If you want to see what’s happening around the exterior of your home without having to open a door or expose yourself to the elements, the Swann Wi-Fi Outdoor Security Camera offers a relatively affordable solution for $119.99. This rugged camera is easy to install and offers sharp 1080p imagery, free cloud and internal video storage, motion detection alerts.
Design and Features
The Swann Outdoor measures 2.3 by 3.1 by 7.3 inches (HWD) and has a white enclosure with a black camera face. The enclosure has an IP66 weather rating that offers a high level of resistance to water and dust particles. The face of the camera contains the lens housing, a microphone, an ambient light sensor, and a PIR motion sensor. It also holds two large infrared LED units that provide black-and-white night vision video. The microphone lets you hear what’s going on outside, but lacks the sound detection and two-way audio capabilities that you get with the TP-Link Kasa Cam and the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor cameras.
An adjustable Wi-Fi antenna is attached to the back of the camera, along with a hardwired power harness that includes a power jack, an Ethernet port, and a reset button. The camera captures video at 1080p and has a relatively narrow 110-degree field of view. Both the Netgear Arlo Pro 2 and the ReoLink Argus 2 have 130-degree fields of view. Connectivity comes by way of a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi radio or via wired Ethernet using the above-mentioned port.
The Swann camera will initiate a push alert and record video when motion is detected. It holds up to seven days of 30-second clips in local memory and comes with a free cloud storage plan that stores video for two days. For $4.99, you can upgrade to the ExtraSafe plan that gives you 30 days of cloud storage. The camera doesn’t interact with other smart home devices such as lighting systems and thermostats, and it doesn’t support IFTTT applets that allow it to trigger and be triggered by other IFTTT-enabled devices. However, it does support Amazon Alexa voice commands that allow you to view video from the camera on compatible devices. The camera comes with an AC adapter, a 60-foot power extension cable, a quick start guide, and mounting hardware.
The camera is controlled using the Safe by Swann mobile app for Android and iOS devices. The app opens to a screen that displays all installed cameras with a still image of the last recorded event. Tap the Play arrow to launch a live stream that you can view in full-screen mode by turning your phone sideways.
The bottom of the screen has Record, Capture, and Activity buttons. The Record button is used to manually record video and the Capture button lets you take a snapshot. Tapping the Activity button takes you to a screen where you can see a list of all motion activity with thumbnails and time stamps. Tap any thumbnail to view the clip, delete it, or download it to your phone. Use the gear icon in the top right corner to name the camera, adjust motion sensitivity, and select a video quality mode (Low, Medium, High). Here you can upgrade your subscription plan if you need more storage and update the camera’s firmware. You can also access these settings and the activity page by tapping the three-bar icon on the home screen.
Installation and Performance
Setting up the Swann Outdoor Camera is easy. I installed it in my backyard using the included mounting template and mounting screws and was able to snake the power cable through a vent into my attic where there was an outlet. If you don’t have a way to run the power cable into your house, you’ll have to drill a hole as the AC adapter isn’t rated for outdoor use.
Once the camera was powered up I downloaded the mobile app, created an account, and verified the account via email. I tapped the Pair Camera button in the app, selected the Swann Outdoor Camera from the list, and followed the on-screen instructions to connect to the camera using my phone’s Wi-Fi settings. I returned to the app and connected the camera to my home Wi-Fi network. I chose a location (back door), tapped Go To my Dashboard, and the installation was complete.
The Swann Outdoor Camera delivered sharp 1080p video in my tests. Daytime video appeared bright with rich colors, and black-and-white night video showed good illumination and strong contrast. There was a hint of barrel distortion around the edges, however.
Push alerts arrived quickly when the motion sensor was triggered, as did recorded video, which looked every bit as good as the live feed. I had no trouble linking my Swann account with my Alexa account and viewing videoon a TV using an Amazon Fire TV Stick.
The Swann Wi-Fi Outdoor Security Camera is weather resistant, delivers sharp day and night video, and offers motion detection, local storage, and free cloud storage that you can complement with a paid subscription if you need more than two days of recorded video. It’s easy to install and supports Alexa voice commands that allow you to view video on a compatible device, but it doesn’t interact with other smart home gadgets and it doesn’t support IFTTT applets. For that you’ll have to spend a bit more for a camera like the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor or our Editors’ Choice, the Netgear Arlo Pro 2. It also lacks two-way audio, a feature you can find with more reasonably priced cameras like the TP-Link Kasa.
Swann Wi-Fi Outdoor Security Camera
Digital Zoom: Yes
Field of View (Degrees): 110
Mechanical Pan: No
Mechanical Tilt: No
Night Vision: Yes
Photo Resolution: 1080p
Storage: Cloud, Local
Two-Way Audio: No
Video Resolution: 1080p
Monitoring Contract Required: No
Professional Installation Required: No
Cellular Backup: No
Power Outage Backup: No
Environmental Sensors: No
IFTTT Support: No
Z-Wave/ZigBee Compatibility: No
Voice Assistant Compatibility: Amazon Alexa