With plenty of options out there on the market for home security, Swann Communications decided to take it upon themselves to create the do-it-yourself way with their Swann One Smart Home Equipment, and gave us the opportunity to review it!
I received their Smart Home Control Kit which included a smart hub, smart plug, motion sensors for the window or door, as well as one for your wall, and two included key fobs for remote access on the go. But the bread and butter here is the Soundview Indoor Camera, which might sound a bit strange for someone who lives in something like an apartment, but some security is better than none, so why not right?
The setup process of the SwannOne is pretty self-explanatory. They encourage you to download their accompanying SwannOne app that is available in the App Store for free (although it does need an update for iOS9).
Once you’ve done this they suggest that you use your laptop to finish setting up the SwannOne camera first online through the website.
Setting up for me took a little while, even with their “quick start guide” being self-explanatory. You start off by connecting the SwannOne Smart Hub to your internet as well as a power outlet with the included Ethernet cable and adapter. All of the information that you’ll need comes on the back of the Smart Hub on a sticker for your Mac ID. Once you have your Mac ID, you can take the Soundview Indoor camera and use the box that it comes in to sync it via computer. Now this step here was rough because the camera itself is what is used to read the barcode when you head to the home.swannone.com website to install your devices. There’s a marker on the box that you are supposed to use to connect your SwannOne app, and the camera, but it took me 5-6 solid tries before finally getting it to cooperate. The best bet here is to be patient, take your time, and be in a well-lit room.
Once you have the camera synched up through the SwannOne app, you will begin to see the indoor camera on the screen under whatever it is that you listed it by. Since the living room is the most important room for us, I decided to put the camera there.
One thing that I did learn is that the camera itself needs to be plugged into an outlet, so this is best to put the Soundview camera somewhere like a bookshelf or on a hidden counter. Since I have neither I settled to sit it on a windowsill, out of sight.
But since the cord must be plugged in at all times, it makes an unsightly scene on your wall. Also if you’re a fan of the Paranormal Activity movies, or simply want to see your apartment at nighttime, I suggest using the included Night Mode feature which works as claimed (no ghost children or floating furniture included).
However it does work as planned. Once you’ve got the camera set up where you want it to go, you can either choose one of two options for accessing your camera and monitoring. SwannOne has two different Home Essentials Plans, a paid version and a free option, which I decided on the latter. With the free version, you receive the basics like email alerts on whenever someone enters the room, or whenever the included motion detector senses any movement in your home. You can also have text alerts on top of the push notifications.
To be honest, I turned off the smartphone push notifications when I am home as even though it works as planned, it is VERY sensitive. When I walked near my bedroom door, which is out of sight of the motion detector, I received notice that there was movement. This might suit someone else’s fancy, and might be great when your out of town, but I suggest turning this feature off when you are in the home.
What I loved the most is the live video streaming feature. When I am traveling or out of town, it’s nice to be able to have real-time footage of what’s going on in our house. Now, since I am using the free version, there’s a slight delay in time, which reminded me a bit of the horror movie Scream with its 6 seconds delays. SwannOne’s version of the streaming video has about an eight second delay however, so beware of this.
Since our windows unfortunately are made differently from most out there, the window/door sensors only moderately worked. And unless you are Spider-Man, you’ll have a pretty hard time climbing up the sides of my building. The key fobs are a bit bulky for my taste, and should’ve been way smaller.
For someone who carries around an iPhone and a minimalistic wallet, the SwannOne key fob is huge. Bigger than most car key fobs which is a slight oversight by SwannOne.
Overall though, the $499.99 price tag on the SwannOne Smart Home Control Kit certainly isn’t cheap, and the monthly subscriptions to receive things like cloud backups for videos and a more “accurate” stream without delay should already be included in this package. It’s certainly for someone who isn’t home 24/7 would want to use to make sure that their kids have made it home safe, or to make sure that a burglar isn’t intruding.
If the cable wasn’t always needed to make the Smart camera to work that would be an added bonus as the cable itself is really short, so do not expect to have the camera hanging from your ceiling like you would see in an elevator, hiding out of sight. But the ability to maneuver the camera to see at a wide-angle lens makes this worth it, if you have the $500 of course.
If you’re in the market for a SwannOne Smart Home Control Kit, feel free to head over to SwannOne’s site today and purchase.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review unit
What I Like: The Night mode feature is great; The setup takes patience but self-explanatory
What Needs Improvement: Cording for the Camera could be much longer, and the key fob is outrageously large