What is it?
In an age swamped by ‘smart devices’, here is a security camera for the simple among us. The Outback Cam by Swann promises to deliver you security images/video, both in day and night (thanks to its IR vision), which can be then viewed by popping out the supplied SD card and plugging it into your computer (or equivalent SD Card reader). It features a rugged design, and is suitable for outdoor use.
Look and feel
While not what you’d call heavy, this features a rugged design, and is proud to show it off. The black box comes with latches that help to close the inside controls away and make sure that ‘weather’ doesn’t get in. There is also a loop in the case to secure this with a padlock.
Inside you find batteries, a slot for your SD card, and somewhat cumbersome controls with an LCD screen that helps you set different modes.
When closed, you don’t have much to see apart from at the front which features a PIR sensor (top), the camera and IR LEDs to light up the vision at night.
The setup is not the most straight forward, and you do have to refer to the manual to get it going. Having said that, once you are setup, you can let it be, and it will happily click away till your SD card fills up. Reading the manual is definitely needed though, as the controls are not very intuitive.
Ease of use
As mentioned above, it is quite easy to use once setup. You just pop the SD card out and read the files and see what you want to see.
- Ability to delay recording times between different recordings.
- Take 1 photo, 3 photos, record short videos (any where between 5 seconds to 60 seconds), and select image quality (5 or 3MP)
- Select between Time Lapse, PIR, or a combination of both. Remember that Time Lapse will mean that you will soon run out of space on your SD card
- Adjust ‘Duty Time’, as in what times to monitor.
Having tried quite a few of the smarter cameras available on the market, it was interesting to try something out that wasn’t ‘smart’, and was happy to sit there and click away. In some ways, that makes the ideal surveillance device, as such devices are not very noticeable.
My main concern with the product was the setup, but after that, I didn’t have much to complain. The PIR sensor does have a few false triggers, but they come few and far between.
The photos taken are of good quality, though the camera does seem to struggle on contrast at times, specially when on IR mode. Once again though, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue for general use.
I tried to use this on Time Lapse plus PIR mode, and the SD card filled up in about just over 2 days. Then again, it also showed me that the view outside my window is quite a boring one!
Overall though, this does exactly what it says on the tin, and stays simple while doing so. Not a bad little thing to have with you!
More information on the Swann OutbackCam is available from the following link:
A simple device, easy to use, and yet very handy. All in all, a good one to have, specially if you want a ‘sit and forget’ device.