We've tested a number of webcams and security cameras here at TUAW, but out of those we've tested, none have been designed to work both inside and outside of your home or business. The Swann ADS-460 SwannEye HD Wi-Fi Security Camera (US$179.99) comes in a stout weather-resistant casing and is also billed one of the few security cameras that specifically caters to Mac and iOS users. While the specifications and build quality of the ADS-460 appeared to be quite impressive, the Mac app used to set up the device was so bad that I cannot recommend this device to our readers.
- Weight: 1.48 pounds (670 grams)
- Resolution: 720p (1280 x 720)
- Frame Rate: up to 30 frames per second
- Night Vision: Uses infrared lamps for up to 32 feet (10 m) illumination
- Microphone: Users can listen to what's happening near the camera
- Weatherproofing: IP66 rating
- Micro SD slot for onboard recording
- OS X Requirement: 10.6.8 or later
Many of the webcams and security cams that have been tested by TUAW are rather simple devices made of plastic that are obviously meant to be sequestered inside a home. Not so with the SwannEye HD. It looks like one of the security cameras you might find near a bank or government building, with a sturdy mount and a metal sun/rain-shade that fits over the top.
Surrounding the "iris" of the camera is an array of infrared LEDs that provide illumination when it's dark. During daylight hours, you'll see a full color image; at nighttime, the image appears in grayscale.
Since the camera is designed to be mounted outdoors if you wish, Swann provides a spool of power cable that makes it easy to plug the camera's AC adapter inside the home, then fish the cable through a small hole in an exterior wall to just about any location.
Like most webcams and security cams, the SwannEye HD communicates over Wi-Fi. If you have a WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) compatible Wi-Fi router, setup is automatic. If not, you'll need to plug the camera into an Ethernet port on your router temporarily for setup.
Even Apple's latest Airport Extreme Base Station doesn't support WPS setup, so I had to go through the "long process" to set up the SwannEye HD. This involves plugging in the camera, installing the software onto your Mac, then using it to create a user account and configuring the camera. If you don't have an external optical drive, don't worry! The SwannEye HD Pro software is in the Mac App Store, making it a cinch to download in seconds. Unfortunately, I found the app buggy, inconsistent, and in general a pain the butt to use.
The app seems as if it were written by non-native English speakers and translated to English, as some of the splash screens that appear during the first startup have very odd wording. During setup, you must create an account with Swann, which takes just a minute. Once that's done, you can sign in, and you'll see that your camera is offline.