SimpliSafe Wireless Outdoor Security Camera review
Want to know what we thought of the SimpliSafe Wireless Outdoor Security Camera? Read on for our verdict on this sleek and stylish security device
As it requires the company’s existing security system to work, the outdoor camera for SimpliSafe isn’t the most affordable device available. Paying extra for a subscription unlocks a bunch of added features on the camera too, but that’s another cost that you need to consider. However, if you’re looking to invest a chunk of cash in a whole-home system, this camera is one of the best on the market.
Clear, sharp video - both day and night
Option to bulk up your home security with professional monitoring
Quick and clear live view - day and night - with added zoom
The camera won't work unless you buy a separate SimpliSafe Security System
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When we heard about the new SimpliSafe Wireless Outdoor Security Camera here at Livingetc, we were keen to test it out and see how it fared against similar self-install cams.
Founded in the US in 2006, SimpliSafe is already an established name in home security. The brand offers well-designed home monitoring systems that don't require professional installation - systems that you can build and add to, should you feel at any time that your home's security needs a little more… oomph.
The wireless outdoor security camera is precisely that - an added extra to an existing SimpliSafe system - so reviewing it in isolation isn't a very straightforward task, as it won't work without the system already in place.
If a more extensive whole property alarm set-up is exactly what you're looking for, though, then don't forget to take a look at our best home security system round-up for our favorite picks.
SimpliSafe Wireless Outdoor Security Camera: Set-up & specs
- Video: 1080p Full HD with 8 x digital zoom
- Live view: Yes
- Night vision: Yes (with spotlight)
- Weatherproof: Yes (IP65 rated)
- Motion detection: Yes (with customizable zones)
- Two-way talk: Yes
- Field of view: 140°
- Siren: Yes
- Power: Wireless (via rechargeable battery)
- Colors: White only
- Dimensions: H78.7 x W78.7 x D7.5cm
As we already brought up, the SimpliSafe wireless outdoor security camera, unlike many other self-install cameras on the market, needs to have a separate Simplisafe security system for this to work. It does not work independently.
There are several SimpliSafe security systems to choose from - you can go for the basics, like a base station, a keypad, and an entry sensor, whole others offer a whole heap of added extras. More on that later.
The outdoor camera I’m reviewing here, as with all the extras, must be bought separately from the security system. So as well as sending us its new wireless outdoor security camera, SimpliSafe sent us ‘The Essentials’ security system package to test the camera out.
First impressions are great. The packaging is well designed, with clearly labeled, separate recycle-friendly cardboard boxes containing all the wires and fixings necessary.
As for front-facing deterrents, all of SimpliSafe’s system packages already have window decals and a yard sign included, so the outdoor security camera only comes with the battery, which lasts between three to six months (dependant on use), a USB charging cable, screws and basic instructions.
The SimpliSafe Home Security System can be either used on its own or with one of the brand's subscription plans.
Depending on where you reside, SimpliSafe has a number of plans to choose from - these can offer a variety of extra functionality, from unlimited camera recording to professional monitoring and police and emergency services dispatch if alarms have been triggered.
You can also use the system without any subscription, but access to the system's (and device's) full complement of features can be limited.
Whichever security starter package you opt for, you can then build your home's security up, adding devices and sensors which are all available to buy separately. Extras include an indoor camera, extra sirens and key fobs, entry or motion sensors, panic buttons, and even smoke, temperature, or water sensors.
You'll need to find somewhere inside your home, like a shelf or console, to place the Base Station - this is a futuristic-looking 26cm tall device with a built-in 95-decibel siren that 'speaks' to all your security devices and informs you of any issues. Once again - and we can't stress this enough - the camera will not work without the base station.
As for setting the system up, this was delightfully straightforward. We first downloaded the SimpliSafe app (iOS and Android), then followed the instructions alongside the spoken prompts from both the base station and the camera. Once we had given the base station access to our Wi-Fi signal, we could connect the camera.
Having already charged the camera's battery, we paired it with the whole system. This, too, was a cinch - you tap 'add camera' on the app, then follow the straightforward instructions. But, again, it took no more than a minute.
Mounting the camera to our exterior wall was relatively self-explanatory. Once we had drilled holes and inserted rawlplugs, we could screw the camera's mounting plate into place. Connecting the camera to the system before fixing it to the wall is also a no-brainer - the ability to see the exact view clearly before drilling holes is undeniably helpful.
