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SimpliSafe SimpliCam review: SimpliSafe's indoor home security camera is way too simple

SimpliSafe's SimpliCam indoor security camera charges for features that should be free. Womp womp.

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Megan Wollerton
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Megan Wollerton

Senior Writer/Editor

Megan Wollerton covers renewable energy, climate change and other environmental topics for CNET. Before starting at CNET in 2013, she wrote for NBC Universal's DVICE (now SYFY). Megan has a master's degree from the University of Louisville and a bachelor's degree from Connecticut College, both in international relations. She is a board member of the Louisville chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. When Megan isn't writing, she's planning far-flung adventures.

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The $100 SimpliCam is SimpliSafe's long-awaited response to customers wanting a camera as part of their home security setup. Buy one (or several) to accompany your DIY SimpliSafe system -- or just use them as standalone cameras.

simplisafe-simplicam-1
5.6

SimpliSafe SimpliCam

The Good

SimpliSafe's $100 SimpliCam is an affordable DIY indoor security camera that you can add to an existing SimpliSafe system -- or use as a standalone camera.

The Bad

SimpliSafe charges an optional $5 per month for very basic features, like event-based cloud video recording and storage and the ability to view the live feed on the web app.

The Bottom Line

Plenty of competing DIY cameras offer more features minus SimpliSafe's monthly fees. Skip SimpliCam.

While 100 bucks is a pretty good price for a 720p live-streaming camera, SimpliSafe borrows the same surprisingly rigid fee model from its existing system. That means it charges (optional, but largely necessary) monthly fees, even for the most basic features. Want to view live video via the web app? There's a monthly fee. How about event-based cloud video storage? Yep, same deal. 

Now that so many other DIY security systems -- and cameras -- exist in the market, SimpliSafe's approach is growing increasingly stale. Live streaming and other standard features worked fine for me, but is this thing worth $100 (roughly £75 and AU$125 converted)? Absolutely not. 

Does this DIY camera simplify home security?

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What can you get with $100 (or less)?

Comparing security cameras


SimpliSafe SimpliCamTend Secure LynxiSmartAlarm Spot
Price $100/£75/AU$125$60/£45/AU$80$100/£75/AU$125
Color finish BlackWhiteWhite
Power source Power adapterPower adapterPower adapter
Resolution 720p HD1,080p HD720p HD
Field of view 120 degrees125 degrees130 degrees
Live streaming YesYesYes
Cloud storage 30-day event-based clips for $5 per monthFree 7-day event-based clips30 free event-based clips
Local storage NoNoSupports up to 32GB microSD card (not included)
Mobile app Android and iPhoneAndroid and iPhoneAndroid and iPhone
Web app YesNoNo
Night vision YesYesYes
Alerts MotionMotion and facial recognitionMotion and audio
Two-way audio YesYesYes
Activity zones NoNoNo
Dimensions (HxWxD) 4.6 x 2.6 x 2.1 inches2.2 x 2.2 x 3.5 inches2.0 x 2.0 x 2.2 inches
Third-party integrations NoNoAmazon Alexa, IFTTT

After reviewing the key features offered on three DIY indoor cameras that cost at or under $100, SimpliSafe's SimpliCam clearly lags behind. The $60 Lynx camera by Tend Secure has the best price, resolution and free cloud storage offering. It has pretty solid facial recognition capabilities, too -- also totally freeiSmartAlarm's Spot wins in terms of storage choices, since it comes with cloud and local storage (the microSD card is not included). Spot also works with Amazon Alexa and IFTTT for creating advanced smart home automations.

SimpliCam just doesn't do enough to justify its purchase. That's particularly true when you compare it to other security cameras in roughly the same price range. Would you rather have free cloud storage or pay $5 per month for it? The choice is simple. 

simplisafe-simplicam-1
5.6

SimpliSafe SimpliCam

Score Breakdown

Features 4Usability 6Design 6Performance 7
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