Samsung SmartCam HD Pro
When it comes to cameras, I am and probably always will be a fan of Samsung. I love their ease of use, the app-accessible features, and the pricing. We have already reviewed the features of the original Samsung Pet Cam so when they sent us out their new HD Pro SmartCam, we were thrilled to take a look at the hi-def version of this camera.
The camera on the Samsung SmartCam HD Pro 1080p Full-HD Wi-Fi Camera delivers much better image quality at 720p resolution and improves on image quality and app-accessible features, although the actual speed of the camera is largely (completely) dependent on your internet service. (Keep that in mind when looking at any of the cameras out there).
This camera has a lot of great things going for it, so let’s take a look at a few of our favorite features.
[heading style=”2″ color=”#c96a26″ style_color=”#c96a26″]Image Quality[/heading]
The image quality was always good in our case (we could identify individual black cats in complete darkness thanks to the infrared photos) and the indoor picture, even in low light, is excellent.
The SmartCam HD Pro WiFi IP camera also introduces many advanced features such as Wide Dynamic Range, Samsung Light Enhancer, Advanced Motion & Audio Detection, and Motion Zone Select. The large 1/2.8-inch CMOS sensor allows maximum light through the lens which enables you to literally see your pets in complete darkness and provides vivid colors and brighter details.
[heading style=”2″ color=”#c96a26″ style_color=”#c96a26″]Infrared Vision[/heading]
This is my favorite feature as it allows you to see your pets in complete darkness. The Samsung Light Enhancer enriches available light in dark areas to give you superior image detail in even the most challenging low light conditions.
Another feature is the WDR. Bright light streaming through windows poses no problem for the SmartCam HD Pro.
The WDR technology enhances details in backlit conditions to give you a clear view of the outside, while eliminating murky silhouettes in the foreground.
[heading style=”2″ color=”#c96a26″ style_color=”#c96a26″]Ease of Setup[/heading]
Set up is absolutely simple even for the most tech-challenged. Download the app and set up an account. Plug into router one time, then remove and plug camera into wall. The app will find your camera and all you need to do is connect by pressing a button. Follow the quick start directions and you’ll be up and running within minutes. The app that it comes with is easy to use and very simple to download and set up – even if you’re not a techie. To ensure your cameras are secure, be sure to set up a password for each camera. That will help prevent any hijacking.
[heading style=”2″ color=”#c96a26″ style_color=”#c96a26″]Motion Zone Select[/heading]
Motion Zone Select helps you fine tune what you want the camera to focus on. For example, if your cat is insistent on rolling on a sofa that is situated beneath a window, but you want to watch the window without getting alerts, you can draw a little line around the part you want the camera to focus on and it will only update you on movement in that area. It helps to keep you notified if a window breaks but wont’ send alerts out every time your cat stretches. You can select up to three motion zones in the camera’s field of view.
[heading style=”2″ color=”#c96a26″ style_color=”#c96a26″]Audio and Video Alerts[/heading]
Each camera is equipped with a built-in microphone and speaker for crisp, clear Two-Way Talk that you and your pets will be able to hear and understand. We had a lot of ‘false” alerts with the Samsung Pet Cam, but the HD version makes those false alarms a thing of the past with it’s true motion event features. If your pet enters a room, you’ll be notified (assuming you have chosen to be notified). But little things like lighting changes or the TV being on low will no longer set off the alarms. However, if your dog barks or whines, you’ll receive a notification.
[heading style=”2″ color=”#c96a26″ style_color=”#c96a26″]Recording and Video Capture[/heading]
This is one area where we had a problem. While the first version of this camera allowed direct upload of motion activated activities directly to YouTube, they only allow local camera capture and video storage within the camera itself on the SmartCam HD Pro. You’ll need to purchase and install a micro SD card slot with the ability to record directly onto a microSDXC memory card with up to 64GB capacity in order to record movements. We think that recording and/or uploading is a very important part of this as we are not always able to jump right on our phone to see an activity. This is one feature we think they missed this time.[note style=”5″ type=”warning” icon=”yes” class=”template-style”]As a side note, they have also eliminated this feature from the original Samsung Pet Cam in regards to YouTube upload of activities. Now you can upload activities to Google Drive, but we haven’t yet experimented with that feature on the old camera.[/note]
[heading style=”2″ color=”#c96a26″ style_color=”#c96a26″]The End Analysis[/heading]
The only problem we ran into with this camera is the inability to use it outdoors. Don’t get me wrong, we still set it up outdoors (because I like to put things through their paces), and found it still works amazingly well, it’s just not weather-proofed. Here in AZ, you run into problems with sun damage, as the plastic will not last long in our summer heat. I suspect if you put it out in a rainy or damp climate, you would run into problems with water damage.
However, we put it through its paces using moderate weather in late Spring (some wind, temps average between 60-100F) and it has held up just fine for several weeks.
The other thing you need to keep in mind is that you can’t set up indoors and have it facing out a window at night. The reflection from the glass will put off the infrared sensors and all you’ll see is a glare or a reflection of the camera.
However, if you’re looking for a way to simply monitor your indoor pets, I can’t think of a better camera.
The photo resolution on the camera is excellent, and overall, we love this set up. We just really want to see them come out with a weather-proofed version so we can keep an eye on our outdoor pets!