SpotCam Solo 2 test: the camera that blows hot or cold?

Our test and opinion on the SpotCam Solo 2 outdoor camera.

SpotCam Solo 2 outdoor camera

SpotCam Solo 2 1080P - Indoor / Outdoor Camera with microSD card and Free Cloud Recording 7 Days

Price as of: August 10, 2022 12 h 25 min

Her name is 2 only ! Its mission, if it accepts it, is to monitor your exterior, as a priority, thanks to a High IP of 65 (protection from dust and water jets whatever the direction), but why not an outbuilding or your interior? SpotCam named its new small camera wireless, circular in appearance operating in Wi-Fi on the 2.4 GHz network and whose streams can be stored either on an SD card not supplied (up to 128 GB), or on the cloud whose7-day registration is free. Indeed, subscriptions only begin for viewing longer storage times or enhanced features such as human recognition.

Founded in 2013 by two video surveillance enthusiasts, SpotCam, a Taiwanese company, carries out research and development for its DVR, Wi-Fi or even NAS compatible products, always keen to offer new products. SpotCam is present in Europe, the United States and Japan.

SpotCam Solo 2: a compact outdoor camera

Unboxing

It is in a small sky blue and white box that the camera SpotCam Solo 2 is delivered. On the top, a scenario visual is proposed as well as the logos of the various compatible third-party applications. We therefore find those of the voice assistants Amazon Alexa et Google Assistant clearly stamped, s and they are associated with those of two platforms allowing to go further in the development and use of connected products: IFTTT et Conrad Connect.

The other sides provide us with the technical characteristics (in English), such as audio bi, streaming protection and storage by SSL encryption or a battery life announced for 6 months.

Inside, the camera SpotCam Solo 2 and its accessories are well compartmentalized and, above all, wedged so as not to move. The latter rests in a foam shell to complete its immobilization during transport.

On the top we found the traditional ones:

  • User manual (note, there are multiple models of the brand) with QR codes to refer to the site for more information on the status of the LEDs or on Youtube for installation.
  • Installation / safety instructions.
  • Quick start guide / cloud pricing information in $.
  • Surveillance sticker.

Let's start by opening the box accessories, where are :

  • The adapter with the USB socket and the type C male plug therefore without earth.
  • The cord of a generous length since it measures 3 meters and ends with a micro USB socket. The camera can be used in this way either on battery or with continuous electric power.
  • The fixing support with its magnetized hemisphere. The back of the camera having reverse polarity, it holds magnetically. This allows you to orient it at your convenience during installation. sincethere is no motorization to do it.
  • 3M double-sided adhesive for quick, tool-free installation.
  • A hardware kit including 3 Phillips screws and 3 wall plugs.

If you opt for a screw fixing, the back of the magnetic holder is drilled to hang from one of the supplied ones. You have two more if needed.

Finally the SpotCam Solo 2 camera. It measures 8.15 in diameter x 7.41 cm deep for 285 grams. The body is made of smooth white ABS while the front with the lens protected by plastic film for transport is dark. Many elements are present on this face:

  • Up :

Le brightness detector which will be the trigger (or not) of the 8 IR LEDs to make the vision the best possible.

  • In the center :

The objective.

  • To the right of the lens, 2 LEDs, depending on their state they indicate:
    • Purple (mixture of blue and orange) steady: Starting up.
    • Flashing orange (bottom) and blue (top): problem with recording camera in the cloud. Contact us [email protected]
    • Dark orange (bottom) and dark blue (top) flashing: problem connecting to the Wi-Fi network
    • Flashing orange: AP Wi-Fi mode.
    • Fast blinking blue (top): Already connected to the Wi-Fi network, the camera is trying to connect to the cloud.
    • Slow flashing blue (top): is trying to connect to the Wi-Fi network
    • Blue (top) steady: normal state
    • Green (bottom): charging.
    • Flashing red (top): low battery
  • Above the LEDs :

Le microphone to allow a person next to you to speak to you.

  • Around the central objective:

8 infra-red LEDs distributed left and right.

  • Below :

Le movement detector.

 

On the back, the hollowed out and magnetized “receiver” overlooks a screw thread which is of no use here. Below, protected by a silicone cap, the micro USB socket for recharging or if desired for continuous power supply.

Below, the loudspeaker to be heard by who is next to the camera. Here two-way conversation is possible.

