Review: SimpliSafe Outdoor Cam packs an impressive 140-degree FOV with added baggage

Earlier this fall, SimpliSafe at long last launched its very first outdoor security camera. Arriving with some impressive specs like 1080p recording with a 140-degree field of view and magnetic mounting system, there’s certainly a lot to like. But does the baggage of a full security system deliver enough perks to be worth the hassle? We go hands-on with the SimpliSafe Outdoor Cam to see how it all stacks up.

Hands-on with the SimpliSafe Outdoor Cam

Out of the box, the SimpliSafe Outdoor Cam arrives with a pretty easy setup process, which is exactly what the brand advertises. The package has a premium feel to it and is nearly ready to go right away. Slotting in the removable battery had me up and running in just a few minutes, so everything was off to a pretty good start.

As far as features go, SimpliSafe is opting for a tried-and-true approach with its new Outdoor Cam. There’s a 1080p HD sensor that packs eight-times digital zoom and HDR recording. Not to mention color night vision backed by a motion-activated spotlight to help illuminate the shot. Where things are a bit different is with the field of view.

Stepping up to 140 degrees of visibility, the SimpliSafe Outdoor Cam has one of the wider lenses on the market. While it’s only 10 degrees or so over the competition, that in practice means that a single camera can surveil a much wider area than other models I’ve used.

One of my favorite aspects of it has to be the magnetic mounting system. It’s a much simpler method than other models I’ve used, and it does a pretty solid job to help you frame the shot. Though the most interesting part has to be the fact that the magnets are built into the device itself, so you can attach the SimpliSafe Outdoor Cam to the included mount or any other metal surface.

As for battery life, the company touts six months of usage before needing to recharge. I’ve been using the Outdoor Cam for less time than that, so I can’t say if that is entirely true, but so far things seem promising. The one aspect of its charging that I am a big fan of is that the removable battery doesn’t require an external charger. There’s an integrated microUSB port so you can just plug in the battery, or the entire camera if you want to refuel.

One of the biggest perks of SimpliSafe’s new release is also one of its downfalls though. Relying on the wider ecosystem does make setup a breeze and offer all of the tie-ins with other gear in your security kit, but is also means the camera doesn’t work on its own. In 2021, just about all of the big players are standalone, even if they do end up integrating with the rest of the ecosystems.

9to5Toys’ Take

After using one of the new SimpliSafe Outdoor Cams for the past few weeks, there’s definitely a lot to like about the $169.99 experience. All of the specs stack up to deliver a compelling security package that’s sure to keep your peace of mind together through the holiday package delivery season and beyond. But it’s certainly not going to be for everyone.

Relying on the greater SimpliSafe ecosystem really is a double-edged sword, though. On one hand it delivers all of the robust features that the security brand has been building upon for years now. But on the other hand, this is an all-or-nothing approach. Unless you’re ready to commit to the entire system, this isn’t going to be the camera for you.

I would have loved to have seen SimpliSafe take a similar approach as we’ve seen from Philips Hue for its new Outdoor Cam. The smart home brand currently locks many of its more robust scheduling and automation features around the required hub that makes it all possible, but offers some basic features out of the box with Bluetooth. It’s a best of both worlds approach that would have made the SimpliSafe Outdoor Cam an easy recommendation for anyone.

Even so, I’d still say the recent release is worth keeping on your radar. The integration with the rest of the SimpliSafe ecosystem is going to be its biggest selling point for those who have already invested in a system from the brand. So if that’s the case, this is definitely the way to go for expanding your security kit to the outdoors.

Otherwise, I think that it’s a bit harder of a sell. Sure, this camera arrives with a notable spec list, but the hurdle of not working on its own will likely be too much of a dealbreaker. Though if you were waiting for the perfect time to finally see what SImpliSafe is all about, the Outdoor Cam is certainly that final piece of the home security puzzle.

Buy the SimpliSafe Outdoor Cam

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