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SpotCam HD Eva review: The security features are good, but the app isn't

Michael Ansaldo | Oct. 12, 2016
This Dropcam disciple offers pan-and-tilt, 24-hour recording, and motion/audio detection. But some awkward app functions keep it from living up to its promise.

SpotCam is a relatively recent entrant in the DIY security sweepstakes, offering a trio of HD (720p) indoor and outdoor cameras. The $160 SpotCam HD Eva looks to muscle in—perhaps literally, given its bulky body—on the crowded Dropcam/Nestcam space with attractive features such as 24-hour continuous recording and motorized pan/tilt. A few peccadilloes, however, keep it from the top tier.

You can forget about hiding the SpotCam HD Eva in plain sight—there’s nothing inconspicuous about this camera; it’s easily the bulkiest we’ve reviewed so far. The head unit is bigger than a tennis ball—which is typically the largest comparative size we see on DIY security cams—and the base is nearly as big. In fact, it almost looks as if they stacked two of the same cone-shaped modules one on top of the other.

Inside that ample head is an IP camera ringed with 18 high-power infrared LEDs for night vision. The camera has a 110-degree field of view, which should be enough to take in most rooms.

In the event it’s not, you can take advantage of the SpotCam Eva’s pan-and-tilt functionality. Using the Spotcam mobile or web app, you can pan the camera 360 degrees—180 degrees in either direction—tilt it up 50 degrees, or down 20 degrees. Motorized pan-and-tilt is also a nice feature for tracking pets or (hopefully not) intruders as they move through your home.

SpotCam HD Eva also includes a speaker and microphone, so you can communicate remotely with family members or pets at home or scare off burglars with your voice. And, like all SpotCam’s, Eva can be used with IFTTT recipes to connect with other smart-home devices, including Philips Hue lighting, Nest Labs’ Nest Protect smoke/CO detector, and Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant.

eva front 
SpotCam HD EVA boasts many desirable features, but its pan-and-tilt is hampered by clunky app control. Credit: SpotCam

All surveillance footage is recorded to SpotCam’s cloud servers, and buyers get the SpotCam Live plan, which stores a rolling 24 hours of recordings for free. To store more, you’ll need to purchase one of the SpotCam NVR packages: 3-day recording for $3.95 per month or $39/year, 7-day recording for $5.95 per or $59/year, or 30-day recording for $19.95 per month or $199/year.

Setup and Usage

Setting up SpotCam HD Eva isn’t difficult, but it is clunky. Using the SpotCam mobile app, I had to first to connect the camera to SpotCam’s Wi-Fi, then toggle to my phone’s settings to find my Wi-Fi network. Once I entered my Wi-Fi password, I then had to flip a switch on the back of the camera to put it in “client” mode before toggling back to the SpotCam app to wait for it to connect.

 

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