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.
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 10feet 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 has mixed customer service reviews. Better Business Bureau gives it an A+ rating, but it gets only 1.5 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 9 a.m. to midnight (EST), seven days a week, and the company offers online support through the Help Center on the SimpliSafe website.