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Simplisafe Wireless Outdoor Security Camera review


We are big fans of Simplisafe here and I’ve personally had the services for almost four years. It started as a peace of mind for having a security system while away on trips, but has slowly evolved into just peace of mind in general. From smoke detectors to door locks, the system has grown with us and the connected home.

I was excited to see the company add a wireless security camera designed to be used outdoors. It’s been a real omission from the Simplisafe lineup for quite some time, and I have to say, it doesn’t disappoint. But it’s also not without a few, small misses.

Design

Simplisafe nailed the industrial design of the new Outdoor Security Camera. The camera looks modern and sleek and has some thoughtful cues that just make sense. The slightly orbed exterior both stands out and also fades into any environment you decide to install the camera.

The main focus point is the lens system. Here you’ll find an ultra-wide sensor capable of both 1080p HD recording and 140-degree field of few. It can also zoom up to 8x to get a closer view of things up to 15 feet away.

There’s an IR array below the main lens. This provides the hardware to detect motion for activate recordings and initiate notifications. In this same area is also an option very bright LED spotlight for true night vision and a two-way mic for talking to the occasional visitor.

The entire Simplisafe Outdoor Camera is completely wireless. You twist off the lens casing from the body much like an old-school flashlight to access the removable and rechargeable battery. The battery is rated by Simplisafe for up to six months of use depending on the notification and spotlight settings you’ve chosen.

This battery swapping is a big deal in my opinion. While I want the convenience and flexibility of a wireless security system, having to have my cameras unavailable for 2-4 hours is a big downer. Simplisafe has fixed this by allowing you to purchase another battery pack for $30 to swap them out in minutes and charge the next battery.

Installation

Got five minutes and a drill? Then you have about the right amount of free time and tools to get the Simplisafe Wireless Outdoor Camera up. The base is magnetic but has a mounting ring you first pre-drill and then secure with screws to the location you prefer.

Once that’s in place, you twist the magnetic mount base into the ring. Then, the entire Wireless Outdoor Camera simply holds steady via the magnetic connection. Simple from Simplisafe. How secure is the magnet? Very. I have no reservations that this thing isn’t going anywhere unless you forcibly pull it off the wall.

One negative? There’s nothing tethering your fancy new camera to the wall to prevent theft. Simplisafe is working on a permanent mounting solution that I’d like to have seen here on day one in the box. I like the ingenuity of the magnets and makes the battery swapping much easier than having to remove a more fixed solution, but it is a negative to consider.

Setup

Add the camera to your Simplisafe account via the app is just as painless. There’s a dedicated option to add a camera in the Camera tab of the Simplisafe app. You are then prompted to choose your new camera model.

With the Simplisafe Wireless Outdoor Camera, you even get a brief tutorial to make sure you’ve properly charged and installed the battery pack. It then gives you a few more options like adding to WiFi and syncing with your Simplisafe base station. Finally, you scan a QR code with the Wireless Outdoor Camera itself to complete the process.

App and notifications

The Simplisafe app is on par with others in the smart home to security category. The front page gives you easy access to your entire home security status and just below is a timeline of historical camera alerts in chronological order.

For the focus of our review, there’s a dedicated Cameras tab at the bottom of the app. This gives you a quick toggle over to all your Simplisafe cameras. Our interactions with this tab and the new Simplisafe Wireless Outdoor Camera have worked exactly as we’d expect.

Notifications have also been top-notch. After reviewing several competitors over the last couple of years, Simplisafe continues to be one of the best performers from notification to app view. When a notification pops up on your phone a single tap drops you directly into the live view of that camera. You can then simply view the feed, talk to the visitor via the mic, or activate your alarm if things go badly.

There are a couple of things worth mentioning. The feed to the Simplisafe Wireless Outdoor Camera does lag a bit to load in comparison to my Simplisafe Doorbell and the Indoor Camera. My guess is that this is due to the camera has a more advanced sleep mode to preserve battery life.

The second knock for me is in the notifications themselves on mobile. Simplisafe needs to add a preview thumbnail to the pop-up. This is something that almost every other competitor in this space offers. It’s a little thing that goes a long way in the user experience. Knowing the urgency of the alert directly from the notification is a huge win.

Conclusion

I like the Simplisafe Wireless Outdoor Camera a ton. If you have a Simplisafe setup this is a no-brainer at $169. If you are considering a Simplisafe system, then it completes the puzzle and most obvious hole in the company’s lineup over the previous offerings.

From a long-time Simplisafe user, the Wireless Outdoor camera rounds out one of the best DIY security solutions you can find from any company. Its battery-powered design and great app experience make it well worth the investment on its own or adding it to your initial home security build from the Simplisafe.

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