Hands-on review: Swann Tracker Security Camera
Swann is a name that has long been synonymous with consumer security products. The Wi-Fi Tracker Security Camera brings some of that veteran security know-how to a standalone product for keeping an eye on your things.
I’m no stranger to consumer home security products. This particular camera threw me a curveball when originally released due to issues connecting to the app. I then had further issues connecting to my home network, at the camera is exclusively 2.4Ghz and refused to connect to my dual-band router.
The app is now fixed and the camera had no problem connecting to a discreet 2.4Ghz connection to my network. It does, however, get marked down for this as I’ve had no issues like this with any of the other cameras I’ve tested. Possibly the difference between a Wi-Fi camera devised by a networking company rather than a security company.
Teething problems aside, the Swann Tracker Security Camera is a very interesting device. For a small consumer security camera, it feels pretty robust. Possibly something you’d expect from a company known for more decerning security installations.
One of the first things that I noticed is the weight of the base. These things have a USB power cable running from them and, depending on where the cable is being run, tend to get twisted in that direction if you are just putting them on a shelf rather than mounting them. The solid base stops the camera from moving about once positioned.
The base is actually a very strong magnet, easily capable of supporting the camera if positioned against a vertical metal surface. The kit does come with a metal disk and fixings that can be screwed into non-ferrous surfaces for mounting the camera if required.
As is the way with these Wi-Fi cameras, despite their wireless network connectivity, you still need to consider powering them. The Swann camera comes with 1.5m of cable with a power supply on one end and a mini USB connector on the other, for connecting to the camera. For most, this rather limits where the camera can be easily located. You’ll need a power socket nearby. The USB connection does afford some flexibility if you want to purchase a longer USB cable and fashion your own method of powering the camera, either from a USB-equipped device or a USB plug adapter.
The camera view is impressive. The default is a dual-view with a 180-degree view of the room and another zoomed-in view that follows any movement the camera spots. You can set the view to just the panoramic view or the zoomed-in view. The zoomed-in view can also be panned around manually.
The camera is also capable of night-vision that really does work up to the boasted 10m, twice that of other consumer security cameras. As a bonus, the camera has two-way communication for freaking your guests out or trying to talk would-be thieves from taking your stuff.
The camera is set up and controlled via the Swann mobile app. The app works as a hub for the camera and any other Swann security devices you have on your network. The Swann app is compatible with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
The Swann app is easy-to-use and intuitively laid out. As with most home automation ecosystems, the usability of the devices relies on the strength of the associated app. I’m pleased to say Swann delivers.
Setting up the camera is pretty simple. From the app you scan the QR code on the camera and follow the prompts, selecting your network SSID and inputting the password. There’s no WPS option, you will need your network details. As I mentioned above, the camera will only connect to a 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi network. Whilst I did have some problems with this, most routers should be able to deal with this, with dual-band devices directing the signal to the 2.4Ghz receiver if required.
The camera comes with an offer of a cloud video recording subscription from Swann, worth it if you are serious about using the device as a home security system. The camera also has a MicroSD card slot suitable for cards up to 128GB. In what must be a first for these sorts of cameras, Swann has kindly included a 32GB MicroSD card with the kit (already inserted into the camera). The kit also comes with some Swann branded theft deterrent stickers.
The Swann Tracker Security Camera is a robust, fully-featured consumer security solution that clearly draws on Swann’s more involved security solution expertise. Security is Swann’s bread and butter and this is a way of getting access to their surveillance technology without a huge cost overhead. The Swann app is, however, capable of accepting more devices should you wish to expand your Swann security setup by adding a few more cameras or sensors.