At $99, this home security camera comes with a mid-range price, but companies like Wyze and Yi are starting to close in by offering similar cameras for $50 or less. With SimpliCam's connectivity issues and limited features, it's not a camera we would recommend on its own, but if you already have a SimpliSafe security system, it's worth considering. It's nice when all your devices can play well together.
Info current as of 09/22/2021. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
*Available only through the app.
While cloud storage isn't really a "plan," for around $9.99 a month you can see video recordings from motion-triggered alarms. The cloud storage fees are about the same as what we've seen from other companies.
SimpliSafe's Standard and Interactive Monitoring Plan are its professional monitoring options for the SimpliSafe home alarm system. They allow the monitoring center to receive footage whenever the camera records an alarm event. Because you don't always know what might trigger a recording, this kind of monitoring might be a little more invasive than you'd like.
What's in the box
- USB power cable
- USB power adapter
Tech and equipment
The SimpliCam is just what the name implies: simple. Its resolution is only 720p, which is still considered HD but lower than the 1080p that has become the industry standard for the best security cameras. Still, it's hard for most people to notice the difference in picture quality.
It has a 120-degree field of view, so it’s wide enough to capture most living areas if you place it in a corner, but there's no pan or zoom feature for seeing something at the edge of the view. It's lightweight but a little bulkier than other security cameras, and it comes only in black. And don’t plan on catching any criminals casing the edge of your property—it's an indoor-only camera. SimpliSafe has an outdoor camera for that.
The only unique feature on the SimpliCam is its silver privacy shutter that you can click in place if you want to hide the live feed. It disables the motion detector when it's activated, but it will automatically open when you click "Watch Live" in the app. You might use this feature with the Interactive plan that gives your monitoring center access to your camera feed in case of an alarm event.
Features and usability
Like everything else with the SimpliCam, its features are basic and simple.
You can adjust the motion sensor's sensitivity between off, low, medium, and high, and you'll get a notification on your phone when the camera detects motion. When testing the SimpliCam, the frequency of notifications was just right: when I was in the room with the camera, I got motion alerts only every few minutes instead of constantly.
The app tracks all motion-triggered events and puts them into a timeline for easy review, but this feature only works if you subscribe to cloud storage.
SimpliCam's night vision has three modes: on, off, and auto. The night vision works okay, but I noticed a weird ghosting effect when someone moves through the frame. Their outline blurs and it's almost like you can see through them. It's super creepy, and not helpful for identifying an intruder.
The flashing blue light on the camera lets you know it's working, but you can turn it off in the app if you don't want it drawing attention.
The live feed worked much better when I was at home than it did when I was away. Away from home it often took more than one try to connect to the home camera, and when it did connect, the video was occasionally choppy and very delayed.
SimpliCam set up on bookshelf.
SimpliSafe app showing live feed option.
Images: Kasey Tross, SafeWise
You can listen and talk to people near the camera walkie-talkie style using the app and the camera's speaker, but this feature struggled with connection issues like the live feed did.
I also noticed that the microphone picks up a lot of ambient noise. Unless the person is within about 10 feet and speaking clearly, it can be difficult to hear what they're saying.
The camera speaker's audio is also more tinny than other cameras we've tested, and the walkie-talkie-style setup can be frustrating with the one- to two-second delay (or longer if there are connection issues).
The privacy shutter is a small silver disk inside the camera that covers the lens when you select the privacy setting. You can tie this feature into your SimpliSafe security system to have the shutter open while your system is in "away" mode and close when the system is off. The privacy shutter makes an attention-grabbing click when opening or closing, alerting any intruders that they're being watched.
Installation and setup
Installing the SimpliCam is a breeze. All you have to do is plug in the camera, download the app, and follow the in-app instructions to connect it to your home's Wi-Fi network. Quite simply, it's a piece of cake.
The SimpliCam does have some limitations when it comes to placement though—it comes with only a stand, and there's no way to attach it to a wall. It's a strictly flat-surface-only camera unless you add your own double-stick tape.
I also noticed that when I moved the camera around, the privacy shutter shifted, and it messed with the live image. At one point it randomly switched to black and white night vision, and it was several minutes before I heard a loud click from the privacy shutter and the picture changed back to color.
SimpliSafe app "welcome" screen.
SimpliSafe app "settings" screen.
SimpliSafe app "subscription " screen.
SimpliSafe has mixed customer service reviews. Better Business Bureau gives it an A+ rating, but it gets only 1.36 stars based on BBB customer reviews.1 Most customer complaints have to do with alarm monitoring problems, billing concerns, and connection issues.
The SimpliSafe customer support line is open from 8 a.m. to midnight (EST), seven days a week, and the company offers online support through the Help Center on the SimpliSafe website. You can read more in our SimpliSafe customer service review.
With home security camera hacks making the news, camera security is important. We like SimpliSafe's 256-bit encryption to ensure your camera feed stays secure.
How the SimpliCam stacks up
When it comes to pricing, SimpliCam lands near the middle of the pack. On the tech side of things, its resolution isn't as high as Nest or Wyze, it doesn't have as wide a field of view, and it doesn’t have smart home integration like Nest and Wyze do. Its cloud storage is more affordable than Nest's, but Wyze Cam's free 14-day rolling cloud storage is hard to beat.
If I'm spending close to $100 for one home monitoring device, I want it to work all the time. Unfortunately, the SimpliCam didn't live up to my expectations. It worked well when I was at home and I didn't really need it, but once I was out of the house, the connection got spotty.
If you already have a SimpliSafe system and you want to integrate a SimpliCam into your existing security devices, it might be worth it. But if you're starting from scratch and you're looking for a reliable home security camera, we recommend shopping around. To learn more about the home security cameras that do get our seal of approval, check out our best home security cameras.
SimpliCam and SimpliSafe FAQs
All SimpliSafe alarm and security products work with the SimpliSafe app, so you can get alarm notifications and view your SimpliSafe doorbell video from the same place you access your SimpliCam footage.
The SimpliCam can also be tied into your alarm system so that when you turn off your system, your camera will go into privacy mode. To find out more, check out our SimpliSafe Home Security Review.
The biggest difference between SimpliSafe and ADT is that SimpliSafe installation is usually DIY while ADT's is always done by a professional. ADT also offers products that connect to smart home systems, like the Ring Video Doorbell, while SimpliSafe is more self-contained. Learn more by checking out our full comparison of SimpliSafe vs. ADT.
With the exception of the SimpliCam, which hasn't changed, SimpliSafe original products are older and slightly bulkier than the newer devices—and they're also a lot less expensive. But even with older equipment, you can still get all the items you need to build your alarm system, like a base station, wireless keypad, key fob, entry sensors, glass-break sensors, and SimpliSafe smoke alarms.
How we reviewed the SimpliSafe SimpliCam
For our SimpliSafe camera review we installed the SimpliCam in a home office and downloaded the SimpliSafe app on an iPhone 6. We checked in with the live feed several times a day over the course of a week to see how well the camera performed. We tested each feature both from home and while we were outside the home to check connectivity. Our full methodology shares more about the SafeWise approach to product testing and reviews.
Related articles on SafeWise:
- Better Business Bureau, "SimpliSafe, Inc." Accessed September 23, 2021.