Nanny Cam Review: The Simplicam by Closeli
Real Care.com employees test home monitoring systems and give their honest feedback. Read about one family's experience with the Simplicam by Closeli.
About the Camera
Retailing at $149.99 to $199.99, the Simplicam camera by Closeli has a fairly modern look with a black glossy face and silver stand. The stand and cord wiring are a bit bulky and awkward -- but overall, it's fine. We were able to turn the camera a few different directions, which provided us with a fair amount of options for placement and location.
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Ease of Install
The installation of the camera was simple. There was a mini-USB cable included in the package, so we just plugged one end into the camera and the other end into an outlet. The installation of the Closeli app was just as quick and easy. Once you open the app, it will walk you through a series of steps to set up the camera. The app had difficulty finding the camera the first time, but we were able to connect the camera on the second attempt.
The Closeli app also allows you to enable a facial recognition feature. Setting this up takes a bit more time since it requires you to stand in front of the camera at various angles so it can “recognize” you. It’s a nice-to-have feature, but definitely not a must.
As a Nest Cam owner, I was impressed by the number of features the Closeli offered by comparison. In addition to quickly toggling to recorded events, you can easily rewind and fast-forward from the app’s live view. You're also able to edit recorded events, save these in your "Favorites" folder and even download them to share with friends and family.
- Video Clarity and View: Video clarity is great. The camera shoots in 720p and provides crisp videos during the daytime. Even the night vision, which provides video in black and white, is pretty clear. You can use the pinch and zoom feature up to 4x, but the image gets grainy the more you zoom in. The wide angle lens gives you a 107-degree view. We installed the camera on top of our daughter's crib, and it was able to capture other areas of her nursery (e.g., the door so I could see who was entering/exiting), in addition to the crib.
- Live Viewing: There’s about a second or two delay when live-viewing in the app, and sometimes you have to close out of the app when it says there’s a “lost connection,” even though the WiFi is working perfectly. We weren’t able to turn off the green indicator light, so there is no way of spying on people without them knowing that the camera is on. Ha!
- Remote Pan and Tilt: There isn't any pan and tilt function. Although the wide angle lens compensates for this somewhat, I think this would be a much-valued addition to the camera.
- Recording Options: The Closeli provides you with different recording options. You can opt for one-day, 11-day, or 21-day video storage in the cloud. The one-day plan was enough for us. It was great to capture the first time that our daughter rolled from her back to her tummy, as well as to see what time our daughter really wakes up in the morning. One of the things I really liked about the recording option was the layout in which you could review previous events. You could separate events based on sound, face and movement, and the app broke down these events by the hour in an organized manner. Coming from someone who might have slight OCD, this was definitely a perk for me!
- Battery, Plug-In or Both: The camera needs to be plugged in all the time. It did come with a pretty long power cable (10 feet), so you are able to place the camera a good distance from a power outlet. However, there were several instances when the camera would “lose connection”. I’m not sure if that’s attributed to a power surge/lost WiFi connection in my building. But, as a precaution, it would be a benefit if the camera could default to a backup battery if power were lost.
- Sound and Other Features: You can provide the Closeli app with access to your phone’s microphone so that you can have two-way communication through the camera. We don’t see much use for this since we primarily use the camera to monitor our daughter while she sleeps. While the facial recognition concept sounds pretty cool, it's still in beta and that became readily apparent to us -- the camera incorrectly identified faces, and even identified my husband when no one was in the room with our daughter...creepy.
You can purchase the camera on Amazon.com for $149.99, or you can go for the $199.99 package that includes one year of one-day cloud recording services. The 11-day cloud recording subscription is $13.99/month or $139.99/year, and the 21-day subscription is $22.99/month or $229.99/year.
The Simplicam camera by Closeli is great and I would definitely recommend it. While I wish it came in a silver finish, the video quality is excellent and the camera delivered the features we were looking for. The one-day recording plan also worked well for us. It captured precious moments that we were able to save and download. The fact that you can actually edit, save and download recorded events in the app is a truly great feature for preserving memories. Thanks to Closeli, I was able to take a look at a night’s recording and capture and save the first time our daughter rolled from her tummy to her back!
*Care.com does not endorse or recommend any commercial products, processes, or services. The views and opinions of authors expressed on Care.com do not necessarily state or reflect those of Care.com, and they may not be used for advertising or product endorsement purposes.
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