VOSKER provides outdoor security camera solutions that you can use almost anywhere. VOSKER sent me their newest camera, the V300 Ultimate 4G-LTE Live View Security Camera. I was looking forward to testing it. The camera functions quite differently from the many other kinds of smart cameras that I have tested. It doesn’t require power or an internet signal, yet the images and photos it captures can be viewed on your mobile device from anywhere in the world. Let’s take a look at how to install this camera, what to expect from the newly updated VOSKER app, and how to get the most from the V300 Ultimate.
VOSKER V300 Ultimate basic functions and features
This camera is different in many ways for typical smart home IP cameras, the kind most common at your home improvement store, or tech source like Best Buy or Amazon. The most obvious difference is that the V300 Ultimate does not connect to Wi-Fi. It uses a cellular signal to send captured video from the camera to the VOSKER servers and eventually to the app on your mobile device (phone or tablet).
That imposes certain limitations on the amount of content you can view from the camera. As you are likely aware, cellular data transfer is more costly than internet data transfer. So unlike most Wi-Fi linked IP camera systems, you do not get unlimited videos and photos using the V300 Ultimate. However, VOSKER has a variety of cloud access plans and I think that their basic plan will be sufficient for my needs, though I’ll have to assess this over time to be certain. Another options for accessing the stored images and video is to remove the SD card to read the data directly from the card. I think most people, though will rely on the convenience of viewing the captured video using the app.
Battery + solar panel: Another difference from typical wire and wireless IP cameras is you will not need to connect it to power or recharge the batteries every few weeks. VOSKER promised a year or more V300 Ultimate usage with no maintenance or charging thanks to the included solar panel. I assume the duration of uninterrupted use will depend on how often the camera is streaming video or photos to the cloud. The more you use it, the faster the batteries will discharge. The included solar panel should keep the V300 charged throughout the bright summer months. During the short winter days, you may find that the panel is less effective, and recharging takes longer.
Durable and weather-resistant: One final feature to call out is that these cameras are built for the outdoors. Will the V300 Ultimate hold up to a harsh, snowy winter? According to the specs it should. The casing of the cameras is hard black plastic and weather resistant: it should stand up to most conditions. It’s also rated for a broad temperature range: -30C to +50C. I’ve only ever had one smart camera ever fail due to temperature thanks to the heat dome a while back when my deck recorded temperatures over 50C: one of my IP cameras mounted on the side of the house melted! Lastly, the built-in GPS tracker will enable you to track the camera in the event it gets stolen.
Unboxing the VOSKER V300 Ultimate
Inside the box you’ll find all that you need to set up the V300 Ultimate and solar panel, including the Sim card (it will be pre-installed in the camera and you will not have to touch it) and the SD card (it should be a 32GB card, also already installed in the camera; you can easily replace it if you need or want to). Also in the box will be the cables you need to charge the camera battery and the solar panel, and a cable to keep these two devices connected once they are mounted and in use.
Lastly, you’ll find a couple mounting options in the box. These include two flat mounting plates, cleverly shaped like the VOSKER icon, and two swivel and tilt mounting arms. You also have the option to connect the mounting arms to the plates or use the included wood screw mounts to directly attach the arms to a tree or other wooden surface.
Batteries included: The camera has a removable 14000mAh battery that powers the camera. The solar panel has a built-in, non-removable 15000mAh battery, that can be connected to the camera. It can also be used to power other external devices like mobile phones, tablets, laptops, smart lights, and more.
Setting up the camera and preparing to install the V300 Ultimate
There are a few key steps to follow before you mount the camera outside. I know the excitement of getting new tech—it’s hard to be patient! However, you likely won’t be mounting it on the first day you get the box. Be patient and expect to mount it soon after that first day if you follow these steps.
- Remove the battery from the camera and charge it: I used the USB-C charger for my phone. The box includes a short USB-C to USB-C cable, and USB-C to USB-A cable. A power block to plug that cable into is not included which I don’t think is necessary anyways as we all have many of these around the house to power our phones, smart speakers, etc.
NOTE: It took a good 24 hours to fully charge the battery. Conveniently, the battery has a little light next to the USB port that changes from RED to GREEN when fully changed.
- Use the included DC power charger to charge the solar panel. The panel has several inputs on the back: plug the charger into the one labelled “IN 5V” and then into a wall socket.
NOTE: Again, this took about 24 hours to be fully changed (all lights on the back were lit when fully charged).
- While the batteries charge, install the app on your phone or tablet. There is a version of the app for iOS and for Android. You will have to create an account with VOSKER. Also, you will need to set up payment for the cloud and cell service (I’ll talk about that in more details below in the section about setting up the app)
- Install the battery into the camera: ensure the four battery contacts on the battery are properly aligned with the contacts inside the camera, then slide the battery into the camera all the way. Immediately you’ll see the green lights in the camera showing that the camera is communicating with a cellular network and working fine. Now proceed to connect it to the app.
- The camera will store the images and video on the included 32GB SD card as it captures them. The VOSKER servers will store an image from the event to display on your app. When you request to view the full videos, the stored video will be transferred from the card to the VOSKER servers and will appear on your app.
Preparing and using the VOSKER app
VOSKER recently updated their app promising a more intuitive interface to access photos, videos, or even a live feed from their cameras. As I said above, you’ll need to install the app on your phone or tablet, create an account and set up payment for the cloud and cell service.
Add a camera: To add a camera, you will select the Camera section, select the + and follow the directions: turn on the camera, verify the battery is full and the memory card is inserted. Then select the camera you are adding, scan the QR code printed on the inside of the camera. It should connect quickly.
Adjusting the settings: You can adjust settings for each camera you add to the app and adjust global settings for all cameras.
