Imou Knight 4k in the test: surveillance camera with car, animal and person detection

Imou Knight 4K review

The manufacturer Imou once again sent me a new surveillance camera for a test. I had it almost exactly a year ago Imou Bullet 2E tried and the Imou Knight 4K (Manufacturer site) is a worthy successor with a significantly higher resolution.

Transparency notice

As with the Bullet 2E, the manufacturer gave me the Imou Knight 4K for free for testing. Of course, you can still look forward to an unbiased test report with some critical comments. And I can already reveal that with the Imou Knight 4K not everything is as great as the resolution.

But before we get to the critical points, let's just start at the beginning and start with the technical data of the camera.

The Imou Knight 4K is a high-resolution surveillance camera with many features - and one big catch, which I will discuss below (Photos: Sir Apfelot).

The Imou Knight 4K is a high-resolution surveillance camera with many features - and one big catch, which I will discuss below (Photos: Sir Apfelot).

Specifications of the Imou Knight 4K

Unfortunately, surveillance cameras have a lot of data that should be mentioned in order to be able to distinguish them from other models. I have therefore put together a longer list for you here and included a comparison graphic below, which compares the Imou Knight 4K with three other outdoor cameras from Imou.

Here are the specs:

  • Manufacturer: Imou
  • Model: Knight 4K
  • Resolution: 8MP/4K (3840x2160px)
  • Video standard: H.265 / H.264
  • Zoom: 16x (digital)
  • Two-way talk function
  • Adjustable alarm range
  • Alarm line (with direction of violation) adjustable
  • Detection can be set according to a schedule
  • Alarm notification via mobile phone
  • IP protection class: IP66 (weatherproof)
  • Color night vision: yes
  • Floodlight: yes
  • Siren: yes
  • Detection of people, animals and vehicles can be activated separately
  • Storage of the recordings: NVR, SD card or Imou cloud (cloud only with subscription)
  • Advanced AI detection (subscription only)
  • WLAN: Wi-Fi 6, dual band (2,4 and 5 GHz)
  • Power supply: 12 volt power supply (3 m cable)
  • Ethernet port: yes, 100 Mbit/s
  • Dimensions: 129 x 84 x 71 mm
  • Weight: 580 g
  • Ambient temperature: -30 ° C to + 60 ° C
  • Peris: approx. 150 euros (sources of supply at the bottom of the article)

And here is the promised overview of the four Imou outdoor cameras:

Here you can see the Imou Knight compared to three other Imou outdoor cameras. The Imou Knight offers the best resolution among the models at 4K.

Here you can see the Imou Knight compared to three other Imou outdoor cameras. The Imou Knight offers the best resolution among the models at 4K.

Scope of delivery of the Imou Knight

The Imou Knight comes with mounting material, a power supply unit and of course the camera itself. However, it is advisable to order a micro SD card for operation so that the recordings can also be saved locally.

But don't worry, you don't always have to fumble the SD card out of the camera to view the recordings. This works very conveniently via WLAN via the App. According to Imou, the Knight camera can work with SD cards up to 256GB. I've only plugged in 128GB and even that capacity will probably easily last for months.

In addition to the camera, the scope of delivery also includes mounting material and the appropriate power supply unit. You only have to contribute an SD card yourself (photos: Sir Apfelot).

In addition to the camera, the scope of delivery also includes mounting material and the appropriate power supply unit. You only have to contribute an SD card yourself (photos: Sir Apfelot).

Weatherproof and IP66 protection class

Due to the IP66 classification, the Imou Knight can be classified as an outdoor surveillance camera without hesitation. It is also protected against strong splashing water due to the construction and the supplied connector seal. Only the power supply itself has to be installed somewhere where no rain can get.

A cable for the network connection is also installed directly on the camera. Of course, you don't need this for operation, but if you want to use it to connect the camera to a WLAN access point, then of course you have to unscrew the connector seal here as well.

Here you can see the two plugs (Ethernet and power supply), which are directly connected to the camera. For outdoor use, a waterproof cover is included to protect the connector.

Here you can see the two plugs (Ethernet and power supply), which are directly connected to the camera. For outdoor use, a waterproof cover is included to protect the connector.

 

Since I didn't screw the camera to our house wall, I'll show you a marketing photo from Imou here so you can see what the assembly looks like.

Since I didn't screw the camera to our house wall, I'll show you a marketing photo by Imou here so you can see what the camera looks like on a wall.

Elegant, but still quite "chunky"

At this point I would like to say a few words about the look of the Imou Knight. The camera itself is white and looks elegant and unobtrusive. Due to the built-in floodlight, which is basically a row of LEDs around the camera, the camera still looks quite bulky and cannot be compared with the small cameras that many providers offer for indoor use.

