Curious about a Samsung security camera? You’ve come to the right place. I recently took home a Samsung SmartThings Cam and put it to the test around my home, getting a feel for its features and tech. I learned a lot about this affordable, no-frills camera ,,,
As one of the biggest names in tech, Samsung offers a solid smart home package in SmartThings, a system of compatible Samsung devices that automate with each other around your home almost seamlessly.
The SmartThings Cam, released in 20191, carries that simplicity straight into home security with an affordable plug-in camera. It easily goes indoors, either on a wall or neatly on a surface, and works either as an add-on to a Samsung SmartThings ecosystem or as a standalone camera.
While this camera certainly isn’t anything fancy, and I knew I could count on Samsung to offer a reliable home security experience, I did run into a few drawbacks unpacking the SmartThings Cam and putting it through our rigorous testing protocols. I also learned some interesting developments in Samsung’s home security space that you should know about before deciding on the right home security setup for you and your family.
So without further fanfare, let’s unpack Samsung security cameras.
FYI: While Samsung still makes a quality security camera, you’ll find more features and selection in Lorex’s camera suite. We covered the brand and more in our full Lorex camera review here, if you’re interested.
Did You Know: Samsung was founded way back in 1938, earns over $200 billion in annual revenue, and is headquartered in Samsung Town in Seoul, South Korea.2
From what we’ve seen, Samsung Wisenet cameras are priced just right. So expect to pay slightly less than the industry average for their indoor and outdoor cameras. For instance, the SmartCam A1 Indoor costs $59.99, which is the same price as the Ring Indoor Cam. Then there’s the Wisenet SmartCam N1 that we can’t help but compare to the Nest Cam IQ feature-wise, but it sells for $50 cheaper than its Nest counterpart. Not bad at all.
Now just because it’s cheap doesn’t make it a good buy. There are other factors to consider, like features and tech, customer service, installation, and the like. Don’t worry, we’ll dig deeper in just a bit. But it’s important to remember that Samsung Wisenet also sells loads of DVR kits (like the 32-channel, 16-camera kit) that you can spend upwards of $800 or more on. With this in mind, the price you pay for Wisenet depends on the level of protection you’re looking to get.
|SmartCam N2||Indoor camera, facial recognition, unusual sound detection||$199.99|
|SmartCam N1||Indoor camera, similar to N2 model but no unusual sound detection||$149.99|
|SmartCam D1||Doorbell camera, live-video, night vision, motion detection||$229.99|
|SmartCam A1||Indoor/outdoor battery-operated cam||$69.99|
|SmartCam A1 Indoor||Indoor camera, detachable from hub||$59.99|
|SmartCam A1 Outdoor||Outdoor camera, event-based alerts||$149.99|
|SmartCam PoE Outdoor||Weatherproof outdoor camera, power-over-ethernet PoE connection||$169.99|
|SmartCam HD Plus||Indoor camera, two-way talk, audio and motion detection||$179.99|
|SmartCam HD Pro||Indoor camera, 1080p HD video||$189.99|
|SmartCam HD Outdoor||Customizable outdoor camera, motion detection, motion zones||N/A|
|SmartCam PT||Indoor camera with pan & tilt feature||$229.99|
|Baby View Monitors||Selection of baby monitors with basic-to-advanced features and tech||Varies|
|Multi-Channel DVR||Multi-channel DVR kits for total home protection||Varies|
Note that as of summer 2020, Samsung Wisenet no longer offers its SmartCloud storage plans. For some reason, the company has discontinued this offering, which is a big disappointment in our eyes. All of the best home security camera brands have cloud storage that runs between $4-$6 per month per camera. So it feels like the rug has been pulled from under us. Thankfully you’ll still have local video storage using the microSD cards that come with Wisenet cams. It’s free, and we recommend you use it!
One thing you should know from the start is that Samsung Wisenet does not sell security cameras through their website. When we found a product we liked and clicked the “Buy Now” button, it took us to a page with retailer links like Amazon, Walmart, Sam’s Club, Best Buy, etc. We got a chuckle when we read the text beneath the retailer links: “Oops! There is no market.”3 We figure it has to be some sort of licensing deal.