Camera settings: Find this section by clicking on the three dots next to the camera’s name. These settings are mostly intuitive, and you can easily change settings like when it’s capturing images. I suggest you turn the setting called, “Operation Schedule” off while you mount the camera so it isn’t capturing images and video, using up your content quota during this time. The motion sensitivity is pre-set to “Medium” but you can adjust that to suit your needs. I haven’t found a compelling reason to change it.
Global settings: in the “Accounts” tab on the app, you can change settings that affect all cameras. For example, you can set the “Smart Notifications” for the new Sense AI image recognition; for example, the camera can selectively notify you only when a person sets off the camera’s motion detector. This is what I did: I set the Sense AI to “Humans” so that I don’t get a lot of false positives due to wandering deer on my property. In the “Profile and Login” section (connected with your name at the top) you can change personal information associated with the account, but importantly, can also select to receive smart notifications for new detections by any of your cameras. I always adjust these settings when I am planning to be away from my property since I check email very regularly.
Mounting the V300 Ultimate camera and solar panel
With the batteries charged and the app set up, it’s time to mount this camera system and begin to get the benefits of owning a VOSKER V300 Ultimate. I selected a place close to my well-house where we have had trespassing deer hunters and tree poachers in the past. It’s about ½ Km from my house on my property and beyond Wi-Fi range—a perfect location for the V300. It has a great cell signal and is not going to get much legitimate people traffic so I expect to get very few notifications if the Sense AI is effective in determining the species in motion.
I placed the camera about 8 feet above the ground, using the included wood screw mount to secure the camera and solar panel to a large fir tree. I assume this is high enough, so deer antlers won’t get caught on it.
Is the V300 Ultimate camera and solar panel set up correctly?
After installing the camera and solar panel stand back and assess the situation for a variety of angles.
- Is the view from the camera unobstructed by branches or anything else that might move in the wind and set up the camera?
- Is the camera pointing at the sun? That could basically blind the camera for some hours during the day.
- Is the solar panel tilted toward the sky on an angle, so it catches the sun’s rays more directly. I used a compass app on my phone to ensure the solar panel was south facing. if I notice the battery charge dropping over time or other problems, I’ll adjust it (as I go over later in this article). The camera and solar panel were very easy to install and will be easy to move.
Testing the VOSKER V300 Ultimate
Using the camera is very simple. The camera is motion activated. I walked past the camera and it immediately captured me in the frame and created a video. A photo from the event appears in the app. From the app I can see what triggered the event from the photo, and if I want to view the event, I can choose to download an HD video of the event into the app. The HD video options is something you’ll use only in cases where you need that video. For example, you’ll want a high-quality video of a thief on your property if you intend to share it with authorities. The basic plan that I ordered allows for ten HD video downloads per month.
Note that the videos I downloaded are fairly good quality on their own too. Below you can see a nighttime capture and a daytime capture. In both I can clearly see what set off the motion detector. I am able to zoom in and out, just like any other video I create.
Sense AI detection: I set the Sense AI feature to selectively notify me when a person passes in front of the camera. This featured worked reliably. There were many times that deer triggered an event, and a photo of the deer appeared in the app as shown below. In none of those cases did I get an email notification that the camera had been activated. I purposely walked past the cameras on several days since installing the camera. On every one of those occasions an email was sent to my phone. That’s pretty impressive.
Testing the solar panel: This camera is well suited for locations where there is no power or no internet. As I said it’s solar powered. The location and direction of the solar panel is important. Over my testing period the battery level dropped to 50% after the second week. I noticed that since the days were getting shorter, and the sun’s position was lower in the sky, I had not set the panel in a good enough position. I moved it, to better capture the sun, and after the third week the panel was once again fully charged. This is despite having overcast skies and rain for most of that week.
Who will get the most from the V300 Ultimate
I am certainly one of the target customers for this type of camera. My property is large and secluded, and Wi-Fi is not available in all areas of the property. There is not a lot of theft in this area, though I prefer to be prepared than to wait until there is an incident. You may look for this kind of camera if you have a large property and want to monitor certain areas, outbuildings perhaps, or your animals out in pastures, etc.
I live on an island that serves as a summer vacation spot for many families. As such, many of the homes are not occupied for most of the year. I’m sure this is common for many vacation hotspots. The homes are without power, and/or internet, throughout the colder seasons. The V300 Ultimate would be a great option for these homeowners as long as there is cellular service. From anywhere in the world you will be able to see your vacation home, you will see if it’s visited or used without your permission
I expect these cameras will also be useful on construction sites. They are often the target of theft. Whether a site is active for only a few days, or for several months, you want to monitor it. Even if the site is large enough to justify on-site security, a camera that does not require hardwiring or internet will help augment security. Thieves hate to be captured on a video that can be shared with authorities or on social channels. The easy setup and mobility of these cameras make them great to install while a site is in use. When the job is done, move it to the next job site.
If however you have power and internet where you want to place a camera, then I suggest you use a typical smart home camera. You can find reasonably priced ones and many that do not require a cloud service or any additional cost. The V300 Ultimate will work in those locations too, but then you will not have unlimited free access to the video footage.
Is the VOSKER V300 Ultimate perfect for you
Some people will love this camera and want one even if they do not fit the profiles mentioned in the previous section. For example, if you live in a high theft area that has frequent power outages then a typical IP camera that requires power or internet (that modem will require power too!) will not be very effective just when theft is most likely to happen.
Then there are people like me, who recognize the usefulness of this kind of technology for their home… and love technology. I’ll continue testing the VOSKER V300 Ultimate throughout the year. For me, setting up and learning new technology is fun, especially when I boost the security around my home at the same time.