SimpliSafe SimpliCam review

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The Good: SimpliSafe’s $100 SimpliCam is an affordable DIY indoor security camera that you can add to an existing SimpliSafe system — or use as a standalone camera.

The Bad: SimpliSafe charges an optional $5 per month for very basic features, like event-based cloud video recording and storage and the ability to view the live feed on the web app.

The Bottom Line: Plenty of competing DIY cameras offer more features minus SimpliSafe’s monthly fees. Skip SimpliCam.

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The $100 SimpliCam is SimpliSafe’s long-awaited response to customers wanting a camera as part of their home security setup. Buy one (or several) to accompany your DIY SimpliSafe system — or just use them as standalone cameras.

While 100 bucks is a pretty good price for a 720p live-streaming camera, SimpliSafe borrows the same surprisingly rigid fee model from its existing system. That means it charges (optional, but largely necessary) monthly fees, even for the most basic features. Want to view live video via the web app? There’s a monthly fee. How about event-based cloud video storage? Yep, same deal.

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Now that so many other DIY security systems — and cameras — exist in the market, SimpliSafe’s approach is growing increasingly stale. Live streaming and other standard features worked fine for me, but is this thing worth $100 (roughly £75 and AU$125 converted)? Absolutely not.

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What can you get with $100 (or less)?

Comparing security cameras

SimpliSafe SimpliCam Tend Secure Lynx iSmartAlarm Spot
Price $100/£75/AU$125 $60/£45/AU$80 $100/£75/AU$125
Color finish Black White White
Power source Power adapter Power adapter Power adapter
Resolution 720p HD 1,080p HD 720p HD
Field of view 120 degrees 125 degrees 130 degrees
Live streaming Yes Yes Yes
Cloud storage 30-day event-based clips for $5 per month Free 7-day event-based clips 30 free event-based clips
Local storage No No Supports up to 32GB microSD card (not included)
Mobile app Android and iPhone Android and iPhone Android and iPhone
Web app Yes No No
Night vision Yes Yes Yes
Alerts Motion Motion and facial recognition Motion and audio
Two-way audio Yes Yes Yes
Activity zones No No No
Dimensions (HxWxD) 4.6 x 2.6 x 2.1 inches 2.2 x 2.2 x 3.5 inches 2.0 x 2.0 x 2.2 inches
Third-party integrations No No Amazon Alexa, IFTTT

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After reviewing the key features offered on three DIY indoor cameras that cost at or under $100, SimpliSafe’s SimpliCam clearly lags behind. The $60 Lynx camera by Tend Secure has the best price, resolution and free cloud storage offering. It has pretty solid facial recognition capabilities, too — also totally freeiSmartAlarm’s Spot wins in terms of storage choices, since it comes with cloud and local storage (the microSD card is not included). Spot also works with Amazon Alexaand IFTTT for creating advanced smart home automations.

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SimpliCam just doesn’t do enough to justify its purchase. That’s particularly true when you compare it to other security cameras in roughly the same price range. Would you rather have free cloud storage or pay $5 per month for it? The choice is simple.

(cnet.com, https://goo.gl/S996FG)

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