Hikvision Security Cameras: A Review

The video surveillance industry has skyrocketed over the last twenty or so years, with advances in video technology, image capturing, facial recognition, and motion detection reaching new heights of responsiveness and efficiency.

Be it the lucrative home security market, which has gone from static, wired security cameras, to wireless connectivity and doorbell camera technology, or indeed the industrial business sector where security is paramount, the market has plenty of options to suit a variety of needs and criteria.

This makes the need to shop around all the more important, taking into account the positives and negatives of each particular product, and assessing whether it will meet the needs you have for your home or business.

Hikvision

Hikvision security cameras have been on the market for the last twenty or so years, making a name for themselves as reliable and well made, often being implemented in government buildings across the globe.

But where exactly did they find their beginning, and what is it that has made them such a popular choice for much of the 21st century?

History

Founded in 2001 in Hangzhou, Zhejiang, Hikvision (or Hangzhou Hikvision Digital Technology Co. Ltd.) is a Chinese state-owned video surveillance manufacturing company working in the consumer and military sectors.

Initially formed as a subsidiary of the Zhejiang HIK Information Technology Co. Ltd., who at the time held a 51% stake in the company (along with Gong Hongjia, a prominent Chinese billionaire businessman, holding the remaining 49%), Hikvision grew independent within the security industry, focusing on video surveillance, and being listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange since 2010.

Controversies

A somewhat controversial brand in modern times, due to alleged human rights violations (with regards to the Xinjiang Internment Camps), and alleged international security concerns (including concerns that the company was founded and controlled by the Chinese government).

An executive order put in place by former US president Donald Trump in 2020 banned any American company or individual from owning shares in Chinese companies with links to the PLA (People’s Liberation Army), something that was reinforced during President Joe Biden’s administration shortly after.

These allegations led to various American stockers cutting ties in 2021, including Best Buy, Home Depot, and Lowe’s.

These bans were followed by South Korea and the United Kingdom, who put sanctions on Hikvision technology in 2021, and 2022 respectively.

Successes

That being said, as of 2021, the company still boasts over 42,000 employees, and has a market capitalization of $44.58 billion dollars, as of 2022, achieving continued widespread success in the Eastern European and Asian security markets.

Hikvision: A Review

Despite being marred by political issues and controversies in recent years, the fact still stands that Hikvision products were a popular choice for many years, especially in industrial, governmental, and military sectors, where security and efficiency are of the utmost importance.

But what exactly made them so popular?

The Top Six Hikvision Consumer Products

To examine this, let’s look at the top six consumer/business aimed products on the market today, ranging from wired industrial level security cameras, home-designed products, as well as doorbell camera security systems.

So, in no particular order, here is our review of the top six products, available to the consumer/business market via Amazon.com.

OUR TOP PICK

With Ultra HD clarity, offering 4K 8 megapixel recording resolution, and with a 2.8mm lens, it is easy to see why the brand has historically been so popular across a variety of fields.

Offering automated recording, perimeter intrusion detection, line crossing detection, stationary object detection, pedestrian detection, face detection, and cross counting, it is the perfect choice for industrial areas (like warehouses), educational institutions (like colleges and universities), transit stations (bus and train stations), and business use.

Featuring weatherproofing (making it waterproof and suitable for all weathers and temperatures), vandal proofing (IK10), and an infrared cut switch, this model allows adjustable settings for day and night, as well as an auto-adjust option that responds to changes in light.

With 3D digital noise reduction, meaning footage is always clear and precise, digital wide dynamic range, a nocturnal infrared range of up to 45 feet (making it the perfect 24 hour surveillance tool), and the option for video compression, this model epitomizes the goals of efficiency and reliability that the product line embodies.

This particular product also comes with a 2 year US warranty, as well as lifetime technical support.

Pros

  • Extremely good quality recording (4K).
  • Vandal and weather proof.
  • High quality night vision.
  • Facial recognition/object recognition.
  • Fair price tag.

Cons

  • Requires installation (wired). 

