The SimCam 1S costs $ 129 and offers many of the features you'd expect from a more expensive surveillance camera. In addition to delivering sharp 1080p video and accurate motion detection, it uses facial recognition technology to tell you who's coming and going and sends smart alerts that know the difference between people, cars, and pets. It has a mechanical pan mechanism that tracks motion up to 360 degrees and uses local storage to archive motion-controlled recorded videos. If you use the included 16GB microSD card, support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands, dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity, and the ability to work with other smart devices through IFTTT applets, you have a choice of ours new editorial office for indoor security cameras.
Design and functions
The SimCam 1S is available in black or white and was mainly developed for indoor use. However, it has protection class IP54, which can process indirect moisture, but no pouring rain. If you plan to use it outdoors, make sure it is in a protected area where it will not be exposed to direct water. The camera measures 4.7 x 2.8 x 2.8 inches (HWD) and weighs about 8 ounces.
In the upper half of the device is a camera that records 1080p videos at 30 frames per second and has a 120-degree field of view. It uses Starlight lighting technology and 10 infrared LEDs to provide black and white night vision up to 50 feet. On the front of the camera there is a microphone, a light sensor and a status LED which lights up red when the camera is switched on for the first time, flashes green during setup and lights up blue when the camera is connected to the WLAN of your home. On the back of the case there is a speaker and a small removable control panel, through which a micro SD card slot and a reset button are visible.
The 1S comes with a 16 GB microSD card for storing event-driven video (including a five-second section of what happened before the event), but can hold cards up to 128 GB. Connectivity is via a dual-band WiFi radio, which you can use to connect to the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz band of your router. There is also a siren that can be used to deter unwanted visitors.
The camera body is on a mechanical gimbal base that pans the camera 360 degrees when you use pan gestures in the mobile app or when the camera automatically tracks movements. The base contains an electrical outlet and a mounting hole that can be used with the wall bracket supplied. Also included are mounting screws, a mounting pad with adhesive, a reset pin, an Allen key to remove the SD card field and an instruction manual.
Face detection is available with a range up to 18 feet, auto detection up to 20 feet, person detection up to 60 feet and animal detection up to 10 feet. You can turn on warnings for all or some of these AI motion events and define a detection area that triggers a warning when an object moves or disappears. The camera supports geofencing and activates and deactivates warnings depending on the location. It supports Alexa and Google voice commands that allow you to view live video on a compatible smart display. You can also create IFTTT applets so they can interact with other smart home devices such as door locks and lighting systems. However, Apple's HomeKit is not supported. The Nest Cam IQ indoor camera gives you many of these features, but it's almost twice the price and many features require a Nest Aware subscription.
The 1S uses the SimCam AI mobile app for Android and iOS devices. A camera (start) screen opens with tabs for each installed camera. Each tab contains a still image from the camera, a playback arrow that starts a live stream, and buttons labeled Private, Detect, LAN Mode, and Settings. Use the "Private" button to put the camera in privacy mode, the "Detect" button to disable motion detection, and the "LAN Mode" button to turn off the WiFi. The Settings button takes you to a menu screen where you can create schedules to deactivate the camera on certain days and days of the week, adjust the length of the recorded clips (15, 30, 45 seconds), activate AI detection and disable Create motion activity zones and update the firmware. Here you can also use your phone's camera to add faces to the face recognition database, or you can use pictures from your phone's photo gallery.
After tapping the play arrow, you can view videos in full screen mode by tapping the arrows in the lower right corner and turning your phone to the side. At the bottom of the video window are buttons to mute the speaker, initiate bi-directional conversation, take a snapshot, manually record video, create object monitoring and activity zones, and activate the siren.
Back on the home screen, there are buttons at the bottom of the page labeled Camera, Alerts, Library, and Settings. The Camera button takes you to the home screen and the Warning button takes you to a screen that shows a list of all events by type (person, face, pet, car) with the time of the event and a video thumbnail. Tap the thumbnail to view, download, or delete the video clip. The Library button takes you to a screen where you can access all of your saved videos and photos, and the Settings button takes you to a screen where you can edit your account information and view your face recognition entries.
Installation and performance
To install the SimCam 1S, simply download the mobile app, create an account and check your email address. Open the app, tap the plus button to add a new device, and connect the camera. Use the supplied reset pin to press the reset button for five seconds until the LED starts to flash green. When you hear a voice prompt that says "Start, please wait," tap Next, select your Wi-Fi SSID, and enter your Wi-Fi password. A QR code is displayed on your phone: Hold it in front of the camera until you hear a voice prompt with the words "Please wait" and then "Connection successful". Tap Next to complete the installation. You can now go to the camera settings to give it a name and activate functions.
The 1S performed admirably during testing, delivering colorful videos during the day and crisp black and white videos at night with no apparent distortion. The night video shows good contrast and stays sharp up to 40 feet. Two-way audio is loud and clear, and automatic tracking works as expected, although mechanical panning with swiping gestures may respond faster.
Intelligent motion alarms worked well when tested. The software has done an excellent job of distinguishing people, cars, and pets, and push warnings arrived immediately when an event occurred. Face detection worked well too, but the company's claim that an 18-foot detection range can be reached can be misleading: in my tests, the camera was able to identify people by face as long as the person was about 10 feet away from the camera was. It was also a hit or miss. Still, the face recognition of the SimCam works much better than that of the Tend Secure Lynx, which requires you to approach the camera.
Alexa voice commands to display video on an Amazon Echo Show worked fine, and the camera had no issues running my IFTTT applets. I created an applet that turns on a Philips Hue light when the camera detects motion and it works fine, as does my applet that sets a nest thermostat to 68 degrees when the camera hits my face recognizes.
With the SimCam 1S AI Home Security camera, you get many advanced features without spending a lot of money, including facial recognition, motion tracking with mechanical panning, intelligent motion alerts, and dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity. Face detection worked relatively well during testing, and the camera provided crisp 1080p video and responsive warnings. It also did a great job of distinguishing between people, cars, and animals, and had no issues interacting with Alexa and third-party smart devices through IFTTT applets. Despite the lack of HomeKit support and the sluggish gesture response, this is an excellent value and our new choice for editors for indoor surveillance cameras.
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