17 February 2015

REVIEW: Samsung SmartCam HD

Smarty pants.

It's always nice to see that the big boys can do other things than what they're famous for... and do them well. Samsung might be one of (if not the) biggest smartphone makers in the world right now, but clearly the South Korean giant is still dedicating time and energy to other areas of tech. We took a look at such a gadget, one we were very impressed with. It's the Samsung SmartCam HD.

These kinds of cameras are no stranger to The Test Pit, and we're guessing that the number we've tested must now be in double figures. But whereas other home monitoring cameras require a bit of fiddly set-up, the Samsung SmartCam HD requires merely a smartphone (Android or iPhone) and the quick press of a few buttons. If the many ports on your WiFi router scare you, this is the camera for you.

First the thing itself: the SmartCam is pleasingly slim (even with that chunky black lens on the front) and light enough to be held aloft by the included plastic stand. The camera can stream full HD 1080p video over your WiFi network, and also features a microphone, a two-way speaker, night-vision via the built-in infrared lights (which are hidden beneath that black outer ring around the lens), and a Micro SD port for cards of up to 32GB.

Although the camera ships with an included Ethernet cable, the one we had featured a WiFi-ready option which, if you have a choice, you should definitely go for. This method makes the Samsung SmartCam HD the easiest to set up home monitor we have ever tested. Seriously, although the instructions give a step-by step on how to do it, all you need to know is the name of the app to download. Once you have the SmartCam app on your phone or tablet, simply follow the on-screen instructions (such as signing up to a free account) and you'll be viewing the camera's feed in less than five minutes.

And what a feed! The video the SmartCam beans over the net to your phone is beautifully crisp - far crisper than the cam this one most reminds us of, the Y-Cam Home Monitor. Also the lens of the Samsung camera has a 128 degree field of view which makes it possible to capture a large area with just one cam. The IR night vision is also very good and the audible click often associated with cameras switching to night mode is very quiet here - as is the subtle red glow of the IR lights.

Our entire street is captured by that wide-angle lens.
Controlling all this has been made super easy thanks to the app. There you can set things like record mode (onto a Micro SD card - which isn't included), motion detection (where you can select areas in the field of vision which won't be activated by movement), and utilise the two-way intercom to either send soothing words to your sleeping baby, or harsh threats to the burglars you can see breaking in. Either way, they'll certainly hear you.

We really love the Samsung SmartCam HD and look forward to other home monitor makers following suit with Samsung's great combination of high-specs and user-friendliness.


Available from www.amazon.co.uk

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