EDITORS CHOICE

This cheaper, lower resolution model offers 2K resolution (1080p), at 4 megapixels and 30 fps (frames per second).

With a progressive scan up to 98 feet, incorporating enhanced EXIR (extended infrared) night vision to ensure clarity and security under even the lowest light conditions, making it perfect for businesses, homes, or industrial settings.

Using PoE (power over ethernet), which delivers DC power using copper ethernet cabling (reducing the need for further power), it is far more efficient and simple to set up, making it more suitable for commercial uses.

The weatherproof and sturdy casing also means it can handle whatever the elements throw at it, including extreme temperatures, heavy rain, and frost.

Featuring app support (Hik-Connect) which allows mobile activation (through Android and IOS), monitoring, and adjustments, this camera also allows for viewing on Google Chrome, FireFox, and many more.

This particular model is fitted with Hikvision’s VCA (video contents analysis), allowing for 2 behavior analyses, facial detection, line crossing detection, intrusion detection, and motion detection, as well as a video tampering alarm for added protection, making it the perfect cross hybrid of personal and professional application, somewhat unusual on the wider market.

Once again featuring a 2 year warranty and lifetime customer technical support, this is an impressive piece of equipment indeed, especially when you consider the modest price tag.

Pros

  • Value for money.
  • VCA technology.
  • 1080p (2K) high definition recording quality.
  • 4 megapixels and 30 frames per second.
  • Extended infrared for night time detection.
  • Sturdy and waterproof.

Cons

  • Some privacy concerns (further research recommended).

BEST VALUE

With 1080p high definition recording quality, advanced infrared night vision with 30 feet of vision, and a 2.8mm lens offering a wider field of view and added clarity, the 2185FWD-I is a strong contender on the market.

Available with either an audio input, or without (depending on your needs), the model comes with the option to attach an external microphone - suited for more personal/home use than industrial or business.

For general surveillance, particularly over a larger, high field of view, sound might not be necessary.

Boasting immaculate image quality during either the day or the night, the ability to zoom in on live video mode, expert motion detection, and the option to take screenshots during recordings and live mode, this camera really does offer a lot for the price tag.

With SD storage, as well as an option to upload onto hard drives (as well as NAS, or network attached storage, hard drives), the camera boasts versatility and efficiency above all else.

Pros

  • NAS storage capability.
  • Infrared night vision.
  • 1080p high definition recording.
  • 4 megapixel resolution.
  • Sturdy, spherical design.
  • Water and dust proof.

Cons

  • Limited functions compared to other models.
  • Poor app support.

RUNNER UP

This 1080p high definition security camera offers 4 megapixels of resolution, and 1-2.5 progressive scan CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) capabilities, meaning that all the lines within a captured image are recorded at the same time.

Promising crystal clear recordings, supported 24 hours a day by Dark Fighter infrared night vision technology (offering up to 100 feet range), and reinforced against excess light thanks to WDR technology (wide dynamic range), this camera is the perfect security tool regardless of the time of day.

Weather and dust proof, the robust outer casing is composed of metal components to ensure sturdiness and durability against adverse weather conditions, vandals, and other unexpected environmental factors.

The power by ethernet support also means easy installation, maintenance, and use, regardless of your experience level.

The 128 gigabyte micro SD storage capabilities makes recording and storing important data easier than ever, removing the need for cloud storage and alleviating issues surrounding privacy and data protection.

Pros

  • High definition recording.
  • 4 megapixel resolution.
  • Dark Fighter night vision technology.
  • 100 feet of night vision potential.
  • Sturdy, durable design.
  • Weather and dust proof.
  • PoE supported.

Cons

  • Limited detection features compared to other Hikvision models.
  • No app support. 

RUNNER UP

Last on this list, but by no means least, the G2-IS offers 1080p high definition recording, 4 megapixels resolution, facial recognition, and vehicle detection, making it the perfect choice for home security, or business/industrial applications.

With clear imaging, even against the strongest back light, thanks to WDR technology, and crisp night vision using infrared to achieve ranges of up to 100 feet, the G2-IS is one of the most adaptive when it comes to light variations.

