captain11's profile
Captain

Captain

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4.7K Messages

Thu, Sep 9, 2021 1:19 PM

Outdoor Camera Review

My outdoor camera is up and hat's off to Simplisafe on the hardware design (every elegant that would make Apple jealous) features and specs that are comprehensive (a few ideas to improve in this post later) and intuitive software design.

For those who want a quick read: all of the elements needed for a quality, performance driven experience is here.  Simplisafe took its time to bring this to market but appears it has delivered a best-in-class device.  View (quality, wide angle) is great and glad SS has carried over what it learned from the Doorbell Pro and brought it to this new outdoor camera.  The tap zoom works like a charm, motion detection within the 30-foot range performs well and really does record people only when set up as such.  Installation, including the historically dreaded qr code worked seamlessly for me and, besides the AC adapter, actually was a 5-minute install at the corner of my garage.

Praise aside, there is one "must haves" to make this camera acceptable to me, and of course, there are several items that need improvement.

First the "must have".  If you live in an area that has an actual winter (cold temps, snow, ice etc. --and Chicagoland qualifies big time in that) the AC adapter kit is a must. Period. There is not a company out there (Google, Apple, Arlo, Simplisafe etc.) who claim battery life of x and in real life you get x - y - z.  There is no way no how I am climbing up on a ladder in January to replace a battery. : Period.  Want to roll the dice on the soon to be released solar panel? Knock your socks off, be my guest but I am all for counting on the power grid, thank you.

Also, the UI needs some work. The spotlight (which does a nice job) is currently an all-in or all out proposition. Maybe I am a victim of Ring advertising but I want to control the on/off of the spotlight on a live stream.  And yes, I also want to control turning on and off the siren the same way, while telling the person in view to stop leaning on my car.

Last item: load time.  Still a tad too long for my taste and using the doorbell pro as a historical precedent, I think SS will do well on this one over the next few months improving it.

That all said, my order is in for #2 outdoor cam which will be going up at the edge of my house covering the backyard.  For those keeping count, that will be 3 Simplicams covering my entire first floor, and 2 outdoor cams and a doorbell pro covering the outside. Six and done.  And a promise to my wife. :-)

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I have an outdoor camera monitoring the front of our house.

Unfortunately, there is no way to "snooze' the camera. So it records MANY times in one day. It would be good if the camera could be set along with the alarm system.

Personally, I do not need the camera to detect anything when the alarm is off because I will be at home. At other times I would want the camera to detect motion. This would substantially preserve battery life.

After 1 week the battery looks about 25% used. It isn't going to last 6 months in between charges.

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Right, so SS's statement of 3 to 6 months between charge is (or should be, anyway) based on some testing conditions. If any given use case makes the camera trigger/record/transmit more often than SS's test cases then it's to be expected battery life will be less. That said, to really understand it we'd have to know the duty cycle of the camera triggering/recording in SS's tests.

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@Captain11

How about posting some day and night images (recordings?) to YouTube or Google drive, or something like that?

Captain

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@whoaru99 @paul.keith    sorry, but I have a strict policy of not posting any videos or pictures, as I like my privacy. Possibly a bit paranoid in this day and age but more comfortable that way.  

As far as battery life, like any of my other devices (for example my Pixel 4a that claims the battery lasts all day -spoiler alert, it doesn't) I would only buy the camera in the first place if it also had an AC adapter.

On the motion detection, I like that it will record on movement whether I am not at home, or more importantly to me, when I and my family are home. Color is available using the spot, not so on the night vision. Again, I would like the option to turn on and off the spot at will.

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Well, that's too bad...

I'm not asking for you/your face, license plate numbers, house numbers, or anything like that. Just open back yard or front yard or whatever type of thing. Maybe even inside your garage where there is no external reference or whatever.

Captain

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Actually, I don't have a camera in my garage.  I would if there was a way to configure my SS3 system to put an Amzon Key like routine together.  Got the front doorbell pro, an outdoor cam in front of the garage, two modified entry sensors on the two garage doors and a Chamberlain "MyQ" opener.  USPS delivered  a package on Tuesday, rang my doorbell, asked him to put it in my garage, jumped over to the MyQ app, opened the garage door, went back to my SS app and saw on the outdoor camera him leaving without the package, jumpted back to MyQ app and closed the door. Whew!

