2013 Covert Spec. Ops - Code Black Review

     -Last update 5/09/14 - Discontinued camera
     More Covert Reviews

Quick Facts

Trigger Speed:
Recovery Time:
Detection Range:
Flash Range:
Batteries:
Dimensions:
1.44 s
60+ s
80-90 ft
45 ft
12 AA
5.5" x 4" x 3"


Trailcampro Star Rating

3.9 Stars

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Pros
  • No Glow Cellular Trail Camera
  • Excellent for security surveillance
  • Dependable, consistent cellular delivery
  • Sends picture within 60 seconds
  • Incredible detection zone
Cons
  • Buttons don't always click the first time (in setup)
Trailcampro Analysis

    
The Code Black is a 2G cellular trail camera that can send pictures, via cellular signal, to your phone, email or both.   This is a no glow infrared flash - perfect for any security scenario.

     It is important to know that this camera only works with a GSM sim card, which in the U.S. is AT&T or TMobile.  It will NOT work with Verizon, Sprint or any non-GSM carrier.  It will send photos to any network, the camera just has to be setup with the appropriate sim card.  In other words, if you are a Verizon member, it will still text you the pictures - no problem.  It just requires the GSM sim card in order to do so.

     The Code Black has proven to be very consistent in picture delivery, in weaker signal areas, than other cellular cameras.  Picture delivery to phone/email is within 60 seconds of the picture being taken.

     Imagine if someone was walking across your property, at any given time, and 60 seconds later you know who it is and where they are.  This is invaluable.

Security Use


     As valuable as this camera is for wildlife surveillance, it is even more valuable as a security camera.

     Put the camera up overlooking your business, watching your house while you are on vacation, on a gate entering or exiting your property and countless other options.

     With the added benefit of the flash not being visible to the human eye, this is the ultimate security camera.

     Within 60 seconds of a person entering the field of view of the camera, you will have a photo of them with both the time and date stamped on the photo.  Next step is contacting local authorities and prosecuting!

     We have used this camera extensively as security around our office and it works flawlessly.

Detection Circuit    
  3.7 Stars
     The 1.4 second trigger is below average as is the 6 second recovery time (when not in cell mode).  The camera takes 60 seconds to send a picture, so if the camera is in cellular mode, the recovery is actually 60 seconds. 

     The 2013 cameras have been detecting out a whopping 90 ft in our most recent tests.  This is absolutely incredible and ranks the detection zone in the 98th percentile of all the trail cameras on the market.

     Just as impressive as the huge detection range, the camera is snapping the photo just as the animal/person walks into the field of view.  The detection zone is wider than the field of view, however, when combined with the trigger time (1.4 seconds) the resulting image is a near-perfectly placed object.  Do note: because of the wide detection zone, this will result in blank images if an animal is milling around just outside the field of view.  This can result in extra charges if you are on a limited text plan.

     This is the best detection circuit from any cellular trail camera.  If it weren't for the below-average trigger time, this would be one of the premier circuits of any camera on the market.

Picture Quality    
  3.75 Stars
     The day pictures from the Code Black are very good.  Both color and clarity are exactly what we like to see.  Sometimes the lighting of a day picture is a little dark, but in general they are very nice.

     The night pictures are surprisingly clear and bright, especially for a no glow trail camera.  You can click on any of the images below to see exactly what we are talking about.












     When the camera is in cellular mode (sending the pictures to your email or phone), the photo quality will be diminished.

    
When the camera transmits a photo, it transmits in 640 x 480.  The transmitted photos are not as sharp in quality (because there are less pixels) but they are still clear and easy to distinguish the animal or person in the photo.  Below are photos that we received directly to our email.  Click on them, for the full sized image (640x480).





     Overall, for a cellular game camera that produces no visible flash to the human eye, the pictures on the Code Black are very good.

Battery Life    
  4.0 Stars
     The resting current draw is excellent.  With the cellular capabilities up and running, the power consumption goes up.  This is to be expected as the camera is attempting to send the photo, via a cellular signal, to a phone or email.  In areas that have poor reception, you can expect the consumption to be even higher.

     For a cellular camera, the day and night consumption draws are very good.

Resting Current Draw
Daytime Power Consumption Nighttime Power Consumption
0.20 ma
363 ma (cell off)
634 ma (cell off)
0.18 ma
6584 ma (cell on) 3248 ma (cell on)

ma = milliamps


     Overall, the battery life is actually a plus compared to other cellular models.  You can use Tenergy Nimh Rechargeable Batteries in this camera (12 pack is require) and get solid battery life in both warm and cold weather.  For the longest battery life, a 12 pack of Lithium Batteries will work the best.  If you buy the camera from us, we give you the lithium batteries for free.

     With lithium batteries, expect 3-5 months of battery life.  We have seen where the manufacturer, Covert, does not recommend Lithium Batteries.  We have had zero issues with the batteries so we will continue to use and recommend them.

Ease of Use    
  4.2  Stars
     Cellular game cameras, in general, can be quite finicky to setup for cellular transmission.

    With that in mind, we offer to setup your cellular trail camera for free.  We also include a free SD card and 12 lithium batteries.

     If you want to set the camera up yourself, put aside time and energy to get everything setup properly.  Getting the correct sim card is crucial.  If you are setting the camera up yourself, read our Cellular Setup Guide for step-by-step instructions on getting the camera and sim card ready.

     The case design is simple and well constructed.  The plastic used is durable and weatherproof.

     However, we do have two complaints with the case design.  First, the battery compartment has a tendency to not hold the batteries in place very well.  They occasionally pop out.  Secondly, the buttons in setup do not always click the first time on the highlighted setting.  Many times you have to click repeatedly until it selects the proper setting.  With that being said, the durability of the Code Black has been outstanding and returns have been few and far between.



    Video to the left shows all the programming options.

    This camera is capable of two way communication.  This is a setting in the camera that can be turned on or off (called SMS).  When turned on, the camera is connected to the cellular network at all times.  This allows you to text the camera different commands to instantly change settings.  Some of the commands are as follows:
  • Take an instant photo
  • Add/remove recipients email address or phone number
  • Turn SMS off
     When this function is turned on, the camera will use a large amount of battery.  Expect battery life to drop to 2-3 weeks if this is left on continuously.

    To sum everything up, the 2013 Covert Special Ops - Code Black is an incredible cellular trail camera.  The detection zone flat out blew us away.  It exceeds any reasonable expectation and has completely changed the landscape in which other cellular cameras will have to compete in.  In our opinion, this could quite possibly be the best no glow cellular camera on the market. 

     There isn't much that this camera can improve on.  Excellent battery life, no glow infrared flash, optional two way communication and cellular transmission is combined with one of the best detection zones on the market - this is an incredible camera.
Code Black Sample Photos
Click pictures to enlarge