Swann Security BlueAlert Security Kit Reviewed

Swann Security BlueAlert Security Kit Reviewed


Security is a major concern in all of
our lives, we’ve got alarm systems on our houses and cars, and we try
and secure all of our belongings as well from theft. It’s a shame
really though what the world has come to, I can remember a time when
we knew all of our neighbors and trusted the community, we left our
doors open, windows open, and security systems were things that only
the super rich had on their houses and cars. Now I don’t leave my
house without securing the windows and doors, and making sure the
alarm is on, and in my car I’ve got the Club and an alarm system as
well. I’ve got three children and I will do whatever I have to to
protect them, and I will do whatever I have to to protect my
possessions as well, but if I’m not home there’s not much I can do
expect apply or install deterrents to crime like alarms, bars on the
windows and even a CCTV security system now. The neighborhood I live
in was a great place to live and grow up, but now it’s full of drugs,
drug dealers and crime, including shootings and robberies, it is not
the place I remember growing up in. Sure I could move to somewhere
else, but I own my house, and let’s face it, crime is everywhere,
sure it’s not as prevalent in other places, but those places are
usually limited to the rich, or those with a lot more money than I
have, so I have to work with what I have and do whatever I have to to
protect my family and their belongings.

I’ve got quite a bit of experience in
CCTV security systems, I’ve installed systems that costs upwards of
$40,000 so I know a bit about working with them and what’s good and
what isn’t. What I’ve worked with is professional quality equipment,
but with society being ever security conscience there are kits and
systems that are aimed at the regular person, they aim to do what
professional systems can do but at a fraction of the price. These
kits offer peace of mind and can act as a deterrent against crime,
but are they any good? Swann Security has sent me over their
BlueAlert Security Kit for review, it includes a DVR that records to
a standard SD card, and one wireless camera with infrared
capabilities built in. The BlueAlert DVR is a tiny box, about the
thickness of a DVD box, and half as wide so it can be discreetly
placed wherever you need it. Is it any good? Well if I compare it to
professional kits costing 100 times more then I can say no, but for
what it is and what it costs it’s well worth the security and peace
of mind that you can get from owning it.

So continue on to learn more about the
BlueAlert Security Kit from Swann Security…






BlueAlert Security Kit


Author: Kristofer


Swann Security



Specs,Features or the Basic Info:

BlueAlert Security Kit

Movement Video Recorder with
Camera & SD Card

Part#: SW244-WBW


The BlueAlert is Swann’s
smallest & most compact Movement Video Recorder. Records JPEG
photo images or AVI video files when motion is detected. The
BlueAlert is housed in a stylish metallic red casing. With the
BlueAlert’s size being smaller than a DVD case you can store the DVR
discreetly on a shelf or bookcase without it being noticed.

Select between 1 wired & 1
wireless camera (use with any Swann security camera except IP
cameras). Built-in PIP (Picture-In-Picture) feature allows you to see
1 wired & 1 wireless camera simultaneously on your monitor. The
BlueAlert will record one camera at a time for optimum recording
performance, the BlueAlert has four channels, and may be used with up
to 4 cameras, although we recommend 3 for best results.


A BONUS (included) 128MB SD
card can store over 2,000 images or 250 AVI videos (10 seconds each).
The BlueAlert can take SD Cards ranging from 128MB to 2GB for maximum
storage capacity. It also has installed a 16MB hard drive. The
BlueAlert allows for easy back up to PC and you can view images
caught by the BlueAlert on your existing television set.

Protect your home or business
by using Swann’s new BlueAlert for detecting & recording
movement when you most need it. Don’t waste time by watching hours of
an empty room with no activity, the motion detection feature allows
you to select the sensitivity of the motion detection for example, it
may ignore family pets, or if you are looking to keep an eye on
family pets then set the sensitivity higher to keep an eye on them

This Security Kit includes an
128MB SD Card and a Wireless Security Camera, everything you need to
get recording today!

The BlueAlert is your perfect
Personal Security Recorder.


* Record AVI video files or
JPEG photo images


* Add an SD memory card for
easy back-up (any size up to 2GB)

* A 2GB card (not included) can
store up to 28,000 images or 4,380 AVI videos (10 seconds each)

* Built-in PIP (Picture In
Picture) feature allows you to see 1 wired & 1 wireless camera
simultaneously on your monitor

* Conveniently connect wireless
or wired cameras

* Compact size for discreet
storage & operation

* Wireless Camera included in



* Size: 3” x 2” (80mm x

* 2-Channel Input (1 wired / 1

* Wireless option offers 4
frequencies for added flexibility

* Built-in PIP (Picture In
Picture) feature

* Built-in memory 16MB

* Video output to TV

* Preset NTSC or PAL TV system


Channels: 2414, 2432, 2450,

Power Supply: 8V DC 200mA

Power Consumption: 65-110mA

Size: 2″ x 1 3/4″ (54
x 43mm)

Antenna: Omni-directional

Transmitting Range: Up to 150ft
(50m) (depending on local conditions)

Weight: 7 ¾ oz (220

Camera Operating Temperatures:
14°F to 122°F ~ (-10°C to 50 °C)

Sensor: 1/3″ (8.5mm) Color

Horizontal Resolution: 380TV

Minimum Illumination: 1 Lux @

Lens: 7/32″ (5.6mm) 60°

Better Look at Things:

The Swann Security BlueAlert
Security Kit comes in a plastic clamshell style box that shows the
camera and DVR through the cover. There is quite a bit of information
all over it listing specs and features.

