Swann Outdoor Security Camera review: a straightforward way to monitor the exterior of your home

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So you’ve experimented with an indoor security camera and want to extend surveillance to the outside of your home. The Swann Outdoor Security Camera is a fairly low-risk entry point. This weather-protected camera offers full HD video (1080p), motion detection, and smart-home integration for $99 (street price). While it lacks the sophisticated features of cameras like the Nest Cam IQ Outdoor and Arlo Pro 2, its modest price and short learning curve make it ideal for first-time users.


The bullet-style camera measures 2.36 x 7.3 x 3.15 inches and weighs one pound. The enclosure has an operating temperature of 4 degrees to 113 degrees F and an IP66 weatherproof rating, meaning it can withstand powerful jets of water and is completely protected against dust. At the back of the enclosure is an adjustable Wi-Fi antenna and a hardwired “tail” of cables that include a power port, ethernet connector, and a reset button.

The camera itself has a 110-degree field of view and captures video in 1080p full HD. Also visible on the face are microphone, a PIR motion sensor, an ambient light sensor, and two infrared LEDs that work together to provide up to Up to 100 feet of automatic night vision.

outcam front Swann

The camera features a pair of LEDs for up to 100 feet of night vision.

In addition to viewing the camera’s live feed on your smartphone, you can stream it to your Echo Spot, Echo Show or 4K Fire TV using Amazon Alexa voice commands. You can also use Google Assistant and a Chromecast to stream video to your TV.

As with the Swann Indoor Security Camera we recently reviewed, video clips are stored in onboard memory for seven days. You can upgrade to 30 days of the cloud video history with a subscription to Swann’s ExtraSafe cloud recording plan for $50 a year.

Setup and performance

To connect the camera to your Wi-Fi network, you need to download the Safe by Swann app and create an account. The process for adding the camera is similar to setting up other smart devices, in which you first connect to Swann’s network and then log into your own. The camera appears as a tile on the app’s dashboard.

swann outdoor camera feed Michael Ansaldo/IDG

Image quality is sharp with a small amount of fisheye distortion around objects close to the lens.

Hardware and a mounting template are included for installing the camera. Wherever you decide to place it, you’ll need a way to thread the power cable back into your home, because the supplied AC adapter isn’t weatherproof. That means you’ll need to drill a hole in your exterior wall if a window or vent isn’t an option. The camera comes with a 60-foot extension cable, so you have some flexibility.

Once the cable is inside, you just need to plug the AC adapter into the power port of the extension cable to turn it on. If your Wi-Fi signal isn’t strong enough to maintain a connection to the camera, you can also plug the ethernet connector from the extension cable into your router.

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