For years, SimpliSafe’s only option for outdoor video monitoring (other than the Video Doorbell Pro) was its indoor-only SimpliCam wrapped in a weatherproof rubber sleeve. Now, the company is finally offering a proper, battery-powered outdoor cam, complete with a weatherized shell, a spotlight, and people detection.
Available now for $170, the SimpliSafe Wireless Outdoor Security Camera is a svelte, cylindrical camera with a swiveling magnetic base, Wi-Fi connectivity, Alexa and Google Assistant support, and a rechargeable, replaceable battery that promises to deliver between 3 and 6 months of battery life on a single charge.
Equipped with two antennas, the new SimpliFi outdoor cam is capable of connecting to 2.4GHz Wi-Fi networks, but it won’t work without a SimpliSafe base station. To get a base station, you’ll need to purchase one of SimpliSafe’s alarm systems, which start at $230 for a four-piece kit.
The Outdoor Security Camera has a 140-degree field of view and supports HDR video resolution up to 1080p (720p and 480p are also options, with 720p being the default), as well as 8x digital zoom.
The camera boasts two types of night vision: full color, with help from the integrated spotlight, or black-and-white infrared.
Activity zones let you designate which areas of the frame can trigger motion alerts, allowing you to include (for example) your driveway while excluding the street or a neighbor’s window.
The camera also supports people detection, but only if you pony up for one of SimpliSafe’s subscription plans. The company’s $10-a-month Self-Monitoring plan offers unlimited video events for up to five cameras, while a $25/month Interactive Monitoring plan adds 24/7 professional monitoring, unlimited video events for up to 10 cameras, and cellular backup for the base station in case you lose your regular internet connection.
Other features on the outdoor cam include two-way audio and an 80dB siren for scaring off intruders, while “smart AI” helps to preserve battery life (presumably by preventing swaying branches and other random events from triggering video recording).
The Outdoor Security Camera has an IP65 rating, which means it offers complete protection from dust ingress, as well as resistance to powerful jets of water from any direction. In other words, the cam shouldn’t have any trouble withstanding rainy or snowy conditions, no rubber sleeve required. (You can read all about IP codes at this link).
SimpliSafe is selling a couple of accessories to go along with its new outdoor cam: a power cord ($50, ouch) in case you’d rather not rely on battery power, as well as extra battery packs ($30 each).
Meanwhile, an $80 solar panel for the cam is slated to arrive this fall. SimpliSafe says the solar panel should be able to power the outdoor camera provided it gets three hours of sunlight each day. Also coming in the fall is a $35 permanent mount that replaces the included magnetic mount.
We’ll have a full review of the SimpliSafe Outdoor Security Camera once we spend time with an eval unit.
Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices. You can follow Ben on Twitter.