Once we fixed the magnetic mount to the plate, the camera easily snapped onto the mount. This clever mount allows you to rotate the camera around to find the best angle.
- Read next: the best smart locks for peace of mind when you're going out (or coming home)
SimpliSafe Wireless Outdoor Security Camera: Features
While the beauty of the SimpliSafe Security System is down to its buildability, the brand's outdoor camera isn't short of clever features, either.
In the daytime, the camera detects motion from up to 30 feet (10m) away, and you can choose how sensitive you want the sensors to be and if you wish to be alerted whenever movement is identified.
It automatically distinguishes between people, animals, and cars, too. We found this to be particularly useful as our backyard is no stranger to local foxes and neighborhood cats, and we weren't keen on being woken up in the middle of the night should either decide to wander through our garden uninvited.
Suppose you subscribe to one of the company's protection plans. In that case, you can set the system to record a clip when any motion is detected automatically, and you can replay these easily from the camera's live view screen. All clips are stored for 30 days.
Also worth mentioning, if you have an area of high traffic - for instance, if your camera faces onto the street and you occasionally have people walking by your property - you can select specific zones for motion detection, so you're not constantly alerted when someone walks by your property.
The camera response time was pretty good, taking around four seconds to open. From there, you have instant access to two-way talk, giving you the ability to speak to anyone near to the camera, whether in view or not.
The camera boasts an 8x digital zoom which you access by pinching and zooming into an area from your phone screen. This handy feature will help if you want specific details, but don’t expect the view to be crystal clear.
The camera features a powerful spotlight that flicks on automatically at night whenever the motion sensors are triggered. This ensures the camera provides full-color night vision (up to 10ft/3m), which we found to be not as exacting as the daytime view, but surprisingly still pretty clear regardless.
The outdoor camera features an 80-decibel siren, which should scare the pants off any trespassers when teamed with the base station's 95dB siren. You can set it to go off whenever the sensors are triggered.
If you pair your SimpliSafe system with an Alexa or Google Assistant device, you can access the camera's live view just by asking.
SimpliSafe Wireless Outdoor Security Camera: Design
We found the camera to be extremely smart-looking and easy to mount and take apart when the battery needs charging.
The front of the camera twists off, and you simply slide the battery out and plug it in to charge using the USB cable provided. SimpliSafe has also (thankfully) avoided the temptation to slap a large logo on the side of the camera, instead limiting any branding to a barely-there mention on the front.
SimpliSafe Wireless Outdoor Security Camera: Extras
There are a number of extras you can buy to enhance the SimpliSafe outdoor camera. These range from an external 25 foot (7.6m) power cable to a separate solar panel, which, when linked up to your camera, needs just three hours of sunlight per day to keep the camera fully charged.
Both are very useful if you're installing the system in a second home and you want a guarantee that your camera won't run out of juice. There's also a spare battery available - this is particularly handy if you're going to have one ready to go when the one in the camera eventually needs to be charged.
SimpliSafe Wireless Outdoor Security Camera: Our verdict
On its own merit, I can’t fault the SimpliSafe wireless outdoor security camera. It streams really clear video, both day and night, is brilliantly customizable, and is aesthetically the most handsome cam out there.
However, as you can’t use the camera without the SimpliSafe security system, it can’t really be judged as a standalone device. The whole package - both the security system and camera - is excellent, but they are expensive.
And while some people may be keen to buy a camera, the added cost and all the extra layers of security may feel… well, a little too much.
So if you already have an existing SimpliSafe security system and want a set of eyes on the exterior of your property, then I absolutely advise you to buy this.
However, if you want to keep a lookout in your garden or around your property, you don’t need to shell out hundreds on this package. Instead, opt for an outdoor camera that works independently via an app, and that can work in tandem with third-party smart home devices to get a lot more bang for your buck.
Ginevra Benedetti is Associate Editor on the homes titles at Future.
She has written about interiors for the past 16 years on the majority of Britain’s monthly interiors titles, such as Ideal Home, Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors, Homes & Gardens and Style at Home, as well as their websites.
She has interviewed some of the most talented designers in the business and written about every area of the home, from shopping and decorating, appliances and smart home tech, wallpaper and fabric, kitchens and bathrooms, even extensions and conversions.
Ginevra never tires about writing (or reading) about interiors, from classic timeless designs to innovative smart tech and is always on the hunt for the latest, greatest stories and products to share with a bigger audience. She lives in a terraced property in West London, with her husband, son and Devon Rex cat, who everyone would freely admit, is the actual boss of the house.
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