Resistant to weather and environmental factors (like dust), the G2-IS promises durability and longevity in some of the harshest climates and scenarios.

It also offers security against vandals, thanks to its IKO8 technology, which features two layers of interwoven reinforced glass to protect against projectiles and trauma.

With a self adaptive ethernet port that supports power over ethernet, and with much larger storage capacity which allows 256 gigabytes of micro SD storage, the G2-IS is one of the most reliable products on this list, allowing for safe, private recording and storage, alleviating the risk of data loss or breaching.

Pros

  • Large storage capacity.
  • Weather, dust, and vandal proof.
  • 1080p high definition recording.
  • 4 megapixels of resolution.
  • Sturdy outer shell.
  • Wide field of view.
  • Operating temperature range of -30C to 60C
  • Operating humidity range of up to 95% non-condensing.

Cons

  • Higher price than similar models.
  • No app support.

RUNNER UP

On the consumer home security market, doorbell cameras have become increasingly popular, thanks in part to longer absences from home (due to further working distances, hours, and longer vacations), as well as the rise in online shopping through companies such as Amazon.

The DS-HD1, Hikvision's own entry into the market, boasts crystal clear recording of 1080p high definition, fifteen feet of infrared night vision range, a 180 degree wide angle lens for a higher field of view, and wireless connectivity for easy installation.

With a maximum of 128Gb micro SD storage, you can capture your recordings to review them at a later date, requiring no extra storage fees, nor the risk of cloud storage.

Whilst it is not the cheapest doorbell camera on the market, many customers rated it positively for its clarity, ease of installation, night vision capabilities, and the keenness of its motion detection, suggesting value for money when comparing features to the price tag.

The angled and flat mounted interchangeable faceplates means that you can position it exactly in the space that suits you, be it on the underside of a porch roof, into the external wall of your house itself, or atop some low hanging guttering for a wider field of view.

There is also the option for two way communication, allowing you to communicate with visitors (or indeed intruders) through the device, and the ability to stream on demand video clips via fully supported mobile devices (Android and IOS).

Pros

  • Value for money.
  • High quality recording.
  • Good storage capacity.
  • Wide angle lens for better field of view.
  • Excellent night vision for 24 hour security.

Cons

  • No exposure control (affected by bright light).
  • Issues with connectivity.
  • Poor customer support.

Are They Worth It?

If there is one thing Hikvision seems to excel at, it is the ability to walk the fine line between home and professional application, creating products that offer industrial level protection at a price and level of ease that can be attained by a civilian.

Hikvision Security Cameras: A Review

The products are well made, reliable, and function to a high level of performance, quality, and efficiency, offering the most physical and visual protection for the price tag.

However, this is where the tricky part comes into play.

There is a saying that some things can be too good to be true, and as far as Hikvision is concerned, their products seem to be.

That is not to say they don’t deliver the goods, because they most certainly do, but with the alleged working practices of the company, as well as minor yet recurring horror stories of alleged data mining, and outsourcing to 3rd party companies, you have to ask yourself if the quality their products provide is worth the price.

It is worth to say that, as of 2022, the reviews reflecting negatively on the company are purely hearsay, but when it comes to personal information, particularly that relating to your home security (or indeed that of your business), it is important to be mindful of who you choose to do business with.

Because that is what home and industrial security is at the end of the day, it is a partnership based on trust - a relationship between consumer and purveyor, which, if broken, can be detrimental both financially, socially, and politically.

And with the ever growing list of international sanctions being placed against the company, from countries like the United States, United Kingdom, and South Korea, as well as the multiplying list of allegations against them, the decision appears to be becoming more of a gamble, and less of a sure thing as the months progress.

The important thing is to do your homework on the matter, and assess whether their products are right for you and your specific needs.

Final Thoughts

And there we have it, a rundown of five successful products released by Hikvision on the consumer market.

Once again, the main takeaway from this article is to do your research, and to make your own informed choice surrounding the technology you introduce into your home or business.

Quality is one thing, but true security is the goal, and without that, what do we have?

David Jones