SS, you could make all of that a lot easier.

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I can confirm I also have the camera installed and I already have a return label in my email inbox to return it.

I installed it last week and the battery is already at 50% despite it being fully charged for 5 hours prior and full on install.

My findings.

The "greying out" to block motion doesn't work.

Example- I have the road at front of driveway blocked off along with the top part of driveway. The camera detects people on the other side of the road never mind my side despite it being blocked out on app.

Walking in front of camera picks up nothing 50% of time,  the other 50% it does ... exactly same tests.

Real life examples

My son arrived yesterday walked down the driveway towards the camera tried the door, went round back of house in which point the backdoor camera with outdoor kit detected him. The new outdoor camera at front didn't pick him up at all.

My wife went out to take the kids to school in car. The camera picked her up in middle of driveway.
She returned 10 minutes later. Got out car exactly where it was parked previously. Stood exactly where she was before. No detection. Opened back of car, took out shopping. Closed car walked towards camera and switched off alarm entered house. Timeline picked up motion on leaving. And alarm switched off on entry. The car like something from a David copperfield show appeared out of nowhere on the driveway on live view.

I have removed the camera and put it to the side of house at an angle to see if the camera will function better crossing its path v Walking towards it. I will test it tomorrow to see if this helps

Battery life... well its just over 50% and I'm I'm week in... there is no home or away function. It's recording constantly and picking up every human Walking past despite it blocked off.

SS are investigating the motion recording when it shouldn't and also the fact it struggles to see someone directly in front of it v at angle which I am testing.

If the angle works v straight on. That fixes it not picking people up on my driveway Walking towards camera.

If they can then fix the blocking out part of motion detector then the battery will also last longer than 2 weeks !

FURTHER UPDATE FOLLOWING DAY :-  Wife left for work this morning. Camera didnt spot them at all, 2 hours later Door bell rang - delivery of large parcel.  Camera didnt even spot it.  Currently taking it down and sending it back. In summary - its useless!

Community Admin

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Hi dandyDons,

That's certainly a bit concerning. I'd like to put you in touch with our Support team to see if there's anything else we can possible to do get your camera working like it should! Keep an ear out for that call.

Everyone else, please keep the feedback coming. Our devs appreciate all the info as we continue to optimize the Outdoor Camera!

- Johnny M.
SimpliSafe Home Security

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I have the new outdoor camera installed along my back fence.  Our house is about 25 feet from the camera.  Anything to the center or to the right of the camera will detect motion about 20 feet out.  The camera is not detecting motion to the left of the camera at all unless i am within 6 ft of the camera.  I have tested this with three new outdoor cameras.

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Just installed mine. My comments on the installation process are all positive. It could not be any simpler to install and connect to my system. Literally less than 30 minutes from starting the unboxing and having it mounted and running in the eve of my garage door.

In my initial testing, it would not trigger for motion unless I got right up under it. I changed sensitivity from medium to high and now it seems to trigger. I just hope this does not trigger lots of false positives. Here is a YouTube video of the camera recording:

https://youtu.be/SNzJexGyr28

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If block off areas does it still trigger in they zones. I would be happy with false alerts if it worked blocking the other parts out

Captain

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Sorry to be late to the party on this portion of the thread, but better late than never. DandyDons, I want suggest the issue at play here is distance.  The outdoor cam has an excellent lens, and with that, a great one tap zoom.  The reaiity, however, is that the effective distance for motion detection is, I believe, at our around 30 feet.  I am interested what happens on my property, not on the cul de sac, and a "re-aiming" of the camera to nearer to that 30 feet makes the motion detection to what you expect.   I checked and the same approximate distance is at work with the doorbell pro, but it is at ground level.  My outdoor camis is at about 12 -14 feet so different angle yields different results.

The bottome line: my camera picks up people just fine at 30 feet or under, while areas still in the field of vision with the lens is just SOL.

Hope this helps, interested to hear from others their experience.

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Sadly it's the opposite.

My camera is on wall facing out towards driveway. It can't even detect someone 6-15 feet in front of it... or at side... yet it can spot someone 30 feet away that is blocked out from detecting motion.

