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Samsung Security Cameras Review: Video Security Without Extra Fees

Overall rating

3.5/ 5

Samsung cameras have solid hardware and good local storage options, but poor app performance ultimately undermines smart capabilities.

Usability and performance

Customer service

Features

Hardware

Samsung cameras have solid hardware and good local storage options, but poor app performance ultimately undermines smart capabilities.

Pros

  • No monthly subscription fees
  • Local storage on most models
  • High-quality hardware
  • Easy setup and installation

Cons

  • Mediocre app performance
  • Incompatibility among many devices

Samsung, perhaps best known for its cellphones, makes everything from microchips to airplanes. Navigating the products of such a large and complex company can be daunting, so we’ve done the legwork to break down its home video surveillance offerings so you can easily compare your options.

Like the D-Link cameras we previously reviewed, Samsung’s cameras have great hardware and good local storage options without an additional monthly subscription. Unfortunately, these otherwise great features are often undermined by subpar app performance. While the cameras will still hold up over time and record video footage, someone who is looking for a truly smart camera may not find what they’re looking for in Samsung products.

If app performance is a top priority for you, you may want to skip this review altogether and go straight to our coverage of the best cameras available on the market:

Our top Samsung Picks

Camera typeMultichannel systemIndoor cameraOutdoor cameraPan/tilt/zoom cameraBaby monitor
Our top pickSDH-B74041SmartCam HD Plus SmartCam PoE OutdoorSmartCam Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi IP Camera BabyView Premium Kit
Product image
PriceView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
Camera type
Our top pick
Product image
Price
Multichannel system Indoor camera Outdoor camera Pan/tilt/zoom camera Baby monitor
SDH-B74041 SmartCam HD Plus SmartCam PoE Outdoor SmartCam Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi IP Camera BabyView Premium Kit
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon

Multichannel camera systems

Samsung offers two main analog multichannel video security systems. Each system uses a different set of cameras, but both have multiple kits available with various numbers of cameras and channels. The two kits below are the best value for either style of camera available on Amazon.

Though the cameras are different, the kits have these features in common:

Hybrid analog/app-monitored systems

  • 1080p cameras
  • 105° field of view
  • IP66 outdoor housing
  • 82-foot night vision
  • Motion detection
  • Privacy mask
  • Hardwiring with no battery backup

Here’s how their other features compare:

Our ranking#1#2
Product nameSDH-B74041SDH-C75080
Product image
PriceView on AmazonView Price
AppWisenet, iOS and AndroidiPOLiS, iOS and Android
Number of channels816
Number of cameras48
Camera modelSDC-9443BCSDC-9441BC
Privacy maskYesYes
AudioNoNo
Our ranking
Product name
Product image
Price
App
Number of channels
Number of cameras
Camera model
Privacy mask
Audio
#1 #2
SDH-B74041 SDH-C75080
View on Amazon View Price
Wisenet, iOS and Android iPOLiS, iOS and Android
8 16
4 8
SDC-9443BC SDC-9441BC
Yes Yes
No No

The ranking hierarchy in this case is mainly due to the newer and slightly higher-rated cameras in the SDH-B74041 kit. Otherwise, the cameras share all the same features. Note that the DVRs don’t connect to Wi-Fi like some sellers claim and instead must be hardwired to your router in order to connect to your smartphone.

These hybrid-style systems are ideal for someone with a larger home who wants multiple cameras. They’re also great for someone who has used analog video security systems in the past but wants to keep an eye on things remotely from their smartphone. Hybrid systems have the advantage of secure, local DVR storage along with the convenience of on-the-go monitoring.

Indoor cameras

The cameras below are rated for indoor use only and use your Wi-Fi signal to broadcast a live video feed to your smartphone. You can use them individually or along with other cameras (as long as the other cameras all share an app). Here’s what all three cameras have in common:

  • 1080p resolution
  • Local recording to a microSD card
  • Two-way audio
  • Motion detection zones

Here’s how their other features compare:

Our ranking#1#2#3
Product nameSmartCam HD PlusSmartCam A1 IndoorSmartCam HD Pro
Product image
PriceView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
AppSamsung SmartCam , iOS and AndroidSamsung Wisenet SmartCam+, iOS and AndroidSamsung SmartCam , iOS and Android
Field of view130°130° + 350° pan128°
Night vision32 feet24 feet16 feet
Auto trackingNoYesNo
microSD storage128GB, included128GB, not included64GB, not included
Our ranking
Product name
Product image
Price
App
Field of view
Night vision
Auto tracking
microSD storage
#1 #2 #3
SmartCam HD Plus SmartCam A1 Indoor SmartCam HD Pro
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon
Samsung SmartCam , iOS and Android Samsung Wisenet SmartCam+, iOS and Android Samsung SmartCam , iOS and Android
130° 130° + 350° pan 128°
32 feet 24 feet 16 feet
No Yes No
128GB, included 128GB, not included 64GB, not included

Overall, the Plus has the best combination of features, such as the best night vision and the only included microSD card, for the best price, making it our top pick for indoor cameras.

