Covert Code Black 3G
- This no glow cellular trail camera would be useful for both security and wildlife applications. Cellular technology continues to advance, making the setup easier on this model from what you may have seen on older cellular cameras. - TCP Staff
Read our full Covert Code Black 3G reviews below.
Covert Code Black 3G Review (AT&T & Verizon Models)
Model #'s 2861, 2991 | Code Black Verizon Owners Manual
- Easy cellular setup
- Good overall battery life
- Reliable cellular trail camera
- Slow trigger speed
- Slightly high resting power
Covert has had cellular trail cameras for a number of years now. Keeping up with the ever-changing cellular market is daunting, for any company. Luckily, the technology is making strides each year to become more user-friendly in the setup process. Let's see how these stack up...
Quality of Design 3.9 Stars
Dimensions: 5.5" x 4" x 3" | Battery Type: 12 AA Batteries | External Battery Jack: 6 Volt
Cellular setup has given us nightmares lately with some of the cellular trail cameras from 2014 and earlier. The Code Black AT&T Version can be setup from your home computer, in just a few minutes. Activate the service at www.att.com/buyasession. From here, you create an account and select your desired monthly plan. Here are the options for U.S. customers:
- 250 MB of data for 24 hours - $5.00
- 250 MB of data for 30 days - $14.99
- 1 GB of data for 3 months - $25.00 (in our opinion this is the best value)
- 3 GB of data for 30 days - $30.00
- 5 GB of data for 30 days - $50.00
There is no contract with these plans, you can start and stop at any time all with the click of a button.
The Covert Blackhawk (Verizon model) sets up a bit differently. You will need to login to Coverts Website and create an account. After following all the prompts, you will get to choose a cellular plan. Here are the costs:
- 1,000 pictures = $14.99 monthly
- 5,000 pictures = $19.95 monthly
- 17,000 pictures = $24.99 monthly
- 102,000 pictures = $279.99 yearly
As with any AT&T or Verizon cellular camera, the Code Black 3G needs good cellular reception with whichever carrier you go with. It does not matter which carrier your current phone is, what matters is making sure you match the proper camera to the carrier that provides the best reception in the area you are placing the camera. We recommend taking a phone to the area you will set the camera, taking a photo with your phone and texting it to someone. If the picture goes through quickly, the camera should work in that area with that cellular provider. One or two bars of reception will not be good enough for this camera.
You can do the internal programming directly from the cameras setup screen if you are only sending to a telephone number. If sending to an email (or both), you have to do the download profile (like in earlier Code Black Models). We would have liked to see the Code Black be programmable from the setup screen for both phone number and email.
Setup is relatively simple, but we are available for consultation for our customers. Due to cellular setup taking quite a bit of time via a phone call, we do charge $30 to walk you through setup if you do not purchase from us. If you did purchase from us, we will spend any amount of time walking you through it free of charge.
- 1-3 multi-shot
- 5 s. - 60 s. video clips
- Time Lapse: custom start/stop time. 5 s. - 8 hr. time intervals
- Photo Stamp: Time, date, temperature and moon phase
- Picture + Video Mode: No
- Start/Stop Time: Yes
- Password Protection: Yes
- SD Card Overwrite: Yes
- PIR Settings: Yes | High, Normal, Low, Off
- Flash Settings: Yes | High or Low
Durability on the Code Black 3G has been really good to date. Most issues that arise are from improper setup or sim card problems, rarely is the camera defective.
The ease of use has improved from 2014 based on the cellular sim card setup improving drastically. Our rating would be higher if you could program emails into the camera directly from the cameras interface.
Detection Circuit 3.3 Stars
Picture Trigger & Recovery Speed: 1.19 s. / 77.0 s. | Detection Range: 80 ft.
Not much has changed in the detection circuit for 2015. Trigger time is still over a second (slow) and recovery is 77 seconds. Recovery can vary based on the cell reception the camera is currently operating under. Since this is a cellular camera and can't transmit videos, we did not test or rate the video trigger or recovery times.
Detection range is 80 ft. Detection range can change with ambient temperature. The warmer the environment is, the less sensitive the camera will be. Overall, this is more or less the same detection circuit the Code Black has always had. It is pretty typical of a cellular camera but would see serious improvement if changes were made to trigger speed.
Picture Quality 3.7 Stars
Photo resolution: 10, 8, 5, 3 mpxl | Video Resolution: 640 x 480 w/ audio (does not transmit) | Flash Type: No Glow Infrared
Pictures transmitted are in 640x480 (or 800 x 600). The picture that is transmitted is compressed and will be grainy and pixelated. The full resolution image will be saved to the SD card that is inside the camera.
Day pictures have good color and depth. There does appear to be blur if anything is moving. Night images are the same we have seen the last few years. Solid, but not spectacular. The flash is concentrated in the middle of the image so animals on the sides are much darker.
Battery Life 3.3 Stars
Resting Power (on): 5.52 mW | Daytime Power Consumption: 68.89 Ws | Nighttime Power Consumption: 48.84 Ws
Resting power is relatively high compared to other cellular trail cameras. Day and night consumption and good and right in line with what we typically see from cellular trail cameras.
If this camera were to take 15 day pictures and 15 night pictures every 24 hour period, this camera would last 2.4 months in the field on a set of lithium batteries. Alkaline batteries will not power this camera for long. It is recommended to use a 6 volt solar panel if applicable at your camera trap station.
Covert Code Black 3G Reviews Conclusion: 3.5 Stars
This camera has improved drastically from last year based on one simple fact: you no longer need to go to AT&T to get a sim card. Outside of that, this is basically the same camera as last year. The 2015 Code Black 3G is a solid, reliable cellular trail camera that has earned our recommendation.