If you’re on the quest to have a smarter home (like I am), you might have already done some cord-cutting with Kodi, and maybe setup a smart home hub like the Samsung SmartThings. But do you have any cameras hooked up to SmartThings?
In this post, I’ll show you which cameras work best with the Samsung SmartThings hub, and what you can do with these smart cameras.
Importance of Smart Home Security Cameras
Cameras are one of the most important parts of a smart home because they not only give you peace of mind by giving you access to see your home from anywhere, but they are also critical to deterring or catching burglars.
If a potential burglar sees a camera pointing out your front window, they’re more likely to move on to a house that looks less secure.
But, in the event that your house is broken into while the SmartThings Home Monitor is set to Armed (which can automatically happen based on your family’s cell phones leaving the area), then it initiates an intruder alert sequence. A SmartThings intruder alert sends a notification to your phones, activates a siren (if you have one), and records a minute of video from all of your connected cameras (which you can view from the SmartThings app).
Cameras Compatible with SmartThings
When I first got my SmartThings hub, there were only 2 cameras that were officially supported… Samsung SmartCam HD Pro and Netgear Arlo. I’m happy to see that Samsung has been busy adding support for a few more models (granted still from those 2 brands).
While the following list of cameras are the ones officially supported by Samsung SmartThings hub (gen 2) and work right out of the box, it is possible to hook up other cameras. For instance, there are several D-Link cameras in the “SmartThings Labs” section of the Things marketplace.
If you are feeling adventurous, you could also look for people who have written SmartApps to support other cameras. SmartApps allow anyone to write code to integrate into SmartThings to extend its functionality. I tried pursuing this with a Foscam camera that I already had. I tried 3 different community-provided SmartApps that each had partial functionality. I finally gave up and just bought a new camera.
Now, without further ado, let’s look at the cameras that work best with SmartThings.
This is the camera that I bought. I actually bought 2 of them. One for the upstairs front window overlooking the front yard, and another one for the downstairs living room.
These cameras need a power cable and connect to the wifi independently or can be hard-wired with an ethernet cable. I say independently because they do not require any kind of base station (like the Arlo cameras do).
The setup within the SmartThings app was pretty simple. They were up and running in a few minutes.
This camera is Samsung’s top of the line pro model featuring all of the features of the next couple models, but this one stands out in image quality. They boast Samsung Light Enhancer (SLE) and Wide Dynamic Range (WDR) which means it delivers awesome quality picture quality in any light conditions. In fact, I actually turned off the night vision feature on one of mine because the picture looked better without it, even at night.
I should note that, at this point, the SmartThings integration of Samsung’s cameras only takes advantage of the video feed. It currently doesn’t have any feature to use the motion sensing or audio sensing to trigger things in SmartThings. It also would be nice to use the 2-way audio feature of these cameras so you can add them as a speaker in SmartThings. If anyone finds any developments in these areas, please let me know in the comments.
However, you can also download the Samsung SmartCam app and connect to the same cameras. That app will give you all kinds of control, like using the 2-way audio like an intercom. As I write this, I’m watching my kids do their chores downstairs, periodically calling them out when I see someone not working.
With all of the features, this camera checks all the boxes. It’s just not quite as high-end in terms of picture quality as the Pro version above, but still very good quality, I’m sure.
- 1080p HD
- 130 degree wide angle
- Micro SD card storage
- 2-way audio
- Motion & audio detection
At just $99, this one is a great deal, especially considering that I can’t tell the difference from the 6417 in terms of features. They seem to have all the same features.
If this was out when I was looking to buy cameras, I probably would have gone with this, since it appears to win the “best bang for your buck” award.
Now, to the Netgear Arlo line of cameras.
These Arlo cameras are pretty cool because they are completely wireless. Each camera is battery powered with CR123 batteries, and they connect wirelessly to a base station which you can have in a central location, connected to your network.
The same things can be viewed as downsides. Some people might not want to buy a base station in addition to the cameras, and it might also be a hassle to have to change out the batteries when they die. However, if you want to put cameras in locations where there is no power outlet nearby, the Arlo cameras are a great choice.
Another benefit of Netgear Arlo cameras is the fact that they are water proof and weather proof. You can mount these outside and they should be fine no matter what the weather is like.
- HD quality
- 130 degree viewing angle
- 2-way audio
- Advanced motion detection
- Night vision
- Free cloud storage
- Local backup storage
- Smart siren
- Option to plug in instead of wireless
The Netgear Arlo (not the Pro version) is very similar to Pro, but with these differences.
- Smaller viewing angle
- No 2-way audio
- No siren
- Only basic motion alerts
- No option to plug in power
- Batteries not rechargeable
Netgear’s Arlo Q and Q+ cameras are indoor-only cameras that have very similar features to all the ones we’ve looked at previously.
The biggest differences are:
- They are not weatherproof, so they are indoor-only.
- They are not 100% wireless because they need power, much like the Samsung models.
- They don’t need the base station, like the other 100% wire-free Arlo cameras.
- 1080p HD video
- 2-way audio
- Night vision
- Free Cloud Storage
- Smart alerts
- Optional 24/7 recording upgrade service
The Netgear Arlo Q+ is the exact same as the Arlo Q, except instead of using a standard AC power cable, the Q+ has Power Over Ethernet (POE) capability.
The benefit of POE is that you can have a POE network switch back by your network equipment, and then you only have to plug the Arlo Q+ camera into an ethernet cable that is connected to the POE switch, and it delivers both power and network connectivity in one cable.
What do you think?
Have you decided to buy one of these cameras? How did it go? I would love your feedback in the comments below.