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TP-Link Tapo Indoor Camera Review: Available HomeKit Options with In-App AI Tools

Review of TP-Link Tapo indoor cameras: TC73 & C125

TP-Link Tapo internal cameras

4.0/5 Buy at Best Buy

TP-Link Tapo Indoor Cameras a pretty good way to take advantage of the HomeKit camera and smart in-app notifications

Home security is important, but it can be expensive due to proprietary cloud subscriptions and sketchy privacy models. Luckily, TP-Link has an affordable solution that solves both problems.

TP-Link makes good products, but their name leaves much to be desired. I'm reviewing the Tapo C125 and TC73 indoor cameras, and whether these numbers make sense is not obvious.

Tapo C125 is a fixed camera while TC73 is a pan/tilt camera. Both share basic feature sets and specifications.

Both Tapo cameras record in 2K QHD with 4 MP resolution. By default they record at 15 frames per second, but there are settings for 20 or 30 frames per second.

TP-Link Tapo Indoor Camera Review: Record 2K Video with the Tapo App

Apple still limits HomeKit cameras to 1080p resolution, so viewing live streams or recordings in the Home app will not be as detailed as in the Tapo app. Customers can subscribe to cloud storage or record video locally to an SD card up to 512GB if they need full 2K recordings.

Permission is not everything. The sensors are 1/2.9-inch in size and produce decent images, but I didn't notice much of a difference between the Tapo app feed and the Apple Home feed.

The cameras have a physical privacy feature that can be activated in the app or via a button on the device. The TC73 rotates the camera inward, while the C125 closes the privacy shutter.

Night vision option can be switched between 850nm IR LED and 940nm LED. A 940nm LED won't glow physically on the camera, but it won't glow that far either.

The built-in microphone and speaker allow the cameras to function as two-way radios. Speak in the Tapo or Home app and the camera plays the audio and then the microphone returns the audio.

TP-Link Tapo indoor cameras review: Sirens can sound when unusual activity is detected

The built-in alarm can sound up to 98 decibels with three sound options &mdash ; siren, emergency and red alert. The alarm can be configured to trigger using one of the input triggers described below.

Although there is a built-in alarm clock, it cannot be displayed in Apple Home. The user is notified of the alarm and the camera light flashes, but HomeKit automation cannot be connected.

One cool feature that I haven't seen on other cameras is the ability to add information to the video stream, which also appears in the HomeKit feed. It can display timestamp, Tapo logo and special mark — and everything can be turned off.

AI detection and input triggers

Integrated image processing can detect various triggers and notify the user. These triggers are based on sound, motion or image recognition.

TP-Link Tapo indoor cameras review: Tapo app has more detection capabilities than Apple Home

Available detection and trigger events:

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  • Motion detection
  • People detection
  • Line Crossing Detection
  • Tampering Detection
  • BabyCry Detection
  • Vehicle Detection
  • Pet Detection
  • Detection Meow
  • Bark Detection
  • Glass Break Detection

All settings using the Tapo app are handled through the camera software. This conflicts with the Apple Home app, which requires all video to be processed on the active Home Hub.

Apple's list of detection capabilities is much more limited. Users cannot receive notifications for sounds, and image recognition is only available for people, animals, vehicles, and packages.

Tapo C125 is easily attached using a magnet or glue. The magnetic plate can be screwed to the wall or attached using the included adhesive sticker.

TP-Link Tapo Indoor Camera Review: Tapo C125

Once the mount is attached, the camera simply attaches to the surface and can be freely rotated and adjusted. The cable needs to be routed somewhere, but it is long enough to reach outlets even from ceiling to floor.

It has a field of view of 140 degrees and is completely motionless. 2K resolution and night mode bring plenty of detail indoors.

This is a good fixed camera that does what it advertises. Set up a camera in Apple Home or the Tapo app, attach it to the wall, and shoot video. Simple.

Since the Tapo TC73 is a pan/tilt camera, it can be mounted on a table or screwed to a surface. There's no fancy magnetic fastening here, but that's understandable.

TP-Link Tapo Indoor Camera Review: TC73

There is not much difference in the field of view since it uses the same sensor as the C125. However, it has the ability to swivel vertically and horizontally, providing a 360-degree horizontal and 149-degree vertical view.