There are several things included
in the box besides the DVR and Camera, included are power supplies
for both the camera and DVR, mounting screws if need be, audio video
cable, RCA/BNC adapter, user manual and nice security stickers. There
is supposed to be a 128MB memory card included but sadly there wasn’t
one in the kit that I received.

The DVR unit itself is attractive
and nicely done, it has a blue aluminum housing with control buttons
on the top.

On the right side are navigation
control buttons to be used with the on-screen interface to navigate
the menus, while the left side has buttons that allow access to the
menu, changing modes, changing between cameras and a button labeled
‘Snap’ that allows you to take a snapshot when you want to.


On the front of the DVR is located
four LEDS to indicate the channels, a memory card slot and a button
labeled ‘Set’ to change the channels.

On the back of the unit is a space
for a wired camera, the connection to hook up the included audio
video cable to view on screen, power adapter connection, on/off
switch and of course the antenna.

There’s not much on the bottom,
just four rubber feet, and ID label and vents to help keep the unit

The camera included is small and
seems well made, the front cover screws off to allow access to the
inside where the switches are to change the channels on the camera if
need be. The included camera is infrared capable and the lens is
surrounded by infrared LEDs to do this. It’s a fixed lens with
auto-focus so you can’t change it or zoom in and out.

Testing and Comparison:

I really don’t have much to
compare this kit too expect equipment that costs ten to twenty times
more and that’s truly not a fair comparison…Being that I’ve worked
with high end security equipment I could tear this system apart and
point out numerous flaws that it has, but I’ve got to take into
consideration the price of it, and exactly who it’s being marketed
to. It’s not billed as a professional system and makes no claims to
that effect, it’s made as a personal CCTV system for the home user
and could possibly be used for a small business. It’s meant to
monitor the area you install it in, and give the user some peace of
mind along with deterring any possible crimes, people see a camera
and will think twice about doing something wrong there usually.

The range of the Swann BlueAlert
is fairly limited, but it depends on what the signal has to go
through, and you can change the channels on the camera and the DVR to
find the best reception for your needs. I mounted the camera outside
on my porch looking down to see who was visiting and I have the DVR
on the other side of the wall in the house, but I found I can move
the DVR around, I had it on my desk which is about 20 feet from the
door, there was some interference, the picture flipped a bit but not
as to bad, of course if you’re recording it’ll record that
interference. For just observation uses it’s fine though, but if you
wish to record things and have a decent picture you’ll need to have
the box closer to the camera, and try to limit any interference if
possible. On a side note it does mention in the instructions that
wireless LANs can possibly interfere with the reception, and I do
have wireless in my home, the manual recommends moving it as far away
as possible to minimize interference.

When the kit is powered on there
are two red LEDs, one to indicate power and the other, on the front
of the DVR, to indicate the channel you are on.

The interesting thing about this
kit is that you can use up to five cameras really, 4 wireless and 1
wired, but the downside is that you can only record to one at a time.
You can of course use the picture in picture function to view one
wired and one wireless camera on screen at the same time.


The included camera is not the
best, but you can use other cameras with the DVR if you wish to,
there are many out there today to pick from, wireless and wired that
would work very well. As it is the camera included is good for
monitoring things close up, like the entryway or porch as I have mine
setup so you can see who’s coming and going, you can instantly know
who’s at the door at a glance at your monitor. Of course you can also
use this system to monitor other things like your baby, or your pets,
or whatever you wish too really. I’ve hooked up a nice professional
camera to the BlueAlert, it’s a wired camera, and it’s also an
expensive camera, so the picture is perfect, the camera that I’ve
hooked up can be used for evidence if need be in a police
investigation, whereas the included camera with the BlueAlert would
most likely not show enough information to be used in any
investigation, but could be depending on where you have the camera
situated. If I would have mounted my camera lower, and closer to eye
level then it would get a nice clear shot of faces etc, but that
also poses the problem of it being accessible to people and possibly
being damaged or destroyed, which would render it useless. The idea
is to keep the cameras in view but out of reach from
vandals/criminals, and of course have them able to record what you
want clearly.

The color is off quite a bit, one
day I was wearing a bright, dark red, Coca-Cola t-shirt and it showed
as bright pink on the videos, but blues and yellows seem to show up
ok but a bit faded.

Here’s a few still shots to show
you colors:

I’ve got a cat who lives outside
so her food bowl and dish are on the porch, the bowl is a bluish
green, and there’s a Tonka truck that’s yellow in the picture as
well, you can make out the colors fairly easily, but that is on a
bright sunny day, if it’s overcast or dark the colors will tend to go

Here’s a picture of me coming home
carrying some broken down boxes, I’ve got green camouflage BDUs on
and a gray t-shirt, the boxes are standard brown in color which you
can sort of make out, and you really can’t tell the color of my pants
at all or the fact that they are camouflage.