So if you are looking for an indoor camera and can do without an LED floodlight, you may be looking for a smaller model.

The advantages of the Imou Knight camera

If I had to say what makes the Imou Knight special, I would name the following points as strengths:

  • it has a high resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels
  • it has a variety of detection modes, such as triggering areas and lines, which can even be defined with direction of movement
  • it can distinguish between vehicles, people and animals
  • thanks to the H.265 coding of the videos, they take up very little storage space

Disadvantages of the Imou Knight security camera

Likewise, I also have a few things I could criticize:

  • the app is somewhat confusing in terms of user guidance and is unnecessarily complex
  • the German localization could be improved a bit
  • the app requires an account – you cannot use the app and the camera without an account
  • the extended AI recognition is not explained in the app and you get the subscription option right in front of you
  • the Imou Basic and Imou Pro subscription are advertised a little too heavily in the app; If you only want to use the SD card as a storage location, you will be annoyed with the subscription offer from time to time
  • the app is not intuitive and some things don't work yet
  • the wall mount allows no up AND down orientation - depending on how you mounted it you can move the camera down OR up
  • I'm still missing an option to completely disable the siren button
  • I also wanted to mention the power cable, which is mandatory, but it would be a different type of camera if you only had a battery installed
  • The price of about 150 euros is quite high, because you can sometimes get sets from other manufacturers with two cameras and a hub
  • the Imou camera is not HomeKit-compatible and therefore does not appear in Apple's Home app
  • the inserted SD card is formatted before it is used for the first time, but unfortunately the Mac cannot read this format and there is virtually no way of accessing the films and images; you can only view them in the app, but there is no export option
The features of the Imou Knight are diverse, but you only get one of them if you book the subscription. So far I have not found out what the AI ​​detection offers technically.

The features of the Imou Knight are diverse, but you only get one of them if you book the subscription. So far I have not found out what the AI ​​detection offers technically.

 

The LED floodlight is quite strong and illuminates a large area in front of the camera. But I prefer to use the infrared light at night because it illuminates the area without disturbing the neighbors.

The LED floodlight is quite strong and illuminates a large area in front of the camera. But I prefer to use the infrared light at night because it illuminates the area without disturbing the neighbors.

Recordings taken hostage: SD card no longer readable

I would like to repeat what I briefly mentioned above with regard to the disadvantages, as I find this point very negative for the overall assessment of the camera. I brought the camera into the office today and wanted to copy all the recordings on my hard drive to the Mac. Since I didn't manage to export the recordings via the app, all I can do is remove the SD card from the Imou Knight and plug it into my Mac. But what I got there as a message really disappointed me:

The attached medium could not be read by this computer.

It is therefore not possible to access the recordings from my Mac because the Imou Knight cooks its own soup when using the SD card in relation to the file system. And yes, I am sure that there is no technical defect here, because I have tried it on two Macs and also with internal and external SD card readers.

You get this disappointing message when you insert the SD card from the Imou Knight into the reader of the MacBook Pro - you can't get to the files that way.

You get this disappointing message when you insert the SD card from the Imou Knight into the card reader of the MacBook Pro - you can't get to the files that way.

I cannot understand the manufacturer's decision: If you format the SD card so that it is illegible for normal computers, then you should at least make sure that you install a function in the app that allows you to import films and pictures into the photos app or export to iPhone or Mac. I can only describe the current condition as poor.

Update: Even before the article went online, I looked through the screenshots from the app again. There I find the note "Download SD card recordings" in the features of the "Imou Protect Basic" subscription package for EUR 2,69 per month. Serious? Do I actually have to take out a subscription to be able to download the recordings on my SD card in my camera? It's kind of... dubious and greedy, isn't it?

Unfortunately, none of the other reviews of this camera talk about this, but Imou would like to force you into a subscription so much that they even - technically speaking completely unnecessary - exclude the data on the SD card from the export.

Unfortunately, none of the other reviews of this camera talk about this, but Imou would like to force you into a subscription so much that they even - technically speaking completely unnecessary - exclude the data on the SD card from the export.

Update: Imou promises improvement

Because I was so shocked by the SD card thing, I wrote an email to Imou and confronted them with my criticism. The answer came back that they were happy that I was writing my opinion to them openly and that they would work on the points I mentioned.

Of course, this can mean anything or anything, but I think it would be smart for the marketing department to listen to user feedback and not hide essential functions, such as exporting the image material, behind a subscription barrier.