On the top, two silicone buttons. Note, like all these types of buttons, they have the annoying habit of staying pressed:

  • The one on the front is used for the "reset" or " reset". Press it for 15 seconds to switch back to Bluetooth mode and redo the installation, the LED on the front going back to orange as a result.
  • The one at the back opens the camera in half and gives access to the rechargeable battery compartment.

But you will tell me: where is the SD card slot? Well, uh, he's here ... The least we can say is that he's well protected, not to say hidden. If you want to place a card after commissioning, the camera will appear offline due to the batteries being removed. Reconnect it to the outlet for 1 or 2 minutes while it reconnects on its own to your Wi-Fi.

The SpotCam Solo 2 camera is cute with its half-sphere shape, looks like a cut. The materials are very correct and there are no finishing defects to report. We are curious to see its capabilities.

Technical sheet :

  • Brand : SpotCam
  • Model : Solo 2
  • Size : 8.15 cm x 7.41 cm
  • Weight : 285 grams
  • Color : White
  • Food : Rechargeable lithium-ion battery or 5V / 2A mains
  • Battery capacity : up to 6 months for 20 to 30 trips / day
  • Operating temperature : -30 ° - 50 °
  • Protection sign : IP65
  • Warehousing :
    • On Micro SD card up to 128GB (not supplied)
    • On the cloud: free for life for playback over 7 recording days
  • Resolution : Full HD 1080P
  • Video : 30 ims
  • Compression : H.264
  • Angle of vision : 180 °
  • Audio : Bidirectional
  • Compatible :
    • Voice assistants: Amazon Alexa et Google Assistant
    • Platform: IFTTT et Conrad Connect
  • Connectivity : 2.4GHz Wi-Fi

Installing and Using the SpotCam Solo 2 Camera

 

 

First of all, it is necessary to put load the SpotCam Solo 2 camera . Allow 2 hours for the LED to change from green to flashing orange. Once done, it goes into pairing mode directly.

SpotCam app

SpotCam uses its in-house app for device support. The installation of the Solo 2 can be carried out either conventionally on a smartphone as we did during the SpotCam Video Doorbell review, either via a computer as in our SpotCam Eva 2 camera test . However, live streams will not be available there for the moment.

TO READ :
Spotcam Eva 2 test: the HD indoor camera that sees 360 °

Either way will end up having the new camera installed on the app's home page. If you already have a branded camera, the two feeds are displayed one below the other. The top image being that of the SpotCam Solo 2, at the bottom that of the small SpotCam Eva 2. It is therefore very easy to juggle and switch to viewing from one to the other by simply clicking on the one you are viewing. want to get the live stream, or the recordings. It is also on this page that you will find above the image of the Solo 2 the remaining battery charge. When the battery becomes low, the battery will be displayed in red and during recharging, the symbol of a plug will be displayed instead. On the camera the LED flashes red.

 

A click on the one that interests us here, the first since it is the last installed. Before accessing the live stream, you have an intermediary page with an invitation to watch it.

As long as a storage mode is not activated, you will be prompted to choose one.

For information, the prices for the cloud are:

  • Free for life for 7 days of recording
  • 2.49 € / month for 30 days recording.
  • 4.17 € / month for 180 days recording.
  • 5.01 € / month for 365 days recording.

Indoors, where we started the test, in semi-darkness the flow is very correct, we can clearly see the shapes. With a little more darkness, the image is a little less sharp, but it is true that the IR LEDs did not kick in.

Please note, although we have carried out a first validation for the recording on the cloud and have the display below with the graph (only present in landscape), we did not have any record of reading and the invitation to s' save continued.

It took us revalidate the cloud registration, to have the same graph in portrait mode with the play buttons and no longer have the incentive banner. Thus, by clicking on Event at the bottom of the page, you can access the log of the recordings and the reading of the stream over the defined period of time.

 

On the page Live, the basic functionalities remain almost identical to what we have described for the Eva 2 camera, except that here the camera is not motorized, so it does not rotate. You must therefore be careful when installing it for its orientation, but it offers another specificity as a replacement since it is equipped with a motion detector.

But let's see all this in the settings. Those said "basic" to change the name of the SpotCam, the image quality etc ... remain identical to the little indoor sister. The novelty of this SpotCam Solo 2 indeed concerns alerts where you can activate the motion detector and select one of the three recording times offered: 10, 20 or 30 seconds. It goes without saying that the longer the recording time, the more it will influence the battery life. If a person passes in the field of view of the lens, an alert push and / or mail is sent.