Captain

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@dandyDons  okay, so.. yours won't pick up people and mine does, something has to be different, or just defective. One thing I would like to see added to the outdoor camera tools is the same signal troubleshooter that the doorbell pro and simplicams have. Other than you having a defective camera, what else is different that can cause the different results?

App is Android, running on a PIxel 4a, Android 11. Google WIFI, mesh point is about 20 feet away and I am using the optional AC adapter. You dandyDons?

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Hi @captain11 my wife made a good comment earlier. US v UK set up.
In UK our driveways are small in the main. Out front door, driveway about 1.5-2 length of a car then pavement for people walking past.  Is our size of coverage are too small for it to work...
Camera on wall of house pointing to driveway doesn't have a long "pick up time" to start recording.. on medium setting someone can be at your door before you know it..  mine was above door pointing in line of someone walking towards it and it worked half the time... what it did do was spot people walking past driveway even though that part was blocked off on app from viewing... so it picked up what it shouldn't and didn't what it should!
I moved it to side view thinking maybe because someone was walking right towards it that could be issue for 50% of time not working but it turned it to 0%! Yet still it picked up people further away on parts it shouldn't pick up from what I had selected not to be viewed.
I have fibre to premises which is 1gb speed although it's lower outside so download and upload isn't issue at all.
I have taken it down and its now back at simplisafe and awaiting refund.
I have sent them screenshot of what I have blocked out and what it's picking up (people within the areas blocked out) triggering constantly with battery life after 1 week at 50%.
I have also showed them my timeline of it picking up me outside (on one of the rare times it noticed me) and then the next timeline me switching alarm off on keypad. The outdoor camera hadn't noticed me getting out the car (10 feet away) from it. Walking to the door. Nothing. It didn't spot my son coming from an angle either, it didn't spot my wife and it didn't spot my delivery. Yet it can constantly spot the parts I block..
Its sadly back at simplisafe now and based on some other reviews I have read from UK owners I won't be getting a replacement as they have exactly the same issue as me.
Shame as I really wanted it but will get another option instead.

Captain

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@dandyDons I remember you are in the UK (hi from across the pond) and your wife makes a good point but my driveway is 2 cars long but the camare faces a wide front yard with no buidlings on the sides. (cul de sac and the houses are set back so its a clear view.  Your speeds are way, way higher than mine. Mine is only at 80 down and 20 up.

What were your settings: Nightvison or spotlight? Motion detection didn't work at night and day? It is driving me nuts why mine is working and yours is not. Another difference: you are on battery, I am on AC but that shouldn't make a difference.

Was your resolution 1080? Mine is. Sorry for all the quesitons but would like to try and figure this out.

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:-) Maybe its just the Scottish weather Captain haha!

It was set to night vision, 1080 battery only.

It basically did nothing right.   I do wish I had tried it with the driveway blocked OFF for motion to be detected with the pavement and road marked as motion ON just to see if it would have worked as it was actually doing everything backwards sometimes!

Camera pointing straight down and out.. 50/50 chance.   at angle.. 0% even things 8 feet in front of it!  To say I was disappointed was an understatement but no messing around - I had it up a week, my battery was down to 50% and it was detecting virtually nothing. I waived it goodbye as it shipped back to SS head office in UK (Manchester)

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I must say. I have been testing the motion sensing on these cameras all day.  They just simpli do not work. It picks up my motion just as I leave the frame. It doesn't pick up motion from one entire side of the camera(tested on 3 cameras). It rarely picks up motion from far away.  It doesn't pick up motion when less than 6 ft away. To add to this there are issues with the iOS app. Sound and microphone often don't work. Secret alert has errors when recording from 4 cameras at the same time.  Slow loading times of the cameras. I'm extremely disappointed. Unfortunately I am considering returning the system as I've only had it about two weeks.

Wasn't this camera product tested? How did this past testing?  My neighbor has Wyze. He has nothing but good things to say about it and the cameras. The cameras are very clear in comparison to Simplisafe. I apologize for being nit picky. I'm just disappointed.

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@cahosier I have nearly 50 devices and I can say its a great system.   Please dont judge it by the camera.  Everything else is great and im very happy 1 year in with mine. The camera though has to be the worst but of technology I have ever purchased ! I am sure they will get to the bottom of it.  I will just hang back from buying elsewhere in hope they fix it !