Announced waaaaaay back at CES 2018, the Somfy Outdoor Camera is a strange one. On the one hand it's a slightly expensive smart outdoor security camera with a design that's hardly on a par with some of its more well known, much sleeker-looking, rivals. On the other, it packs in extra security smarts and adds plenty of weight to what is already an impressive smart security platform ‚Äď Somfy Protect.
I say expensive, but it does come in at a more affordable price-tag than the heavy hitting, more-well-known, Nest Cam IQ Outdoor and Arlo Pro 2. However, there are still plenty of cheaper options such as the Logitech Circle 2 and the impressive Ring Stick Up Cam.
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But what exactly are you getting for your buck? Read on for our full Somfy Camera Outdoor review.
Somfy Outdoor Camera: Design and installation
That design. What to say really? In an age where rivals are packing in a similar collection of tech in slick-looking devices at around half the size of the Somfy, it's clear that the French company has a LOT of catching up to do on the aesthetics front.
Sure, it packs in a 110dB siren ‚Äď but does it really need a back box that's as big as that? (The Ring Stick Up has a siren, and is much svelter.) And why is the camera bit equally as massive? Yes, you want a smart security camera to be seen ‚Äď but you don't want it to be an eyesore. And I'm afraid the Somfy Outdoor is a bit of one.
On to a plus point and the Somfy Outdoor has a trio of powering options ‚Äď although sadly no PoE option, which is a shame as I'm sure the hardware could have been fitted into that massive back box.
What it does have is the option to be plugged into a mains power socket; connected to an existing outdoor-light fitting you're not using; or ‚Äď and quite uniquely ‚Äď the ability to be connected to an outdoor light and have both powered by the same light switch. On that last option, you can also set it up so the light turns on if motion is detected ‚Äď effectively making a dumb outdoor bulb smart.
I went for a regular old plug option, using an outdoor power socket I have. It's actually the option Somfy recommends the least and, as such, there's no plug in the box. However, it's easy enough to do with some regular electric cable.
Somfy Outdoor Camera: Features and video quality
Let's stick with the positives for now and the Somfy Outdoor Camera is a bit more than just another pair of smart eyes to keep watch on your abode. I've mentioned the built-in siren already and its use is actually two-fold.
Out of the box, it works in tandem with the tech built into the device itself. If it detects motion ‚Äď at times when you've specified ‚Äď then you'll get an alert on your phone and the option to view the live feed. A pop-up will let you choose to ignore the motion, if nothing looks awry; speak to the trespasser (either live or with a pre-recorded message); or you can choose to trigger the 110dB (i.e. LOUD) siren if it looks like some bad shit is going down on your premises.
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If you have an existing Somfy Protect system then this siren can double up as a regular outdoor siren, i.e if your system is armed and something sets it off, the siren will be triggered even if it wasn't an action the Outdoor Camera itself detected. Additionally, the Camera also means an extra motion sensor for your system which can help to trigger alerts and alarms when the system is armed.
The Somfy Outdoor has Full HD with HDR, a 130-degree field of view, 8x zoom function and night vision with clear night vision range of up to 8 metres. Video quality is great and there's the option within the app to switch between SD, 720p and 1080p depending on how much detail you need from the feed.
The Outdoor Camera also knows when you have arrived back and will automatically power down and / or disarm a Somfy Protect system, and you'll get a notification reminding you to switch it back on when you leave again.
A nice feature, also seen on the indoor Somfy One cam, is the motorised shutter that effectively turns the camera off, but also gives peace of mind to people that you‚Äôre not spying on them. You can set the shutter to only be open when you‚Äôre not home, or only when the alarm system is activated.
On its rugged-credentials, it's IP54 weather resistance certified which means it'll survive rain or shine, in temperatures ranging from -20¬įC to 50¬įC.
Somfy Outdoor Camera: Integrations and the app
Back to the minus points and the app is a bit messy. The Somfy Protect app itself isn't all that bad but when it comes to the security cameras, both the Outdoor and the One, they aren't front and centre of the app ‚Äď you need to click a little camera icon in the bottom bar ‚Äď and there‚Äôs no two-way talk option, just a ‚Äėpress and hold‚Äô option to send your voice, which makes intercom chat pretty impossible (it‚Äôs designed to warn burglars, not chat with your family).
Also, be aware that, even though the company behind both is the same, Somfy Protect (essentially born out of a takeover of another company, MyFox, a few years back) and Somfy Tahoma are two completely separate systems. Sure, there's some overlapping but, believe me, it's just so faffy for such little reward, it's hardly worth the effort. Check out our Somfy Tahoma review for more on this.
Alexa and Google Assistant are invited to the Somfy party but it's all a bit limited ‚Äď there's no viewing of the camera footage as you get with the likes of Nest and Ring. You can ‚Äď using the Somfy skill ‚Äď simply arm and disarm the alarm, enable the night mode or open and close the privacy shutter.
It also carries the Works With Nest badge and there are some neat home/away integrations available there for your smart thermostat.
Footage from the Outdoor is recorded in 10-second clips when motion is detected and you'll get access to these clips for 24 hours, free of charge. However, if you want to have continuous recording and access for seven days, you'll need to subscribe to the silver plan, which is ¬£3.99 per month.
- Improves existing Protect system
- Multiple power options
- Built-in siren
- Ugly design
- Smart intergrations are limited
- Fairly expensive