What is the best way to repurpose your old smartphone? In our hectic world, smartphone generations quickly follow each other, offering ever smoother user experiences, better cameras, larger screens and more. It’s hard to resist the yearly updates when we want everything quicker and as good as possible, but then what should you do with the old one? Keeping them just to collect dust is simply a waste, as is throwing the device out, but trading it in a shop will likely only get you dimes not dollars.
Some people turn their old phone into a slick alarm clock or music player for when hitting the gym. Others transform it into a remote for other smart devices; modern locks or garage doors can be easily opened with a single tap on the touchscreen. And speaking of security, why not use that old phone to upgrade it into a trusty security camera? The possibilities are endless.
New Life for Out-of-Date Phones
The concept of combining spare smartphones with surveillance apps is not new. Here’s what you need: an internet-enabled smartphone with a functional camera (obviously); charging cables; a security camera app; a computer, tablet, or smartphone to access the security feed; access to the monitored area’s Wi-Fi network.
You basically launch the surveillance app that continuously streams the recorded footage to the other device. The charging cable is essential, since the process would quickly drain the battery of the old phone otherwise. A stable internet connection is also the lifeblood of your newfound IP camera, which is why we emphasized the importance of the Wi-Fi access.
Hand-Sized Big Brothers
Don’t think for a moment that smartphone cameras are just for play! The last gen iPhone 5, for example, was fitted with an eight-megapixel camera capable of recording in 1080p. The image quality provided by the phone easily rivals mid-tier security cameras. Although the field of view is smaller, if you point them towards key entrances or valuable objects, phones can easily pass as surveillance systems.
On top of all that, these specialized smartphone apps can bring out the true potential of the device. Take Alfred, for example. Referencing Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler, the free to download app uses the device’s accelerometers to detect movement, applies a low-light filter to activate night vision mode, and the speakers allow for two-way communication, empowering homeowners to scare away burglars. Anyone who is even slightly experienced with camera systems knows that these features are vital for any surveillance product.
Can Phones Substitute Actual Cameras?
Naturally, repurposed smartphones aren’t without flaws. As stressed before, they demand a constant internet connection and power supply. And, of course, leaving a smartphone on charge while running a process-heavy app is a surefire way of killing the battery. On the other hand, surveillance cameras are often sold in bundles, and also come with proper night vision and motion detection with a larger field of view as well.
In the end, we don’t believe that an old and replaced phone can function as viable alternative for an IP camera. It’s true that they are cheaper, more portable (since you already own the spare smartphone) and easy to set up, but the built-in camera of an Android or iOS phone just can’t compete with a professional security camera. Instead, we recommend using this alternative as a baby monitor or to keep an eye on your hotel room while on vacation.
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