Are you planning to make your home ‘smart’? In today’s article, we’re looking at another aspect of The Internet of Things (IoT) – a highly topical subject as we are now starting to live in more connected homes. One aspect of IoT means we can control all kinds of home devices via a smartphone software app linked to a smart hub, or alternatively directly from smart devices via a user interface. We looked in another USDIGI article, at how to control HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) using a Samsung SmartThings Hub and a smart thermostat. Here, we’ll be looking at how to use cameras under IoT control and specifically SmartThings compatible camera control. We’ll be answering the question “What is the best camera for SmartThings?”
IoT based cameras
IoT based cameras have many uses. In the office, they are primarily useful for security but in the home, you can do a lot more with them. Indoor uses, as well as security, including that you can use them for monitoring babies while they are sleeping, like video doorbells to see who is at the door, to monitor pets while you are away at work or shopping and so on. Outdoor uses are many too. These include of course security but also monitoring young children playing outside, monitoring your pets in the garden, watching visiting wildlife and so on. Some people have been known to use an IP camera so that they can see their fish tank or vivarium on their smartphone anytime and anywhere.
If you are lucky enough to have a shed in your garden, a workshop in your garage, a recording studio in your basement or a ‘man cave’ somewhere in a big house, you can, of course, use a SmartThings camera to keep in contact with (or keep an eye on) and generally monitor other people in other rooms. Finally, if you are really lucky and have a second home, then whichever one you are in you can be keeping an eye on the other.
So, all in all uses go well beyond just a security camera for SmartThings. Before we start sharing our top reviews in our quest for the best video camera for SmartThings, which took us over 65 long hours, we’ll jump straight into our top 3.
3 Best Cameras for Smartthings
Buying Criteria for a camera for Samsung smart things
As well as the obvious point that the best camera for Samsung SmartThings must be fully compatible, other considerations include resolution (4K, 2K, Full HD 1080p or maybe lower), HDR (high dynamic range), infrared or image amp photo-multiplied night vision (especially useful for outdoor monitoring but also applicable to monitoring a sleeping child), motion detection sensors, heat sensors, recording, Alexa direct control, easy app control, plus of course price and also how well existing genuine and fair-minded owners have rated them or other credible recommendations. Some smart camera we like – including some packages from Netgear/Arlo – no longer support SmartThings and there is an ongoing war between Samsung and other IoT vendors (for example the situation with Google Assistant is complicated).
Our advice is to steer clear of suspiciously affordable wireless smartcam models which for some reason are not popular. Also, don’t be taken in by vendors marketing topical buzzwords. It’s recommended you stick with a reputable brand and a product at a sensible cost (not too high or low). This is especially important if what you are really looking for is CCTV security.
So, homily over, let’s now look in detail at our six best smart cameras for SmartThings.
Best Camera for Smartthings in 2022
1. Samsung SmartThings Indoor Security Camera (GP-U999COVLBDA)
Samsung’s own smart Camera ticks all the boxes
You’d expect that Samsung’s own cameras to work well in IoT and these Samsung cameras work extremely well when paired with SmartThings. Starting out with the basics, you get a good resolution of 1920x 1080p HD, 145° diagonal video, a very useful built-in IR LED night vision and just to cap it all two-way audio. So, you get to tell the kids to go back to bed at 1 Am (mind you they can answer back). The whole system helps to clearly see and hear activity and speak to visitors, whether wanted or unwanted.
On the subject of unwanted visitors, an AI powered feature called “Tell Who From What” differentiates between a person and object with intelligent motion sensors. That’s handy if for example you left a window open and the flapping curtain otherwise would keep triggering alerts.
One potential weakness of IoT is, of course, it is based on connected software it can be hacked. That’s bad, so Samsung offer Two Way Protection Enhanced encryption which ensures that your data doesn’t get read by a kid hacker in St. Petersburg, Florida or a troll in St. Petersburg Russia or a criminal in St. Petersburg Borough in Pennsylvania
You also get rolling 24-hour cloud storage for up to 4 cameras and you can expand that as a cost option for 30 hours of up to 8 cameras. There is also a basic form of HDR (high dynamic range) which means in plain English that you can see brighter highlights and see more detail in shadows than a normal camera.
