SimpliSafe Camera Review

SimpliSafe Camera Review

Hardware Criteria7.2
Software and Security 3.4
Video Storage7.5
Hands-on Authority and User Reviews8.4
6.6
Reader Rating: (1 Rate)7.1

SimpliSafe is a low-cost home security solution, and they've been around for a long time; long enough to rack up over 10,000 reviews on Amazon. For years, SimpliSafe was limited to sensors and a mobile app to protect your home. Now, they offer an indoor home security camera to supplement their offer.

SimpliSafe Camera Specs

 Specs
Resolution:720p
Field of View:120°
Night Vision:YES
Usage:Indoor Only
Motion Sensor:YES
Sound Sensor:NO
Two-Way Audio:NO
Battery:NO
Local Storage:NO
GeofencingNO
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SimpliSafe's camera is indoor only. It's fixed, meaning it can't pan or tilt mechanically, it streams in 720p HD, offers night vision, and a 120° viewing angle. It's a wireless camera, but it does require a power supply.

For security, the camera features a built-in motion sensor. The sensor is customizable in that you can adjust its sensitivity. However, unlike our top-rated security cameras, it lacks motion detection zones and it can't distinguish people from other objects. In addition to motion detection, the camera can also live stream videos to your phone (with the right monitoring plan). You can also record on-demand while watching live.

In terms of hardware, there isn't much to say about SimpliSafe's camera. Instead of packing technology into the camera itself, SimpliSafe focused on integrating it into their existing system. If you want a SimpliSafe camera, you should know that you will need SimpliSafe hardware and a paid monitoring plan. Though SimpliSafe offers the option to self-monitor their hardware, this option does not apply to the security camera.

Requirements:

  • A SimpliSafe Security System with Sensors
  • Power and Wi-Fi (No Ethernet Port)
  • Standard or Interactive Monitoring
  • Computer or a Smartphone

The Cost of Adding a Security Camera to SimpliSafe

If you want to use SimpliSafe's camera to monitor your home, you need to connect it to a monitoring plan and other sensors. The camera can send alerts or record based on activity. For example, if it detects motion, it can record a clip of the event in the cloud. In addition, it can record if your motion sensor detects motion or send an alert if someone opens the front door. However, what it can and can't do will depend on which plan you choose.

Unfortunately, SimpliSafe isn't overly clear about what it takes to add a camera to your system and how much it costs. Fortunately, I went through the process and got the information for you. The camera sells for $99 plus shipping or you can purchase a complete security package plus the camera for $399.99. Once your equipment arrives, you give SimpliSafe a call to add a monitoring plan. For use with the camera, you have two primary options: Standard or Interactive.

 StandardInteractive
Monthly Fee$14.99$24.99
Access to Live Feed YES
YES
SMS/Email Alerts $5 per monthYES
Cloud Storage$4.99 per month$4.99 per month

So you're probably wondering why you would choose Interactive over Standard. In regards to using the camera, you can live stream from anywhere with the Interactive plan, but you will not receive notifications if one of your sensors detects activity triggering your camera to record. But really the choice between Standard and Interactive has less to do with the security camera and more to do with what else is included with each plan.

Both plans offer 24/7 professional monitoring for your sensors. Interactive adds text alerts, email alerts, deeper customization, and Works with Nest. It also includes interactive push notifications. When your camera senses activity, you will receive a notification on your phone. When you swipe on the notification, you will be able to view live or recorded video associated with that event. Also, Simlisafe's camera can pre-roll recordings. This means that it can start a recording even before it detects motion. Magic? No. It has more to do with buffering the video stream and less to do with potions and wands. Basically, the camera retains a few seconds of video, and when motion is detected, the pre-recorded footage is added to the event clip.

Adding an Outdoor Home Security Camera to SimpliSafe

Works with Nest is a smart home platform that allows third-party devices to integrate with Nest products. What makes the integration confusing is that a Works with Nest stamp does not necessarily mean that the product will work with all of Nest's offerings.

In the case of SimpliSafe, Works with Nest means that the system will work with the Nest Learning Thermostat. So what about Nest cameras? If you're a Nest Thermostat user, you might be able to integrate your Nest Cam with SimpliSafe, but it's a workaround, not a real integration. The benefit being that Nest sells an outdoor camera. If you want to add an outdoor camera to your SimpliSafe system, this is really the only option besides buying an entirely separate setup.

As the integration is not a real integration, its usefulness is limited. You cannot view your Nest Cams from the SimpliSafe app nor can you tie them to events detected by your SimpliSafe sensors. Instead, your Nest Cam will talk to your Nest Thermostat which talks to your security system. When you arm SimpliSafe, the system tells your Nest Thermostat that you are away. The thermostat then tells your Nest Cam to arm. The same process occurs when you disarm the system. Essentially, arming your security system can arm your camera and disarming your system disarms your camera. This is all you can do. Admittedly, it's a rather useless integration for some households as Nest also offers a Home/Away feature which automatically arms and disarms your camera based on your presence.

Visual Verification Services

One truly unique feature offered by SimpliSafe's camera is visual verification service. This service is tied to the optional $4.99 per month cloud recording fee. If you opt into the service, SimpliSafe's monitoring agency can tap into your camera's recorded video history during an emergency. If they see that a burglary or other emergency is in progress, this provides evidence that they can then use to help expedite police response.

Final Thoughts

Though SimpliSafe's camera is basic, it works. It's easy to use, reliable, and performs with a generally low lag time. If you are already a SimpliSafe owner, this camera is worth the investment.

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