Nest Cam Versus Samsung SmartCam HD Plus

Nest Cam versus Samsung SmartCam HD Plus

Now that I have had some time to play around with these two cameras, I thought it appropriate to compare them head to head.  It’s showdown of two of the most popular manufacturers of cameras.  It’s Nest Cam versus Samsung SmartCam HD Plus (Samsung Model Number SNH-V6414BN).  We look at the most important rating criteria and give our opinion which is the better in that category.

We previously wrote detailed reviews on these cameras if you would like to read all about them first:
Nest Cam Review
Samsung SmartCam HD Plus Review

Let’s get on with our head to head analysis.

Software

This category is all about the smartphone app, web app and camera firmware.

The Samsung SmartCam app may not have as much refinement as the Nest Cam but it has all the functionality that I need.  Once connected it’s uninterrupted and very crisp.  However the navigation isn’t as fluid as the Nest Cam.  I also noticed a slight delay getting into the SmartCam app each time it authenticates your userid and password.

The Nest Cam and Samsung SmartCam app each provide the high end functionality that I think is needed in any decent home security camera.  Motion and sound detection are provided as are sensitivity settings for each.  Both models support motion zones to minimize false alerts from areas like trees and bushes which tend to move with the wind.  However, be aware that activity or motion zones are only available if you subscribe to a cloud plan on Nest.  With Samsung, these motion zones are included with the purchase of the camera.

On the Samsung SmartCam HD Plus, events are written onto the included SD card so that you go and check it later.  Nest Cam is recording to the cloud service if you subscribe to it.  If you don’t subscribe, the event cannot be seen.

The SmartCam HD Plus will send and record motion alerts each time it is detected.  The Nest Cam will only send an alert once every 30 minutes to minimize the number of alerts sent.  Generally speaking this is a nice feature, but ideally it should be optional.

Nest Cam has a feature called Home and Away.  It turns the camera off and on depending upon if you are home or away (actually, it’s more based upon if your smartphone is home or away).  Both cameras have the ability to monitor motion based upon a schedule.

You can turn the night vision and status light off and on with the software on each model.

Both apps get the job done however the Nest Cam app is easier to use and faster to start up.  However, I will say the absence of free motion/activity zones without the paid cloud subscription on Nest made this a very close race.

Nest Cam Versus Samsung SmartCam HD Plus Winner:  Nest Cam

Connectivity

Connection of either camera is done through your smartphone and is really simple.  All done through their respective apps and I don’t believe one is any easier than the other.

The difference between the two is in support of dual bands by Nest Cam.  The Samsung SmartCan only supports 802.11 b/g/n at 2.4 GHz.  Nest Cam supports 802.11 a/b/g/n at dual bands of 2.4 and 5 GHz.  The 5GHz band is going to work best for HD video when close to the router.  It will not help if far from the router.  I define far as 75 feet with a few walls between you and the router.  But it makes a big difference when you can use it.

Nest Cam Versus Samsung SmartCam HD Plus Winner:  Nest Cam

Video Storage

This is an important category to me.  It bothers me to have to pay for a home security camera then have to pay a monthly charge to see my video history.  That’s what Nest Cam makes you do with an annual $100 – $300 charge for their cloud storage.  That’s more than I paid for the camera.

Samsung provides an onboard micro SD storage slot.  There is a micro SD slot and a 16GB card that’s provided in the package (it can handle up to 128GB).  No cost to view the history.  I like to record motion events only to preserve as much history as possible but you can do continuous history and loop it.

It all depends what is important to you.  Technically speaking, what good is a security camera if someone steals it along with the onboard SD card?  For me, I’m not that worried about it.  To me, this is a very important disadvantage of the Nest Cam.

Nest Cam Versus Samsung SmartCam HD Plus Winner:  Samsung SmartCam HD Plus

Hardware

The cameras are roughly the same size.  Neither case is waterproof nor are they made to operate outdoors.  The usability of the included stands are about even.

The power cable included with the Nest Cam is 10 feet and the one included with the Samsung SmartCan HD Plus is 8 feet.

The Samsung SmartCam HD Plus provides a 4x zoom option and a 1944 x 1092 pixel capability. The Nest Cam supports 8x zoom and selection of resolution levels up to 1920 x 1080.  Both support selection of lower resolutions which is necessary when the connectivity isn’t that great.  Both cameras provide the highest resolution video at 30 frames per second.

