28 February 2015

REVIEW: Swann Pan & Tilt HD Security Camera

Pan's People.

We've reviewed lots of home security cameras and systems in the past, and there's no doubt that they are a great investment. As most of these cameras are an absolute doddle to install the only hard task you might be faced with is where to position it to get the best possible view of all your stuff. Having a camera that you can remotely move around yourself is a massive bonus, and that is just what Swann have done with the Pan & Tilt HD Security Camera.

The Swann ADS-446 SwannCloud HD Pan and Tilt WiFi Security Camera (what a name) is a high definition camera that can connect to your home WiFi network and be viewed remotely from a smartphone, tablet, or computer, anywhere in the world - but with several added benefits unique to this model.

The obvious difference here is alluded to in the camera's name. Yes, you can indeed pan and tilt the camera, having full control over a 350 degree rotation, and 100 degrees of tilt. That means you can see absolutely everything with this thing, and the only other movable camera we've reviewed before, the Motorola Blink 1 (which is really a glorified baby monitor), pales in comparison.

Set up was refreshingly simple, as in the past we've had a bit of bother with some Swann systems being a tad too complicated. The presence on the unit of a WPS button made us feel happier, with set up and connection to the WiFi router taking mere minutes (you need an account with Swann to set up the app on your phone, but is free and relatively painless).

Once connected, and with the app running a clear image of what the camera could see, all we had to do was install it. You have the option to just place it on a flat surface somewhere in your home, knowing that no matter where it sits you will be able to adjust the viewing angle later. It also comes with a wall mount that allows you to position the Pan & Tilt HD Security Camera up high. And, thank the powers that be, the mount also includes a template guide so you know exactly where to drill your holes. Yes! We found a position at around head height works the best, as the camera can still be tilted downwards to catch all the action at ground level.

The picture quality is okay but unfortunately nothing really to write home about. It captures 720p video which, although qualifying it for HD status, falls a little flat when compared to the recently reviewed Samsung SmartCam HD. Still, the picture is good enough to identify people and trigger motion sensors, something that the SwannCloud app excels at.

This app, which is an improved version of the previous Swann app we've used, comes packed with many more features and looks far more user-friendly. As well as having responsive control over the camera's movements, you can set motion detection going, and also facial recognition. Once either of these settings are triggered, you are then notified via a push notification very quickly.

The Swann Pan & Tilt HD Security Camera also features night vision which, thanks to the ring of normally concealed IR lights around the lens, penetrates darkness up to five metres. If anything we found that the night vision images were clearer than the full colour mode, but we understand that a lot less is happening to be processed in the dark.

So if you are stuck with an awkwardly shaped room that requires some CCTV coverage, and you just can't get the placement of a static security camera correct, this little beauty could be the one for you.

Around £150

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