Interesting detection variant: detecting crossing of lines

I don't think you have to explain to anyone how to use a surveillance camera. For example, I occasionally use one to record wildlife in the garden at night. But of course the "normal" use case is that you want to monitor what is happening at the house entrance or on the property.

Anyone who has already had a surveillance camera will know that areas on the image that are used to trigger the recording are usually marked in the app. The camera only saves a video snippet if movement is detected in this area. If something happens outside of this area, the movement is ignored.

In the Imou app you can draw up to three detection lines per camera. The camera can then determine if that line is crossed by a human or animal in a given bill.

In the Imou app you can draw up to three detection lines per camera. The camera can then determine if that line is crossed by a human or animal in a given bill.

However, the Imou Knight 4K throws a new element into the ring here, because with the Imou app you can now also draw lines in the camera image and the app then only triggers a recording if an "object" crosses this line. You can even specify whether the direction in which the line was crossed should also be evaluated.

For example, you can monitor if someone goes out through the garden gate, but people who come in are ignored. Of course, you can set the rules yourself by creating the lines and directions in the app.

The camera has a loudspeaker installed on the back, which is used to implement the siren and the intercom function.

The camera has a loudspeaker installed on the back, which is used to implement the siren and the intercom function.

The Imou app has its quirks…

I have already mentioned the not quite perfect German localization of the app. But it's not nearly as annoying as a few other things I found out when using it on the iPhone:

  1. If you draw areas or lines for motion detection in the app, there is an orange lettering "Save" in the top right above the date. It's so hard to see that at first I thought the save button was missing. Here you should improve and the button should be highlighted in color so that it also stands out.
  2. In the overview of the recordings there is the possibility to mark video clips and then a button with a letter icon will appear at the bottom. I would have thought that I could use it to send the video to myself. If I press the icon, my selection disappears and nothing happens.
  3. Currently I haven't found a way to download the video and photo files via the app. It seems like you actually have to pull out the SD card here to get the data. If you already have a WiFi connection, this is unnecessarily complicated.
  4. Deleting image and video data is a bit tedious when you have recordings spread over many days. You have to click almost every day (and you can't see in the overview which day there are recordings for!), then mark and delete all videos from this day. Then call the next day. Mark and delete all videos and so on... There must be an easier way of doing this, for example by being able to call up a complete list of all recordings without filtering by date.

My conclusion on the Imou Knight 4K

I have to say that it's really hard for me to judge here. The camera makes really impressively good videos with a very high resolution. I've never seen that with any other camera I've had in my hands.

The recognition is also really good, because it correctly recognized me as a “person” in the garden, even though I was walking around behind a tree 20 meters away. The software has to do something. Our chickens and cats were always correctly classified as "Pet" and the videos were marked accordingly in the overview.

Here is a photo that I created as a screenshot of my iPhone (unfortunately, I'm not allowed to have the original data without a subscription). The resolution is even better in reality, but you can already see here that the image quality is ok despite the backlight. With the HDR mode you could certainly have gotten even more out of it.

Here is a photo that I created as a screenshot of my iPhone (unfortunately, I'm not allowed to have the original data without a subscription). The resolution is even better in reality, but you can already see here that the image quality is ok despite the backlight. With the HDR mode you could certainly have gotten even more out of it.

The high price alone and the somewhat half-baked app would make me hesitate to buy it. What Imou is doing with the subscription, however, I find dubious. How to charge monthly for downloading recordings from SD card? And not only that - apparently the SD card is specially formatted in a strange format so that the normal user cannot easily read it via the computer. That's a bit cheeky.

I would give the camera a grade of 1 and the app a grade of 4 if I, as a camera teacher, had something to report. The camera definitely has compelling hardware, but the app lags behind.

If you want to take a look at the Imou Knight 4K, you can find the camera via the following shops or via the Idealo price comparison:

-
Did you like the article and did the instructions on the blog help you? Then I would be happy if you the blog via a Steady Membership or at Patreon would support.

2 comments

  1. Martin says:

    Hello :-)

    How much of the functionality is available without a subscription?
    Can I watch recordings from the SD card without a subscription?

    With kind regards,
    Martin

    • Jen Kleinholz says:

      The SD card appears to be reformatted in the camera, making it unreadable on my Mac. This is specially made so that you have to book the subscription that allows you to export the recordings via the app. Without the subscription you can only watch them via the app, but nothing more. I have already written to Imou that I find this approach dubious. I think it's ok to charge for features that incur running costs for the provider, but encrypting an SD card and then charging for access to the data sounds almost like ransomware to me.

Leave a Comment

Your e-mail address will not be published. Required fields are marked with * marked