Samsung SmartCam PT review: Samsung's pan-tilt security camera is missing something

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The Good Samsung's $229 SmartCam PT does a pretty good job tracking motion activity around a room. It offers local and cloud storage, motion detection zones and a privacy mode.

The Bad You'll be using the same clunky old SmartCam Android or iPhone app as before. The SmartCam PT doesn't work with any smart home platforms, even Samsung's SmartThings. Trigger-happy motion and audio sensors set off tons of unneeded alerts, but adjusting their sensitivity helped some.

The Bottom Line Samsung needs to improve its app interface and introduce at least one smart-home partner to broaden the overpriced SmartCam PT's appeal.

5.5 Overall
  • Features 6
  • Usability 4
  • Design 6
  • Performance 6

Editors' note: Researchers found a bug with SmartCam model SNH-1011 in January 2017 that temporarily made it more susceptible to hacks. Samsung has since issued a firmware update to address the problem. The Samsung SmartCam PT was not part of this reported security flaw.

Samsung's $229 (£185 and AU$300, converted) SmartCam PT is a decent DIY security camera. It offers cloud and local storage, solid motion zones and motion tracking via an integrated pan-tilt lens, as well as a privacy mode you can schedule based on your daily routine.

Its default motion- and audio-sensor settings were way too sensitive at the outset, but a quick adjustment in the app made them a little more reliable. The bigger problem is that I haven't seen any real advancement in the SmartCam line in three years. The smart-home security market has grown so much since I tested the Samsung SmartCam HD Pro in early 2014. But we're still stuck with the same outdated, annoying-to-navigate SmartCam app and no smart home integrations whatsoever.

Given that Samsung owns the SmartThings smart home platform, I'm stumped as to why the SmartCam PT doesn't work with more products from other manufacturers, or at least SmartThings' own connected accessories. The SmartCam PT's lack of integrations and relatively high price ultimately make it impossible to recommend.

All about the SmartCam PT

The SmartCam PT is surprisingly compact, particularly for a pan-tilt camera. Because pan-tilt models need to, well, pan and tilt, their hardware has to include mechanisms that allow for movement. As a result, they typically have clunkier, more utilitarian designs than their fixed-angle counterparts, like the Nest Cam Indoor.

If the audio- or motion-sensor alerts are too frequent, adjust their sensitivity in the app.

Screenshot by CNET

The SmartCam PT isn't any more stylish than Foscam's Plug and Play FI9826P or D-Link's Pan & Tilt Network Camera, but its small size does make it a more discreet addition to a home.

Here are the SmartCam PT's key features:

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