Yeskamo Spotlight Camera Review: A Camera-Equipped Spotlight For $80By - 01/08/2019
There was a time when outdoor cameras all seemed rather generic, but that’s no longer the case thanks to innovations and a variety of choices. One such choice includes cameras that combine the security power of video monitoring with smart lighting. The combination happens to be my personal favorite, so when Yeskamo asked if I would test their rather inexpensive spotlight camera, I was all in.
Inexpensive, But Is It Cheap?
We’ve tested a lot of inexpensive cameras, and we’ve found that not all of them are cheap meaning that not all inexpensive cameras are cheaply made. Take Wyze Cam, for example. It sells for $20, but it offers a lot of great features and a praised user experience. As for Yeskamo’s spotlight camera, it sells for $80 on Amazon, less than half the price of Ring Spotlight Cam ($200). So yes, it is inexpensive, but my first impression was that it’s not cheap.
The camera’s casing is made of plastic, but it’s the tough kind, the wires are sealed against water and dust, and it ships with several accessories.
First, it includes a 32GB microSD card, a 10-foot long power cable, and a PVC sleeve and gaskets aimed at weatherproofing the Ethernet port (for those who will use it with an NVR). And lastly, it stacks up well against the much more expensive Ring Spotlight Cam.
|Yeskamo Spotlight Camera||Ring Spotlight Cam|
|Power Source||Power Adapter||Power Adapter, Battery, Solar, Hardwired To Existing Electrical Box|
|Full-Color Night Vision|
|Motion Detection||PIR Motion Sensor||PIR Motion Sensor|
|Smart Detection||Motion Zones|
|Record Based On Alerts|
|Local Recording||MicroSD Card Up To 128GB|
|NVR/DVR Recording||Yes, But Not Included|
|Where To Buy||Amazon||Amazon|
As for the software, this is where Yeskamo’s spotlight camera starts to feel cheap. Yeskamo doesn’t have its own app. Instead, it works with third-party IP camera apps. They recommend using EseeCloud3 or IP Pro3, both of which are far from top-notch. And if you’re wondering which of the apps is better, the answer is neither. They are both made by the same developer and their user interface is almost the same. That said, I decided to use EseeCloud3.
Setting Up Yeskamo
First, the app asked me to create an account and login. It asked for my phone number and a password. A verification code was sent to me via text.
After logging in, I initiated the setup process by tapping the + button on the home screen. The app then walked me through the entire process. I connected my phone to the camera’s hotspot and then entered my Wi-Fi name and password. After that, a voice prompt coming from the camera notified me that the connection was successful.
Finally, I adjusted the camera’s settings to my liking using the app’s Device Setup page. You can customize the video quality (resolution, color, etc.), motion detection settings (on/off, sensitivity, etc.), recording schedule, and video storage.
The next phase is installation. Yeskamo is an outdoor camera. It’s weatherproof (IP66) and rugged enough to survive heat (up to 140°F) and cold (up to -4°F). That said, I still recommend placing it in a shaded area to prevent accelerated wear and tear the elements might cause.
Installing Yeskamo requires tools (drill, drill bits, etc.) and a bit of handiwork. It requires a permanent installation, which means drilling and mounting the camera using screws. Once it’s mounted, you can finetune the camera’s view thanks to the ball joint that connects it to its mounting base. The ball joint allows for a full 360° rotation and 90° up-down tilting. Unfortunately, you have to be wary of the camera’s orientation because the app won’t let you rotate the image.
Live View & Video Playback
Once everything was set up, I proceeded to test the app. As the app wasn’t built specifically for Yeskamo, some of its features do not apply to the camera. For example, there’s a setting where you can control the optical zoom and lens focus, but Yeskamo doesn’t support either of the two features. However, what’s important is that the app’s main features work: live streaming and video playback.
Watching Live Videos
Streaming live videos via the EseeCloud3 or IP Pro3 app is easy. Just launch the app and tap on the camera preview to watch its live stream. Unfortunately, you can’t stream multiple cameras simultaneously, even if you download the iPad version of the app.
While live streaming, you can adjust the camera’s settings. You can switch between HD and SD, enter full-screen mode (landscape orientation), take a screenshot or video recording (which will be saved to your phone), and use push-to-talk.
Push-to-talk lets you stream your voice from phone to the camera so whoever’s near your camera can hear you. You have to hold the microphone while speaking. Unfortunately, when I tested the feature, no sound came from the camera.
The second primary feature is video playback, made possible by the included microSD card and the camera’s continuous recording feature. You can access the video playback from the app’s home screen or even while live viewing. Simply tap on the “Playback” button or the play button with a counterclockwise arrow surrounding it.
The app’s playback screen reminds me of that of Wyze Cam. You can scroll through the timeline to find the right date and time of the recording or just enter the date and find the time. The times with a playback video available are marked light blue. Take note, however, that the video doesn’t scrub as you scroll through the timeline.