Of course, Wisenet tries to spin this as a good thing, saying “You can buy it at a store of your taste!” But we like buying directly from the maker. In our experience, it can be a pain to make returns and collect on warranties or guarantees through third-party sites. So Wisenet lost a little ground here.
Like most of the competition, Wisenet cameras are battery-operated, which means you’ll enjoy the easy DIY installation. You won’t have to worry about fussing with wires or anything like that. In our experience with the devices, we were up-and-running in about 3-5 minutes per camera.
One thing we really liked about Samsung was the handy PDF Quick Guides they have for camera installs.4 You can think of these as digital step-by-step setup manuals. Sure enough, installing the Wisenet N1 Indoor model, the SmartCam A1 Outdoor cam, and the D1 video doorbell was pretty simple using the Quick Guide.
Pro Tip: For fastest installation, use the Samsung Wisenet SmartCam+ App, which walks you through setup of your device(s).
For the SmartCam D1 doorbell camera, all you need to do is connect to your doorbell’s existing power source. The camera comes with a power stabilizer kit to help you out. The installation for this doorbell cam (which we liken to the Ring Video Doorbell 2) took us about 10-15 minutes max. No sweat.
Overall, we found the installation to be smooth sailing. But it wasn’t quite as fast and easy as Arlo cams, one of our favorite brands on the market today.
Samsung Wisenet cameras didn’t impress us in the resolution department. They offer 1080p HD, which is the industry standard today. But many of their cams still only have 720p HD resolution, which is outdated and fast-becoming obsolete. Many security camera brands we’ve tested (like Swann and Amcrest) are making devices with 2K and even ultra-HD 4K video quality… so as you can see, 720p resolution simply doesn’t measure up.
Be that as it may, we found that Samsung Wisenet cameras make up for the lackluster resolution with other nifty features — like facial recognition and unusual sound detection. But we’ll cover these fancy features in just a bit.
We tried out the N1 Indoor camera, which closely resembles the Nest Cam IQ Indoor camera, at least in features. It delivers crisp and clear 1080p HD resolution, live-streaming video, facial recognition, and it comes with an SD card for local storage. We also paired it with Amazon Alexa for voice control (“Alexa, show my backyard”). But if you’re a Google Assistant user, it works with that, too.
FYI: The Wisenet N1 indoor camera is cheaper than the Nest Cam, which is leading some in the industry to call it the poor man’s Nest Cam. But we’re professionals, so we prefer the term “budget Nest Cam alternative.”
We also tested Wisenet’s A1 outdoor camera and the D1 doorbell video camera. Each of the devices were easy to access and control using the SmartCam+ App. When we received motion-activated alerts, we could open the mobile app and view live footage of our home. Sure, most security cameras offer a remote viewing feature, but it never seems to get old for us. We think you’ll like it, too.
Now, there are things to consider with Wisenet’s facial recognition technology. First, we didn’t find it to be as accurate as the Nest Cam IQ. But, it does function similarly to Nest devices. That is, it’ll take a few encounters with a person to really dial-in and remember their face.
When a friend or family member comes to visit, you can assign them as an “interested face.” You can also assign a name to the face, which the device will remember and notify you of the next time they visit. If the camera doesn’t recognize a person, you’ll be notified of an “unidentified visitor.” Note that this takes some getting used to, but we think it’s an excellent Wisenet feature.
Did You Know: The Samsung Wisenet facial recognition feature is especially useful in the D1 Doorbell Camera, but we think it’s overkill to equip your entire home with facial recognition cameras.
We’ve dealt with plenty of customer service departments over the years, so we tend to know what’s hot and what’s not. Thankfully, Samsung Wisenet makes the grade in this category.
Their U.S. headquarters are in New Jersey, and they have a customer service line open 7 days a week, which is very rare! We were able to reach customer support between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. Eastern time Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. We have to say, the availability and easy access to their team beat most of the competition.
Don’t like talking on the phone? You can always send it in an email. Also, we liked that the Wisenet website has equipment manuals available for download in just about every language — including English, Spanish, Chinese, and Russian — plus a wide variety of Frequently Asked Questions to help you on your way. Needless to say, we were happy with Wisenet’s service.
