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Can the Swann wire-free security camera protect our home for under £100?

With heat detection and facial recognition, we find out if this wireless gadget is a safe bet for your home

Jacob Little
Wednesday 21 July 2021 11:55
<p>Hassle-free and certainly true to the manufacturer’s claim that this is an easy system to use and operate</p>

Hassle-free and certainly true to the manufacturer’s claim that this is an easy system to use and operate

You may already be familiar with Swann – the security equipment manufacturer has been a leader in the field for decades and was one of the first companies pioneering a “do it yourself” attitude towards home and property security.

Established in Melbourne, Australia, Swann now has a presence in more than 40 countries and continues to deliver a wide array of consumer electronics, home security alarms, cameras and comprehensive security solutions.

In this standalone review, we will be taking a closer look at a simple, 1080p “wire-free” security camera to see how it matches up against competitors and its own claimed specifications.

Straight out of the box it is clear that this is a simple security camera aimed at a beginner market. As well as the camera itself, you get a magnetic mount for charging the battery and tape and screws that means it’s suitable for putting the device pretty much anywhere. Although there’s less of an emphasis on ergonomics and design compared with the likes of Google’s Nest cameras, we found that it’s small and sleek enough to fit into pretty much anywhere around the home without it looking too conspicuous.

Setup is straightforward and just requires the installation of the Swann app (more on that later). You can connect it to the camera by scanning the QR code on the back of the device itself. Hassle-free and certainly true to the manufacturer’s claim that this is an easy system to use and operate.

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Swann Wire free 1080p security camera

Buy now £89.99, Swann.com

  • Weight: 228g
  • Power: Battery powered
  • Video: 1080p
  • Field of View: 180 degrees
  • Dimensions: 20 x 7.5 x 21 (cms)

Battery life

One of the first questions that can often come up when using devices of this nature is how long the battery will last. Swann claims that the camera can last from three to six months on one charge – but we think this isn’t realistic. With normal usage, in an outdoor setting with a fair bit of recording and operation from people coming and going, we think you’d be looking to charge the unit every month at the very least.

Features

As you’d expect, the 1080p camera is of good enough quality in terms of high-definiton to make out people and activity, but from such a small device don’t expect filmmaking quality or capabilities.

It’s good enough for casual use, however, and we especially liked the fact that a microSD slot allows you to save recorded footage locally for free. This is a big plus for more beginner or novice users, and allows the camera to stay affordable as there’s no need to purchase a perhaps prohibitive monthly subscription to a cloud service. If you do need cloud backup, you get seven days for free, which is a nice touch.

Read more: 8 best security cameras for peace of mind

The other features that stand out are notably the excellent 180-degree viewing angle and its ability to be put outside given its water and weatherproof abilities. The field of view is very good indeed and we were impressed by how much the camera picked up, allowing you to squeeze it into smaller spaces such as front porches, for instance.

If you do need to put it outside, Swann claims excellent weatherproofing and it has been designed to work all year round, in different temperatures and come rain or snow. Again, for the price, a reassuring feature that some other cameras don’t have.

Integrations and Apps

The standard Swann app that’s downloaded when you install the package can send push notifications to your mobile device and also allows you to manage the camera on the move.

Much like many of the video doorbells on the market at the moment, there’s two-way audio, so you can speak to whoever’s at your door. Swann’s TrueDetect system automatically senses movement and heat in the range of the camera, and starts recording – you can also access these through the app as well. Swann also claims face recognition for up to ten people, but unfortunately, we couldn’t get this system to work properly.

Read more: Blink vs Ring: Which doorbell camera system is best?

Indeed, some people claim there have been issues with the app’s reliability and performance, with crashes and bugs affecting its usability, but we didn’t find any serious issues. That being said, the navigation and interface is perhaps not as slick as some of the more expensive options in the home security world.

Additions and Add-ons

One beneficial thing about buying into a simple setup from a well respected and well-known manufacturer like Swann is that you have access to a wide range of accessories, additions and add-ons after you’ve installed the initial system. We’d be tempted by the solar panels that you can wire up, meaning you’ll never need to charge the device again.

There are hundreds of ways of expanding the setup too with Swann’s array of security cameras and devices, meaning you can get a fully protected home with just a few added and linked products.

The verdict: Swann wire-free 1080p security camera

We would have no qualms recommending the Swann Wire Free 1080p security camera to those getting into the world of home security and are new to the industry. We think you could end up spending a lot of money, so it’s worth trying a cheaper, simpler device such as this first to get yourself going.

However, the camera itself is not without its flaws. The quality isn’t as good as some others on the market and the app and general usability sometimes leave a bit to be desired, but we can forgive some of this for a sub-£100 product.

In our mind, the 180-degree field of view, ability to leave outside for extended periods of time and its super-simple battery operation and setup means it’s a worthwhile first step – plus, if you’re looking to expand, you have Swann’s huge range of products to choose from in the future.

Voucher codes

For offers on home security cameras and other home tech accessories, try our discount code pages:

Looking for other ways to protect the things that are precious to you? Read our round up of the best password managers so you can secure your accounts and never forget your login details again

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