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AXIS M1031-W Reviewed

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AXIS M1031-W

Left: AXIS M1031-W, Right: AXIS M1054
At a Glance
Product Axis M1031-W Network camera [Website]
Summary Entry level wireless SD network camera with strong feature set
Pros • Lots of features
• Solid construction
• Wireless connectivity
Cons • Night vision (in the absence of motion) is manual via a light
• Picture is grainy compared to M1054
• Field of view is much smaller than the M1054
• Wireless is only 802.11b/g vs. n

Introduction

A few weeks ago I took a look at the surveillance features of the Iomega ix2-dl NAS with the AXIS M1054 and AXIS M1031-W cameras. As a follow-up, I did an in-depth review of the M1054 network camera. To wrap up the series, we'll be looking at the little brother to the M1054, the AXIS M1031-W.

Since the M1054 and M1031-W are very similiar in many ways, I'm going to focus primarily on the differences between the two in this review. When looking at the M1054 and the M1031-W, both are good cameras with an extensive feature set that is administered via a built-in web interface. Both cameras can be used with Axis hosted video services. But neither can be used with the AXIS Camera Companion software that's aimed at managing small installations of up to 16 cameras.

Current pricing on the net is around $380 for the M1054, while the M1031-W is significantly cheaper at around $250. So we should expect significant differences between the two products and that's what I found. As I highlight the differences, you'll be able to better see which one better fits your needs. I've created the table below to summarize the key differences.

A note on pricing: Yes, you can find both products for less than the prices quoted, if you are willing to buy from eBay and smaller etailers. If you're game, you can find the M1054 as low as $320 and the M1031-W for around $225.

M1031-W M1054
Processor ARTPEC-B ARTPEC-3
RAM 64MB 128MB
Flash 32MB 128MB
Lens 4.4mm, 47deg view, F2.0, fixed iris, fixed focus 2.9mm, 84deg view, F2.0, fixed iris, fixed focus
Wireless 802.11b/g None
Power over Ethernet No Yes (802.3af)
Maximum resolution 640x480 1280x800
I/O Connector No Yes
Field of View 47° 84°
Video Compression H.264, MJPEG, MPEG-4 Part 2 H.264, MJPEG
Mirroring No Yes
Video Buffer 16 MB pre and post alarms 25MB pre and post alarms
Record to storage FTP only FTP, SMB (network share)
Firmware 5.20.x 5.40.x

Hardware Comparison

Under the hood, the M1031-W sports Axis' ARTPEC-B processor, whereas the M1054 has a more advanced ARTPEC-3 processor. The maximum number of simultaneous video streams on for the ARTPEC-B chip is three vs. the 15-20 for the ARTPEC-3 chip. This is specified in the datasheet itself and not necessarily indicative of real world performance.

Compression, resolution, framerate, and network congestion come in to play when determining maximum simultaneous video streams. If streaming a larger number of streams at once is a priority, the M1054 will enable you to do more with better performance and less dropped frames. In many SOHO situations, however, this may not be a priority since streams are recorded to storage vs. watched real-time.

The M1031-W has 64 MB of RAM and 32 MB of Flash v. the M1054's 128 MB of RAM and 128 MB of Flash.

The M1031-W has an 802.11g/b wireless interface with a built-in antenna, secured by WEP 64/128biit and WPA/WPA2-PSK. The use of 802.11b/g is pretty old-school, given that the world has moved on to 802.11n and soon 802.11ac. This slower wireless could present problems in networks where most traffic is from 802.11n clients. The M1054 dodges this issue completely because it does not provide wireless connectivity.

The M1054 can be powered by 802.3af Power over Ethernet (PoE), which lets you supply power to the camera via the Ethernet cable and ditch the wall wart power adapter if you have the right equipment; the M1031-W cannot.

As far as the lens goes, the M1031-W has a larger focal length, and the M1054 has a significantly larger field of view. Later, in Image Quality, we'll do a side-by-side comparison to contrast how much more you can see with the M1054's larger field of view.

The layout of the Axis M1031-W
Figure 1: The layout of the Axis M1031-W

The M1054 has an I/O connector that can use external hardware to trigger events on the camera or vice versa; the M1031-W does not have the connector. This can be a very powerful option in the right circumstances such as recording when door or window alarms are tripped or activating an external alarm when motion is detected.

In regards to alarms, the M1054 has a video buffer of 25 MB pre and post alarms vs. only 16 MB for the M1031-W. This means that you get smaller time windows around alarm events with the M1031-W and perhaps fewer events saved.




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