Wanscam HW0049 HD IP Camera review

Nov 6, 2016

The first Wanscam product I reviewed last year left a very good impression.
The HW0049 is the latest addition in the HW series.




The now-old HW0026 (which is still in service in my collection today after a year on 24/7 duty), is one of the best budget IP cameras I've tested so far, despite its weird design. As the latest addition to the HW series, the HW0049 retains the same qualities, plus the Pan & Tilt ability.


From the specification, it looks like an evolution of the older HW0021, with a wider Panning range (355° vs 270°), and support for higher capacity SD cards (128GB vs 32GB).

In the box:
The packaging contains the camera and a full set of accessories: Mounting screws, LAN cable, a 5V/2A power adapter, a CD-ROM and a startup leaflet.Instead of the usual plastic bracket, a round piece of plastic can be inserted into the base of the camera to mount it directly on a wall



Design:
From the picture, I expected a bulky camera but it is in fact smaller than the traditional Pan & Tilt cameras. 
It is even more compact than the static HW0026.




There's a complete set of connectors at the back: RJ45, DC, audio-in, and audio-out. 


  



Setting up:
There are several foolproof ways to setup the camera. Everything is covered by the startup manual in the CD-Rom provided.


Wireless setup:
When powered on for the first time, the camera operates as a Wi-Fi access point. So it is possible to connect directly to it with E-View7 (AndroidiOSand then configure it to work with your local router .

Ethernet wired setup:
If you start the camera while plugged via Ethernet to your LAN, the IPCameraTool.exe provided on the CD-ROM will locate it. It is then possible to access the Web Interface (default login admin/admin) and configure it from there.


Usage:
The camera offers 2 user interfaces (3 if you count the PC program but it's not worth it): The neat smartphone app E-View7 (AndroidiOS), and the embedded web interface, which offers some advanced options not found E-View7, like the ports assignment, or the Onvif parameters.
It's worth noting that the browser interface works in IE with ActiveX, but also in Chrome or Firefox with the Flash Player plug-in (hence the use of the RTMP protocol) .They're almost on feature par with the exception of motion detection areas, and video masks (to hide some parts of the picture) which require ActiveX (IE).



The recordings on the Micro-SD card can be played back from the web interface via the "Intelligent online playback" http://<ipaddr>/backplay.html (ActiveX only) or downloaded from http://<ipaddr>/sd/


P2P only if you want:
While the HW0049 offers the P2P convenience, it is not a requirement to use the camera fully.
I always forbid that kind of traffic outside my LAN (as much as I can), and also disable the UPnP feature on the camera when possible. 
Strangely, this section is now missing from the menu of the current web interface version, but the page can be called directly: http://<ipaddr>/web/upnp_men.html








Update (16/12/2016): I have noticed that, despite that I turned off the UPnP option, the camera is still trying to chat with the outside world; something I don't see with the older HW0026 (also an older firmware). I've set my firewall to drop (and log) any outbound communication attempt from the address pool dedicated to my cameras. While it's not only used for trojans, the port 32100 has a bad reputation...



The camera uses the cgi instruction set from HiSillicon which SDK is documented in various places.






Synology SS7 compatibility:
Like the HW0026 before, the HW0049 connected straight away as an Onvif 2.1 device to my Synology Surveillance Station with audio support, and Pan & Tilt control.







Video:


The Hi3518E give the usual sharp and clear picture even in the dark. There's a ring of tiny but strong IR LED's around the lens. The Web and mobile interfaces allow the full control of the sensor, including the IR LED mode (auto/on/off). The Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) option allows to boost the brightness, which is particularly useful in situations where the camera cannot use the IR LED (e.g. behind a window)




The IR-Cut delay gives some time to the camera to decide that the conditions are met for long enough to switch into night or day mode. However it does not work very well and you may hear the IR Cut switch ticking like an old clock for a few minutes before making up its mind. I managed to make it quieter by maxing out the IRCut value to 1024.


Streaming: 
3 different profiles define the various video and still picture resolutions available.
RTSP uses the following URL's:
rtsp://<ip address>:554/11 -> 720P 
rtsp://<ip address>:554/12 -> VGA  
JPEG Snapshot: 
http://<ip address>/tmpfs/auto.jpg


Audio:
The incoming sound from the microphone is clear and interference-free. The speaker is a bit faint and does not sound great due to the plastic casing. As for any cameras with integrated speaker and microphone next to each other, it is prone to acoustic feedback if you use both together. For proper 2-way audio, consider plugging an external speaker.

Conclusion: sehr gut!
The Wanscam HW0049 is a very complete and well designed product.
With the choice of mobile or web interface and a complete Onvif compatibility, it outperforms the rivals in that price category (30.78€/34.23$). 
After the HW0026 and the old Dericam H502W, this one is my new favorite!


Good:
● Easy to set up, several ways available
● Mobile and Web interfaces available
● Complete ONVIF compatibility
● Great picture and sound quality
● Lot of configuration options
● Great panning range (355°) 
● Small size

Not so good:
 indecisive IR-Cut switch
 some advanced functions are only available in some interfaces, or simply missing, like UPnP switch.








Special thanks to David @ GearBest for providing the sample reviewed here.