The Samsung SmartCam introduces a feature called Wide Dynamic Range Imaging (WDR).  It’s used to brighten up video where the lighting isn’t optimal.  I found that it makes a big difference in low light environments.  This is kind of half way between daylight and night environments.  I like this feature a lot and it’s activated within the Samsung SmartCam app.  Nest Cam does not have this feature.

There is a 130 degree wide angle lens on the Samsung SNH-V6414BN SmartCam HD Plus.  This camera doesn’t swivel but with this wide angle lens, it doesn’t matter.  I am able to get an extremely clear view thanks to the 130 degree coverage.  The night vision works real well.  I experienced very clear night video.

The Nest Cam also has a 130 degree wide angle lens.  The 8x zoom works well with the software enabled image focusing function.  The Samsung SmartCam has a feature called Image Distortion Correction which doesn’t match up to the Nest Cam’s zoom image focus.

Nest Cam and the Samsung SmartCam HD Plus support two-way talk.  The overall quality of this feature works better on the Nest Cam due to greater speaker quality.  I can hear the other person better with the Nest Cam.

The better speaker, 8x zoom and image correction on the Nest Cam wins over the WDR low light image improvements of the Samsung SmartCam HD Plus.  Each camera provides an extremely clear video, Nest Cam’s added features are a little better though.

Nest Cam Versus Samsung SmartCam HD Plus Winner:  Nest Cam

Mounts

The Samsung SNH-V6414BN SmartCam HD Plus comes with a folding metal mount that is attached to the body of the camera.  There are a pair of screws included if you would like to mount this to a wall.  The stand is made of a weighted metal.

The Nest Cam has a plastic stand that swivels.  The stand can be mounted to a wall or ceiling as well as a tabletop stand.  There is a magnet embedded in the bottom of the stand to allow mounting on a metal surface.

Due to the popularity of the Nest Cam, a few enterprising companies have come out with a line of custom mounts.  Nice, but I’m rating what comes in the box.

Nest Cam Versus Samsung SmartCam HD Plus Winner:  Tie

Fun and Different

The Samsung SNH-V6414BN SmartCam HD Plus comes with pre-recorded sounds to scare off an intruder.  You can access them from the mobile app where you see the music note.  The included sounds are a barking dog, alarm and siren.  I must admit, the barking dog sounds pretty real and would scare me off.

On the Nest Cam, you have the ability to integrate other Nest products into the application.  When you logon either through the application or mobile app via browser, the temperature and weather outlook are displayed.  When you start the app, you will see small round live images of all the cameras you have identified to the application.  It’s a smoother, more refined application.

Nest Cam Versus Samsung SmartCam HD Plus Winner:  Nest Cam

The Winner

The purpose of this article was to consider the Nest Cam Versus Samsung SmartCam HD Plus.  Just looking at each category winner, Nest Cam comes out on top.  When I first decided to write this article, I thought it would be the other way around, but it’s not.  For what it’s worth, each category was close.

I thought about putting cost in this article but didn’t because it’s going to vary depending upon where you purchase these.  Generally speaking, the Samsung SmartCam HD Plus is selling for considerably less than the Nest Cam.  Coupled with the potential additional cost of the nest Cam cloud service, the nest Cam can cost a multitude more than the Samsung SmartCam HD Plus.  If cost is an issue, go with the Samsung entry.

The absence of motion zones without a paid subscription on Nest is really annoying so what I have done is to use the Samsung SmartCam HD Pro in areas where I want to see history resulting from a motion alarm.  Where I’m simply using the camera for checking in is where I use a Nest Cam.

Quick Specs:

Nest Cam

Nest Cam

Video QualityField of ViewCloud SupportSD SupportNight VisionMobile/Web AppAlertsOutdoor
1920x1080130 DegreesYesNoYesYes/YesYesNo

Samsung SmartCam HD Plus

Samsung SNH-V6414BN SmartCam HD Plus

Video QualityField of ViewCloud SupportSD SupportNight VisionMobile/Web AppAlertsOutdoor
1944 x 1092130 DegreesYes, $49/yearYes, up to 128GBYesYes/YesYesNo

All of these articles are written by someone (me) that figured out how to do this stuff the hard way.  I have owned and tested dozens of cameras.  Manufacturer support varies.  There are a few good companies that provide timely answers when you have questions.  There are several that sell you the camera and seem to have little interest in post sales support (which leads me to finding out stuff the hard way).