Thankfully, you don’t have to watch through the entire playback video to find clips that matter. If you want to playback motion alert recordings only, they are marked with a darker shade of blue. If you prefer watching alert videos from a list instead of a timeline, you can also navigate to the homepage and select the “Info” button. It lists all of the day’s alert recordings. The only catch is that there are no thumbnails. However, I appreciate the fact that the recordings are not limited to a set length. Instead, they go on for as long as the camera is sensing motion.
As for the video quality, I’d call Yeskamo excellent. Its resolution is 1080p, but you’re going to have to deal with its narrow field of view (90°). Aside from its resolution and viewing angle, other factors can affect the overall image quality.
HD & SD
First, you can choose between HD (high definition) and SD (standard definition). HD and SD refer to the video compression, not the actual video quality. HD uses less compression resulting in higher bandwidth use. SD uses more compression on the video, reducing the amount of bandwidth used. However, changing between HD and SD does affect how the video appears on the app. HD videos are more defined, while SD videos have softer (almost blurred) edges.
Second, you can go to Device Setup (Home > Setup) to access more customizations. For example, you can customize the resolution (Definition) of the camera. You can choose between Auto (automatically adjusts based on internet speed), Standard (low-quality), High Definition (HD 720p), and Super Definition (FHD 1080p). You can also select how colors appear in the video. You can choose between Standard (not so defined), Brightness (slightly washed out colors but makes the image bright), and Gorgeous (bright and well-defined colors).
And finally, you can adjust how night vision works. Yeskamo’s spotlight camera has three night-vision modes: Infrared, Full Color, and Smart.
Infrared uses the camera’s IR LEDs for night vision, which means when it gets dark, the video is displayed as black and white. Using this setting, the camera’s spotlight will not turn on.
Full Color uses the LED spotlight instead of the IR LEDs, which means the spotlight remains on all night. If you want your camera to record full-color videos day and night, this is the right setting.
Smart uses both IR LEDs and the spotlight. When there’s no motion, the camera uses IR LEDs. However, as soon as it detects motion, the spotlight turns on and the camera switches to full-color videos for about 15 seconds. If motion ceases after 15 seconds, the spotlights will turn off and the video will switch back to black and white. If motion continues, the spotlight will briefly turn off and then turn back on again for 15 seconds. I recommend using the Smart setting.
Let’s not forget Yeskamo’s primary use, which is as a security camera. How exactly does it protect homes? With the use of a PIR motion sensor combined with video recording and smart spotlight.
For those who don’t know, PIR motion sensors detect movement caused by subjects with heat signatures, like humans and animals. This type of motion sensor isn’t triggered by most irrelevant movements, like swaying branches or moving shadows, which is why it’s a great option for outdoor security cameras.
Yeskamo’s PIR sensor is situated right under the camera lens. And while the camera’s viewing angle is only 90°, the motion sensor has a slightly wider perspective (110°). Via the app, you can set the sensor’s sensitivity to Lowest, Low, Medium, High, and Highest.
High and Highest are too sensitive for my liking. Medium is just right, but it’s still triggered by my 50lb dog. The Low and Lowest settings are both pet-immune, but they are also sluggish. Unfortunately, Yeskamo doesn’t support detection zones or any other smart detection feature (person detection, facial recognition, etc.).
(Pro Tip: You can turn on and off push notifications per camera. Just go to Device Setup > Motion Detection Alarm and toggle button. You can also turn off motion detection using Modes [Device Setup > Mode Selection]. Away Mode turns on motion detection while Home Mode turns it off.)
Recording Motion Alerts
As mentioned earlier, Yeskamo records continuously, but it marks the clips that contain motion. That’s one way the camera enhances your home security. In case of theft or intrusion, you can use the recording as evidence. However, there’s a catch. Yeskamo only stores videos on a microSD card (up to 128GB) or NVR. In both cases, the video storage is on-site and can be destroyed by an intruder. If that happens, you’ll lose your recordings. To quote myself, “local recording is good so long as you have cloud backup.” This combination of local and cloud allows you to retrieve your videos regardless of what happens to your local footage.
If you activate the Smart night vision setting, Yeskamo’s spotlight acts as a motion-activated light. The lights are plenty bright enough to surprise and possibly scare away an intruder. In addition to the spotlight, the camera can sound a siren when it detects motion (Device Setup > Motion Detection Zone). The “siren” is loud but just enough to catch the attention of someone nearby.
Do I Recommend Yeskamo Spotlight Camera?
As I said earlier, not all inexpensive cameras are cheap. Luckily for Yeskamo, it falls in that category. For $79.99 a piece, it’s a steal. It’s a solidly built camera with enough security and monitoring features. More importantly, its features work. So if you’re in the market for a spotlight camera that won’t break the bank, I recommend Yeskamo. However, if you don’t mind spending a few hundred bucks for a top-notch smart light-equipped outdoor camera, check out Ring Spotlight Cam or these other options.