Earlier this year, TP-Link launched its new Tapo line of smart home devices, including indoor and outdoor cameras, an LED light strip, a smart light bulb, a motion sensor, and a driveway sensor. We got our hands on the Tapo C210 Pan/Tilt Home Security Wi-Fi Camera, a smart indoor camera that offers 2K video, mechanical pan/tilt controls, and two-way audio for just $34.99. It’s affordable and easy to install, but it doesn’t offer as many third-party integrations as our Editor’s Choice winner, the $51.99 Eufy Indoor Cam 2K Pan & Tilt P24.
Pan and tilt controls, few smart integrations
The matte white Tapo C210 features a round camera housing on a motorized base that gives you 360 degrees of panoramic mobility. The motorized black lens assembly provides 114 degrees of tilt and houses a microSD card slot and reset button. The camera measures 4.6 inches by 3.4 inches by 3.3 inches (HWD). For comparison, the cylindrical Eufy Indoor Cam 2K Pan & Tilt P24 is slightly more compact at 4.2 inches by 2.9 inches (HD).
On the back, a power jack allows charging via the included USB power cable and AC adapter. You also get a mounting kit to attach the camera to a wall or ceiling, as well as a setup guide.
The C210’s 3 MP camera has a resolution of 2304 x 1296 pixels and captures 2K video at 15fps. It has a microphone and speaker for two-way audio, a built-in siren, and a small LED. The LED flashes red and green during setup and turns solid green when the camera has a stable connection. If the alarm function is active, the LED flashes white when the camera detects motion. Four infrared LEDs provide black and white night vision video at about 30 feet. The camera doesn’t offer color night vision, unlike the similarly priced Wyze Cam V3 ($34.95).
When it detects movement, the camera notifies you and can specify if a person caused the commotion. By default, the device stores video recordings of each event locally on a microSD card (not included). Tapo says that a 256GB memory card can store up to 21 days of footage. But you can also sign up for a Tapo Care plan for online storage. The $3.49 per month ($34.99 per year) basic plan includes support for one camera. That level unlocks 30 days of recording history, as well as baby crying detection, motion tracking, snapshot-enriched notifications, and custom activity (privacy) zones. The $11.99 per month ($119.99 per year) Premium plan offers everything from the basic plan, but expands support to 10 cameras.
The camera uses a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi radio to connect to your home network, along with any Alexa and Google Assistant-enabled devices like the Amazon Echo Show and Google Nest Hub. Although a handful of IFTTT applets are available for Tapo bulbs, none work with any of the Tapo cameras. The camera also doesn’t support the Apple HomeKit platform, nor does it allow you to create any kind of routines or shortcuts, let alone automations involving other Tapo devices. You can at least create Alexa and Google routines that can involve a handful of third-party connected devices.
Tapo C210 app experience
To install and configure the C210, you must use the Tapo mobile app, available for Android and iOS. The app opens to the My Home screen, which shows panels for each Tapo device in your home. The navigation buttons are located at the bottom of the screen: Home, Smart Actions, and Me. The Home button takes you back to the main screen. The Smart Actions button allows you to create routines, shortcuts, and automations on compatible devices (again, the C210 does not support any of these features). Tap the Me button to update device firmware, subscribe to a Tapo Care plan, and access local and cloud recordings.
Touch the camera panel on the My Home screen to start a live feed from the camera feed. At the bottom of the video panel are buttons for taking a snapshot, manually recording video, muting the speaker, and viewing up to four camera feeds in a split-screen mode. There is also a button that automatically switches to full screen mode.
Below the video panel, you get a Pan & Tilt button that launches a round jog dial, a Talk button for two-way audio communication, a Voice Call button that lets you communicate through the camera without having to hold down the button on the microphone, a privacy mode button that disables streaming and recording, an alarm button that enables the built-in siren, a Tapo Care button that displays subscription pricing information, and a play and memory button that opens a screen with thumbnails of locally stored video recordings. Finally, at the bottom of the video screen are thumbnails of video clips stored in the cloud. Touch any thumbnail clip to play, download, or delete it.
Tap the gear icon in the top right corner of the screen to access camera settings. Here you can enable and configure motion detection and notification settings, activate motion tracking, create privacy zones, invert the image if you need to install the camera upside down, and format the microSD card. A video quality setting lets you choose between 2K, 1080p, and 720p resolutions, while a couple of advanced settings let you enable audio recording and calibrate pan and tilt.
Quick to install, reliable in testing
It only took me a few minutes to set up the Tapo C210. I started by downloading the Tapo mobile app and creating an account. Then I hit the plus button on the home screen and selected the C210 from the Cameras section. I followed the instructions on the screen to plug in the camera and confirmed that the LED was blinking red and green. I then used my phone’s Wi-Fi settings to connect to the camera’s radio, went back to the app, selected my home Wi-Fi network, and entered my Wi-Fi password. The app immediately paired with the camera, prompting me to specify a name and location for it. At this point, you can see the instructions for mounting the camera on a wall or you can exit the installation guide. I simply placed the camera on a desk in my living room to test it out.
The camera performed admirably in testing. Daytime video looked sharp and colorful. Black-and-white night video showed good contrast and appeared sharp up to around 35 feet. Mechanical pan and tilt operations were smooth and responsive, and motion tracking worked well.
Motion alerts came instantly and the camera didn’t register false positives for passing cars and other objects once I set the sensitivity level to Normal. I had no problem streaming video to an Amazon Echo Show using Alexa voice commands, and an Alexa routine I set up for the camera to trigger a Wyze bulb worked flawlessly every time.
Affordable, but lacking some expected features
For just under $35, the TP-Link Tapo C210 Pan/Tilt Home Security Wi-Fi Camera offers useful features including mechanical pan/tilt controls, 2K video, local storage, and voice control. It’s also easy to install and worked well in testing. Our main concern is that it doesn’t work with other Tapo devices nor is it compatible with Apple’s HomeKit platform. For less than $20 more, the Eufy Indoor Cam 2K Pan & Tilt P24 gives you many of the features, like sound detection and motion tracking, that you have to pay more for with the C210. The Eufy device is also remarkably compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and HomeKit, meaning it retains our Editors’ Choice award for affordable indoor security cameras.