Another Wi-Fi camera popped up on our radar recently, and it goes by the name of SpotCam. The $149 camera offers many features similar to those of competitors like Dropcam and SImplicam, but also a few more that may make it more appealing to some users. With 24-hours of free recording, night mode, 720p HD video and two-way talk — is SpotCam a valid competitor in the [connected home](/connected-home] space? Read on and let's find out!
Plain and simple when you open the SpotCam box. Tucked inside you'll find the camera, bundled power adapter, and wall mount making for a quick and easy setup. You can download the companion app for either Android or iOS, so all you need is a Wi-Fi network to get up and running.
The SpotCam camera itself is on the slight larger side as far as Wi-Fi cameras go. It's a bit heavier than I expected, and not really low-profile by any means. I've had many cameras that were much more "ignorable" than the SpotCam, so I was a bit disappointed by the size. Though depending on where you plan to place it, that may not be an issue for you.
Finding a home for the SpotCam isn't too much of an issue — it can be placed on a table or shelf, or easily attached to the wall (or even the ceiling) in a few minutes time.
That being said, the build quality is solid. It's essentially a big tube of a camera, everything continued within. There's a base on the bottom (that can also be attached to the wall) and a power cable that stems off the back. Also on the back is a small switch used during the setup process.
The camera itself is packed with goodies that include 720p HD video, automatic night vision, two-way audio, and Wi-Fi. The SpotCam HD Pro model is actually IP54 water and dust resistant, making it a great option for anyone needing an outdoor camera as well.
There is also a built-in sleep mode, which lets the camera only transmit data when an event is triggered. This helps save on bandwidth as it will only access the cloud when events happen.
Setup of the SpotCam is a simple process though it did take me a few tries to get everything to work properly. The idea is that you switch modes on the camera — first making it a hotspot of sorts to connect to your phone — then switch it back once your Wi-Fi is setup correctly. It's not a very intense process at all, but I did have a few hiccups with it hanging or not picking up settings properly at first. It's not the easiest Wi-Fi camera I've setup, but it's far from the hardest too.
After the initial setup, you can use the SpotCam mobile app on Android or iOS to dive into the settings of your camera. Start off by choosing a name (office, bedroom, etc) then tweak up things like status light, 180-degree video rotation (if you have the camera sitting sideways or upside down), night vision, and camera microphone. You can also set a schedule for the camera to operate which is cool, so if you're home all day for example, you can only have the camera do it's magic at night or while you're out.
There's also an option for alerts — along with a schedule setting — so you can choose when to be notified for motion or sound alerts from your SpotCam.
The main screen of the app shows you camera (or multiple cameras) and you simply tap the image to go to the camera view. From there, you'll be able to view the live feed, check a quick replay, record video, share your video feed view events and use the two-way talk feature. Navigating the app is very simple. There are only a few features that you'll need to know, each of which has its own icon for easy use.
Things are a bit more robust from the web interface too (myspotcam.com). You'll get a larger view of your camera and can view the timeline by hour, minute or day. Here you can also see when events were triggered throughout the day as marks will be noted on the timeline for motion and sound occurrences.
I do feel like the app could be a bit snappier and cleaner. It feels a bit like it was rushed and only the basic features were stuck in. There's nothing that screams "wow" about the app (or the web interface), rather they're just there to get the job done. Everything is just plain when it comes to SpotCam.
Videos come through clear, for the most part, though at times they were a bit choppy depending on my phone's connection. There is also a 3-5 second lag time between the video and real world as well. The two-way talk feature worked well even though it's a bit clunky (and I'm not sure how often I'd use it anyway).
There's also an option to share you camera's URL, so you can let others view your feed or even create a public camera feed for any number of reasons. I personally don't have a need for this, but it's cool nonetheless
While you won't need a recording plan to use your SpotCam, there are various tiers of cloud storage available should you want to store video for longer periods. With the free plan, you'll be able to view your video, get 24-hours of cloud recording, see motion and event detection, share video, and receive alerts. You won't however be able to view any video older than 24 hours.
Using a storage plan (NVR as SpotCam calls it) you'll be able to have 3, 7, or 30-day recordings saved in the cloud. The 3-day plan runs $3.95/month, 7-day for $5.95/month, and 30-day for $19.95/month. One of these options will be best for those looking to use SpotCam for security reasons, rather than just checking in on the pets or kids. You'll need a plan for each camera, but you do save 50% off each additional one.
Overall the SpotCam is a good — not great — Wi-Fi camera. It's on par with similar devices like Simplicam and Dropcam, though the latter two are a more rounded (hardware and software) even if the all-in price is a bit higher.
For $149, SpotCam gets you a good Wi-Fi camera with alerts and video recording. The camera itself is a bit big for my liking, and really sticks out in some instances where I'd rather have something small and clean. It's great that SpotCam offers 24 hours of recording at no charge, and their NVR plans are inexpensive should you need longer recording times.
Everything on SpotCam is just pretty basic. The hardware, the app, the web interface. Some things feel unfinished, and it seems like you should get a bit more for the price. If you're looking for a new Wi-Fi camera, you may want to hold off on this one until it's a bit more refined.