The Bosma X1 gets the job done well enough but lacks the polish and extra features to justify its above-average price.
If you haven’t already, you should invest in an indoor security camera as a kind of insurance. It may never actually prove useful, but you don’t want to be in a position where you’re burgled or violated and not have any footage.
The Bosma X1 indoor security camera kit is available for $119, which includes a few bells and whistles on top of the base camera. That’s a little more than you’d expect for a single camera, so the question is: How does it stack up to the competition?
Here’s everything you need to know about the Bosma X1 and whether it’s worth buying. But I’ll tell you up front: don’t set your expectations too high!
Bosma X1: Specifications
- Physical dimensions: 1.9 x 1.9 x 5.9 inches (4.8 x 4.8 x 15.0 cm)
- Physical weight: 28 oz (794 g)
- Wireless transmission: 2.4GHz only
- Camera field of view: 145 degrees
- Camera panning: 360 degrees
- Night vision: Yes (Starlight and Infrared)
- Battery: No
- Memory: Up to 128 GB microSD card
- Video recording: Yes
- Image snapshots: Yes
- Mobile notifications: Yes
- Notable features: Auto-panning, remote control, video live stream, two-way talk, motion/sound/PIR event triggers, siren alarm, Amazon Alexa support
Bosma X1: What’s Included?
The Bosma X1 package is modest but contains everything you need:
- Bosma X1 security camera
- Micro-USB cable
- USB power adapter
- Window/door sensor
- Wireless doorbell
Bosma X1: Design and Build Quality
I like the overall aesthetic of the Bosma X1. It’s sleek, unassuming, and modern, although not necessarily discreet. You can place it on a shelf and it may not be obvious, but stand it on a desk, table, or dresser and it’ll stick out. To anyone but the most tech-illiterate, it’ll be immediately obvious that this thing is a camera.
The body is bottom-heavy and weighted—just shy of 2 pounds—and it feels hefty. You can rest assured that nothing short of an aggressive pet will knock it down, and if the device ever dies, you can use it as an office paperweight.
Unfortunately, you have to stand the Bosma X1 on top of something. It doesn’t come with any mounting options, so you can’t place it on walls or ceilings. I don’t see why it needs to be as big or heavy as it is, as all of the main functionality is housed in the head. If the head optionally came off a standalone camera, it’d be light enough to stick anywhere using something as simple as double-sided tape.
That said, I wouldn’t feel comfortable dropping it. While the head, which is the upper part with the camera that pans around, is securely affixed to the weighted body, I’d expect it to either crack or break off when faced with blunt force.
The Bosma X1 is not a wireless security camera. It comes with a USB-A-to-Micro-USB cable and a USB power adapter, which the device needs to be plugged in to as there’s no built-in battery. On the one hand, you don’t have to worry about it dying while you’re away, but on the other, you lose out on portability.
Bosma X1: Usability and Performance
The Bosma X1 is easy to set up. Connect to it using Bluetooth on your phone, set up the camera’s Wi-Fi settings using the Bosma app, and afterwards interface with the camera using your phone via Wi-Fi. Only 2.4GHz networks are supported as of this review.
Its primary feature is the ability to live stream the camera’s feed directly to your phone, with the option to listen in on what the camera’s audio picks up. The Bosma X1 also has real-time two-way audio chat without the need to press a “walkie-talkie” button in the app, although I’m not entirely sure what the use-case is. I guess you can yell at intruders and let them know they’re being watched? Or talk to your pets while you’re away from home? Still, can’t knock it for having the feature.
The camera itself has a 145-degree field of view, which widely captures a lot of activity but has noticeable fish-eye-lensing around the edges. Other nifty features include 360-degree panning, which can be controlled from the mobile app, and auto-rotate sentry mode so it’s always panning even when you’re, say, sleeping.
The Bosma X1 also has two night-vision modes: Starlight (color capture in low-light but poor performance in near-zero light), and Infrared (traditional black-and-white night vision that works even when there’s no light).
