Review: Swann Viewcam

Looking for something to augment my home security, I picked up a Swann Viewcam. It’s offered as a basic home security camera with local storage and Wi-Fi capabilities. The idea is good, and the camera itself doesn’t seem too bad, but the software makes it a disaster. First I downloaded the Mac application. It’s unintuitive, without text labels on its controls. It provides no reliable status indication for the device. Sometimes it would say the device was “off,” but at other times it would just show the last image received. If it’s monitoring an empty room, it can take a while to realize that nothing is being updated. The camera’s Wi-Fi range is poor, even in a relatively small home like mine.

The iOS application is even weaker, and it bombards you with ads. (Have they forgotten that the people using it have just paid them a fair amount of money for the device?) It doesn’t provide any status indication beyond showing incoming video or not. It required me to log in repeatedly; that isn’t even a security feature, since it pre-loaded the user and password fields and just made me tap “Log in” to continue.

All this wouldn’t be fatal if the device and software performed their basic function of storing video. Last night I noticed no files were being stored, but I let it run overnight just to be sure. This morning there were still no files stored in the folder I’d designated. I’d put a Micro SD card into the device to store video locally; that likewise had nothing on it.

Zero stars. This device will soon be going back to the store.

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