TP-Link’s latest entry to the smart security camera market is a high-spec camera that undercuts the competition on price — even as it matches or beats them on many features. The new Tapo Wire-Free MagCam is a versatile indoor / outdoor Wi-Fi security cam that brings with it a more stylish look than prior Tapo cameras, for $120.
I’ve tested a number of TP-Link’s outdoor cameras, and some have a slightly awkward design, even adopting the same ridiculously techy antennas found on the company’s Wi-Fi routers. In comparison, these new Tapo MagCams ($119.99 for one at Amazon or $299.99 for a three-pack at Best Buy) have a bit of style, which I think is important for a device you might put on the outside of your home.
The Tapo MagCam’s new design resembles a mashup of the best-looking security cameras on the market today: the Arlo cameras and Google Nest Cams. Small and oblong like the Arlos with the smooth matte plastic of the Nest Cam and a similar magnetic mount to both, the camera is about half the price of either of those competitors’ comparable offerings. (The Arlo Pro 4 is $200 with 2K, and the Nest Cam (indoor / outdoor) is $180 with 1080p resolution.)
I really like magnetic mounts for security cameras. It’s easier to pop them off to recharge and a cinch to adjust the viewing angle when needed. The Tapo’s is double-sided, too, so you don’t even need screws to mount the camera on something metal like a fence or fridge. (They are small enough to be used indoors, too.)
The Tapo MagCam sports impressive specs that rival the more expensive Arlo and Nest cams. For $120, you get 2K QHD resolution, a wide 150-degree field of view, IP66 weatherproofing, and free smart alerts for people, pets, and vehicles. Arlo charges for smart alerts, and Google Nest Cam’s field of view is smaller, at 130 degrees; both have significantly shorter battery life than the Tapo’s claimed 10 months with a 10,000mAh battery.
Other specs include local storage on a microSD card (up to 512GB, or you can go with a $35 a year cloud storage plan), full-duplex two-way voice, built-in dual spotlights, and color night vision. Uniquely, you can record your own customizable alarms.
There’s a $40 solar panel accessory available to keep the camera charged; otherwise, you need to charge it indoors with a microUSB cable. The cameras work with the Tapo app for Android and iOS and connect to Google Home and Amazon Alexa for smart home integrations.
However, the Tapo MagCams work over 2.4GHz Wi-Fi only. Arlo and Nest both offer 2.4 and 5GHz. With cameras, 5GHz connectivity can help with faster alerts and quicker access to a livestream, which is important for a security camera. I’ll be testing the new Tapo cams soon to see how well they stack up to Arlo and Nest in terms of speed and quality.