If you think the Samsung SmartCam HD Plus doesn’t look any different from Nest Cam, you’re not wrong. But looks can be deceiving, and it’s not identical to Nest Cam in functionality. Although Samsung's cameras have always been slightly different from the competition, a recent change of ownership from Samsung to Hanwha Techwin America has separated SmartCam a little further from Nest Cam. Here’s a closer look at what this home security camera has to offer.
- 1080p HD Video
- 130 Degree Field of View
- Motion & Sound Detection
- 2-Way Audio
- Motion Zones
- Night Vision up to 32 Feet
Setting up the Samsung SmartCam HD Plus
The SmartCam HD Plus has a detachable base that swivels. If you don’t feel like setting it on a surface, you can mount it on a wall with the included hardware. No matter where you decide to place the camera, it needs to be plugged in; there’s no battery backup or wire-free option. The camera also needs to have an SD card (up to 128 GB), unless you opt for the cloud storage, which we’ll get into later.
The setup process, like most newer cameras, is quick and doesn’t require you to scan a QR code or go through a song and dance to get it connected, like with the Xiaomi Yi Home Camera and other IP cameras. To wrap up the process, install the Android or iOS app on your smartphone, it recognizes the plugged in camera and connects it to Wifi automatically.
Using The Camera
The SmartCam HD Plus has several features that enhance its ability to protect your home including live streaming, motion detection, night vision, video storage, and more.
Once installed, it’s pretty simple to use the SmartCam HD Plus. You can view live feed from the camera on up to five devices at once through the app or a web portal. The highest video quality is 1080p HD, but you can opt for a lower resolution to store more video clips. With High Dynamic Range (HDR), the camera gives you clear video even when there’s a bright light behind the subject.
The field of view of the camera is 130 degrees, the same as Nest Cam, and you can digitally zoom within that field of view.
You can choose to enable motion and sound detection, which will send you an email or phone notification when there’s a motion or sound event.
Hanwha Techwin America claims the camera uses “Advanced Motion and Audio Detection.” They say, “You will only be notified of true motion events such as someone entering the room or loud incidents such as a window breaking.” Is this true? Slightly. A recent upgrade to the camera improved its motion detection ability. That said, there’s no way to prevent false alarms completely, but it can tell the difference between a branch swaying in the wind and a true motion event.
A useful feature of SmartCam's motion detection is the ability to set a motion zone. Within the app, draw a square where you want the camera to monitor for motion. So, if you have a dog running around behind a gate in your kitchen, you can set the motion to only detect motion in front of his gate, which means fewer false alarms for you to deal with. You can configure up to 3 motion zones within the camera's field of view.
SmartCam has decent night vision, offering up to 32 feet of visibility and detection at night. The camera uses an advanced IR cut filter, giving you more clarity when recording and viewing in dark situations.
In the past, Samsung's SmartCam HD Plus didn’t offer cloud storage. Thankfully, cloud storage is now available with both monthly and yearly plans. Monthly plans start at $4.99 per month ($49.99 per year) per camera for 5 days of event storage. The Essential Plan is $7.99 per month per camera or $79.99 per year and includes 7 days of event storage and access to Cloud DVR. Finally, the Elite Plan is $19.99 per month per camera or $199.99 per year and includes 21 days of event storage and Cloud DVR. Stored video is automatically deleted when storage is full or when you reach your storage limit. If you have additional cameras, you can add new plans at a discounted rate of 50% off.
Cloud DVR is the ability to record continuous video. Though this is only included with Essential and Elite, all three plans include the ability to record based upon motion events or you can record clips manually. Currently, cloud storage plans are only available in North America.
In addition to storage, the cloud plans include:
- The ability to download videos.
- Email alerts on more than one email account.
- The ability to schedule recordings to monitor when you want.
- Automatic updates.
Of course, you can opt for just local storage using an SD card, which is something else that sets this camera apart from Nest Cam, which lacks a local storage option. If you choose to record locally, you can still record motion events or manually record clips, but you will be limited to the amount of storage you have on the SD card (up to 128GB).
There are a couple of other interesting features. For one, you can set the SmartCam HD Plus to make an alarm, siren, or, according to one user review, you can set it to make a barking sound to scare off an intruder. Secondly, the camera also has 2-way audio. You can speak to your family or pets through the app on your phone even when you’re far from home. Although this isn’t exactly a rare feature in home security cameras, not every camera is equipped with 2-way audio.
Unfortunately, the camera can't currently connect to other smart home devices or security systems. However, Samsung also makes a smart home hub called SmartThings. The hub is compatible with the SmartCam HD Pro, so it's possible that in the future the hub will also work with the HD Plus.
Samsung SmartCam HD Plus costs under $115 on Amazon, making it about $60 less than Nest Cam and less than other high-end home security cameras. The wide lens, advanced detection features, and two-way audio make it a good option. If you’re looking for a home security camera that won’t kill your budget but will get the job done, this might be a winner, but we have two concerns. One, their iTunes app has a 1.5-star rating, and in the world of self-monitored cameras, apps are vital. Two, Samsung ran into security issues impacting another SmartCam model, the SNH-1011 model. They need to button up and make sure they are protecting their users.