Everyone wants to be more secure in their home. One way we achieve this is by the use of security cameras. Wired security cameras have been around for a long, long time, but all in one wireless systems are more recent to the market. Swann who has been selling security cameras for a while has come up with their latest version of a wireless security camera system, the All-In-One SwannSecure Wi-Fi HD monitoring system with monitor and camera.
Swann has developed a security camera system that not only includes the camera, but a tablet to use around your house to view what the security camera sees.
The Swann system comes with the following :
- Wi-Fi Monitor / Recorder
- Day/Night 720p HD Camera
- Power Adaptors
- Network Cable 6ft/2m
- Mini HDMI Cable
- Micro SD Card 8GB
- Mini USB to USB Cable
- Quick Start Guide
- Theft Deterrent Stickers
With all that is included I will break things into the video camera and the 7″ Touch Screen Wi-Fi Monitor/Recorder for features and specifications.
The camera unit has the following features:
- Image Sensor: 1 Megapixel
- Resolution: 720P (1280 x 720)
- Minimum Illumination: 0 Lux (IR on) / 0.1 Lux (IR off)
- Day/Night Mode: Color during day/ B&W at night
- Viewing Angle: 65°
- Night Vision Distance: 50ft/15m
- IR Cut Filter: Yes
- Number of LEDs: 36
- Microphone: Yes
- Indoor or Outdoor: Indoor / Outdoor
- Operating Power: 12V
- Operating Temperature: -4°F ~ 122°F / -20°C ~ 50°C
- Body Construction: Aluminium
- Dimensions – Camera: 2.36″ x 6.3″ x 3.75″ / 60mm x 160mm x 95mm
- Weight: 12oz / 350g
The included 7″ Touch Screen Wi-Fi Monitor/Recorder has the following listed features from the Swann website:
- Video Input: Up to 4 Wi-Fi Cameras
- Video Output: Mini HDMI
- Audio Output: 3.5mm Headphones Jack
- Screen Size: 7” / 180mm
- Screen Type: LCD Touch
- Microphone: Yes
- Speaker: Yes
- Display Resolution: 1024×600
- Display Frame Rate: 15fps per channel
- SD Card: 8GB
- Capacity: Up to 64GB
- Network Connection: RJ45 / WiFi
- Power Supply: DC 5V
- Operating Temperature: 14°F ~ 122°F / -10°C ~ 50°C
- Dimensions: 7.7” x 5.11” x 0.78” / 196mm x 130mm x 20mm
- Weight: 15 oz / 405g
On the surface the video camera unit looks like a lot of other fixed security cameras you may see on the outside of a house or business, but when you look closer you will see the antenna for the wireless connection to the tablet. The front of the camera unit has several LEDs (36 to be exact) to allow the camera to see at night. The camera itself is protected from the elements by the camera housing and a glass lens cover.
The rear of the camera unit is where you will see the main difference from a standard camera, the antenna. The antenna screws into the rear of the camera and tilts to allow it to be placed in tight quarters. The rear of the camera is also where the power cord comes out. The kit comes with an additional spool of wire used to run between the power adapter and the cameras power cable. I could not find any information on how much additional power cable was included, but a guess would be about 50 feet.The cameras power cable also has a LAN connector (10BaseT connector) and a reset button. The mounting base is also attached to the rear of the camera. You will note from the picture above that the power cord, reset button and LAN connector are all exposed. It is advisable to keep the cord accessible so you can do any updates or adjustments to your camera and seeing as I did not want to cut into my ceiling I chose to leave them exposed.
Although the camera is the eye of the system, the 7″ Touch Screen Wi-Fi Monitor/Recorder is the brains of the system. The front of the tablet has a home button at the bottom center and what I would guess to be a microphone hole in the bottom left hand corner. The screen, as stated in the specs above is a 7″ LCD touch screen.
The rear of the tablet has a built-in kickstand allowing it to sit up on its own. This is also where the dual antennas are located.
The bottom of the tablet, about a quarter of the way up the back has the power, HDMI, USB, headphone, reset and LAN inputs. The lip that over hangs the connectors did make it a little harder to make the connections.
The right side of the tablet has the power button and a slot for the included 8 gig micro SD card. There is nothing significant on the left side.
Once I had everything unpacked and connected, it was time to set up the system. The first order of business was to charge the tablet. Since I could use the tablet while plugged in and charging, I started the process of configuration. Here is the first place I hit a snag. The instructions for this system are bad. Before you can use the camera over Wi-Fi, it must be configured by actually having a wired connection for the camera and the tablet to your router. Luckily, I did not install the camera before trying to set it up. You can directly wire the tablet, but it is a wireless system. With help from customer support I did get that part figured out. Another issue with this system is its proprietary nature. The only way you can use the camera is by connecting it to the tablet. While I can understand why Swann did this, it brings me to my biggest complaint about the system, the tablet itself. The 7″ Touch Screen Wi-Fi Monitor/Recorder is BAD! The touch screen is almost non responsive in some places, the battery life is an hour or less and it is hard if not impossible to close some of the software windows (I had to hit the home button to do so). All that being said, the tablet concept does have some good points. The ability to record and store video from the video camera is one. General portability is another. As you can see from the above picture, image quality is not bad.
Although everything for this system runs through the tablet, there is a decent computer and mobile device interface so you can view what the camera is seeing remotely. The Swann Secure app runs on iOS and Android systems. On a computer you will need to install the software and configure it from the included CD and configure it. The configuration wizard is pretty straight forward. On your iOS or Android device you will need to install the app. A nice feature with this Swann Secure system is the QR code label on the back of the 7″ tablet. This QR code will configure your mobile device to the camera.
So, what’s my bottom line here? Honestly I would pass on the Swann Secure Wi-Fi HD Monitoring system, at least until they can get a better tablet. Having to set up and run everything through the included tablet that is sub par makes this system almost unbearable. The camera and software itself are fine, the ability to expand up to four cameras is nice, the wireless set up is great. It all boils down to out of the box ease of use and this system does not deliver on that. With a price of $379.99 for the set-up I tested, I could find a better solution at a cheaper price.
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Swann. Please visit them for more info.