Smart security is one of the most popular areas of home tech because, well, people don’t like the idea of getting robbed very much. The Neos SmartCam is a bargain 1080p smart camera gives you all the essential features you need – including clear footage, night vision and secure video storage – but without some bells and whistles.
Neos is a home insurance company that provides smart security and safety tech as part of its packages, and the SmartCam is one of these products, also made available to anyone who wants it for a ludicrously low price. And it's excellent – so good, in fact, that it's our pick as the best cheap security camera.
What you get for under £25 is on the more basic end of the smart-cam spectrum, but we can’t complain about the quality. The Neos SmartCam is an indoor-only camera with 1080p recording through a 110-degree lens.
Lots of equivalent standalone wide-angle cameras offer 180-degree vision, which is more flexible for seeing everything with a single camera, but comes at a trade-off of detail (since the same amount of pixels have to show more stuff) – the SmartCam’s footage was a little sharper than a D-Link Omna 180 camera from the very same corner position, for example, and still caught our whole room.
In terms of smarts, you get motion detection and noise detection (with notifications), the sensitivity of which can be tweaked. The motion detection lacks face or person detection, so you’ll get false alerts from rapid light changes or pets (there’s no way to set specific zones to detect motion in, either). That’s no surprise given the price, but more expensive options will give you extra control.
It also arms and disarms itself automatically based on location (which means it won’t send you notifications when you’re at home). This worked perfectly for us, and you can always arm or disarm manually in the app if you want.
The app itself is easy to use and supports multiple cameras. Recordings are 12 seconds long, triggered on detection (of motion or audio – you can toggle these on and off), and are saved for 14 days in the cloud for free (with end-to-end encryption, according to Neos), but you can also record to microSD card to make sure your footage is as accessible as possible.
The quality of recorded images is solid, and there’s night vision, which we’ve found roughly equivalent to other cams on the market that cost around £100. You also get two-way comms for yelling at whoever's broken in, or your dog.
The little stand holds it sturdily enough, and the camera can pivot to dramatic angles, so it's no problem to mount it somewhere: a magnetic base makes it easy to attach to metal, or there's a special adhesive pad included in the box. A £5 mounting kit is also available, with sturdier mounting options, and USB cable extender.
And that’s the gist, really. It’d be an average smart camera if it was more expensive… but it isn’t. In fact, it’s so cheap, the only reason not to get one is if you want a more expensive one.