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SpotCam HD Wi-Fi Wireless Video Monitoring Camera
Author: Bill Lepse
Manufacturer: SpotCam
Source: SpotCam
Purchase: Comparison Shop
Comment or Question: Post Here
Page: 3 of 4 [ 1 2 3 4 ]
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March 11, 2015

Performance:

The first thing I noticed with the SpotCam was a considerable lag in displayed video vs reality. Of course there will always be some delay, but this was on the order of about 8-10 seconds. My son thought it was hysterical to run in to his room, jump around then run into the living room 30 feet away to watch himself. If you find similar performance, I highly suggest you log in via the website. One of the times I logged in I had a message indicating an update was available. After executing the update the lag is noticeably less. I would say more on the order of 2-3 seconds, which was about the same as the DropCam.

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Another thing to note is that despite the camera's claim to have a 110 degree field of view, there is noticeably more area covered with the Dropcam which claims 107 degrees. Comparison pictures below show what I am talking about. I am not sure if SpotCam is over estimating their FOV (field of view) or if DropCam is underestimating. Either way they both provide a good snapshot of what is going on; the only difference is you may have to tweak the positioning of the SpotCam a little more to cover the areas you want.

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I do find that the SpotCam provides somewhat over-saturated colors. I am not sure if this has something to do with the compression, the lens, or the sensor; but it leads to colors being overly dark. I found that in some darker situations there is some detail lost. But in some situations like in the above pictures; you can see the number on the dirt bike appears sharper with the SpotCam. Overall the camera provides very good resolution but I would like the ability to lighten the image.

Night vision capabilities were excellent. As can be seen in the pictures below both cameras provide clear images even in total darkness. With my camera in Auto mode the time to switch from color to IR (black & white) image took a few seconds. But this is typical of any camera.

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The SpotCam also offers activity alerts. You can set it to alert for motion, sound, or if the camera goes offline. By default you will receive alerts to the email used to set up your account.

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You can also set the sensitivity for motion and sound as well. I would have preferred a slider for sensitivity rather than the low, normal, and high settings but they appear to work well for most circumstances. As you can see in the screen capture below, there is a grid, by clicking individual squares they will turn blue and it will mask motion in these areas. When motion is detected outside of this area it will send you the alert with a screen capture of what it saw and a time stamp. You can also set schedules for when these alerts are to be inactive.

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Overall I found the alerts to work well. Going back to the website you can review what triggered the alert and they clearly mark these on the timeline as can be seen below. You can also see them through the app by clicking on the Events tab.

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Another cool feature is to be able to create a time-lapse video, normal video, or snap a picture. Using the time-lapse I can see how quickly my son can make a mess of his playroom and see things start to scatter around. I could see the standard video and picture capture would be very useful if you use this as a security camera. Using these features are incredibly easy, for videos you hit the film strip icon and you'll get a pop up to select time-lapse or normal video. Choosing time-lapse will allow you to choose the timeframe you want and the interval in increments of 1, 5, 10, 30 and 60 minutes. Choosing normal video, you will see a yellow bar on the timeline. You drag this around to choose the window you want recorded.

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After either choice you save the video and it can be found under My Film tab. Here you can view the video or download it. You can store up to 3 hours of video on the site.

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None of this video output would be possible without the use of their cloud storage. Unlike Dropcam, the SpotCam HD comes with 24 hours of revolving cloud storage for life. For many people this may be enough but if you are going to use this for security purposes you would want the ability to go back further. If so, SpotCam's cloud storage plans are very reasonable and significantly cheaper than Dropcam. Below is a chart of available plans.



Over the life of the device you could save yourself several hundred dollars with the SpotCam HD.

I did find that in my testing the website and Android app were a little quirky. The website seemed to be the most stable, but on occasion it would just spin the progress wheel without ever providing a live image as can be seen below. Not sure what was causing this, but it was never an issue with the Android app. The app has its own issues. First thing I noted was an occasional "crash" when opening the app. The phone would indicate the app stopped but once you acknowledged this the app was already running and started to log you in. Sometimes on the start screen it would indicate the camera was disconnected even though it wasn't. Simply tapping the screen brought you to the live image. While there are some issues with the software, in my opinion they are minor. Especially considering that this is a fairly new company and product. With time I suspect all these bugs will be worked out.

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