Alert setting is extensive. If you select in "motion sensitivity" custom you can set the sensitivity threshold to from which the alert should be triggered and from how many seconds of detection an alert should be sent (between 0 and 1.5 sec).

In " Movement mask“, You will be able to hide areas not to be taken into account for detection (in green), knowing that the possible covered area is represented by 6 large rectangles. The masking zone is therefore relatively large. This must be taken into account in order to position the camera as well as possible while respecting the blurring on any public areas.

A word of advice, activate the alert for the low battery at the percentage that suits you between 15% 25% and 50% because nothing on the image of the live stream reminds it. The battery logo is only on the home page. Knowing that the longevity of the batteries is intended for so-called "normal" use with a trigger frequency of 20 to 30 times daily, 15% seems correct, otherwise you will see alerts return more quickly.

 

La night vision, outdoors and in normal quality gives a very correct rendering. The details are crisp. The captures sent by email, enabled by default, are also very good, but are rimmed and with a pronounced fisheye effect.

With Amazon Alexa

The camera feed is available on the screen of an Echo Show, like the last one Echo Show 8, as long as the SpotCam skill is activated and the accounts Amazon and SpotCam linked. However, the camera cannot be integrated into routines.

The display with Alexa is a bit finicky. She tends to say sometimes: the device is not responding. To see the feed on your Echo Show device screen, say:

  • « Alexa poster [camera name] " (My Spotcam also works)

The image quality is very good, although the fish-eye effect is also pronounced here. We always appreciate being able to zoom in on the screen of the Echo Show but the pixelation is then more important.

We had seen very frequent buffering of the stream, but this was fixed after an update made during testing. It must be recognized that this is a problem that we usually see more often with the Google Assistant for viewing on the Nest Hub screen.

Night vision is also of good quality:

With Google Assistant

Activate the SpotCam add-on and link the accounts. You find it by clicking on the "+" at the top left, then on "Configure a device" and finally "Works with Google". There, search for SpotCam. Once the process is done, the camera goes back easily to the Google Home application.

With Google, very frequent buffering is still the order of the day, which is hardly surprising to us. The display quality is just as good on the Nest Hub screen as it is on the Echo Show day and night. However, it is not possible to zoom the screen. Too bad, but it's a problem with the Assistant.

Our opinion on the SpotCam Solo 2 camera

In use, we have noticed a loading time from the opening of the application to arrive on the live stream a little long around thirty seconds ... On the other hand, and that's great, the latency is almost zero between the real and the display.

Part of this test was carried out on a beta version of the firmware which will be deployed at the end of September, it is therefore likely that the small defects observed will be resolved soon ... It brings technical fixes and improvements, in particular a lower latency on Echo Show devices or a small bell that rings when the push notification is sent.

La SpotCam Solo 2 video quality is excellent during the day, even in normal quality, and at night outdoors where it is its primary destination, more than indoors where the pixelation tends to stand out.

We liked the ability to rule out certain areas for alerts. It's a good thing, but the grid is large, it's a bit of a shame. A thinner would be welcome.

The reception of email notifications works fine and can also quickly become polluting if the activity in front of the objective is important. In this alert mode, the fact that a capture is integrated is appreciable, but we regret that it is not the same with push notifications .

On the audio side, the microphone is quite good and you will easily hear small birds or large (airplanes) ... no problem to converse with someone facing the camera.

In conclusion, for around 90 € on Amazon, SpotCam Solo 2 has very good arguments for it, with zoning, full HD 1080p video, two-way audio ... But it suffers from a somewhat long display delay. Having tested many cameras, we know that our fiber speed is not the cause, so it comes from the brand's servers. However, it is nonetheless very easy to configure and we appreciated the possibility of receiving alerts by email with capture, which is not the case with push notification. The camera gives a very good rendering on the screens of voice assistants, but the effect Fish eye is quite pronounced. If you are looking for a WiFi camera for easy-to-install outdoor surveillance and charging time is not a problem as you mostly want to do live viewing on an episodic basis, then this should be the perfect fit for you. Last argument, cloud hosting is free for 7 days and subscriptions for longer periods very accessible. A very good point!
Simple user and novice fallen into the pot Alexa, this one fascinates me and thanks to the boys, Jean-Christophe and Alexien Modo, I learn a little more every day. Loving the different aspects ofAlexa, I turned to skills to share my discoveries with you.