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Unlike the strictly viewing-only Logitech Alert apps for iOS and Android, the new Logitech Alert Commander for Mac offers complete control over up to six indoor or outdoor Logitech Alert cameras, including digital pan, tilt, and zoom, and digital DVR recording and playback. We tested the software with the Logitech Alert 750e Outdoor Master System, a weatherproof, night-vision-capable single security camera with HD video capture and motion-triggered alerts. (The indoor model is $50 less, while add-on cameras start at $229.99.)
The camera is a handsome, durable piece of hardware and, mounting aside, a snap to set up. (Logitech includes the necessary screws and bolts, but you’ll have to do the drilling.) The equipment requires no additional wiring beyond plugging a Wi-Fi-enabled adapter into our network—the rest works through existing AC power lines, which is a nice touch.
Getting the camera and Mac software talking to each other was equally effortless: Alert Commander searches your local network and adds any cameras it finds to your setup in just a few steps. Users create one or more sites (such as “Home” or “Office”), each of which can include up to six cameras. The software works in conjunction with Logitech’s servers to monitor activity around your home, which can then be viewed from any web browser or the mobile apps — or acted upon from Alert Commander.
The 750e Master System can record HD video to a micro-SD card whenever something moves into a motion zone. The software's Motion tab lets you define these zones, which can be the whole image or a mix of up to 16 user-selectable areas, and the Sensitivity slider prevents accidental triggers from leaves or the wind. The Storage tab gives you complete control over where the security videos are archived, how much space they can use, and how long you want to keep them.
When everything is set up, Alert Commander can show your cameras in single, four-up or six-up view with just a click. The Playback tab lets you rewind or fast-forward through recorded events using a horizontal time scrubber, or by clicking a specific day on the calendar. Recorded files archived on the Mac will also play in any QuickTime-compatible software or right from the Finder using Quick Look.
While Alert Commander is full-featured enough, the UI is like many Logitech Mac software offerings — a tad on the clumsy side. Thankfully, it masks some of those sins by taking advantage of OS X full-screen mode and can be set to start up at login, although the cameras continue to record data even when the computer is shut down.
The bottom line. Logitech Alert Commander for Mac is definitely a step in the right direction. The user interface may not be fully baked yet, but it delivers what it promises, and bonus points to Logitech for seeing the value of offering accessory software in the Mac App Store.
Product: Logitech Alert Commander for Mac 1.0.1
Price: Free (available in the Mac App Store)
Requirements: OS X 10.6 or later, supported Logitech Alert camera, iOS 4.2 or later (for Logitech Alert app only)
Pros: Full-featured, free software finally brings Mac compatibility to Alert cameras. Motion zone settings prevent unintentional triggers from being recorded.
Cons: User interface feels clunky at times. Audio surveillance requires selecting camera to be monitored first. Mac software defaults to internal storage for archiving.
Product: Logitech Alert 750e Outdoor Master System
Requirements: OS X 10.6.8 or later
Pros: Durable. Easy to set up. 720p HD video looks great (for security video), even in night vision mode. No wiring needed.
Cons: Additional cameras start at $229.99.