UPDATE: Shortly after publishing my thoughts, the Blurams Dome Lite 2 went on sale on Amazon. You can now pick up this versatile smart camera for only $29.98 if you are an Amazon Prime Member.
Just in case there was any doubt in your mind about the validity of smart home technology, let me assure you that connected IoT in the home is no longer an “emerging” market. The US alone is estimated to have increased smart home numbers from roughly 41 million in early 2021 to a staggering estimate of nearly 65 million in 2022. Smart thermostats alone can be found in more than 33 million homes in North America and account for an estimated 50% savings in annual energy consumption. Chances are good, if you’re reading this, you have a smart device of some shape, form, or fashion in your home. Whether it’s Google Assistant, Alexa, HomeKit, or one of the countless others, smart devices are everywhere, and finding a good one that works with all of your existing hardware can be daunting.
That rings very true when we’re talking about smart cameras. A quick search on Amazon will present you with hundreds of options and that’s if you narrow it to only devices that are compatible with the Google Assistant. Broaden your search and you could spend days trying to filter through all the noise. You can always go with hardware direct from Google. Nest products like the wireless, battery-powered Nest camera work great and as you’d expect, integrate seamlessly to the Google Home App on your smartphone. That doesn’t mean that Nest is always the best option, however.
For starters, a device from Nest is going to run you nearly $200 and that’s a pretty hefty price to pay if you’re just looking for a simple camera solution for your home or office. Aside from that, Google’s Nest products are limited entirely to whatever you can do in the Google Home App. That’s not a bad thing, it’s just not as flexible as some of the third-party solutions on the market. There are plenty of cameras out there that will work with Google and offer features like free cloud storage, pan and tilt options, and more.
Another advantage to considering a third-party smart camera is the fact that many “smart homes” aren’t exclusive to one specific assistant. While that does make managing a smart home a bit easier, many consumers end up with products from Amazon, Google, Apple, and more and they may want to use whichever smart helper is available in a given moment instead of replacing a bunch of hardware. Thankfully, many third-party smart devices offer compatibility with more than one smart assistant and that makes life a little easier.
With all of that to consider, which smart camera should you buy? That depends a lot on your use case, budget, and which ecosystem you prefer to live in on a daily basis. As I said, there is no shortage of options. If you want a camera that just works, plays well with Google, and won’t break the bank, there’s one option worth considering from a company you may have never heard of.
Blurams Dome Lite 2
Blurams is one of the many sellers you’ll find on Amazon but this company stands out as one that offers a wide range of smart cameras that are affordable and work with the Google Assistant and Alexa. I got my hands on the latest indoor model from Blurams and I was so impressed that I thought I’d share my experience with you. The model in question is the Blurams Dome Lite 2 and it features a 360-degree tilt/zoom camera, two-way audio, Google Assistant compatibility, and a few other great features that make it worth talking about.
What’s so great about the Dome Lite 2 from Blurams? Well, for starters, it retails for the very palatable price of only $49.99 but you can actually pick one up at Amazon right now for a cool $41. That said, price certainly isn’t everything if you buy a product that doesn’t work well or is a pain to set up. Thankfully, the Dome Lite 2 is neither. First of all, setup is a breeze. Now, it does require using the Blurams app on your phone as you can’t set the camera up using the Google Home App. If you’ve ever bought third-party smart home products, this is nothing new to you. Now, this isn’t like a smart bulb. Once you’ve set it up, you still can’t control the Dome Lite 2 from the Home App but you can view your camera on any of your Assistant smart displays or your TV if you have a Chromecast setup.
As I said, setup is a breeze. Once you’ve downloaded the Blurams app and plugged in the camera, you can connect to Wi-Fi, up and running in under five minutes. Once that’s done, you can link your Blurams account to Google in the Home App by clicking the add device button>Setup Device>Works with Google. You can then link your account and add the camera that you just set up. This will allow you to say “Hey, Google. Show me the kitchen camera” or whatever you decide to name your device. You can always view your camera from the Blurams app on your phone as well.
