While I’ve reviewed many security cameras, I haven’t looked at many PTZ or Pan Tilt Zoom security cameras. Thankfully, ANRAN sent me a review sample of their Q3 camera for an unbiased review. This camera features 2K video resolution, solar panel charging, PTZ functionality, and more. Let me get into the overall performance and app experience.
In the package, you have everything needed to get started:
- ANRAN 2K Camera Unit – Model Q3
- Solar Panel with Micro USB Charging End
- Mounting Hardware & Positioning Stickers
- Micro USB Charging Cable For Initial Top Up
- Security Sticker
- Quick Start Guide
ANRAN Q3 2K PTZ Specs
- Video Resolution: 2560 x 1440 @ 12-15 Variable FPS
- Field Of View: 90° ~ 105° According to Anran
- Battery Capacity: 21,700 mAh rechargeable battery
- Detection Range: Up to 13 meters / 42 feet
- Two Way Talk
- IP65 Weather Rating
- Local Storage: Up to 128 GB MicroSD Card (Cloud Storage Optional)
- Operating Temperature: -20° C to 50° C (-4° F to 122° F )
ANRAN Q3 2K PTZ Camera Design & Build Quality
The build quality on the Anran Q3 is good so far. The WiFi antennas stay firmly in place when positioned, which is an issue I had with other camera brands before. While it is a pretty much all-plastic build for the exterior, the plastic feels hard and sturdy. The solar panel feels very lightweight, so it doesn’t share the same build quality as the camera unit.
Ports & Openings
The very bottom of the camera unit has a rubber stopper which conceals the micro SD card slot, along with a power button and reset button. The rubber seal allows the camera unit to meet the IP65 rating.
There is also a micro USB charging port located on the underside of the mounting stem.
The mounting option is pretty simple with this system. The solar panel is mounted by first screwing down a base, which has three screw holes and a rotating ball head to position the solar panel towards sunlight.
To mount the camera, a flat plastic plate with three screw holes needs to be secured to a wall. There is a plastic stem that sticks out at the top of the plastic plate. Once the plate is secured, the camera unit needs to be positioned through the plastic stem until there is a click to let you know the camera unit has been snapped in. The image below shows the top guide that the plastic stem slides into, along with three plastic clips. While this makes it easy to attach and remove the camera without any additional tools, it also makes it easy for someone to steal your camera if it isn’t positioned high enough off the ground. I would prefer if the camera was secured to the mount with a couple of screws to be on the safe side.
CloudEdge App Settings
The ANRAN Q3 camera uses the CloudEdge app, which is an app I have used before for another unrelated camera system.
In the app settings for the Q3, you’ll find similar options as you would for most camera systems. At the top of the settings, you have a quick glance at the battery level and WiFi signal strength. My WiFi signal strength is around 94%, and the camera is placed around 17 feet away from my modem.
You can enable or disable notifications quickly as well if you will be coming and going regularly and you don’t want your phone getting blasted with app notifications or alerts.
Under image settings, you can enable screen flip, adjust the anti-flicker settings between 50Hz to 60Hz, and set if you want night vision to be black and white, full color, or leave it up to the camera to adjust between both settings automatically. I did not see any option to adjust the recording resolution.
You can adjust the speaker volume setting and enable sound recording during video recordings.
You can also share the device with others if necessary.
In the Alarm Management section, you can enable or disable Motion Detection if you don’t want to silence notifications.
You can also set the motion detection sensitivity from 1 to 10. I have mine set to 5, and it picks up most motion easily.
There are also three recording modes:
Power Saving Mode – records 10 second clips, and humanoid detection is enabled.
Performance Mode – records 30 second videos, and humanoid detection is enabled.
Custom Mode – record 10, 20 or 30 second videos. Enable or disable humanoid detection at night or during the day, and set the alarm interval settings.
You can also set the days and times when the alarm is active, along with setting the alarm detection area.
An audio warning and strobe light can also be activated at night when motion is detected.
App notifications occur around 5 seconds after motion is detected. This is with my WiFi signal hovering around 94% strength.
