What’s happening at home: hands-on with Swann’s all-in-one network camera

We’re all interested in seeing what’s happening at home, but until we can teleport in a jiffy back home, that’s not going to happen. That’s why home security cameras exist, and Swann has released the ADS-440 just for this purpose, a security camera which carries with some top features.

The camera has the ability the pan horizontally – 350 degrees, just short of the full loop – or vertically – 100 degrees – and you can access your camera by using your a web browser or an app for a smartphone.

With an easy setup, you just need to connect the camera to your router over the Ethernet port, and voila: you can find the camera using the SwannEye Search Tool application on your computer (we tested on a Mac, but it works on a PC). Just configure the camera with a username and password and you’re ready to go.

Once that’s done, you should be able to view the camera locally on the same network, but what we’re really interested in is accessing our camera from any internet connection.

To do this, you have to create allocate Dynamic Domain Name Servers, which Swann provide for free on Swann products like this one. In the camera settings, just throw this information (also called DDNS) and you should be up and running, able to view your camera over the internet.

The camera comes with a few features that make it useful, such as being able to setup an alarm for motion detection which can send you a snapshot whenever it’s triggered, or even just being able to take pictures at interval times and have these saved to an FTP server. A speaker and microphone is also included, so you can hear what the camera hears and even talk through the camera’s speaker.

There are probably situations where this could be fun, such as for practical jokes, but if someone is in your house, you might want to talk to them… or you might just want to call the cops, and then let them know they’re on their way.

What we really loved about the camera is the ability the pan both vertically and horizontally which is great if the camera is in a large room or even outside.

By far, though, the best thing about Swann’s network camera is the night vision ability. We did some testing using the daylight shot alongside the night vision mode, and while it works well in daylight and with lights on in your home, the low light night vision mode is very clear.

And if you decide to place you camera outside, the camera is WiFi enabled so you can connect you camera to your wireless network easily, provided you have a power source close by.

Depending on what mobile phone you own, there are different ways to view your camera, too. If you own an Android or iOS smartphone, Swann has an app that can access your camera from both inside and outside your home network.

Unfortunately both apps feel pretty under-developed and feature clunky control, with some of the other functions we liked – snapshot and brightness controls – missing in action.

Apart from the mobile app, though, we really loved our time with this camera. If you’re after a top security solution for your business or home, and really want night vision, we’d check out Swann’s ADS-440.