They’re nothing too fancy, but Samsung Wisenet’s security cameras make great additions to any home.
Samsung is a huge name in consumer electronics, so it’s no surprise they’ve dipped their toes in the security industry as well. While they started out with a single no-frills camera, their partnership with Wisenet allowed the product line to expand to include a much broader array of security equipment for different applications.
So let’s take a minute to discuss some of Samsung’s security camera features, their pricing, and their benefits and drawbacks.
So the first thing to understand is that these aren’t just Samsung cameras. They were originally a part of the Samsung Security (a.k.a. Samsung Techwin) suite of security products, but after a South Korean conglomerate called Hanwha acquired the majority of Samsung Techwin, they merged it with its already-existing brand of security products called Wisenet.
With the merger, Samsung started offering Wi-Fi enabled security cameras, baby monitors, and even security camera systems centered around a DVR similar to most Lorex cameras. Their catalog peaked around 2018, but recently, we’ve seen their lineup dwindle in terms of numbers. As of 2023, there are only a handful that haven’t been discontinued yet:
Fortunately, we got our hands on some of Samsung’s discontinued cameras before they were discontinued. And the good news is, they still work to this day, they are still available from third-party retailers, and they are still every bit as affordable as they were during their heyday.
So without further ado, let’s unpack Samsung Wisenet’s security cameras, particularly the SmartCam N1 and A1, and the D1 video doorbell.
FYI: While Samsung Wisenet 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.1
Check out more recommendations from the SafeHome team:
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 feature-wise, but it sells for $89.99, so it’s definitely one of the cheaper security cameras with facial recognition.
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.
FYI: Remember, you can no longer purchase these cameras directly from the company website. If you want one, you’re going to have to go through a third party retailer, which might cause the prices to fluctuate. More on that below.
|Facial Recognition and Human Detection
|SmartCam HD Pro
|Motion and Audio Events
|Video Doorbell with Two-Way Talk
|Two-In One Camera
|SmartCam A1 Outdoor
|350 Degree Pan
Note that as of summer 2020, Samsung Wisenet stopped offering its SmartCloud storage plans. For some reason, the company has discontinued the offering, which is a big disappointment, especially to those who bought Samsung cameras expecting them to have cloud storage.
Fortunately, there’s local storage to fall back on. The cameras we tested had access to local storage via a microSD card that came with them. It’s free (no monthly fee), and we recommend you use it.
Still, we can’t help but feel disappointed. The best home security cameras are the best because they offer options. Most of them have either free cloud storage or affordable monthly cloud plans starting at $3 per month, which give users access to safe video storage. With Wisenet, if your camera is stolen, lost, or damaged, you could lose recordings.
It’s also worth pointing out that you can no longer buy cameras directly from Wisenet, even those cameras that haven’t been discontinued. There is no “Buy Now” button, so your only option is to buy from third-party retailers like Amazon, Walmart, or Sam’s Club.
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.
We hate to pile on the negatives, but here’s another one we noticed that’s missing from Samsung Wisenet: battery-powered cameras. All Samsung cameras available today plus the three we tested run on power from a wall outlet, so you have to keep them plugged in. The exception is the D1 video doorbell, which needs to be wired to your existing doorbell setup.
On the bright side, since the Samsung cameras we tested were all Wi-Fi cameras, there’s no other wiring required. We simply connected them to the app and set up the network credentials. It took us five minutes at most for each camera, except the doorbell, which took about 15 minutes because we had to prep the doorbell wires first.
One thing we really liked about Samsung Wisenet was the handy PDF Quick Guides they have for camera installs.3 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 the 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, 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 took the AI outdoor camera and the D1 video doorbell for a test drive. Both devices were easy to control using the SmartCam+ App, and the motion-activated alerts seemed pretty reliable.
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. 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.”
We found, however, that the Nest Cams adapt much faster. It was able to reliably detect our faces after just two or three days, while with the N1, we still received false positives after a week. Still, it was accurate for about 80- to 90-percent of the time, so it’s still pretty good.
That, plus its slimmer profile and more affordable price, makes it a good Nest Cam alternative.
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,4 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 monitor 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.
However, keep in mind that the privacy zones aren’t really excluded from the frame. Things or persons moving within them just won’t trigger the motion sensor or person detection, but when the camera is recording, it still has a view of the entire frame.
If you’re looking for a camera that provides privacy, try the SimpliCam or the SimpliSafe Smart Alert camera. Both indoor cameras from SimpliSafe have physical lens covers that you shut to protect your 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.
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 Wisenet — you’ll have to visit 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.
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.