Keep in Mind: Hanwha Techwin has an ‘F’ rating with the BBB,5 while Samsung has an A+ rating. We give more weight to Samsung’s rating since they own more than 60 percent of Wisenet, and Hanwha only owns 32.4 percent.
After using the products, we can say that Samsung Wisenet offers some great features that you’ll use on a daily basis. But to be honest, the feature-set on most Wisenet cams isn’t as powerful as, say, Ring Cameras, or Nest Cams. There’s a reason those are our top picks. But here are the features we liked most in Wisenet.
Using the SmartCam+ App, you can control your cameras from pretty much anywhere in the world. You’ll get instant alerts, allowing you to open the app and view live footage, speak with visitors using two-way talk, and manage custom settings within the app. Note that most brands offer this feature today.
You can train your camera to recognize familiar faces and even say their name as they approach. Just drag and drop photos of frequent visitors to add them to the list. The next time one drops by, you’ll get a text alert with their photo. Pretty slick!
The abnormal sound detection feature will, you guessed it, alert you if it hears an unusual sound. Unusual sounds might include things like screaming or glass breaking (not the sound of your hamster putting in reps on his exercise wheel).
The cameras are adaptable enough to let you choose what to focus on. You’ll have some flexibility to customize motion zone settings within the app. This gives you more control over your home security system and fewer false alerts.
If you don’t want your camera to record a certain area — like the hot tub in your backyard — just designate it as a privacy zone. This feature ensures your home is protected without compromising your sense of privacy.
Wisenet’s motion detection system can tell the difference between a no-good burglar and a small child or your furry friend Fido running around the house. These alerts typically mean fewer false alarms.
Some Samsung Wisenet cameras also offer features you’ve come to expect with home security cameras, like two-way talk using the built-in speaker and mic, night vision, and motion-activated mobile alerts.
If you’re anything like us, you’ll want to customize your camera system to your heart’s content. Well, we have some bad news here. We think you’ll find Wisenet’s menu of add-ons and upgrades to be pretty underwhelming. But here are the accessories they do offer.
|8-Port Power Adapter and Splitter||Multi-Channel Adapter||N/A|
|BNC Extension Cable||Cable||N/A|
|BabyView Baby Cams||Baby Monitors||Varies|
|All-In-One DVR Accessories||Cables, Adapters, Injectors, etc.||Varies|
You’ll have to take the bad with the good with Samsung Wisenet. For instance, we think you’ll enjoy a wide selection of feature-rich cameras. And by “feature-rich,” we mean stacked with facial recognition technology, abnormal sound detection, motion and privacy zones, and more. And the price isn’t bad, either. But from our experience, there’s room for improvement.
For instance, the 720p resolution on many of the cameras isn’t so hot. Also, the company discontinued its SmartCloud video storage service, which was disappointing to learn about. And finally, you won’t have the option to purchase directly through Samsung — you’ll have to patron a big-box store like Walmart or Sam’s Club.
Overall, we do think Samsung Wisenet cameras are worth the money. But before you pull out the ol’ pocketbook, we recommend checking out our roundup of affordable security cameras that deliver similar or better value compared to Wisenet.
No, the company recently discontinued its cloud storage plans.
Yes, Wisenet offers several battery-powered wireless cameras that are easy to install and use.
It depends. Many of their cameras only offer 720p HD video quality (which is not great), while some of their cameras do come with 1080p HD resolution, which is the industry standard.
We found their customer service team to be quite helpful and extremely accessible with generous office hours.
Yes, in most instances our Wisenet cameras were able to detect familiar faces; however, the technology wasn’t as accurate as the Nest Cam IQ products.
Samsung. Griffin, J. (2019, June 24). A Clear View of Home from Anywhere with SmartThings Cam.
Wikipedia. (Retrieved May 21, 2020). Samsung. Wikipedia.
Wisenetlife.com. (2020). Home Security Camera Provider.
Wisenetlife.com. (2020). Wisenet SmartCam N1 Quick Start Guide.
Better Business Bureau®. (2020, May 21). Hanwha Techwin: Better Business Bureau® Profile.