A1 is the newest camera of the three and has some cool features, but it ultimately ranks behind the previous generation’s Plus in overall performance. While attached to its base, the A1 can pan 350° around the room and even track an object as it moves across the room. When detached from its base, the camera can’t pan and track, but you can place it discreetly just about anywhere. The detached camera has only about three hours of battery life, but to conserve power, you can put it on standby mode to wake up only when it detects motion or audio.

All three of these cameras have Motion Zone Select, a smart motion-detection feature that allows you to choose which parts of the room you want the camera to pay attention to and which parts it should ignore. This is especially useful for homes with pets so you don’t get a notification every time your cat strolls by (unless that’s what you want).

Outdoor cameras

Like our selections for indoor cameras, these outdoor cameras use your Wi-Fi to broadcast a live feed to your smartphone for remote monitoring. Samsung has a couple of other analog outdoor cameras, covered above in the multichannel section, but they require a DVR to connect to your Wi-Fi. These are the features the Wi-Fi connected outdoor cameras share:

  • Night vision
  • Motion detection
  • One-way audio
  • IP65 outdoor rating
  • Local storage on 128GB microSD card

Here’s how their other features compare:

Our ranking#1#2
Product nameSmartCam PoE OutdoorSmartCam A1 Outdoor
Product image
PriceView on AmazonView on Amazon
AppSamsung SmartCamSamsung Wisenet SmartCam+
Mobile notificationsMotion, audioMotion
Resolution1080p720p
Field of view130°110°
Night vision50 feet24 feet
Motion Zone selectYesNo
Outdoor IP ratingIP65IP65
Operating temperature-22° to 140° F14°F to 122°F
microSD storage128GB, not included128GB, included
Our ranking
Product name
Product image
Price
App
Mobile notifications
Resolution
Field of view
Night vision
Motion Zone select
Outdoor IP rating
Operating temperature
microSD storage
#1 #2
SmartCam PoE Outdoor SmartCam A1 Outdoor
View on Amazon View on Amazon
Samsung SmartCam Samsung Wisenet SmartCam+
Motion, audio Motion
1080p 720p
130° 110°
50 feet 24 feet
Yes No
IP65 IP65
-22° to 140° F 14°F to 122°F
128GB, not included 128GB, included

The A1 outdoor camera is the weatherproof companion to the A1 indoor camera, and it requires the indoor camera and base to operate. It is a passable outdoor camera, but it’s not as robust as the slightly older PoE (Power over Ethernet) model—it has lower resolution, smaller field of view, half the night vision distance, no motion zones, and a narrower operating temperature. The plastic housing on the A1 is also flimsier and more prone to overheating, whereas the PoE has a sturdy metal outer shell, making it better suited for outdoor use.

Overall, Samsung’s A1 system has a lot of potential, but we advise waiting a generation or two while all the wrinkles are ironed out. For now, stick with its robust and reliable PoE outdoor camera.

Pan/tilt/zoom (PTZ) cameras

Samsung has just two PTZ camera options, so the one you choose will depend entirely on whether you want app access or not. Other than the basic ability to pan, tilt, and zoom, these two cameras don’t have much in common. Here’s a side-by-side comparison of their features:

Our ranking#1#2
Product nameSmartCam Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi IP CameraVandal-Resistant Dome Camera
Product image
PriceView on AmazonView on Amazon
AppSamsung SmartCamNone
Mobile notificationsYesNo
Resolution1080p600 TV lines, ~800p
Pan350°340°
Tilt155°146°
Night vision16 feet98 feet
Auto trackingYesNo
Motion Zone selectYesNo
Indoor/outdoorIndoor onlyIP66
AudioTwo-wayNone
Storage128GB microSD, not includedDVR, not included
Our ranking
Product name
Product image
Price
App
Mobile notifications
Resolution
Pan
Tilt
Night vision
Auto tracking
Motion Zone select
Indoor/outdoor
Audio
Storage
#1 #2
SmartCam Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi IP Camera Vandal-Resistant Dome Camera
View on Amazon View on Amazon
Samsung SmartCam None
Yes No
1080p 600 TV lines, ~800p
350° 340°
155° 146°
16 feet 98 feet
Yes No
Yes No
Indoor only IP66
Two-way None
128GB microSD, not included DVR, not included

The SmartCam is our top pick because it can be used individually without any additional equipment (except a microSD card if you want local storage). It also has a higher resolution, greater pan and tilt capabilities, autotracking (like the A1 indoor), two-way audio, and local storage.

The only real disadvantage of our top pick compared to our second is that it’s not weather-resistant, so it can be used only inside. The dome camera is rated IP66, so it can be used either inside or outside.

