Review: Axis 211A Network Camera

Closing Thoughts

The Axis 211A obviously commands a premium price, but what do you get versus lower-priced network cameras such as the Actiontec 54 Mbps Wireless Network Camera? The main place where your money goes is into buying superior image quality due to the Axis' high-quality CCD image sensor and superior Tamron lens. Other primary differentiators are the 211A's full-duplex audio capability and 802.3af PoE.

For the premium price, you might wonder why Axis doesn't bundle a recording application with the 211A. But when you consider that one of Axis' primary markets is professional video surveillance, you might understand the mindset that treats recording as a separate (charge for) product. You also don't get wireless capability for your bigger bundle of cash, but that's not as big a negative as you might think.

I'd argue that while the Actiontec can transmit its data "wirelessly", its dependence on an AC outlet to power its wall-wart could result in more restrictions on locating it. With the 211A's built-in POE, all that's needed is a single CAT5 Ethernet cable to provide both data and power. Yes, you can buy kits to jury-rig PoE for the Actiontec, but it's an added expense and the result isn't very elegant.

The bottom line is that the Axis 211A is a professional-grade surveillance camera capable of producing excellent image quality over a wide range of lighting conditions with integrated full-duplex audio capability. While not every network camera application requires such performance, if yours does, the Axis 211A can deliver.