Verdict: It’s a safe Samsung camera bet for a Samsung smart home system.
2. EZVIZ Mini 360 Plus 1080p HD Pan/Tilt/Zoom Home Security Camera with motion tracking and night vision
A very well featured smart camera that integrates with SmartThings using IFTTT
We like this 360-degree camera from Ezviz as you can see pretty much around the whole room and (as it has tilt as well as pan) up to the ceiling as well as the floor. There’s motion tracking to, so if something (or someone) is moving then they stay in view. Add two-way audio and also nightvision to the package and you get an all-round (no pun intended) great camera. They only letdown is the storage package – which the Samsung at number 1 on our list does rather better. Eziviz offer cloud-based paid plans and suggest you buy a 128 GB microSD card.
Verdict: Lots to like in this all-rounder Smart Camera.
3. Arlo Pro 2 – Wireless Home Security Camera System with Siren
Best full CCTV system for Smartthings
We really like Arlo as a partner with SmartThings (however as we mentioned in the introduction, watch out for legacy Arlo models that don’t support SmartThings that well or at all). This product however really fits the bill if you want a full CCTV setup with multi-room coverage. The resolution is 1080p again with a good storage plan. We’ve gone for the 6 camera with siren and floodlight package, although bundles start from a single camera system. The 6 camera cost is quite high – until you work out how much more it would cost to buy each unit separately.
The other consideration is you don’t have a multi-vendor ‘mix and match’ potential nightmare, where product X works differently from Product Y and somehow the whole system isn’t quite right. An unusual feature with the night vision is that it does show color – normally you’re either get black and white or green. That can be important to work out that your neighbor has a red Chrysler, but for some reason, a blue Chrysler is in their drive at 2 am. By the way, the cameras are IP65 certified which means plenty of weatherproofing.
Verdict: This Arlo package is great if you want a comprehensive SmartThings CCTV solution.
4. EZVIZ DB1
Best Smart Video Doorbell
We like how the product looks and we like the 180° vertical field of view. That sounds like a minor feature but is actually important so you can see faces but also letters or a package on the ground, that might otherwise get left out of the picture.
You also get two-way audio, helpful to explain to a visitor why you aren’t actually interested in what they are trying to sell, custom detection zones, event alerts etc. We also like you to get rolling free 3-hour cloud storage, with the ability to review any time in the last 180 minutes.
Verdict: Video doorbells are a niche within the Smart Camera market and Ezviz has done a good job of hitting the right features for this application.
5. Ring 8SF1P7 Floodlight Camera Motion-Activated HD Security Cam Two-Way Talk and Siren Alarm
Best camera with flood lights and siren
Sometimes you not only want to see what is going on, but you also want to stop it. That’s why we like this Ring smart camera – it shows you what’s up and you can activate a siren and floodlights to let the bad guy (or girl) know you are on to them. Lets you see, hear, and have a conversation with visitors from your smartphone, tablet and PC, wherever you are. Night vision just adds to the package too.
Main downside is the storage – which is all fine and affordable but a bit pricey when you consider some camera have an amount of free capacity included.
It’s a bit pricey but in its niche it a very effective product.
Verdict: Make sure this is the exact model you get – we can’t comment on any others working with SmatThings from this vendor.
6. Arlo Q – Wired, 1080p HD with Night vision
Best ‘desktop’ smart camera
Our final entry is this elegant HD number again from Arlo. We have included it first because it looks cool, rather than just functional, but also because it comes with free cloud storage for 7 days at no cost and with no contract required. It is otherwise much the same as other cameras on our list, with an integrated mic and speaker for two-way communication and monochrome night vision capability. Well worth thinking about.
Verdict: Well worth considering for its looks and storage.
Smartthings Compatible Camera
In wrapping up our quest for the Best Camera for Smart Things, it’s worth saying that really there are subcategories that make some comparisons a bit futile. Indoor vs outdoor, with the audio or without, doorbell or normal camera etc. So, we hope we have given you some ideas for each subcategory. Please leave any questions, ideas or suggestions in the comments section from your perspective.
Thanks for reading.