POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jun 23, 2013
» What it is: A camera that lets you see what's going on at home while you're away by using a computer, iPad or smartphone. What's different about this camera, other than a sturdy, high-quality plastic case unlike some lower-grade plastic models, is free cloud access for saving video as long as seven days without a subscription. Thirty-day storage costs $39.99 per year.
» The good: This was a breeze to set up. Honestly, it seemed like a minute or two requiring a temporary ethernet cable hookup with my home router and setting up an account on the HomeMonitor website. Once the camera was configured via the cable, I could move it anywhere in my house simply by using my Wi-Fi signal, though I still needed a power source. Other cameras I tried were not nearly so simple. One was so difficult to set up that I never got it to function properly, and another required an hour on the phone with a tech to change computer settings. The color picture on this is sharp, and the night vision is the best I have seen, though it is in black and white as you might expect. You also can get email alerts when motion is detected.
» The bad: When using my iPad, there's about a 30-second delay. Not so with my laptop, which was off by just a few seconds. Too, the sound quality worked better with my laptop than my iPad.
» Cost: $199.99
» Available from: homemonitor.me, amazon.com and walmart.com
--Ross Werland / Chicago Tribune