In our changing world, I’m far too aware of the need for security of my home and taking care of my family. Thankfully there’s plenty of options around to cover this need
The Swann Floodlight camera is one of these options. It covers the need for security, safety and monitoring – it’s a security camera built into the chassis of a floodlight.
What’s in the box?
There isn’t a lot in the box, but that’s OK because it has everything it needs.
- The camera and light set-up
- Mounting bracket
- Instructions booklet
- Stickers to put up around your house to warn potential intruders that they’re on camera
Now it is worth noting that the set-up requires a licenced electrician to do the installation. It needs to be hooked up to an internal switch and mains power. A local electrician will be able to do this for you quickly and easily in under half an hour. Ask for a fixed price quote; most tradies should be happy to offer that for you.
The important information here is the sensitivity (including adjustability) and camera capacity. Both are quite acceptable, the video feed is 1080p and the sensitivity is very good. The viewing angle is 125 degrees, which is perhaps a little narrow if this is your only camera coverage. The sensor range about 10 meters under IR night vision and (in theory) about 30 meters when under well lit conditions. The sensitivity can be adjusted to suit your needs and the traffic near or through your yard with Swann True Detect:
The video captured by default will store for 2 days in the cloud for free and, if you want to store more without the ongoing costs of subscriptions, you can install a memory card to store locally for 7 days.
The lighting is really powerful: 2500 lumens is pretty darn bright but you can adjust this if you need to. It’s a good option for a lot of users because you don’t have to remember to recharge it regularly, it (as I already mentioned) runs on mains power.
Depending on your home network setup, you may need to move your router slightly as it connects via Wi-Fi and will need a strong, consistent signal to keep connection and the notifications to your phone reliable.
Notifications give you immediate option to view the movement record from the cloud, or you can open the app and go to live view. Provided you’re quick on your phone when notifications trigger, you could potentially use this as a doorbell with the two way audio capability, but Swann’s wire-free 720p video doorbell would be a far better option.
We already mentioned that you’ll need a licenced electrician to complete the installation.
Everything you need to install the Swann Floodlight security camera is included in the box, you just need someone with the know how (read: an electrical licence) to install it for you.
Once wired up, you can sync to the Safe by Swann app and connect to your Wi-Fi.
This was a big problem for me initially, as there was an issue with the Swann app that meant you couldn’t sign up for a new account. Given you need an account to pair the camera, this very much put a halt to my testing for a while until the fix for the app came through. Fortunately, the issue was resolved very quickly – Swann’s support should be commended.
Once the app was fixed, the account setup pathway was very simple as they all are these days. Follow the bouncing ball, enter your details and voila – account created.
Pairing the camera was also pretty simple with guidance provided by the app on what to do step by step. This also gives a very clear indication once it has paired successfully and give the live feed straight to your device.
Using the app and video feed
The Safe by Swann app is very simple. The interface guides you through what you need to setup cameras, including the settings for the light, view events that have been captured and the live view for your cameras.
Swann has brought the app up to a current feel and look. It’s very easy to use and intuitive to navigate. There are easily accessible settings for your account, the cameras and the app notification settings: You can have multiple settings for home, away and night mode.
The video feed settings are well set up to deal with the varied needs of users and their available technical infrastructure. Upload speeds are a big problem for a lot of users, so high definition live video from your home or business to your mobile device just isn’t viable for many due to the lack of upload speed.
The activity storage by default has 2 days of activity storage available, you can pay for extra storage if you wish or install an SD Card to hold up to 7 days . These videos are stored in the full 1080p resolution the camera is capable of capturing.
Two way audio is very simple to use and gives you the capability to talk to people at your door or in your yard. Telling unwanted visitors they’re on camera is a really quick way to get rid of them. I do this regularly with visitors via my security cameras or Ring doorbell, its remarkably useful functionality.
The audio quality from the built in microphones is not too bad, if the people are too far from the microphone the audio is very scratchy. The audio output at the Floodlight is adequate to hear for a good few meters around it, even if your home is near a noisy main road. If it’s a quiet area you’ll find the audio carries a reasonable distance.
Is it worth the money?
Once the installation hurdles were overcome with the app update, the experience with the Swann Floodlight Security camera was excellent. It’s easy to use, the quality of the video is more than acceptable to identify people in your yard or cars going by and there’s some good adjustability in how the camera reacts and notifies you of movement at your home.
One thing I particularly like about it is the presentation, if you weren’t looking for a security camera setup you’d be forgiven for thinking that it was just a sensor light with a big IR sensor on the front. In my eyes at least it’s fairly unobtrusive in presentation.
Having free storage available is another big bonus, while it’s only 2 days – its enough to know if you’ve had an unwanted visitor who has perhaps helped themselves to something of yours. The expandability of the Swann setup means that you can start with a floodlight camera, add a doorbell or other cameras and steadily build your home surveillance setup over time.
The main drawbacks I can find are the lack of battery power and the cost.
The lack of battery power means that when your mains power goes down, so does the camera. This is even though you can mount an SD card in the camera for local storage of video files. There are a lot of stand alone cameras that have battery, solar charging and SD card storage – so if absolute continuity of your monitoring is paramount for you then this should not be your primary option.
The cost is about $50 too high in my opinion. There are options for about US$100 per unit that will cover your security monitoring wants and needs. But the integration of the camera into the sensor light makes it far less obvious as a security option, and once installed the Swann Floodlight Security Camera is a set and forget unit that will be a reliable investment for some time to come.
You can pick a unit up from the Swann website for $299.95 or shop around for a better deal, I’ve seen them as low as $265 with a quick search and if you keep your eyes out – there’s sure to be bargain deals leading into Christmas.
Camera is permanently attached to the building and required an electrician to install, Swann have allowed Ausdroid to retain the product post review.