Play, and yes, you can plug all the Annke kit together and see your video stream in no time. Your recording settings and remote viewing will take longer to setup. Really, CCTV kits like these are so much easier to setup than a custom surveillance system recording to a NAS.
The 1TB hard drive is great too, letting you record for a month from 4 channels before your CCTV footage gets overwritten. If you’re buying, steer clear of the cheaper drive-less Annke kit, since you’ll only have to source and buy a hard drive to install yourself.
Where The Annke CCTV Is A Letdown
All good so far then. Four cameras, simple startup and the picture quality is fine. Plus points for an Annke surveillance kit are:
- Local storage out of the box – 1TB will be fine for most people
- NVR is secure – self-contained system, less exposed to hacks
- Compatibility is assured – you know the cameras and NVR all work together
Sure the Annke is not a flexible home CCTV surveillance system. If a camera breaks, you may need a supplier replacement. That said, user reliability reports on the Annke system are usually good.
Annke are your support if there is a problem. The instructions that come with this Annke CCTV kit are minimal, and their website is passable. Many buyers have been very happy with their Annke. An IT-competent person will cruise through a setup, and Annke does try to hold your hand through the process.
It would be great to see Annke cranking out CCTV kit with lots of firmware upgrades. What you’re buying with the Annke home CCTV is top budget hardware, and saving on the software. The Netgear Arlo for example is very user friendly, has wonderful apps and a strong user community.
However, a four camera Arlo kit costs £500+ and doesn’t provide local storage like the Annke.
The Annke software is ordinary, and might frustrate home users used to a bit of ‘Whizz-Bang’ on their user interfaces. The remote viewing via iPhone or Android is available, so with tinkering you can check your video away from home.
If you want an ultra-quality home surveillance system that you can expand and update over time, the Annke is not for you.
For the budget buyer though, the Annke is FANTASTIC: four 720p POE cameras, an NVR and 1TB storage.