This review has taken me a little while to put together, but it was inspired by another post in the forum Disguised/Hidden IP Camera Recommendations. While assisting the OP with a solution, I came across the TOP-201 Super Mini 720P HD IP-Cam at a well-known ‘free-shipping’, China shopping website (linked below). The main reason for doing this write up on a fairly no-name product is to provide an analysis of the quality of product that can be produced at such a ridiculously low cost. After the amazement that this kind of technology can now be produced with such little value, my initial thought was… What possible kind of IP camera can be offered to the low-end retail market at just over $20 USD? A year or so ago, I purchased 4x similar cams for a client’s office setup but they were not IP capable, AV only and can be seen here. They were in a similar casing and many of the cam specs were comparable. They came at a cost of about $50 AUD each and I remember being pleasantly surprised by the ‘cost V’s quality’. This was another reason that I got curious enough to find out how this TOP-201 IP version stacked up. * The TOP-201 - video capture at the bottom of the review. Features As Described By The Distributor Ultra mini size, it's one of the smallest IP Camera’s. I agree with this. There are many other smaller pin-hole cams, but none that I know of which are available to the low-end retail market are IP capable. Advanced image sensor and great video quality. Surprisingly good quality image. There is no noticeable jitter, no ghosting and remains fairly clear with hardly any pixel grain at all. There is not really a huge difference between the image quality of the 2x Foscam’s running alongside it and In fact, is better than the Wanscam which is also connected and can be seen in the attached images. Image Sensor =1/4" Sony Super HAD CCD – I cannot confirm the validity of this. Compared to other cams I have worked with, the image quality seems to be about right. There is nothing obvious in the image quality that identifies this as being false. Shutter = 1/50(1/60)s - 1/10,000s – I can only assume this to be correct. Min. Illumination = Colour: 0.1Lux@(F1.2,AGC ON) – I have to admit that the TOP-201 works very well with low-level illumination. This cam has NO IR capability, so is obviously suited towards specific situations where that is not a requirement. However, in a very dimly lit room, the TOP-201’s image remains clear, doesn’t suffer increased noise, is well contrasted and keeps fairly vivid colour. This is also a good indication of the image sensor being at the quality of the Sony SHAD CCD. Image Setting = Brightness and contrast adjustable via web browser and client – The OEM software and browser client both allow for various aspects of the image to be further optimized to your specific conditions. There are actually many image settings to tune, providing more flexibility than many other standard model IP cams. This is largely responsible to the choice of firmware/software chosen by the manufacturer. The cam uses a common DVR software, simply branded ‘H.264 DVR’ and many people who have worked with various DVR’s will have likely come across this software. Various functions that cannot be supported by the TOP-201 are simply greyed out and unavailable to configure. Max. Image Resolution = 1280*720 (720P) – The Image 720P, when scaled up to 1280, it is not as crisp. As you can see from the recording taken from the stream, the image quality is decent. Frame Rate = 50Hz:25fps (1280*720); 60Hz:30fps (1280*720) – In my live streams, I have 2x Foscam’s running at 2Mp, on average 10fps and at a bit rate of 160kBs. The TOP-201 is averaging 12fps and average bit rate of 60kBs. This equates to about 50% and correctly indicates that stated 1Mp. Without accounting for any up-scaling of the image which I suspect may have been done to talk up the cam’s specs a bit. Advanced H.264 video, low bit rate with better image. Video Compression = H.264 High Profile, JPEG snapshot Bit Rate =100Kbps-6Mbps – In my live streams, I have 2x Foscam’s running at 2Mp, on average 10fps and at a bit rate of 160kBs. The TOP-201 is averaging 12fps and average bit rate of 60kBs. This equates to about 50% and correctly indicates that stated 1Mp. Without accounting for any up-scaling of the image which I suspect may have been done to talk up the cam’s specs a bit. I don’t think up to 6Mbs is correct. Hassle free, plug and play. The TOP-201 was easy to configure. Not quite “plug n’ play”, but definitely no more complicated than setting up most other IP cams. There is a ‘config tool’ which finds the device on the network after connection, which is excellent if you have a network like mine. I have 2 subnets across 2 routers and a switch with everything manually configured for security. No DHCP and IP’s bound to MAC’s, as well as double port forwarding for various services… So in my case, it makes things a bit easier by not having to temporarily change things just to connect an extra device, move it of DHCP and onto the correct IP/port range. However, the config tool on the supplied disc did not execute, as is the case with many of those cheap mini-disc’s (they are not burned correctly). It only took me 10 minutes or so and I tracked down a working version on the web (I am happy to save others the trouble and provide it for download upon request). Multiple browser supported. Easy configuration. The TOP-201 utilises UPnP, and it actually works (unlike many Foscam versions) making for a no fuss set up if you choose to have UPnP enabled on your network. The built-in browser client uses Apples, QuickTime. And runs from within IE, Firefox and Chrome. Although beware of compatibility issues that may be faced with different versions. I did no extensive testing across versions, but it would be a good point to note. Storage = Network or Local storage – The TOP-201 will record to a location on the network of your choice. It runs more like a DVR than a traditional IP Cam, in that the built in client want’s access to a partition of its own to use and abuse. There is a ‘Local’ config and a ‘Remote’ config. Local is happy to just store in a folder of choice for on demand recording/snaps. Whereas Remote wants the more dedicated storage partition. Intelligent Alarm = Motion detection, video loss, cable break, IP address conflicts – All the usual DVR type alarm functionality. Basic = anti-flicker, dual-stream, heartbeat, password protection – Okay, I am unfamiliar with whatever “heartbeat” is, but it does have dual-stream and password protection. Net Interface =One RJ45 10M/100M (Ethernet Cat5e min.) Protocol = TCP/IP, HTTP, DHCP, DDNS – Pretty much what defines it as being an IP camera. Power Supply = DC12V±10% – Note that the TOP-201 does not come with a power supply. These are usually in abundance in most device-riddled homes, just beware of the Amp output of the power supply as to high will make the cam run hot. I used a generic 12V 1A power supply and could probably swap it down to a 12V 0.5A. Working Temperature = -20? - 60? Size / Dimensions: 3.6cm x 3.6cm x 3.6cm - 1.42inch x 1.42inch x 1.42inch. Conclusion: Firstly, this is a camera was $20. It has a massive range in application and if you use a software NVR such as BlueIris, iSpy or Xeoma etc. you will find this cam will integrate into the mix fairly easily. As long as you have applied it to the right situation, it will work well and for the cost it is worth the risk on account the value of the technology has basically been made disposable. By the time it no longer serves it purpose for you, you will be ready to throw it away and replace it. The one negative I must note, is that the cable running out from the back of the cam was poorly finished, the connection itself is strong and bonded well. However as I have shown in the close images at the top, there is no protective rubber grommet secured onto the metal housing of the cam. For me, this is not a problem. There are dozens of ways to correct it, but it must be highlighted as it is clearly a poor quality control point. Some silicone bonding will easily take care of it though. I am happy with the cost V’s quality, and after analysis, I actually think the quality completely outweighs the cost. If you found this review interesting or helpful, please click the “Thanks” and “Like” the recording clip at the link. Please post any questions and I will do my best to answer them. I hope this Post is informative and has help others ...or at the least, has provided some interesting information. Go To The TOP-201 (Sorry for the large res images, but I hate it when you want to see the detail of an item and the uploader has used useless images that don't help).