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Swann Wire-Free 1080p security camera review

A versatile security camera, for indoor or outdoor use

Swann Wire-Free
(Image: © Chris Price)

Our Verdict

Designed for use indoors or outdoors, the Swann Wire-Free Security Camera is a versatile and inexpensive camera that’s ideal for protecting your home. Easy to install and use, it boasts all the features you need – including 180 degree viewing angle, 1080p HD quality and two-way audio. The only downside is that you will have to take it down every few months to charge the built in Lithium Ion battery.

For

  • Affordable
  • Facial recognition
  • Heat, motion and person sensing

Against

  • Proprietary charger
  • Video storage cost
  • App is a little slow to load

One minute review

Want to keep a remote eye on a particular room or an area outside your home? Then the Swann Wire Free security camera is definitely worth considering. Either it can be placed on a flat surface such as a bookshelf, or installed on an inside or outside wall using the magnetic mount and plate provided. 

Several useful features are on board, including night-vision mode and free facial recognition. Also, because it combines heat, motion and person sensors, it’s more accurate than a lot of other cameras when it comes to detecting movement. Although it doesn’t have a built-in SD card for storing video clips, up to seven days of footage can be stored in the cloud, too.

Image quality is decent, rather than spectacular, but the 180-degree viewing angle will be useful for those who want to capture a wider image than most other cameras. Unfortunately, the built in Lithium Ion battery means you will have to take it down and recharge it every couple of months unless you use the solar power charger. However, this shouldn’t be an issue if you are using the camera indoors. 

Price and availability

Australian company Swann Security is a reasonably well-known name in the security industry with a whole host of products in the CCTV arena. See here for more product information: https://www.swann.com/uk/. We reviewed its latest wire-free security camera, which costs £149 per unit (or £289 for two), though you can buy entire systems with eight cameras and a separate DVR recorder for £400 upwards. 

One useful accessory for those who don’t want to keep having to take the security camera down every few months – to charge the Lithium Ion battery – is a solar charging panel, costing an additional £49.99.

Most of the Swann Wire-Free camera's features are free to use, too. However, if you want 60-day video storage, rather than just seven days, then you can buy a subscription for £4.95 a month. This will also give you access to additional features including greater facial recognition, even pet and vehicle recognition options, as well as an extended warranty for the product. 

(Image credit: Chris Price)

Design and features

Design-wise the Swann is very impressive for what is essentially a budget unit – quite solid and sturdy, in fact. The magnetic mount is extremely powerful, and for those installing on a wall there’s the choice of either an adhesive strip or the mounting plate provided (we would recommend the mounting plate, rather than the adhesive strip, if you’re installing outdoors).

Rated IP65, the Swann is waterproof and can operate in extreme weather conditions between -10 degrees centigrade and +45 degrees centigrade. A single lens is provided for capturing movement, but at 180 degrees it offers a much wider viewing angle than most – maybe too wide. Although the camera offers 1080p HD video resolution, we didn’t feel the images were the highest quality. However, they were certainly good enough for the purpose, and the camera’s night-vision option is handy for capturing movement after dark.

Unlike some basic cameras, the Swann Wire Free security model provides two-way audio so you can tell a courier to hide a package or scare away potential burglars. Another handy feature is free facial recognition for up to 10 faces (often manufacturers bundle this premium feature within a subscription). Simply hold the camera up to your face and follow the instructions to move your head left and right and up and down until it recognises the person. 

Swann also claims the wire free security camera supports voice control via Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. At the time of writing, however, the Amazon Alexa Skill wasn’t working with the Swann security camera – an issue which the manufacturer is aware of and apparently fixing. 

(Image credit: Chris Price)

Getting started

As with most security cameras, setup is very straightforward. First of all, you need to charge the unit by connecting the unit’s micro USB port to a USB plug for several hours. Unfortunately, details aren’t provided for how long the Lithium Ion battery will last on a single charge, but it’s likely to be around 8-10 weeks based on our use. Obviously, if it’s not practical to take the device down every couple of months, then it may be worth investing in the solar panel accessory as well.

Once you’ve downloaded the Swann Security app on iOS or Android, you can scan the QR code on the base of the unit and pair the device with your home’s WiFi. The nearer the security camera is to the router, the better; however, we used the model in several locations and found it continued to work well even when the router was on the ground floor and the camera in a second-floor attic. 

Unlike some devices which enable you to control settings via the web, all of the Swann’s controls are in the app. This includes menus for monitoring battery usage, checking Wi-Fi signal quality, and changing the name of the device if you so choose. You can also view clips recorded when the camera has detected motion, or possibly heat from a body. Indeed, this feature – True Detect – does seem to ensure that the camera only records action if it detects human movement, unlike other devices that can be triggered quite randomly. 

Another benefit is that video clips are stored in the cloud for seven days and can easily be saved to your phone’s camera roll should you wish. A live streaming option means you can also view your property in real time – useful if you want to see what the weather is doing back at home when you are abroad!

Should you buy the Swann Wire-Free security camera?

(Image credit: Chris Price)

Buy it if...

You want a nice wide angle view.
The Swann Wire-Free camera offers a 180 degree viewing angle which is great for capturing all the action you need.

You want to install a camera outside.
Rated IP65, this waterproof camera can be mounted indoors and can function at temperatures between -10 degrees centigrade and +45 degrees centigrade.

You need free facial recognition.
Unusually, the Swann Wire-Free camera gives you free facial recognition for up to 10 faces.

Don't buy it if...

You are planning to locate camera well out of reach.
The built in Lithium Ion battery means you will have to take the camera down every couple of months to charge unless you buy the solar panel charger separately.

You need detailed zoom options.
Unlike more expensive units, the Swann doesn’t offer you the option of zooming in on a particular part of the frame.

You need control via a web interface.
This security camera is designed to be used via an Android or IoS mobile app only.