When you’re looking for a hidden camera (or nanny cam or spy camera), the first big decision you have to make is whether to get a WiFi streaming or non-WiFi camera. After all, these two types of cameras may look similar, but they operate very differently, and have a completely different set of features and benefits.
Depending on your specific video surveillance needs, one might work better for your situation than the other. It may also depend on the location you want to monitor, as well as the technology that is or isn’t available at that location. With that being said, let’s take a look at the differences between the two types of hidden cameras, so we can help you select the one that’s best for your particular situation.
Non-WiFi Hidden Cameras
- Can be battery or AC powered
- Record to memory card or internal memory
- Watch video after the fact (not live)
- Can be very portable
- Do not offer live streaming or live viewing
Although our site is “WiFi Hidden Cameras”, we do also carry a selection of non-WiFi cameras, because as you can see from the bullet points above, not all situations necessitate a WiFi camera.
One of the biggest benefits of a non-WiFi camera is its lack of WiFi. For those who don’t need or want live streaming, a non-WiFi (or “self recording”) hidden camera is an easy to use, portable device, that allows you to capture much of the same information that a WiFi camera would give you.
Since they don’t live stream, non-WiFi cameras are ones that will always record video, either to a micro SD memory card (usually up to 64GB or 128GB), or to internal memory. Most of these cameras will give you the option to choose between motion activated recording or continuous recording. Most people opt for motion activated recording for their nanny camera, because this means less wasted space on the memory card, and less video files to go through.
Another benefit of a non-WiFi camera is that you can use them in places where you don’t have WiFi access, or places without any WiFi connection at all. In addition, some places like hotels have WiFi networks, but have additional security that makes it unable to connect a WiFi camera to it (to monitor your hotel room for example against theft by a maid or housekeeper).
The only real downside of a non-WiFi nanny camera is that you won’t be able to live view video to watch on your smartphone as it’s happening. So if you need real time, up-to-the-minute video information, keep reading to learn about WiFi hidden cameras:
WiFi Hidden Cameras
- Can be battery or AC powered
- Recording to memory card or internal memory is optional
- Use limited to areas with WiFi (not very portable)
- Live streaming lets you monitor in real time
- Offer motion alerts to notify you of activity
As you can see from the list above, WiFi hidden cameras have some features in common with non-WiFi cameras, such as their ability to be AC or battery powered. AC power is more common however for WiFi hidden cameras, since WiFi streaming takes up more power than just recording to a memory card. In addition, recording to a memory card is optional, since you also have the option of live viewing, not everyone needs or wants to record video as well.
Of course the main feature and biggest draw to a WiFi hidden camera is its ability to live stream video. Video can be streamed to your smartphone or tablet device, with our free live streaming app from the App Store or Google Play store. The app essentially allows you to control all aspects of your WiFi camera. You will use the app to configure and set up the camera, as well as use it to view your live video.
Motion detection alerts are another popular feature of WiFi cameras, so if you want to get alerts when your camera detects activity, such as if there is a breakin, or when your kids get home from school, a WiFi hidden camera is a good choice.
The one drawback of a WiFi spy camera however is that it does need WiFi to operate, so if you are going to put it in a place to monitor, there must be an existing WiFi network in that physical location, such as your home or office. This makes these type of cameras slightly less portable than non-WiFi cameras.