Nowadays it’s getting more and more common to have a camera set up and watch over what you care, it could be your pet, kid, elder, shops, and you name it. This is also a growing trend that more and more people decide to go with cloud based device for its easy installation and use. What I am receiving today, SpotCam, further proves above observation. From what I can tell quickly from the spec sheet and the design, it’s the cloud service that makes the camera different from competitors such as Dropcam. SpotCam owners get a life time free 24 hours full-time cloud recording for $149, which is also a major advantage of this device.
The SpotCam features a minimal looking, simple tube shaped white body with a free standing bracket at bottom, it could be placed easily on surface like most other home cam but also could be fixed on the wall or ceiling with bundled adapter. Overall it looks good in the house and blends in easily. The height of the camera is around 5 inches and less than 2 inches in diameter. Camera body on the bracket can be adjusted to look up or down, it is well weighted to prevent falling.
The bundled plastic wall mount adapter is white and can let you rotate or easily remove the camera when mounted. What also included is a 10-foot-long power cord and quick start guide.
You can set up SpotCam either by download a installer on their website, or by using the camera’s Android or iOS app. I was using a MacBook Air when setup the camera, all you need to do is access SpotCam website and then hit “Add SpotCam” button at the top-right corner of the webpage to download the installer.
After downloading installer from the website, it simply calls out an installation web page with clear instructions, it should be considered easy even without technology background, you just need to make sure you know how to connect your device to a Wi-Fi network, because during the process you will be asked to connect to SpotCam through it’s built in Wi-Fi.The whole process is quite easy and took me around 5 minutes to see my first image.
The SpotCam app is pretty easy to use. Once you login you will land on MySpotCam page where all of your camera will be displayed in thumbnail. Tap on the image, and then can get in live video page where you also get to review all of your events video and configure your camera.
There are some additional controlsavailable in live video page such as speaker and 30 seconds playback, you can talk to the camera by click on the speaker icon or instantly playback last 30 seconds by click the icon with “30” wording.What really handy is that snapshot button, which let you capture a still image. You can also rotate your phone to landscape mode, and the image will fillfull screen.
There is no limit how many cameras you want to connect with your account, and you can see all of them at the same time on different device as long as you log in with your account, this is also one of the benefit using cloud based system.
SpotCam has a 110-degree field of view, slightly better than Dropcam HD, and image is very sharp and clear, the image is amazing for a home camera especially in the night view. Overall speaking, SpotCam image quality probably is the best in the market so far.
SpotCam provides most functions you would expect for a home monitoring camera. You can set motion event and audio event to get instant notification on your phone or Email, you can also set schedule for it to turn alert off when it’s not necessary. What’s really nice about SpotCam’s motion detection is that you get to configure the “mask” area by yourself, motion in masked areas will not trigger event. This could be very useful when you want to monitor only the entrance and ignore activities inside the house.
One very unique design of SpotCam is that you can set camera into “Sleep Mode”. When camera is sleeping, it stops transmitting video (so no recording on the cloud either) to save your bandwidth usage, and wake up into full function when there is motion or sound detected (you can choose wake up condition by yourself). I noticed that when the camera get up from sleep mode, it will transmit a few seconds of video before wake up as well so you don’t lose the whole context when viewing recorded footage, this is really thoughtful and advanced design.
Also one major benefit of SpotCam is that you get 24 hours cloud recording with no extra cost, the cloud records always your latest 24 hours video and the most important thing it that you get to download desired video clips to your own hard drive or upload to Youtube. This is easy to do by select eh segment you want to download and hit save.Furthermore, besides download in a normal frame rate, you can also choose download in time-lapse style by setting photo taken interval, makes it more fun to use the SpotCam.
Sharing you video clip or even live video with others is also easy with SpotCam, you can invite people by Email and they will see your camera in their subscribed channel once login, and you can block anyone from your sharing list anytime you lock. If you prefer, you can also make your SpotCam public so it will be listed on SpotCam website as public cameras.
For SpotCam camera, it is $149 for indoor model and $199 for outdoor model here in the US, which is on par with Dropcam. For cloud service, asides from free 24 hours recording you get by purchasing the camera, SpotCam also offers three different recording plans: 1-day, 3-day, and 30-day recording, price for each shown as below. This cloud service plan pricing is currently lowest in the market.
The SpotCam is a great alternative to Dropcam. At $149, it’s priced similarly to the Dropcam HD, but provides better image quality and most importantly, 24 hours free recording.This actually makes great difference since you get full function simply by purchasing the camera with one time cost while have to pay monthly subscription fee if you want the same with Dropcam. We expect to see this camera growth quickly in the US market in the near future.