Swann Communications Night Hawk Camera Pack
- Wireless, cameras can be battery operated, very clear image, inbuilt microphone
- Poor wireless range, sound is barely audible, night viewing range is limited
A cheap video security system with excellent image quality, although it is limited by its wireless range.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
Swann's Night Hawk Camera Pack is a simple wireless video security system, consisting of two wireless cameras and a 4 channel wireless receiver. Easily set up within a few minutes, the Night Hawk Camera Pack provides good viewing resolution in both day and nighttime viewing. This setup would be suitable for anyone requiring a basic security system, ranging from home owners to small shop owners.
The wireless cameras come in a sturdy metal, weatherproof casing with a single power cord dropping off the back. For power, the cameras can either be plugged in to a wall outlet with the included power pack or they can be powered by a 9 Volt battery (with the included battery attachment cable). Running on the battery, the camera could transmit video for up to 3 hours with perfect transmittance, although once the battery was drained, the reception dropped off gradually, until it died. The cameras can be attached to any wall with the 3 screw mounts which are located on the base of the cameras, although of course, cameras must be installed within the range of the wireless receiver.
The set up of the video system is extremely easy and is basically a plug and play system. After plugging the receiving station into a TV through its composite video out port, it automatically starts scanning through the four available channels. The two included wireless cameras each take up one channel, allowing for two extra cameras which can be bought for an additional price. The interface for the base station is very simple, consisting of a power button, and a channel select button. The channel select button can be set to flick between each of the four channels, rotating every 3 seconds, or it can be set to view one channel at a time. Set up thus far only took a few minutes, which gives some idea of the simplicity of this system. Extra consideration was needed for positioning of the cameras, as the video quality dropped off dramatically when out of range of the base station.
The reception range of the devices is advertised to be up to 100 metres with line of sight. This means that for maximum range, the cameras must be setup in a position which can see the base station. This is often very hard to do, as the base station must sit next to a TV or video capture device (such as a VCR), which is usually located inside a building. In our indoor tests, the reception was perfect for up to 25 metres with line of sight, although after this point the video still functioned, but tended to flicker quite often. With a couple of walls in the way, the range dropped down to a measly 10 metres. On the front of the camera, there are jumper settings which switch the working frequency of the wireless system. This is a helpful feature, as it allows users to select a frequency which does not suffer from possible interference from other electronic devices.
The cameras also have inbuilt microphones which transmit audio back to the base station, although the audio signal seemed to suffer from poor reception to a greater extent than the video signal. Once close to the limit of reception, audio flickers on and off, becoming incomprehensible and annoying at times. The base station does have a directional antenna, which does amplify the reception slightly, although when using two cameras, there has to be a compromise to the direction in which it is pointing. Conversations could clearly be heard if the sound source is within 2 metres of the camera, anything past this comes through as an inaudible mumble. Background ambient noise also reduces the effectiveness of the microphone, rendering audio capture to be feasible only in very quiet environments.
Video quality is surprisingly clear. When we were within the reception range of the base station, we were impressed with the ability to distinguish faces on this security system. In daytime viewing, video is in clear colour and transmits at a horizontal resolution of 380 lines, which is similar to more expensive CCTV cameras. One of the main features of this system is the night, or low light viewing operation. On the front of the camera, users will notice 11 infrared LED's, which are automatically enabled when light levels drops. These LED's fire infrared (IR) light and the reflected IR light is then detected and displayed, resulting in night viewing capability. The night viewing capability is limited to the range of the LED's, and this works out to be around 4 metres. Within these 4 metres we could distinguish a faces, although once outside this range, our ability to determine faces became a guessing game.
Overall, the Swann Night Hawk security camera system is a satisfactory and simple video surveillance solution. For the advertised price, it is cheaper than a lot of commercial systems, and does do away with most wires (apart from the power cable). We did find the reception to be slightly disappointing, especially in indoor environments, although as long the base station is close by, this isn't an issue.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Epson EcoTank Expression ET-2500
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Huawei Mate 9
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Google Daydream VR headset
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
Lexar® Portable SSD
Acer Swift 7
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Surface Pro 4
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- AT&T will acquire Time Warner for US$85.4b in content play
- Facebook adds Apple TV and Chromecast support as video push ramps up
- Remocam review: This security camera can control your home appliances
- Logitech's C922 webcam is the revered C920's vastly upgraded successor
- Jump the line for the newest Chromecast features with Google's new preview program
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- Horizon Zero Dawn review
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Japan's pop culture, anime-friendly, J-Pop shrine, Kanda Myojin
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTSales Account Manager | Cloud Solutions | Global Tech GiantNSW
- CCTechnical Consultant - ITSM/HP Service ManagerVIC
- TPInformation Management SpecialistVIC
- FTSenior Web DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Software Engineer x 2 - Adelaide Based (PV, NV2 or NV1 required)Other
- TPAgile CoachNSW
- FTMicrosoft ConsultantVIC
- FTSenior Software Engineer - JavaQLD
- TPProduct Owner - Cloud SolutionsQLD
- FTProject ManagerNSW
- TPIT Project Manager - Office relocationVIC
- FTSnr SOC Security Coordinator - Perm - North Ryde areaNSW
- CCSystems Engineer (Systems Architect/Designer)VIC
- FTDeveloper/ ProgrammerSA
- FTMobile Gaming SupportQLD
- CCUnix AdministratorNSW
- CCSenior Technical SpecialistNSW
- TPService Desk ManagerVIC
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- TPProject CoordinatorNSW
- CCIT Operations Centre EngineerQLD
- TPSenior Test AnalystQLD
- CCIT Infrastructure ArchitectNSW
- CCSenior Storage System Engineer -NetApp & TSMNSW
- FTSolutions Software DeveloperVIC