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Wisenet SmartCam N1 review: Wisenet's indoor security camera IDs faces, shows you who's there

Wisenet's SmartCam N1 indoor security camera does a decent job recognizing faces, but you have to pay for cloud storage.

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Megan Wollerton
meganwollertonportraits0719-23a

Megan Wollerton

Senior Writer/Editor

Megan Wollerton has covered technology for CNET since 2013. Before that, she wrote for NBC's Dvice.com (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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Wisenet's $150 (£115/AU$205) SmartCam N1 isn't expensive by traditional security camera standards, but things are changing. That typical $200 price range, popularized by the Nest Cam Indoor, has shifted in the last couple of years toward budget models with similar features. 

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Wisenet SmartCam N1

The Good

Wisenet's SmartCam N1 indoor security camera with facial recognition does a good job identifying faces and it has a microSD card slot, motion detection zones and support for Alexa and Google Assistant.

The Bad

If you want cloud storage, you have to pay for it.

The Bottom Line

Wisenet's SmartCam N1 is a fine facial recognition camera, but you can find models with similar performance for much less.

While the SmartCam N1 is a fine indoor facial recognition camera, the Tend Secure Lynx is as good for just $60. 

The N1 cam might still be worth it to you if you want that microSD card slot for local storage access (it supports up to 128GB). Otherwise, I'd look elsewhere. 

Wisenet's SmartCam N1 spots faces and tells you about it

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How does the SmartCam N1 compare to the identically priced Tend Secure Lynx Pro? Let's take a look: 

Comparing facial recognition cameras

Wisenet SmartCam N1Tend Secure Lynx Pro
Price $150$150
Color finish WhiteBlack or white
Weatherproof NoYes
Connection type Wi-FiWi-Fi
Power source AdapterAdapter, battery backup
Resolution 1080p HD1080p HD
Live streaming YesYes
Continuous recording Optional with select cloud storage plansNo
Cloud storage Optional, starting at $5 per month for 5 days of event-based video history, $8 per month for 7 days of continuous history and $20 per month for 21 days of continuous historyFree 7-day event-based video history, optional 30-day event-based video history for $10 per month.
Local storage Yes, microSD cardYes, built in
Mobile app YesYes
Web app YesNo
Night vision YesYes
Alerts Human, face recognition, audioMotion, face recognition
Activity zones YesNo
Third-party integrations Amazon Alexa, Google AssistantAmazon Alexa, Google Assistant

The SmartCam N1 separates itself from the Lynx Pro with a web app and activity zones, but you don't get the Lynx Pro's free 7-day event-based video clip storage, built-in local storage and weatherproof casing. 

Looking at features alone, the Lynx Pro is a better camera, but the SmartCam N1 performs better, especially when it comes to facial recognition. 

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Inside the SmartCam app.

Screenshots by CNET

Unlike the Tend Secure Lynx Pro (which often missed faces altogether), the Wisenet SmartCam N1 grabs images of every single face it sees and either adds it to your "interested faces" database or tosses it in a separate "all faces" database if it doesn't immediately recognize the face. When it sees someone it recognizes from your interested faces database, it will send you an alert that says, "Looks like "Megan/Chris" from your Interest Group is at "Wise Camera."

This worked pretty well during my testing, although it wasn't perfect. There were a number of instances where the camera added Chris to the "add faces" section rather than identifying him correctly as Chris. At the same time, this camera never missed a face like the Tend Secure Lynx Pro camera, and did improve slightly over time during my testing. 

I was able to pull up the SmartCam N1 camera on an Amazon Echo Show, but had trouble getting the camera to communicate with a Google Home. The Google Home kept saying, "Server response has problems, Contact a SmartCam administrator." 

It's nice that this camera has a microSD card slot, too for local storage, but I find it annoying that they don't offer a free cloud storage option like Tend Secure. Instead, after a temporary trial period, they'll charge you for a cloud storage subscription, starting at $5 per month. 

Wisenet's SmartCam N1 is a fine camera overall, but the fee-based cloud storage and $150 up-front cost hurt its value. If you want a decent, affordable facial recognition camera, consider the Tend Secure Lynx (not to be confused with the $150 Tend Secure Lynx Pro). The Lynx costs just $60 and has free 7-day cloud video clips storage. 

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Wisenet SmartCam N1

Score Breakdown

Features 7Usability 7Design 7Performance 7
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