iSmartAlarm Spot Indoor Security Camera Review— A Solid Option?

The Spot indoor home security camera from iSmartAlarm is part of the company’s iSmartAlarm Home Security System, which is essentially a do-it-yourself flexible and expandable smart home security system.

How It Works

The iSmartAlarm Spot ($100) comes with the camera, a power adapter, USB cable, mounting bracket, mounting kit, and eject pin. You can mount the camera on the wall or stand it on a flat surface. There is also a microSD card slot that can hold media up to 32GB (a microSD card is not included). The Spot is small and compact, which makes it easy to tuck away and hide from guests or intruders.

The magnetic mounting base plate is a great feature. Spot also has twistable and expandable magnetic legs that make it even easier to capture many different angles. I always try to avoid putting holes in my wall to mount a camera, so the magnetic base is definitely an attractive feature for me. Even though I prefer setting my camera on a countertop, it was nice to be able to stick the Spot camera right on my refrigerator for a different viewing angle.

The setup was quick and very easy. It comes with a voice-guided setup, which simplifies the instructions. The entire process took less than five minutes. If you need to register and setup a new account it will likely take closer to 10 minutes.

You need a high-speed, Wi-Fi internet connection and a compatible device to run this camera. The app works with iOS and Android. You can also pair it with Amazon Alexa.

The camera has a 130-degree viewing angle and 720p video. After reviewing several cameras, I’m finding the wider angle lens (greater than 120 degrees) is optimal for my home. While the Spot is not as wide as the iCamera KEEP Pro (140 degrees), it is better than many other options in this regard.

The recorded and live images are decent, but not the best, especially if you’ve become accustomed to 1080p video. Overall though, Spot’s 720p (with 4x zoom) is adequate. Images switch to black and while when the night vision feature (LED) comes on, and Spot can capture images up to 30 feet away.

Many cameras now come with two-way audio, and Spot is no different. The camera has a built-in mic and speaker that allows you to check in on any person (or pet) that happens to be home while you’re away. For the price of this camera, the sound quality is actually quite good.

The App

I downloaded the iSmartAlarm app on an iPhone 8. Since I’d reviewed the iCamera KEEP Pro — which is part of the iSmartAlarm System — the app was already configured and all I had to do was add the Spot camera. If this is your first time using one of the iSmartAlarm cameras, you will need to create an account and register the camera.

When you pull up the live feed, there are three icons at the bottom of the screen: mute, capture a photo, and a microphone to initiate two-way talk. Spot does not come with activity zones like the iCamera KEEP Pro does. While not a deal breaker, I do miss not having the ability to define specific areas for recording.

Other parts of the app have stored images and videos you can view, a list of recent notifications, and a place to adjust motion and sound sensitivity. There is also a screen to arm and disarm the camera. I kept it armed during the testing period. While in this mode, the motion and sound detection and alert notifications all remain on.

In addition to home monitoring for security purposes, Spot also comes with a safety feature that sends you a notification if your smoke alarm or carbon monoxide monitor is triggered. The camera recognizes the sounds and can tell you exactly where the alarm is coming from.

Spot uses motion and audio detection to know when to capture an image. When noise, motion, or any emergency is detected, the camera will immediately react and record, and you will receive a notification on your app. I recently purchased an Apple Watch, so in addition to my phone receiving notifications, my watch was also getting alerts.

Once you tap on the notification, you can go into the recorded clips and view the image. Even though the camera is viewable 24/7 — which means you can look at a live clip at any given time — it only records when the system is armed and an event occurs.

The Service

Unlike so many other cameras that only offer a limited amount of storage space for free and then require you to pay for a premium service, Spot offers free cloud recording and storage.

The camera comes with 24/7 continuous video recording with local video storage (up to 32 GB with a microSD card). The Spot will record and store up to 30 motion and sound triggered video clips (10 seconds each) for free before they are deleted. Plus, there are no subscription fees or upgrades that you have to pay for in order to unlock premium features.

Testing Notes

Don’t expect the “live” feed to be perfect. There is definitely some lag time to get used to, but that did not bother me as much as running into problems connecting to the camera. Several times, I would go to the live feed on my phone and the camera and app would not connect. I’m not sure if that is a common problem with the Spot camera or an internet connection issue. I experienced it at home and away from home.

Who It Might Be Good For

  • Users looking for free video storage
  • Users looking for an affordable camera
  • Users looking for a compact camera 
  • Users looking for a camera that detects motion/sound
  • Users looking for a camera with two-way communication
  • Users looking for a camera that can be mounted on the wall or placed on a flat surface 

Who It Might Not Be Good For

  • Users looking for a camera with the ability to define activity zones
  • Users looking for a camera with the highest video quality
  • Users looking for minimal interruptions when connecting to the live feed

Conclusion

The iSmartAlarm Spot Indoor Camera is a solid camera for the price. If you’re interested in using it as part of the iSmartAlarm Home Security System, it’s definitely worth checking out. The free storage and zero subscription fees for premium services also make this camera a great purchase for someone looking for an entry-level home security camera. Just be aware that its price means you’ll have to make a few sacrifices, most notably in video quality and connection issues.

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