SpotCam Sense Pro HD review: expanding the idea of home monitoring

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With a few solid surveillance cameras in its stable, SpotCam’s latest offerings look to expand the idea of home monitoring by not only monitoring the security of your house when you’re away, but also its comfort levels when you’re home. The indoor SpotCam Sense ($150) and indoor/outdoor SpotCam Sense Pro ($190) are outfitted with all the surveillance features of a DIY home security camera along with a range of environmental sensors for tracking things like temperature and lighting.

spotcam pro 1SpotCam

The SpotCam Sense HD Pro can be used indoors or outdoors and is protected from water and dust.

The SpotCam Sense Pro, reviewed here, adheres to the design cues of the original SpotCam HD. The camera is housed in a cylindrical body attached to a hinged stand. Top to bottom the unit is just under 6 inches tall. It can be placed on a table, bookshelf, or other flat surface right out of the box, or you can affix it to a wall or ceiling using the included mounting kit. You can also attach it to an exterior wall to monitor your outdoor environment—it has an IP65 rating for protection from water and dust.

A 1080p HD camera with a 155-degree ultra-wide viewing angle lens is set into the top of the Sense Pro’s body. It’s surrounded by a ring of 12 IR LEDs for clear viewing in dark environments. The Sense also has an integrated mic and speaker for two-way audio, a handy tool for communicating with any family members you may be monitoring at home, calming an anxious pet, or scaring off a human or animal intruder in your yard. The speaker doubles to give you audio security alerts, including a built in siren.

The Sense can be set up to detect motion and or sound and push notifications of these events to your smartphone. Additionally, the Sense boasts temperature, humidity, and illumination sensors and can provide real-time alerts to critical changes in any of these areas as well.

The Sense records all home monitoring video to its cloud servers. You get a complete day’s worth of footage gratis; and the end of each 24-hour cycle, your new footage is recorded over the old. If you want to archive video for longer, you can choose from three storage plans: 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

It took less than five minutes to get the SpotCam Sense from out-of-the-box to up-and-running. Once I positioned it on a shelf, I just followed the in-app instructions to connect it to my wireless network. There were no QR codes to scan or other cumbersome requirements; it was as easy as selecting my Wi-Fi from available networks and logging in.

spotcam vitals PCWorld

The SpotCam app displays fluctuations in temperature, humdity, luminosity, sound, and motion as line graphs.

Once connected, the camera appears on the SpotCam app’s home screen, along with any other SpotCam cameras you have online. Tapping the Sense in the app takes you to the camera’s live feed. The 155-degree wide-angle lens was enough to take in my whole living room, with just a bit of image-bending on the edges.

The image was fairly crisp, but colors appeared dulled. It was also difficult to make out details in shadowed areas or even around my chocolate-brown couch, which appeared almost black on camera. Any bright light fixtures or lamps, on the other hand, appeared with blinding halos around them. Night vision produced much better detail, particularly in those spots that were lost in shadow in daytime mode.

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