We did a review of Swann’s CoreCam some time ago and I was very impressed with this product as an entry-level wireless security camera. It was the product that turned my scepticism into support for the installation of a home security camera. I was then contacted by Swann’s PR team to see if I would be interested in an upgrade. I was told that the new model had an additional night light and an improved camera. Thanks to Swann, I was able to try the upgraded model and share some of my thoughts with you.
The CoreCam Pro is prepared with a decent upgrade compared to its standard model in several ways. For example, the video clarity has been improved from FHD to 2K; the night vision has been upgraded from black/white to colour and in addition to this, the Pro version has an additional high-brightness LED night light. Although there is no significant difference in appearance, thanks to these hardware upgrades the CoreCam Pro is more practical and reliable for everyday use than the base model.
Although the contents of the package are the same as the CoreCam reviewed earlier, I didn’t want to leave out this traditional section.
Here are the packaging and contents of the CoreCam Pro.
This review will not have sections for installation and introduction to the specifications. The majority of the information is exactly the same as the base model. However, If you would like to know more, here is the link to my previous review for these details.
LED lighting – a significant yet easily missed upgrade
In this review, what I would like to do is to focus more on the unique features that the CoreCam Pro has to deliver. Let’s start with the most obvious difference compared to the base model, the LED night light, shall we?
My comment on this little LED light is simple and straightforward – these LED beads are really, really bright. I was not prepared for this when I first triggered the night light and was taken aback by its brightness. When the night light is on, I assure you that objects within 8 to 10 metres can be seen easily on the camera view. In the actual night test, when I walked within the monitoring range (you can adjust the coverage in the Swann app), the LED light would automatically switch on almost instantaneously and trigger a notification to my mobile within 5 seconds. From my point of view, this response time was beyond my expectation. Due to the differences in network conditions, any numbers between 5 and 10 are acceptable to me, and CoreCam Pro was able to ensure I am notified within 5 seconds. This is a great result.
But then again, there are pros and cons to everything. The CoreCam I tested before did not have LED lights. Although it is slightly inferior in function, this deficiency is made up for by better battery performance. Yes, with the same coverage and in-app settings, the battery performance of CoreCam Pro is slightly worse than that of CoreCam with fewer functions. Under the premise that the battery capacity has not changed (both are 6000mAh rechargeable lithium batteries), it makes sense that more functions lead to shorter battery life. If it were me, I might consider buying a bundle with solar panels, which will be more cost-effective than buying them separately, once and for all.
More details thanks to the 2K recording
Now, let’s talk about the 4MP camera. I honestly didn’t feel how significant the 2k resolution was to the picture quality improvement at first, and it wasn’t until I saw previously recorded 1080p videos that I realised the difference. Compared to the CoreCam, the CoreCam Pro has a very significant improvement in clarity. At first, I was only able to make a general judgement of the video on my phone via the Swann Security App, and at the time I was puzzled by the feeling that there wasn’t much difference between the videos recorded by the two products. But then, at the end of editing this article, when I viewed the video again on my iMac I realised I had made a very serious mistake. The paragraph you are reading was actually deleted and rewritten after I had finished the article, and I was driving myself crazy. My initial view was that there was little point in upgrading and I even commented on it at the end of the article accordingly.
1080P recorded on CoreCam
2K recorded on CoreCam Pro
CoreCam Pro – Footage – in the morning (2K)
CoreCam Pro – Improved night camera – colour (2K)
Imagine my despair when, as I was preparing to conclude this review, I suddenly realised that my opinion of the lens was completely wrong! Anyway, with the video comparison shown above, you should be able to get a very visual sense of the significant improvement in video footage when upgrading from 1080p to 2k. It’s important to note that usually, this type of video recording focuses on capturing important information, rather than increasing the frame rate to make the picture smoother. So the 2k picture quality we are discussing here is not the usual 2k available for watching Youtube or other streaming videos, they are optimised in a very different direction.
So, how was the upgrade?
My own feeling about the CoreCam Pro is that the biggest advantage is the addition of an LED night light, which, paired with the upgraded camera, significantly improves the usability of the footage captured at night. I remember that the previous infrared footage taken with the 1080p lens was just barely distinguishable from the features of the subject or person, and very barely retained for detail. But with the LED light, the camera can record in regular colour without having to turn on infrared mode. And this, I think, is exactly the feature that is most needed in a home security camera. In recent years, perhaps due to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic and other crazy things, it has become apparent that the communities have become less safe than before. Some of this is from my own experience and some of it is from what I have heard from friends and colleagues. I’ve never felt so important as I do now that security cameras are so important for the protection of my family.
Automatically turning on the night light is also effective in preventing crimes. You can even set automatic alarms if you need more security. But I would advise making this decision with caution, the CoreCam’s speakers are really loud. Sometimes I would come home in the middle of the night and on a couple of occasions the sound alarm was triggered unintentionally. A couple of times neighbours asked me if there had been anything going on in the house and I explained that it was a false alarm and I was very sorry about that.
The CoreCam Pro, like the CoreCam, is IP65 dustproof and waterproof, which is good enough for all Australian weather conditions. When I read the product specifications, I noted that the effective transmission range is no more than 20 metres, which means that if you have a large house you may need to take this into account when deploying. If the signal is too weak you may need the help of a WiFi extender or mesh network.
Should I get one (or some)?
If your home already has CoreCam cameras deployed, perhaps think carefully about whether to upgrade to the Pro model. Don’t get me wrong, though. The upgrade of CoreCam Pro is solid, that’s for sure. But, I am not very sure if the improvement would be significant enough to cover the additional cost. However, if you are considering buying your first wireless security camera, then the CoreCam Pro would be a preferred option. The base CoreCam is currently available on Swann’s website for $179.95 (the black colour is actually on sale for $141.95), while the CoreCam Pro with LED light and 2k recording is $229.95.
Also, if you want to install the solar panel as well, then this bundle is a great deal. The downside is that Swann currently only offers a 4-pack bundle with solar panels for CoreCam. For CoreCam Pro, I was only able to find this solar charging panel bundle if you want it to be a little cheaper. Hopefully, Swann will be able to offer more buying options for those consumers who are ready to install multiple wireless cameras. 4-packs will not only be more reasonable in terms of quantity but also more friendly in terms of price.