Video Quality & Playback
The 2K video quality is immediately apparent when you access the live view. Everything is sharp and in focus. The sky is overexposed, but the grass and road are nicely lit.
Keep in mind that when you pull up live view, you can specify to watch it in HD or QHD, depending on your connection quality. The image above is in QHD.
While I couldn’t confirm an exact FOV from ANRAN for the Q3, I’m happy with how wide the view is. I can see down the street for a while, and I can see my neighbor’s house opposite me. I also have the ability to see if anyone tries to tamper with my backyard door due to the pretty wide view.
In the live view dashboard, you have options to record live view, take a screenshot, use the PTZ function, activate lights and toggle motion on or off. On the second screen, you can enable the alarm siren, the audio warning and strobe lights and adjust the color mode for night vision.
The PTZ function works well too. When I quickly tap to adjust the camera, there is a slight delay. Then the camera moves horizontally or vertically. I have had some windy days recently, and it doesn’t seem like the camera has moved, so it stays pretty stable in place. I haven’t experienced very cold temperatures or icy conditions yet in Canada, so movement in colder temperatures remains to be seen.
I’ve turned off the spotlight on the Q3 because I find the light output to be underwhelming, and I don’t want to drain the battery more than necessary for weak light output.
Playback is easy to do, but saving videos is cumbersome with the CloudEdge app. You have to manually record in the app when reviewing videos. Then those videos are saved in the app album. Once in the app album, you can share the video to a Google Drive or another service you prefer. A much better method would be to have the option to save a video you are viewing directly to the phone. A minor issue, but it would make usability much easier on the off-chance you need to share a video.
Battery life concerns me with the ANRAN Q3 during the Winter months. I set up the Q3 in Wintertime in Canada, where long periods of sunlight have been rare so far. Most of the days are quite gloomy and overcast, and as a result, solar charging has not been able to keep the camera battery topped up.
Another factor to consider is that during cold temperatures, batteries will lose charge more quickly. I know that during the Spring and Summer months, this will likely not be an issue, but on the current battery trajectory, this camera will be offline within the next month or two unless I experience many more days with lots of sunlight.
Another reason why battery life could be poor on the ANRAN Q3 is due to how often you use the PTZ function. Most other cameras do not require powering a motor to adjust the camera. If you plan on using the PTZ function often, it’s probably a good idea to have it permanently powered on. In that case, you may want to consider a camera version that uses a power cable and adapter. You do have the option to attach a power bank to it if it is easily accessible to you so that you don’t have to remove the camera to charge it up fully again.
For reference, I’ve had my camera up for 17 days, and my battery life is now around 40%. I’ve had 552 detected events, which is around 32 recorded events per day. This is likely more than most people will have because my camera is aimed at a sidewalk, which has a lot of foot traffic. I’ve also used about 10 minutes of live view video and the occasional panning and tilting during the initial setup to get everything how I wanted.
Can I Recommend The ANRAN Q3 2K PTZ Solar Camera?
While I’m pleased with the video quality and PTZ functionality, the battery performance during the Winter months is concerning. I have left the camera on the default sensitivity, disabled the spotlight, and enabled only 10 second clips, but the battery life has drained quickly due to cold Winter temperatures and a lack of sunlight for solar charging. Unless you live in an area that is sunny all year round or you plan on permanently plugging the micro USB cable into an outlet, this camera will not outlast the Winter season. If you cannot access the camera easily to top the battery up or hook up a power bank, you may want to consider another option.
During setup, I did have some connectivity issues, but the ANRAN support team was always responsive when getting back to me. I was able to solve the connectivity issue by connecting via the manual settings, and the camera has been stable ever since. Tip, you have to go through the auto setup, and if that fails, you are presented with the option to connect manually. So if you run into any issues, customer service is top-notch.
This is a good option if you want a camera with great PTZ functionality and video quality. However, the battery performance in the Winter months needs to be strongly considered because you will need to manually top the battery up. If you want a one-time set-it-and-forget-it option, most solar-powered camera options will not suffice.
If I missed anything in my review, or if you have any questions, please let me know.
You can purchase the ANRAN Q3 2K PTZ Solar Camera from ANRAN directly by visiting their official store.
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