The tiny Smart Witness Smart-i is certainly the smallest network camera we’ve tested. While its tiny size means it offers some fun features and possibilities, it causes a few problems as well.
There are two ways to connect to the Smart-i. The first is to link it directly to your PC, smartphone or tablet. The Smart-i broadcasts its own wireless network, and once we’d connected to it via our test laptop, we simply opened a browser and accessed the IP address 192.168.2.1 to access the video stream.
Despite the camera’s diminutive size, the image quality is pretty good. The ‘Stream images’ option didn’t work in Internet Explorer 9, but it did in Chrome. You can change the resolution and compression of the footage, though the higher compression makes the video stream look awful.
Watching the video on a smartphone is also easy – simply access the IP address 192.168.2.1 using a browser. There are also Android and iPhone apps available to record footage to your phone.
The direct method of connecting the Smart-i suffers from a major shortcoming: you’re limited to the Smart-i’s wireless range, which is around 20 metres. This means that the only footage you’ll be able to record with he Smart-i will be of things you can see with your own eyes anyway.
To get around this limitation, you can connect the Smart-i to your wireless network by switching it to ‘Setup’ mode. With a bit more tinkering, you can then to access the video stream via another computer on the network, or over the internet.
This is easily solved, but a more troubling shortcoming then presented itself. We noticed that the Smart-i became very hot when running, and the battery life was just under two hours. This severely limits the usefulness of the device, though a USB power adapter is available for an extra cost.
As a fun novelty it’s not a bad device, but the Smart-i isn’t going to replace a full-size network camera.