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Cheap and Cheerful, but Useful Features Cost Extra | #macos | #macsecurity | #cybersecurity | #infosecurity | #hacker


An affordable home security camera with pan and tilt control, motion tracking, two-way audio, and free 24-hour cloud recording. But if you want more storage, or even to make use of the AI features, that’ll cost you extra every month.

Specifications

  • Brand: MySpotCam
  • Resolution: 1080P
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi only
  • Night Vision: Yes; infra-red
  • Internal or External: Internal
  • Power Source: Wall Plug / USB
  • Axis Control: Pan and Tilt
Pros

  • 1080p recording
  • Pan and tilt axis control
  • Human motion tracking
  • Affordable
  • 2-Way audio
  • App Control For iOS and Andriod
Cons

  • App is a bit slow and clunky
  • Live View takes a long time to show after opening app
  • Field of view could be slightly wider
  • No local recording option
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With the release of the original SpotCam all the way back in 2015, we saw one of the only Wi-Fi home security cameras to offer free 24-hour cloud recording, but it was mired by security issues that left user video feeds wide open to the world. With those addressed, the Spotcam Eva 2 is here, and it still includes free could recording as well as some excellent new features like pan and tilt, motion tracking, two-way audio, and integration with Alexa and Google Assistant—all for only $49.00. Can MySpotCam earn your trust back?

Inside The Box

The front of the box boasts the camera’s stand-out feature, Wi-Fi Human Tracking, as well as letting you know right away that the SpotCam Eva 2 works with IFTTT, Conrad Connect, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant.

spotcam eva 2 box

You will also see that it includes full-time continuous cloud recording that is free forever, albeit in a somewhat limited capacity.

spotcam eva box contents

Taking a look inside the box, we are immediately presented with the device itself as well as a QuickStart guide. Digging deeper you will see another small box with the power adapter and some mounting hardware, which allows you to mount the camera upside down. You can also mount the SpotCam to the wall, however, I would not recommend this as you will lose some of the camera’s field of view.

A Design Fit For Any Décor

spotcam eva 2 on table

The SpotCam Eva 2 is relatively small and would look nice in most homes. However, it only comes in white at this time. It would be nice if it came in black as well to fit in with more décor options and be more easily hidden. The front has a SpotCam logo and an activity LED, but we’d prefer the logo to be hidden around the back. You can disable the activity LED in the app.

spotcam eva 2 rear

The speaker can also be found on the back, as well as a reset button, and a micro-USB connection for power. The choice of micro-USB is a curious one in a world where most devices are swapping over to USB-C, but an appropriate cable is included. On the underside, you’ll find a rubberized circle that keeps the SpotCam Eva 2 securely in place.

spotcam eva 2 underside

Easy App Setup

Setting up the SpotCam Eva 2 is relatively easy. There is a quick start guide included, but you must have Wi-Fi; a smartphone, tablet, or PC; and internet access. Plug the included power adapter into the wall and the micro-USB cable into the back of the SpotCam. The cable provided is extremely short at just over three feet long. For a device intended to be placed around the home or even on the ceiling, not including a longer cable seems like a huge oversight. You may need to order a longer USB cable depending on where you want to put the camera, but if you happen to lose the included power adapter you can use any standard 5V charger.

If you are using a PC or Mac, you will need to go to MySpotCam.com and download the installer. If you are using a tablet or smartphone, you just need to download the SpotCam app and choose Add SpotCam, and then follow the instructions. You will also need to sign up for an account if you don’t already have one.

Once the camera is connected, the first thing I recommend doing is going into the settings and finding the SpotCam NVR-1 option at the bottom. This is where you will sign up for the free 1-day cloud recording plan. It is not on by default. You can also pay for 3-day to 30-day cloud recording depending on your needs.

Cloud Storage Costs

The free 1-day cloud recording plan is undoubtedly a big selling point of the SpotCam 2 Eva, but it’s worth bearing in mind that there’s no alternative if you don’t want cloud recording. The camera doesn’t have an SD card slot, so there is no local recording. You’ll be able to view the live feed, but you will not be able to see past motion events or record any footage. Even with the free plan, the footage is only available for 24-hours. If you need to keep the footage for any reason, you need to download it from within the app, and do so quickly before it’s lost forever.