As expected in a modern indoor security camera, the Bosma X1 also supports video recording to a Micro SD card up to 128 GB in size (card not included in the kit). You can either set the camera to Never Record, Always Record, or Record After Event Detection. The Bosma X1 supports High, Medium, and Low sensitivities for the following event types:
- Motion events: Visual movement in the camera’s vision.
- Sound events: Audio disturbances picked up by the camera’s microphone.
- PIR events: Infrared movement detection for living bodies (e.g. pets and intruders).
- Doorbell and sensor events: More on this below.
When using the event-triggered recording, you’ll receive a mobile notification when the trigger is tripped, and the recording will keep going until it determines that the event has passed. You can set an interval setting for how long the camera should wait before detecting another event.
There is an event log that you can use to jump directly to a specific event and view the accompanying recording. Unfortunately, you can’t decouple the event-triggered recording from push notifications. I would much prefer to disable notifications and browse the log on-demand, but alas, push notifications are mandatory and can’t be disabled.
I found that motion detection was excellent during the day, PIR detection was excellent during the night, the door sensor performed consistently, but the sound detection was spotty. No matter which sensitivity setting I used, it triggered inconsistently—but no bother for me, as I don’t find sound-based triggers useful in general.
There’s also an optional siren that gives off a 110 dB audio blast when an event is triggered.
Of course, you can create a recording schedule—multiple entries that each indicate days of the week and times of the day—and everything mentioned above about video recording will only happen during the recording schedule’s days and times. If you only want the camera to be active at night, or when you’re away at work, you can do that.
You can also manually create photo snapshots using the mobile app. These snapshots are saved to your phone.
The Bosma X1’s product description says it captures in video resolutions up to 1080p “with superior optics”. The footage was satisfactory—more than good enough for a home surveillance camera, but nothing outstanding.
Strangely, the recorded video files are saved in an uncommon AVI format that wasn’t immediately readable by my MacBook or Adobe Premiere. I had to convert the videos by hand to MP4 using Handbrake before I could view them outside of the camera itself.
Furthermore, the snapshots were terrible. No matter which setting I chose, the resulting image always came out as 720×431 pixels and the quality was smudgy, blurry, and just plain bad. However, the image taken in 1080p mode was slightly clearer than the others, so I assume the image source is taken at the current resolution of the camera but then heavily compressed when saving.
The audio is disappointing, both in video recordings and using real-time two-way talk. It’s garbled, low quality, and I had trouble making out conversations even when they took place near the camera. I don’t demand much audio quality from security cameras, but when the audio can’t be understood, it makes me wonder why even have it as a feature?
As mentioned above, the Bosma X1 comes with two accessories: a door/window sensor and a wireless doorbell.
The door/window sensor is a tiny two-piece device that triggers an event when the two are pulled apart. So, you attach one to the edge of a door and attach the other to the doorjamb, or one to the edge of a window and the other to the window frame. When the door or window is opened, the camera will be triggered. It works well, but too bad the kit only comes with one pair.
The wireless doorbell is a lightweight device that you can stick on the wall outside your door once you’ve paired it with your camera, which is as simple as long-pressing it while in proximity. When pressed, the Bosma X1 plays a distinct doorbell sound effect, sends you a mobile notification, and you can set a “preset position” to which the camera turns to. It’s nice in theory, but the camera never returns to its previous position, and from what I can tell there’s no way to disable the preset position once it’s configured.
Bosma X1: Final Thoughts
While the Bosma X1 is a decent indoor security camera, it’s too expensive for what’s on offer. Sure, it does everything it claims to do, and it does those things well enough, and the feature set is on par with competing cameras. However, the video quality leaves me wanting, the various minor flaws do add up, and the accessories aren’t useful enough to justify the price. Unless you can get it at a discount, I’d pass.
Luckily for you, that’s exactly what we have! Valid until June 30, 2019, you can get 20% off the Bosma X1 standard kit (including all the bits mentioned in this review) using the coupon code 20OFFBOSMA on Amazon.