Here’s a shot of my mailman
delivering the mail, you really cannot tell the colors of the clothes
he’s wearing at all:

I’ve got two brief movies for you,
as the BlueAlert only records in 10 second clips. The first is one my
children and the cat to give you an idea of the colors since I used
the same still above:


The second movie I have is the
same angle but taken at around 2am to show the night abilities of the
camera and you can barely make out anything, the infrared doesn’t do
much at that distance. If the camera was closer to the ground it
might have made a difference, but I don’t think it would have made

The BlueAlert Security Kit can
make a great base kit really, just add a good camera and you can have
a really nice kit, it doesn’t matter if it records to only one camera
at a time really because people will not know that, they only see the
cameras and won’t know which one records. If you see CCTV cameras
then you expect them to be recording at all times, it’s just their
presence that is all that is needed really. In some places that I’ve
installed systems I’ve used dummy cameras as a placeholder for the
real cameras, when they are up high you can’t tell the difference and
people think they are real cameras and that they are being

The lowest price I found this kit
was $129.99 at RadioShack, and that’s not bad really for what you
get, I think it’s worth the price considering you can add more
cameras to the kit. You’re not going to get a small DVR like this for
such a low price, the DVR alone is worth the cost really. In my
installs I’ve paid that much just for a lens on a camera, and that’s
not including the price of the camera that’s just the lens for it, so
to get an entire kit for the price of a single lens is not bad at all

{mospagebreak title=The Interface}



To finish up this review I’ve got
screenshots of the actual user interface for you, the interface is
very simple and easy to use as long as you read the instructions to
figure out how to use it and what the settings are for. I did find
that the buttons on the DVR are very sensitive, it could have been
the version that I got though, but pushing a button once would
essentially double click it, and other times I had to push the button
two or three times for it to do anything at all, not sure what the
problem was there…

When you first connect the DVR
you’re greeted with the camera view, the time and date are shown in
the upper right corner, and there are icons in the upper left corner
to let you know a bit more information. The square on the far left is
supposed to be a memory card, then the eye is motion detection is on
and the camera indicates the BlueAlert is in Still capture mode, it
will change to a small video camera when you activate video

Clicking the menu buttons brings
up the options screen, on the first screen there are three main
options, Time/Date Setup, Motion Detect On/Off, and Toggling between
Still Capture and Video Recording. The icon that looks like Tools
leads to further setup options, and the icon with the Guy walking out
the door is the Exit.

On the second setup page is where
you’ll find the more advanced options. The first is to toggle between
NTSC and PAL TV, the second is to select the quality, either High or

The third options allows you to
select the Motion Detect Area, clicking this will take you back to
the came view where a dotted line box appears that you can adjust to
select the area where you want the motion to be detected.

The next two options are Motion
Detect Count and Motion Detect Interval. Motion Detect Count is for
still capture, you can select 1, 3 or 5 photos taken for each time
the motion detect is activated. Motion Detect Interval is where you
can select the time in seconds to pause between separate motion
detect events, and it’s the same 1,3 or 5 choices.

The last option is Motion Detect
Sensitivity and here you can set the sensitivity of the motion
detection of the system. When you click the icon you’ll be taken back
to the camera view where you’ll see the Motion Detection Area that
you selected and two lines of text:

Target Value: (and a number)

Current Value: (and a number)

Current value is the level of
Motion that is currently being detected on a scale of 0 to 99 where 0
is not motion and 99 is the highest sensitivity. The Target Value is
the level of motion required to set off the motion detection feature.
This system takes a bit to figure out and get accustomed to, you’ll
have to play with it a few times to get it really set where you want
it to be.

That’s it for the review… the
whole thing is fairly easy to use as long as you read the

and Comments:

So in all honestly the Swann
Security BlueAlert Security Kit is actually pretty good for what it
is and what it costs.

As I mentioned the DVR alone is
worth the cost, I’d pay $130 for the DVR no problems, it has quite a
few features, it’s very easy to use, and it seems very well made,
with it’s aluminum housing it should be able to withstand quite a bit
of abuse.

Obviously it’s not a high end
professional security system, but it can be very useful to the
average person to monitor everything from family, pets to even
property. As I mentioned just the presence of a camera can act like a
deterrent to crime.

For the cost it’s well worth it I
believe and it can add a level of security, along with ease of use if
you wish to visually monitor something.

DragonSteelMods gives the Swann
BlueAlert Security Kit a 4 out of 5 score.


-Small compact size

-Easy to use

-Easy to setup

-Can use up to five cameras

-Large capacity even with small

-Auto re-write

-Very configurable

-Seems well made and durable

-Picture in Picture

-Great for beginners

-Uses standard SD cards up to

-Relatively inexpensive


-Picture quality is sub-par

-Short focal distance

-No zoom or focus

-Controls are touchy

-Limited wireless range for usable

-Limited to 10 seconds of video

-Missing SD card from kit I

-Very limited for nighttime

would like to thank
for the chance to review the BlueAlert
Security Kit
and for their support of DSM.

review# 490