Speaking of the Blurams app, that’s where the real magic happens. Okay, it’s far from magic but for a $50 camera, this thing has options aplenty. Inside the Blurams app, you can access the camera’s PTZ options which allow you to take a 360-degree look around the room. You can tilt the camera up and down, zoom in up to 4x, and capture images from the live feed. The features don’t stop there.
Blurams offers a paid cloud service for storing your video but even without a plan, you can save video events for 24 hours that will be stored on encrypted AWS servers. This is better than the free feature from Nest that deletes events after three hours. As an added bonus, you can pull up your live feed in the Blurams app record video directly from the stream, and save it locally to your mobile device. There’s also an option to save video directly on your camera with a slyly hidden MicroSD card slot. It took me a minute to find it but Blurams tucked it away on the backside of the camera itself. You just have to power off the device and rotate the camera all the way up to expose the MicroSD card slot that supports up to a 128GB card. If you do want cloud storage, Blurams’ plans start at $4.99/month and have some fairly robust features such as facial detection/recognition, up to 30-day video history, 24/7 recording, mobile lock screen notifications, and more.
Like Nest cameras, the Blurams Dome Lite 2 features 2-way audio. That means that you can monitor what’s happening as well as talk to someone in the room you’re viewing. That’s very handy if you need to get someone’s attention. If you have an unwanted guest in your home or office, you can trigger a rather grating alarm to startle intruders. That, of course, can be done directly from the Blurams app. The app also allows you to set your stream quality to reduce data usage if you happen to be on a limited internet plant. I keep mine set to high quality and I haven’t noticed any extreme data usage in my Xfinity app.
Since I mentioned quality, it’s probably time to answer the question that I know you’re asking. “Does the camera have decent video quality?” I’ll let you judge for yourself but I am of the opinion that the camera quality is well above average. While it does get a little washed out, the picture is crisp and clear enough to easily identify someone that may be walking through your home. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of the Nest Wireless battery-powered camera and the Blurams Dome Lite 2 in a room that is very well lit by overhead LEDs.
What about night vision?
You would think, at this price, night vision wouldn’t even be an option. However, you would be wrong. Blurams does night vision and the Dome Lite 2 does it quite well for a camera at this price point. Here’s a look at the Nest Cam and the Dome Lite 2 in our studio with the lights completely out. The Blurams camera has more shadowing but the image is still very clear and you can easily make out everything in the room. Oh yeah, the Nest Cam can’t pan around either. With the Dome Lite 2, you don’t have to worry about blind spots in a room thanks to the 360-degree panning option. This is perfect if you have a large space and want to keep tabs on the entire room.
While Nest and many other cameras have motion detection, the Dome Lite 2 goes a step further by giving you an option for motion tracking. If someone enters the camera’s default zones – which can be customized, by the way – the camera will lock onto any movement and track it around the room. This feature is disabled by default but it is a great feature for those who might use it as a security camera at a business or even a home.
Another advantage of the Dome Lite 2 is Blurams’ web portal. Unlike some cameras, you can actually log into your Blurams account from any compatible desktop browser and see your live feed 24/7 and this service is entirely free. In the web portal, you can scrub through your cameras history, take screenshots, use the in-built 2-way audio, and do practically everything that you can do in the mobile application.
If you’re looking for a versatile camera for your home or office and don’t want to spend $200 to get a smart one, the Blurams Dome Lite 2 is an excellent choice. I imagine that this camera would be perfect for parents wanting to monitor a newborn and the 2-way speaker would allow older kids and parents to communicate back and forth with ease. Maybe you run a shared office space and you want to keep tabs on things remotely, this camera would do everything you want and more.
The Google Assistant compatibility is great if you have smart displays or a Chromecast-enabled TV but that’s about as far as the integration goes. This isn’t the quintessential Google Home smart camera but it is a powerful device that offers up a laundry list of great features at a very, very affordable price. If you have Assistant displays, Echo devices, or simply want to monitor your camera from your smartphone or the web, I highly recommend the Dome Lite 2. If you’re looking for a whole-house setup, Blurams offers weatherproof outdoor cameras with many of the same great features and they only cost around $50. That’s some serious value for a camera that’s as smart as they come. You can find the Dome Lite 2 over on The Chrome Shop at the link below.