Recently around our area there have been numerous car break ins. Generally speaking we live in a safe and low crime area but like everywhere there is always going to be an element of crime. Living near a large events showground it's surprising that our crime levels are so low as there is lots of coming and going, especially when there are big events happening, but really other than this recent spate of car break ins we are in a quiet and family friendly area......long may it continue of course. However, it's easy to become anxious when there is crime happening near by and since we've been moved in I'd wondered about having some security cameras.
The previous owners that lived here did have CCTV installed and as such there was a non working camera and cabling left in our porch so I figured if we did get some camera's it may be easier to install as I assumed that there would be some of the cabling left in situ. When we were offered the chance to review these Swann 1080p 4 channel heat sensing camera's from Maplin it couldn't come at a better time. We've had these up for well over a month now because 1/ they took a while to install and 2/ so I could review them thoroughly, but so far I feel more at ease knowing that there is an element of security protection against our cars and house while we are away from our property or asleep.
So. First things first, lets look at the things in a bit more detail. This is a smart bit of kit, included inside are some very nice looking motion sensing camera's (x 2) and everything required to enable you to install them for use. The camera's included are decent looking, they were bigger than I was expecting if I'm honest but now they're up on the house they do kind of blend in fairly well. Obviously you can see them up close and may act as a deterrent but as you drive up to the house unless you're looking for them they're not glaringly obvious.
They're fairly easy to install, obviously it involves ladders, crawling around the loft, laying cables etc etc. I did get a tad twitchy with just how high my husband had to get up the house to fit them, I think it's fair to say I held the ladder tightly for him while closing my eyes and trying not to shiver as it was soooo flipping cold when he put them up. My husband did a very good job, he's a very handy dude that's for sure. Fortunately we did have some of the previous cable already laid from the past owners which did help somewhat but it's all fed through the eves of the house so there is zero cabling visible which is great. It takes a few hours to get them fully installed and working but once all set up it was simply a case of downloading the app (available for Android and IOS) and connecting the camera's to our phones.
Like I said we've now had these installed for a little while so have started to get used to operating them and using them. As with all my reviews lets start with what we like.
- The fact that they are connected using my phone is brill. I can log in from anywhere and check in to see if there has been any unwanted activity while we've been out. I believe you can set up alarms or notifications to alert you but I'm yet to do this.
- The recording is activated using 'true detect' motion sensor so no need to watch hours and hours of footage it simply picks up both heat and movement and you can see when watching back on playback when there has been something detected.
- The image quality really is very good on our phones and even at night. Also, because of the size of the camera's the image field of view is brilliant as you can see from the pictures below. It also covers the main entrance to our cul-de-sac and most of the communal green area we have which is great.
- That we feel our property is more secure. As I said above there is definitely an element of reassurance knowing we have some protection over our property. Of course if criminals are going to commit a crime they are most likely going to do it regardless BUT I'm pleased that we are able to have some insight into house when we're not there.
We mostly like everything but there are a couple of things that I'm not so keen on.
- I find the app to be a big buggy at times. I have found that I need to log in and log out again to enable the live function and sometimes it takes a while to load up. Also when watching playback the images captured either stuck or didn't want to load. Recently though I think that they have updated the app as it seems to be working more efficiently.
- The instructions included are very basic. You can get more in depth ones online but it's just something to be aware that the booklet included is the bare minimum.
- I find the app a little tricky to navigate, it's not the easiest to find things but once you've used it a few times it does become a bit easier to use. Mostly it seems to be the app more than the camera set itself. For example, if you look at the pictures below to access a playback from previous days (which I am trying to get in the habit of checking the night before on a morning) you access the playback menu, then click on the little box in the right hand corner, then click the DVR 1 which then brings up the dates in blue circles which you then click on to access the footage. When viewing the footage anything that has been picked up is shown in yellow lines along the bottom so you can scroll along and watch any of these that have been recorded.
This pretty much sums up our review. In all we are really happy with them. Good quality, HD images, fairly easy to install and offers reassurance. Retailing for £229.99 (offer price, RRP is £259.99) these are not cheap BUT can you really put a price of securing your home and safety. I think not. Overall, I could not be happier with the camera's, the app perhaps needs a bit of tweaking to make it a bit more user friendly but on a whole it is a usable system.
What do you all think of having a home security system? Yay or nay?
* Please note we were kindly sent the camera's in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.