31 comments:

  1. Nice review, i want to replace me xiaomi yi webcam mainly because its app is very very slow and sometimes it takes minutes to connect or to switch on/off the camera. Do you think this wanscam is ok ? I just need it to connect fast and to send email with frames or notifications when a movement is detected. Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Daniele, I must say this model is the most complete I've tried so far. It's currently my favourite and easily one of the best in that price range. I'm using it 24/7 for almost a month now and it's very stable.
      I only used EView7 app occasionally for the tests but it seems to work well.
      It consider it as a safe choice.
      Cheers

      Delete
  2. Can this be used to watch my garden ?
    How good it'll be ?
    Thank u.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, because you can turn off the ir LEDs, so it can be placed behind a window. It has to be indoor, it's not weatherproof.

      Delete
  3. Where can I find this surveillance unofficial full list?

    http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-GRyLuos7A6c/WA4dirzDGFI/AAAAAAAA5-o/h5CLIxeUmboOWnilGvJpKsXBs7mvVo_nwCK4B/s1600/Synology%2BIP%2BCamera%2BCompatibility%2BList%2B-%2BGoogle%2BSheets-15-40-47.jpg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a list that I maintain myself from own tests, it is not published anywhere else. Synology has a kind of list but centered on the priciest brands.

      Delete
    2. Thanks :)
      Then in this moment this picture has your full list?

      Delete
    3. There's a slightly more recent one here.
      Cheers

      Delete
  4. Can someone know the default user/pwd for telnet login?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. not yet, but some are trying to apply brute force to the hash. Can be a long process...

      Delete
  5. Maybe the firmware of hw0049 can flas to hw0036 to achieve ss compatibility?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish it was that easy but they are too different, the HW0049 uses a single update file while the HW0036 still uses the old'ish pair of WebUI and App files.
      But this particular firmware seems to become very widespread, so there's hope to see an update leaking one day from one of the many "brands" like Digoo or Veskys.

      Delete
  6. Where can I find software updates for this device?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You need to contact Wanscam for that:
      http://www.wanscam.com/contactus/contactus/

      Delete
  7. Anybody found the right setting under IP Cam Viewer (Android)?
    I can make it work but struggle to get a setting that enables HD Video + Sound + PTZ.

    ReplyDelete
  8. By the way, I tried as Onvif, but I do not get HD video...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I see the same and it's a bug of IP Camera Viewer which calls the wrong rtsp video channel through Onvif.

      If you set the camera access for "Generic URL" and "Generic RTSP over UDP" with this url rtsp://ipaddr:554/11, the video will be in HD and that's what Onvif should use. Instead IP Viewer seems to get the low-res "/12" channel.

      For a comparison, try Onvifer for Android. It does stream HD via Onvif properly.

      Delete
    2. Tks. Yes it seems like it + it fails to get the audio also... There is a port option in ONVIF but it changes nothing.

      So far, best I found is the HW0048 but the PTZ is too fast...

      Delete
  9. Hi, I have the HW0041 (or a badged version of it) which seems very similar in terms of firmware. Software version is given as V7.1.4.1.13-20161014. However I can't connect it to Surveillance Station using the Generic_ONVIF profile. I can connect as a custom device but no PTZ or audio. Any tips on how to connect it successfully?

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hi, can someone paste what CGI URL is used by this camera for outgoing audio?

    ReplyDelete
  11. Excellent work, Bubbah! You provided far more useful guidance than the materials / guide that came with the camera.
    As a result solved some specific issues I was having. Thank you VERY MUCH!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, glad it helped :-)

      Delete
  12. Are there any other iPhone/iPad apps that would work with this camera that are better than eView7? I find the application pretty clunky.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "IP Cam Viewer" is an excellent alternative that works with virtually any IP camera. I've used it for years on Android. It is also available for iPhone.

      Delete
  13. Is there other ip camera brand with CE mark on it? i have bought 2 wanscam cameras becasue they hace CE mark but i have problems with both so i want to order other brands

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Most Chinese manufacturers have the CE label so they can export to EU legally, but that never guarantees the product quality, at best, that it is somewhat compliant with safety and RF regulations.

      Delete
  14. Hi again,

    so I got a Wanscam HW0021... when I asked (in the Xiaomi RTSP hack thread), you recommended this model, but I you know, sometimes you don't know what someone's warning means until after you get the problem, so I got the device thinking it would just use HTML5 you know... considering it's a product from a community country, why would they bother with proprietary stuff, right? Well... anyway...

    I just wanted to ask, do you know of any alternative firmware for Wanscam devices? Something like OpenWRT but for IP cameras? Any way to telnet or hack into it, somehow?

    If not, are there even cameras like that out there, that you can SSH to them, and that work like OpenWRT? Like that run Busybox or something, and they have software internally that handles the video stream like pwcview, ffmpeg and whatnot... because as far as I can tell it's just that, an embedded Linux/UNIX device... There has to be an easier way to hack into them... I don't like having something that watches me all the time that I can't control 100%...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Patrick,

      Well, I recommended the HW0049 to be exact, I don't really know the HW0021 but it's probably based on the same firmware (looks like a HW00046 with lower resolution...)
      Most budget IP cameras are buzybox-based but more importantly are not secure.
      It is not too hard to connect to access their serial console via the SoC JTAG connection, but often just a sniffer and a look inside the html code reveals enough to hack them.
      A great place for custom firmware projects: openipcam.com
      More reading:
      https://pierrekim.github.io/blog/2017-03-08-camera-goahead-0day.html
      https://jelmertiete.com/2016/03/14/IoT-IP-camera-teardown-and-getting-root-password

      That's why I always recommend to restric their access to the Internet and use them behind a proper secured NVR server, where they cannot call their motherland.

      ...and yes, there are secure IP Cameras with HTTPS and SSH out there (Sony, Axis, Hikvision, Cisco,...) but that's a completely different price and product range.

      Cheers

      Delete