SpotCam Video Doorbell 2 review: Not the very best, not the worst

The SpotCam Video Doorbell 2 is the most recent in a line of residence surveillance merchandise from Taiwan’s SpotCam. The doorbell is loads chunkier than a few of its opponents, measuring 2.7 x 5.7 x 1.5 inches (WxHxD), however it provides the choice to document to a neighborhood microSD card, which is uncommon.

In our assessments, we discovered the camera produced a superb picture, however the general expertise was let down by the app, which was sluggish. Additionally, whereas the doorbell provides a barebones expertise except you pay for a month-to-month subscription: You’re anticipated to pay for added options corresponding to particular person detection and facial recognition, and that’s on prime of the elective cloud storage charges.

Utilizing the SpotCam Video Doorbell 2

The SpotCam Video Doorbell 2 capabilities like most of its opponents. It is going to preserve watch on the world through which it’s put in and ship push notifications when movement is detected. When somebody involves the door and presses the button, the AC-powered wi-fi chime you’ll plug in inside the home sounds off and a two-way video dialog is feasible through the app.

The doorbell can ship alerts to the app and/or an e-mail tackle. A schedule will also be set for the alerts, to keep away from them being acquired at sure instances, and the camera itself may be disabled and enabled on a schedule.

This review is a part of TechHive’s protection of the very best video doorbells, the place you’ll discover reviews of the competitors’s choices, plus a purchaser’s information to the options it’s best to think about when purchasing for this sort of product.

The 1080p video from the sensor is nice, and the unit has infrared night time imaginative and prescient and a really vast 180-degree area of view. I discovered the camera’s movement detection to be comparatively good, though it did fail a number of instances to identify me strolling in direction of it.

The camera can document video to the cloud in addition to to an inner microSD card, making it one of many few doorbells to have a neighborhood storage possibility. There’s additionally a normal cloud-storage plan that features seven days of free cloud storage, and there are three ranges of premium service with 30 days, 180 days and one year of storage. The latter two are among the many longest storage choices provided by any video doorbell maker.

spotcam video doorbell 2 back plate Martyn Williams / IDG

The rear of the SpotCam Video Doorbell 2, exhibiting its energy connectors and microSD card slot.

Subscription choices

Extra complicated sensing choices can be found with varied paid subscriptions: Pay $9.99 per thirty days or $99 per 12 months—on prime of no matter cloud storage plan you join—and also you’ll get human detection (which is able to ignore animals and different shifting objects), car detection, a digital fence that may warn you solely when movement is detected throughout the boundaries of that space, and lacking object detection that may warn you when an object has been faraway from the camera’s area of view. Face recognition prices a further $9.99 per thirty days/$99 per 12 months. You even have the choice to buy these specialised detection options on an a la carte foundation. This hyperlink will take you to that web page on SpotCam’s web site. It’s value rigorously determining what options you may want and the way a lot it’ll all value earlier than deciding if the SpotCam is an effective purchase.

The app

My largest criticism of the SpotCam Video Doorbell 2 entails the time it took to see the video after an alert. It takes round 10 seconds for the app to launch and log in after the alert is pressed. However the video shouldn’t be introduced instantly; as an alternative, you get a listing of cameras, even in the event you simply have one. You will need to click on the doorbell cam to get into the subsequent display, after which click on the “occasions” button to see recorded clips after which, lastly, click on the clip.

Every time I attempted it took round 20 seconds from begin to end and every time I used to be lastly greeted with a “Importing of this video shouldn’t be completed but, please attempt once more later.” It’s a must to wait a number of extra seconds till the video is on the market, which is fairly poor by present requirements.

Spotcam up to date the doorbell firmware and the app after our review was revealed, so we determined to take a re-examination. The {hardware} was the identical however we used model of the Android app and firmware model 134 on the doorbell.

Certainly one of our main complaints was the time it took to start out enjoying a recording after an alert had been triggered. Within the new model of the app, the delay between an alert being triggers and enjoying again a recorded video has been been diminished from 20 seconds to round 7 seconds, however I nonetheless confronted the issue of the video not all the time being out there. 

The app does have an attention-grabbing function referred to as “Now on Air.” Click on that button and also you’ll acquire entry to safety cameras made public by their homeowners. The identical video is on the market on the SpotCam web site, the place it clarifies that every one streams are personal by default and a few homeowners have chosen to make theirs public.

spotcam video doorbell 2 screenshots Martyn Williams / IDG

Three screens from the SpotCam app, one exhibiting set up issues, one exhibiting the Now On Air function, and one exhibiting the display seen when somebody rings the doorbell.

Set up

Putting in the doorbell camera was comparatively straightforward, however I did face a few hiccups.

The unit attaches to a bracket that must be connected with screws or a equipped sticky pad. I first tried to screw it right into a picket submit close to my entrance door and the highest of the screw sheared off whereas I used to be hand tightening it. I attempted once more, this time with a small pilot gap to make it simpler, however the second screw sheared too. I’ve by no means had a screw shear like that and to have it occur twice in a row made me conclude the equipped screws have been weak or poorly made.

spotcam video doorbell 2  chime speaker 1 SpotCam

You’ll plug this wi-fi chime into an outlet someplace in your house, so that you just’ll hear when somebody presses the doorbell button, even in the event you don’t have your telephone with you.

Once I finally bought it connected, it took a number of tries to connect with my Wi-Fi. The hotspot shouldn’t be far-off from the unit inside the home, however the doorbell had issues connecting and this stage in setup took about quarter-hour. As soon as related it appeared steady, however it all the time confirmed a weak sign the place different doorbells often indicated a robust connection. Wi-Fi connectivity continued to be an issue with the brand new firmware and the brand new model of the Android app.

The SpotCam Video Doorbell 2 may be powered by battery or a normal 8-24 volts AC doorbell energy provide or 5 volts DC. Battery life will depend on the quantity of use the doorbell will get and the variety of instances it detects motion, however SpotCam claims this may be so long as six months. After two weeks of testing, the battery was down from three bars to 1 bar. The battery is inner and may be recharged through a USB socket on the rear of the gadget, however the battery shouldn’t be detachable.

The SpotCam Video Doorbell 2 shouldn’t be a robust worth

The SpotCam Video Doorbell 2 isn’t the worst video doorbell we’ve reviewed however it additionally isn’t the very best. If you would like native storage reasonably than counting on the cloud, it’s best to think about this together with the Netatmo Good Video Doorbell. A free cloud storage plan is sweet, however that’s turning into the norm (with the notable exception of Ring). Given the lag with accessing video on the app and the added prices to unlock all its options, this doorbell camera simply isn’t a robust worth.

Up to date September 13, 2021 to report our expertise with the SpotCam Video Doorbell’s new firmware—model 134—and a more recent model——of SpotCam’s Android app. Whereas the doorbell’s efficiency has improved, the change wasn’t important sufficient for us to alter our bottom-line opinion.

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