If you require additional cloud storage you can purchase 3-day retention for $3.95 per month, 7-days for $5.95 per month, or 30-days for $19.95 per month. They also offer yearly options which will save you some money, but clearly, that’s a hefty subscription for one camera.

Whether or not you like the cloud storage option will depend on your needs. Local storage is cheaper in the long run, but if an intruder steals the camera too, you’ll lose all the footage. On the other hand, perhaps you don’t want intimate footage of your household sitting on a server somewhere.

In addition to the cloud storage plans, SpotCam also offers some additional AI features. These include face recognition, baby crying detection, human detection, pet detection, fall detection, and a few others, but again these are all an extra monthly subscription on top of the cloud storage cost. It quickly adds up.

Image Quality

The camera feed quality is good, especially at this price, recording at up to 1080P Full HD. The picture is clear with good colors and dynamic range, and an 8X optical zoom means you can focus in on an area without losing clarity.

spotcam eva 2 sample video capture

The camera does have a night vision mode if there is not enough light in the room. The device uses IR technology so any low-light feed will be black and white. You can set this to auto, on, or off in the settings menu.

spotcam eva 2 night mode

Major Features, Events, and Alerts

As mentioned before, the only way to record events is to sign-up for one of the cloud recording storage plans; without one, you’ll only be able to view live feeds. The alerts feature is robust, but most of the more advanced and useful features are locked behind an additional a paid subscription.

The free event options are limited to motion events, audio events, and human tracking. You can send alerts for these events to either your device, your email, or both. During testing, I experienced several false motion events, such as when a light was turned on or off. If your air conditioner slightly moves an open door there will be a motion event. If a pet moves past the camera, it will trigger a motion event. Your phone will constantly be notifying you of these false events. These events will be placed in Events where you can view each motion, audio, or human tracking event for the past 24-hours. You can save a specific event to the My Film section, but it will only store up to 3 hours of footage in total. Beyond that, you must download the video to your phone or computer. There’s even a loud siren, but again, this can go off very easily with the slightest movements so we don’t recommend enabling it.

While you can set a schedule for when event detection is active, without the more advanced AI features, it’s really only useful to check on pets or children when you are not home. As a security device, there are just too many false notifications. With the more advanced AI features the SpotCam Eva 2 can tell if motion is from a person or pet, as well as allowing you to filter for known people and strangers. This will allow you to fine-tune what you actually want to be notified for, but again, that costs extra and is slowly starting to make the $49 price tag much less attractive.

Once you do receive a notification, it takes at least half a minute for the app to load and feed to display. I also found the app was often unresponsive and needed to be closed completely and reopened to view any footage. While the app may be feature-rich, it’s a little clunky and slow for my liking, but will hopefully be improved with updates.

The SpotCam Eva 2 features two-way audio so you can talk back through the device: just press the talk button. Unfortunately, this mutes the audio coming from the camera until the talk button is tapped off again, which quickly becomes frustrating if you forget to press it. A walkie-talkie style push-to-talk would have been preferable, or even better, the ability to transmit and receive audio simultaneously. Another disappointment on the audio side is that the SpotCam Eva 2 only records the audio from the camera itself, and not what you say through the microphone.

The camera can pan 345-degrees and tilt up to 90-degrees, and you save up to four preset positions. With the Patrol option, you can have the Eva 2 move through your different presets to scan around the room. Human Tracking will have the camera track a person around the room and works decently well, but makes abrupt movements can’t track anyone running or moving quickly.

On the bottom of the homepage, you will see Now On Air, which you can use to view the video feeds of other SpotCam users. You too can opt-in to being broadcast to the world, if you really want.

Third-Party Compatibility

The SpotCam Eva 2 comes with Alexa and Google Home integration allowing you to view the camera’s live feed through your existing Alexa or Google Home devices, but this isn’t novel even on such a low-cost device.

We were unable to locate any information about importing the live video feed elsewhere for a DIY CCTV setup, such as Synology Surveillance Station. No other SpotCam devices are currently listed on the Synology compatibility list.

Is The SpotCam Eva 2 Worth It?

spotcam eva 2 in room

The home security market is extremely competitive, but at $49 the SpotCam Eva 2 offers a superb feature set with free 24-hour cloud recording. For a reliable way to live view your home and access recorded events, that’s an unbeatable price. But if you need more cloud storage (because there is no local recording option), or want to use the optional AI extras to reduce false notifications, beware: costs go up rapidly.

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