A Samsung SmartCam
The last Samsung Techwin security device that I looked at involved multiple cameras (four units), physical cable linking and PVD storage making the product far more suitable for a small business environment. Now it is the turn of a more home environmental based product in the form of the Samsung Techwin SmartCam HD. This is a single camera kit that offers 1080p live streaming and WiFi connectivity as it links to a home network.
The kit consists of the camera unit which can be used freestanding or wall-mounted, power lead with a choice of 2 or 3-pin plug attachments, Ethernet cable for when WiFi is not an option, mounting screws and rawl plugs plus Quick Start document in various European languages for both iOS and Android set ups. A more informative User Manual can be access from the appropriate web site. You will need to download the free app from either the Apps store or Play store for controlling, setting up and access the camera’s live feed.
The camera, predominately white apart from the protruding black hood with its lens and ring of IR LEDs for night time action, has a microphone and status LED on the front of the unit. Situated on the rear of the camera are buttons for WiFi connectivity and resetting the device plus the speaker outlet. A micro SD card slot is positioned on the left side of the camera while the power socket and Ethernet port are located on the base of the camera.
Once your account has been established and registered, you will be led through the process of setting up a link to your home network whether that is via the Ethernet cable or WiFi. Specific instructions are provided by the app on your smartphone. In the case of the wireless link, which I opted for, you need to depress the rear-mounted Wi-Fi button for five seconds while checks are made for available networks. You can then select the appropriate option, enter the necessary password and a link-up will be established with this process taking around three minutes. An on-screen clock will keep you informed as to the progress.
The camera can be given a name, such as its location, to help identify it if more than a single unit forms part of the set up. A password can be added to provide additional security. At this point you can check out the camera’s live feed or adjust various settings.
Due, possibly, to the rather lightweight nature of this camera and stand, I felt it was necessary to place a weight of some sort on the support portion of the stand to stop it toppling over. Whether viewed in portrait or landscape orientation, the current streamed content will be overlaid by icons for activating features supported by the camera. You can capture video clips and still images on an SD card inserted into the appropriate slot. Other icons are available to instigate the camera’s two-way talk feature allowing you to communicate whoever is in the vicinity of the camera plus alter the brightness setting and opt for the highest available video setting. Distinct zones to detect motion can be created plus you can play a selection of melodies and pre-recorded messages. It was often necessary to double tap these icons before being granted access to their functionality. This was because the first tap would merely cancel whatever mode had previously been access.
The SmartCam app divides its settings into categories designated as General, Network, Time, Event and SD Card. By selecting General you can opt for an automatic log-in so negating the need to enter your ID and password whenever using the app. You can also adjust the volume levels for the microphone and speaker elements, create personal audio clips, turn on night vision and display the current date.
The Network category, like that of Time, has but a single option. In the case of Network you can switch to another LAN while Time allows you to choose from various time zones. The Event category provides slider bars to adjust the sensitivity of both motion and audio detection. You can also set up a link to a Google account for email alerts to be sent. Finally the SD Card category lets you opt for continuous recording of activity or just when an event is detected.
When viewing the live video stream from the camera on my smartphone, I found it was far better using landscape rather than portrait orientation which just presented a letter-box window. In either mode I had to increase the standard brightness level. While offering reasonable video quality, I felt the Samsung Techwin SmartCam lacked the definition of some other security camera products although you do get greater functionality with regards the different features. Currently this product is listed at £84.94 on Amazon.co.uk.
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