Baby monitors

Keeping an eye on your sleeping infant is becoming easier with increasingly affordable video baby monitors. Samsung comes out with a new generation every other year or so, each with additional features. The first two on our list are newer and app-compatible, whereas our third pick will still get the job done but lacks the remote app monitoring. Here’s what all three have in common:

  • 720p resolution
  • 300° pan/110° tilt
  • Night vision up to 16 feet
  • 5-inch touchscreen viewing console
  • Two-way audio
  • Built-in night light
  • Feed timer alerts
  • 4 preprogrammed lullabies

Here’s how their other features compare:

Our ranking#1#2#3
Product nameBabyView Premium KitBabyView Basic KitBrightVIEW Baby
Product image
PriceView on AmazonView on AmazonView on Amazon
AppBabyViewBabyViewNone
Mobile notificationsMotion, soundMotion, soundNone
Environment sensorsTemperature, humidity, air qualityNoneNone
Our ranking
Product name
Product image
Price
App
Mobile notifications
Environment sensors
#1 #2 #3
BabyView Premium Kit BabyView Basic Kit BrightVIEW Baby
View on Amazon View on Amazon View on Amazon
BabyView BabyView None
Motion, sound Motion, sound None
Temperature, humidity, air quality None None

These three kits have the same basic functional capabilities—the difference is in add-on features. Our third pick, the BrightVIEW, is a basic video baby monitor with a viewing console within the range of the camera’s broadcast (about 900 feet). It’s not app-compatible for viewing outside the house like the other two, but you’ll save about $30.

The BabyView Basic Kit keeps the touchscreen viewing console (great for placing on the kitchen counter) but adds remote monitoring through a smartphone app as well. An infant should never be left in a home alone without a trusted adult, but the app can allow you to check in on your sleeping baby while they’re in someone else’s care or when you’re in an area of the house away from the viewing console. You can livestream with the app or set it to receive alerts when the monitor detects motion or sound.

Finally, the BabyView Premium Kit has some nice add-ons, such as an environmental sensor and a vibrating feed timer watch. The environmental sensor measures temperature, humidity, and air quality in the baby’s room so you can make sure your child gets comfortable, healthy rest. If you want to wall-mount the camera, you may have to find a creative solution to mount the environmental sensor, because it connects to the camera with a very short cord—a slight design flaw, but not a dealbreaker. All the other monitors have a feed timer feature, but only this one comes with a vibrating watch to you remind you about feed times without disturbing your partner’s sleep.

Samsung apps

Samsung cameras reviewFor the most part, Samsung’s camera hardware is solid, but its apps get it in trouble. There are three different apps represented in this review, and none of them have above a three-star rating in either iTunes or the Google Play store. Most of the complaints are about awkward UI and frequent crashes, which can render the app unusable. There are also different apps for different cameras, so if you want to create your own network of various Samsung cameras, you’ll have to make sure you can monitor all of them on the same app.

If you don’t care as much about remote monitoring and just want to have video footage in case of an incident, you can always rely on the local DVR or microSD storage. But if you’re expecting a SmartCam, you may be frustrated with what Samsung has to offer.

Samsung customer service

The Samsung Wisenet website (which covers most of these cameras) offers fairly standard customer service features, such as FAQs, manuals, and video tutorials. When you buy one of its cameras, be sure to register it online to extend its warranty by an additional three months. From the website, you can send an inquiry or fill out a repair request form, but there’s no tech support chat feature. Calling 1-844-WISENET is generally the quickest way to get in touch with customer service or tech support.

What Samsung video security customers have to say

Positive reviews

“Love these cameras. This is our second and it works just as advertised. We use it keep an occasional eye on our little dog while we are out. We use the iPhone software to access the cameras and have zero trouble. Setup is easy and we have plenty of bandwidth to get an excellent picture.” – Jim DeArmond, on SmartCam HD Plus, Amazon 2/13/17

“Great little product. Very easy to set up requiring no technical experience, just plug it in and set up the app. Use it to monitor a vacation home including looking at the wall thermostat both night and day. Additionally using a SNH-V6414BMR SmartCam to monitor the basement for water and grinder pump light alarm. Saving money by no longer paying someone to do this.” – Coffee Lover, on SmartCam Pan/Tilt, Amazon 8/21/16

Negative reviews

“This is a great piece of hardware – that is what is frustrating about it working so poorly. It has a very sharp and detailed image, but unless you are on the same WiFi network, you probably won’t be able to see it because their software just displays a blank screen if it thinks there isn’t a fast enough connection. Since I want this for monitoring a remote location, connected by DSL (all that is available) I only am able to display a 640×360 size image – you can buy 4 cheaper cameras that do better than that for the price of this one.” – Ross Heitkamp, on SmartCam HD Plus, Amazon 9/29/16

“The system itself is very good. Easy to set-up. The dvr runs nice and quiet. The cameras are very nice, good quality, very clear videos. The 3/5 starts rating here is for the DVR and cameras, it would be 5/5 if they have a better App. The app is not so good. It looks like they don’t care about the mobile app. The app is very important for me because I am on my phone all the time and I could check on my house anytime I want, but live view is very low quality, I cannot see clear. The app also often crashed. I hope in future they could improve the app or do something about it.” – anonymous, on SDH-B74041, Amazon 5/23/17

Do we recommend Samsung home security cameras?

It’s a shame Samsung has not invested in developing a really reliable app to go along with its otherwise excellent cameras. This small but important downfall prevents us from recommending Samsung cameras wholeheartedly. That being said, Samsung may still be a solid option for users who don’t care as much about the smart features but just want reliable video footage recording for documentation and security purposes.

Have you used Samsung video security? What do you think of the apps? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

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