A decent value camera let down by a tricky setup and sluggish performance.
Swann has been in the security camera game for about as long as there’s been one, and as the CoreCam Wireless isn’t the company’s first foray into battery-powered security cameras, my expectations were reasonably high. Though I was very much sold on its budget-friendly price, video quality and included internal storage, the rest of my experience with the CoreCam Wireless didn’t quite reach those expectations.
Swann CoreCam Wireless Security Camera price
The Swann CoreCam Wireless has an RRP of $179.95, making it one of the cheaper wireless cameras on the market. Compared to the Google Nest Cam ($329 RRP) and the Arlo Pro 4 ($429 RRP), it’s a total steal. You can save even more with the two-pack, which costs about $349.95.
On top of its already low price, the Swann CoreCam Wireless comes with a 32GB SD card pre-installed, which means you don’t have to cough up any extra cash for cloud storage fees. There is an optional subscription plan (Secure+) which includes 60 days of cloud recordings, alerts for people, pets, cars and packages, rich notifications, an extended warranty and insurance protection. Prices start at $3.99 for one camera and $12.99 for unlimited devices, but you’re not missing out on much if you go without.
Swann CoreCam Wireless Security Camera design and setup
In addition to being weatherproof, I like that the Swann CoreCam is compact and unobtrusive, making it easy to mount just about anywhere. Along with the camera itself, in the box, you’ll find a screw-in mounting stand with screws and wall plugs, a USB charging cable, some theft deterrent stickers and the instruction manual.
Although mounting the CoreCam is nice and easy, unfortunately, the same cannot be said for actually getting the camera up and running.
At first, it seems like a breeze – simply charge the camera, download the Swann Security app, make your account and pair the camera. Easy, right? Wrong. This thing would not stay paired. If I could get the live view to work, the feed would last for maybe a few seconds before disconnecting. I spent far too long troubleshooting, updating the camera, factory resetting it and moving it closer to my router before I gave up.
In the end, a Swann engineer had to remotely look into the background settings of my CoreCam and make some adjustments before it finally worked as expected.
We review a lot of security cameras here at SafeWise, and for the most part, setting up each product usually takes less than five minutes. While I haven’t had any issues with the CoreCam disconnecting since this, it’s still disappointing since most security cameras we test are designed to be ready to go straight out of the box. Given it took this much time and effort for me (someone who reviews security cameras for a living), I can imagine how frustrating it would be to those a little less tech-literate.
Swann CoreCam Wireless Security Camera features and performance
When it comes to features, the Swann CoreCam Wireless boasts all the usual suspects: two-way audio for listening and responding to visitors, infrared night vision, motion detection, and a siren. It also offers 1080p (HD) video resolution which, though obviously not quite as clear as its 2K competitors, is more than clear enough to see what’s going on. That video quality is also adjustable between low, medium and high, allowing you to maximise storage and battery life.
Speaking of battery life, the CoreCam Wireless runs on a rechargeable battery that promises up to three months of battery life. I’ve been using it for about a month now, and the battery is still at 70 per cent, so I’d say that’s a pretty accurate (if not slightly underestimated) figure.
All of these features are fine and work just as they should. What really lets the camera down is the Swann Security app. The CoreCam Wireless is the second Swann product we’ve tested this year (the other being the SwannBuddy Video Doorbell), and both share a common issue – responsiveness. Granted, just about every security camera (regardless of brand) has a slight delay between opening the app and showing the live feed, but Swann’s delay is easily one of the worst I’ve seen. From opening the app to loading the live stream took, on average, 10-15 seconds to load. Compare that to my (cheaper) TP-Link Tapo cameras, which take no more than about five seconds to load their live streams, and you can get a better idea of how sluggish Swann’s performance really is.
Of course, if you don’t plan on checking the live feed and simply want a security camera to capture footage that you can watch back later on, this won’t be as much of an issue. What will be an issue, however, is that there is also a lag between when the camera detects motion and when it starts recording. It’s the same issue I experienced on the SwannBuddy doorbell, with many clips showing just the tail end of a motion event. In the video below, the camera caught me bringing the washing back into the house, but only one arm as the rest of me had already made it inside.
The Swann CoreCam Wireless has a lot of promise on paper, but in practice, it was a bit of a letdown. We love the price, design, battery life and included internal storage, but these pros aren’t quite enough to outweigh the obvious cons. The fact is, spending as little as $20 or $30 more can get you an easier-to-set-up and more reliable alternative like the Reolink Argus 3 Pro. Heck, you could even get the Ring Stick Up Cam Battery for $30 less and use the savings to get some cloud storage.
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Prices are accurate as of post date. Read full disclaimer.