Spot by iSmartAlarm ReviewBy - 02/03/2016
iSmartAlarm is a self-monitored security system. Originally, they sold the iCamera before upgrading to KEEP and then releasing SPOT. SPOT is the cheapest camera sold by iSmart, but it’s not cheap on features. In fact, it’s possible that the camera can protect your home on its own without help from sensors as it can work with the iSmartAlarm security system or without it.
HANDS-ON PERFORMANCE AND CAMERA SPECS
|Camera Specifications||Testing Results||Camera Specifications||Testing Results|
|Price:||$129||Pan, Tilt, Zoom:||4X Digital Zoom||Works|
|Resolution / fps:||720p / <30fps||Performs as Expected||Live Streaming:||YES||Works, but with a lag based upon connection speeds. Anywhere from no lag to 20 seconds.|
|Night Vision:||4 IR LEDs – 33 feet (10M)||Works. Can automatically turn on or be set to off.||Cloud Storage:||30 10-second video clips for free (first in first out)||Works. Records events or continuously. MicroSD NOT required.|
|Viewing Angle:||130º||Performs as Expected||Local Storage:||64GB MicroSD card and Download to Phone’s Gallery||Works|
|Motion Detection:||Range 20 feet||Works with Issues*||Works with:||iSmartAlarm System||Works.|
|Audio Detection:||YES||Works with Issues*||Apps:||iOS and Android||App crashes and freezes frequently. Quirks make it difficult to turn notifications on and off.|
|Two-Way Audio:||YES||Did not work well*||Supports Multiple Users/Cameras||Supports 4 devices/users and 10 Spots if linked to a CubeOne||Not Tested|
|Arm and Disarm:||Manual||Did not work well.||Special Features:||Detects Smoke Alarm and CO Alarm Sound. Create Timelapse Videos||Timelapse requires a MicroSD card. CO false alarm caused by flying drone.|
|Mount Options:||Flexible Stand or Magnetic||Works||Battery Backup:||NO||NO|
|BUY NOW:||BUY NOW|
*Two-way audio. At the bottom of the live streaming page within the app, there are multiple options. One of the options activates the speaker, and one activates the microphone. Unfortunately, they cannot be activated at the same time. In true walkie-talkie fashion, you must push to talk and then push to listen. Often, I was not fast enough navigating between the two to hear my test partner’s response. Even worse, pressing the speaker button often caused the app to crash.
*Motion Detection. Motion detection works well 8/10 times, but it’s not perfect. The issues are primarily created by the app. Within the app, you can turn motion on or off, but it often gets stuck “on”, causing motion alerts to continue to send even when you want privacy. Motion sensitivity can be adjusted from low to medium to high, but this feature was impacted by the same issue. Though I would set it to high, it would automatically adjust itself down to medium or low. And yes, this all happened while on the same Wi-Fi connection as the cameras. Finally, any lag experienced also impacts motion notification speed.
*Sound Detection. The sound detection feature works okay, but it had some of the same issues as motion detection. Though I set sound detection to high sensitivity, it would automatically adjust itself down to medium. Testing at medium, it would not pick up footsteps but did pick up a cabinet slamming. When I spoke the word “hello” at 85db from 20 feet away it ignored me, but when I stomped my feet at 83.5db, it sent a sound detection alert.
Other SPOT Features
What sets SPOT apart from other home security cameras is Sound Recognition. In theory, the camera should be able to identify sounds. For example, it can send a notification if your smoke alarm is triggered or your carbon monoxide alarm is set off. In practice, I found that certain sounds will trigger false alarms. For example, flying an indoor drone was identified as a carbon monoxide alarm.
Another cool feature is SPOT’s timelapse ability. You can create a custom video that condenses lots of footage into a much more manageable size. You can create a recap for an hour, day, or even an entire week.
How is SPOT different from the iCamera KEEP?
Spot cannot pan or tilt, but it offers free cloud storage even without connection to the CubeOne. It also has a smaller footprint, a magnetic base, a wider field of view, and it can create time-lapse videos as well as detect the sound made by smoke and CO alarms.
PRICING, FINAL RECOMMENDATION, AND GOTCHAS
I was one of the first to own and test a SPOT. That’s important to point out as many of the issues I experienced will be worked out over time. However, though I’m a fan of the iSmart system, I’m not a fan of this camera. From its toy-like design, to the app issues, to the added cost of a MicroSD card, I’m calling this camera a pass for now, especially considering that it appears to be a white label of the $20 Xiaomi xiaofang Smart Cam.