Apple hasn't added support for camera motor control from the Home app, but the Tapo TC73 does have a trick called patrol mode. Users can set specific areas to stop when rotating the base, set the duration of the stop, and add multiple stops.

Once configured in the Tapo app, patrol mode turns on automatically at scheduled times. Apple Home users can open the camera and see it move back and forth in real time.

Overview of TP-Link Tapo indoor cameras: setting up patrol mode

While the primary user with the Tapo and Home apps running probably won't need access, it's useful for others in the house. For example, your spouse may not have the Tapo app, but still wants to take advantage of the pan and tilt capabilities.

In other respects, the TC73 is identical to the C125.

HomeKit and Tapo app

As I already said, in Tapo cameras There are motion and noise sensors, plus a built-in siren. None of this shows up in the Apple Home app.

Review of TP-Link Tapo indoor cameras: no sensors for Apple Home

Tapo cameras can be used without even opening the Tapo app. Set up notifications and safe zones, then let the camera record.

Of course, without the Tapo app, the TC73 won't be able to use its pan and tilt capabilities. These cameras benefit from the user taking advantage of both systems.

Adding Tapo cameras to Apple Home costs nothing if you already have Apple One or iCloud+. Set them up in this reservation app, especially if you're primarily an Apple Home user.

Use the Tapo app for more advanced features, including AI detection and patrol mode. I didn't use the Tapo app much during this review, other than the initial setup.

TP-Link Tapo Indoor Camera Review: Alternatives to HomeKit Secure Video

If you don't have another recording option or want to duplicate, Tapo offers Tapo Care &mdash ; Cloud storage for video recording and rich notifications. For a single device, 30 days of unlimited storage costs $3.49 per month or $34.99 per year.

The Enhanced Notifications feature sends an image along with app notifications. Apple Home Notifications do this by default.

Tapo Care scales up to 10 devices for $11.99 per month or $119.99 per year. I'm not sure you'll want to bother with Tapo Care if you have HomeKit Secure Video.

If you need redundancy, just add an SD card. The cameras support up to 512GB SD card for local recordings.

HomeKit Secure Video works almost automatically for Apple users. Chances are, if you're investing in HomeKit cameras, you're already paying for Apple One or additional iCloud storage.

TP-Link Tapo Indoor Camera Review: iCloud+ Tiers Increase Camera Limits for HomeKit Secure Video

If you have the 50GB iCloud+ plan, you'll get one HomeKit camera with ten days of activity. The 200GB plan is five, and the 2TB plan adds unlimited cameras.

These iCloud+ tiers are included with every Apple One tier. Individual plans get 50GB, family plans get 200GB, and Premier plans get 2TB.

Apple One gives you access to other Apple services like Apple TV+ and Apple Music, so let's compare iCloud+ plans. The 2TB plan costs $10 per month and offers unlimited cameras with ten days of storage.

It's much cheaper than Tapo Care. But Tapo Care is 30 days and 2K video.

Affordable HomeKit Secure Video

Cameras supporting HomeKit Secure Video have historically were more expensive. TP-Link Tapo offers HomeKit-compatible cameras at a lower price and with many additional features.

Review of TP-Link Tapo indoor cameras: affordable HomeKit secure video

The Tapo C125 is a good HomeKit camera that owners can use without even opening the Tapo app. The Tapo TC73 can use some features, such as patrol mode, even if it mainly relies on the Apple Home app.

In any case, you have good options with the Tapo line from TP-Link. Hopefully Apple will provide HomeKit with more camera functionality in the future, but for now these cameras get the job done.

  • Easy to install and use
  • Compatible with HomeKit and Tapo app
  • Cloud storage, SD card or HomeKit Secure Video provides multiple options . at customer's choice.
  • In-app detection and notification options are more robust than HomeKit.
  • Patrol mode is viewable from HomeKit.
  • No additional sensors available in HomeKit.
  • Notifications can be continuous immediately by default.
  • Advanced notifications require Tapo Care subscription, limited to ten cameras.

Rating: 4 out of 5

TP-Link has A good set of indoor cameras with useful features and a well-made app. Whether you're just using HomeKit or diving into the Tapo app's features, you'll be pleased with these cameras.

The Tapo C125 is regularly priced at $59.99, but can be purchased for $49.99 at Best Buy. The Tapo TC73 360-degree camera normally costs $69.99, but can be purchased for $59.99 at Best Buy after selecting the pan/tilt option.

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