Samsung isn’t a name that normally comes to my mind when I think about security cameras brands, so I was surprised when I was offered the chance to review their SmartCam HD Plus. Since this camera is made by Samsung, it has to be good right? Let’s find out if Samsung is the next big thing in wireless security cameras.
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Camera type: Indoor
Lens: Ultra-Wide 130° Angle Lens, 4x digital zoom
Night vision up to 32 feet
Resolution: 1920×1080 / 1280×720 / 640×360
Max Framerate: H.264, 1920×1080 30FPS
Audio: Built-in Mic and Speaker for 2-way audio
Power: 5V/2A, micro USB
What’s in the box?
8ft USB power cable
My first thought when I unboxed the SmartCam HD Plus was how much it resembled the Nest camera (formerly known as Dropcam). The lens part of the camera appears to be almost identical to the Dropcam Pro. The SmartCam has a wide angle lens with a luminance sensor above it and infrared LEDs surrounding it for automated night vision. Below the lens is a status LED that will blink and/or shine in red, blue, green, yellow or purple depending on different modes.
The camera is mounted on a black stand that has a non-skid base. On the back of the camera is a speaker, a reset switch and WiFi Direct button that is used during the set up process. You’ll also notice the lock on the back that will let you remove the camera from the base. A small cable clip in the base allows you to route the USB power cable from the camera out the back of the stand.
The base allows for the camera angle to be adjusted and for mounting to a wall by popping out the oval rubber plug in the base to use with the included hardware.
On one side of the SmartCam HD Plus is a micro SD card slot. The camera comes with a 16GB card and can support up to 128GB cards. This is a nice addition as this feature allows you to continuously record video as well as triggered event video for later viewing through the Samsung SmartCam app.
Setting up the camera requires that you download the iOS or Android app, create an account and follow the instructions. Set up is very easy and I was up and running within minutes of unboxing the camera.
There are quite a few settings that can be customized including motion, sound detection sensitivity and alerts. The app can notify you with a popup message when motion or sounds is detected, and you can also have the app email multiple addresses when events are detected. Just be careful with the email feature because your inbox can fill up quickly.
The email feature sounds more useful than it really is. Unfortunately, it’s just a text message with the date / time of the detection. There’s no snap shot or video clip attached. See an example email above.
The mobile app allows for a live view of the camera from where ever you may be. You can manually record what’s happening either to the apps file system or to the micro SD card. If you save to the app’s file system, you can only record 30 second video clips. Recording to the micro SD card is only limited by the available storage on the card. You can also take snap shots, have a 2 way audio chat and even play a dog barking, siren or alarm sound through the camera as a way to scare off an intruder or mess with your pets.
The camera has a 130° lens so it does give you wide image that is sharp and clear. You can customize the image quality by choosing low, medium and high resolution settings:
Low Speed Network, VGA, 20 fps, 0.7Mbps
Mid Speed Network, HD(720P), 15 fps, 1Mbps
High Speed Network, Full HD(1080P), 30 fps, 2.8Mbps
The only thing I noticed about the SmartCam was how dark the image seems to be when compared to other cameras.
The SmartCam has decent night vision capability as shown above.
As far as motion detection, You can either have the camera detect motion in the full view or you can create up to three motion zones. When zones are created, only motion in those zones will cause an event to trigger. Any motion outside the zones will be ignored.
When motion or audio events are detected, you can go into the events screen and watch the video clips associated with the events.
You can also set the camera to continuously record to the micro SD card and can then view video which is separated into 5 minute clips.
I would have to say that the mobile app is the weakest part of this product. While the app has all the necessary features to configure the camera’s settings, view the live video feed and view triggered event videos, the app’s layout is a bit wonky and almost every time I launched it, I’d get a popup saying the app lost camera connection due to network interruption and would need to relaunch the app.
In addition to the mobile app, you can also view and customize settings using the Samsung web client through your browser. It will require that you install a browser plugin, but it does work – although it’s slow.
I’ve been using the Samsung SmartCam HD Plus for several weeks now and the only improvements that I would make would be improve the mobile app layout, improve the video image brightness and include a thumbnail image along with the email alerts and mobile notifications.
I think this home security camera is a very good alternative to other cameras which require monthly fees to access past video footage. The fact that the SmartCam can be set to continuously record to a micro SD card is a very useful feature and it’s even nicer that you can easily access that footage through the mobile app or web client without having to remove the memory card.