TCP Rating: 87/100
- The Solar trail camera has a built-in solar panel. This unique trail camera has unmatched battery life, trigger speed and recovery time. This is the most intriguing camera we have seen in 2016. - TCP Staff
2016 Spypoint Solar Review
Model # Solar | Spypoint Solar Owner's Manual
Trailcampro Comprehensive Score: What's this?
- Almost unlimited battery life
- Fastest trigger speed/recovery we have ever tested
- Bright, colorful pictures
- Internal picture viewer
- No built-in python bracket
- Blurry night photos
Ever seen a camera like the Spypoint Solar? Neither have we. Spypoint has always been known for innovative trail camera products, the Solar trail camera is the latest innovation.
The Spypoint Solar is a Force 11D with a solar panel permanently attached to the top of the camera.
Dimensions: 7" x 4.25" x 3.25" | Battery Type: 6 AA Batteries | External Battery Jack: 12 Volt
The solar panel immediately drew our attention. We talked to Spypoint extensively about this and they had some interesting things to say. We were worried that 90% of consumers would put the camera under a tree, negating the benefit of the solar panel. However, this particular solar panel doesn't need direct sunlight. It charges with any light that is present, even in thick timber. In fact, it was charging in our office just from our inside lighting.
"This solar panel doesn't need direct sunlight"
Better yet, on the internal menu, it shows a percentage that the camera is charging when you are positioning the Spypoint Solar. You can immediately see the benefits of angling the camera one way or another. The solar panel does not detach, it is fixed permanently on the camera. As this incredible technology is very new to us, we are continuing to test and evaluate this panel to learn more about how it works.
The Spypoint Solar is very small and would be easy to conceal in almost any environment. The camera has a detachable bracket for mounting or removing quickly from a tree. There is not a built-in python lock bracket, but there is a 1/4" x 20 threaded insert on the bottom of the camera for a tripod or Slate River Mount. It would have been nice to have a python bracket built into the case design.
On the back of the camera, there is a cover that unscrews to reveal the battery compartment (it requires 6 AA batteries). The batteries are easy to insert/remove and are held firmly in place. There is no chance they would become dislodged on their own. The battery cover feels a bit flimsy, but it attaches in a way that removes that as a concern. It is perfectly flush with the back of the camera and is not exposed to anything that would risk damaging it.
It hasn't been an issue, but it would have been nice for Spypoint to have a bigger, beefier latch. The internal viewer quickly scrolls through any pictures or videos the camera has taken. This is an underrated feature on the Solar trail camera, internal viewers make setup so much easier and ensures you walk away from a camera knowing it is monitoring the terrain exactly as you want it to.
Programming is incredibly easy and intuitive. Whether this is your first camera or 21st, you will enjoy the programming options and fluid navigation. All programming is done on the internal viewer, so for those of you that do not enjoy squinting at small LCD screens, you will appreciate the bigger font on the viewer.
The Solar trailcam has custom start/stop time, which is useful for anyone looking at this camera for security.
Durability is unknown at this time, we will update if we have any concerns.
Overall, the case design could be beefed up to feel sturdier, however, we gave the Spypoint added points for having a solar panel that can charge without direct sunlight. That is pretty cool technology and could potentially save you a ton of money over the life cycle of owning this trail camera.
Picture Trigger & Recovery Speed: 0.05 s. / 0.50 s. | Video Trigger & Recovery Speed: 0.58 s. / 0.7 s. | Detection Range: 60 ft.
We had to test this several times just to make sure our eyes weren't lying to us. Fast doesn't even begin to describe the Spypoint Solar. Instant trigger and recovery - even when in video mode. This is still hard to believe.
When we first tested video detection, the times were really good. Spypoint took a look and said they could do better. A week later we had cameras in hand that can start a video in half a second and recover in under a second. This is unheard of in terms of speed. Spypoint put a lot of time into their R&D for the Force Solar and it paid huge dividends.
The 60 ft. detection range is average.
Overall, this is the best cumulative detection circuit we have ever scored.
Photo resolution: 12 mpxl (interpolated) | Video Resolution: 1280 x 720 w/ audio | Flash Type: Red Glow Infrared (very faint)
As expected, picture quality is identical to the Force 11D. Daytime pictures have been very impressive. Bright color, good clarity and plenty of depth whether the camera was placed in bright sunlight or heavy timber.
Night pictures have pros and cons. There is a decent amount of flash range, but the pictures do have a slight halo (more light in the center of the image - less on the edges of the photo). We also have a high number of blurry photos. The Solar has three modes in the settings that control night image quality:
- IR Boost - Max flash range but higher frequency of blurry images
- Blur Reduction - Less flash range, but better clarity on moving animals
- Optimal - This is a compromise of the two modes above.
Our sample images are a combination of all the modes the camera allows. Overall, the night photos are a mixed bag. We consider the Solar's night photos to be very average.
Day video is shot with 1280 x 720 resolution. The video quality is good, but almost all the videos we retrieved are darker than their picture counterparts.
Night videos are very dark and lack flash range, especially on the left and right side of the videos. We consider night video quality to be below average.
Resting Power (on): 0.61 mW | Daytime Power Consumption: 1.38 Ws | Nighttime Power Consumption: 2.26 Ws
This is silly battery life. The draws are so efficient, this camera lasts forever before you even start to consider the solar panel.
If this camera were to take 35-day pictures and 35-night pictures every 24 hour period, this camera would last 15 months in the field on a set of lithium batteries. This does not include the solar panel.
How does the Spypoint Solar work with internal batteries and how does it know which battery source to draw from? The camera pulls power from the solar panel until the charge goes below 25%, at that point, it pulls from the 6 internal AA batteries. We highly recommend lithium batteries, as they do not have a daily self-discharge like alkaline or rechargeable batteries do.
Spypoint claims that if you buy the Solar trail camera you will "Never buy batteries again." In our opinion, if the camera continues to operate as it has to this point, that could very well be a valid statement.
Tenergy rechargeable batteries do not fit in the battery compartment. The batteries are too thick. For that reason, we only recommend lithium batteries with this camera.
Spypoint Solar Conclusion: 87/100
The Spypoint Solar is unlike anything we have seen before. For all practical purposes, the Spypoint Solar is a Force 11D with a solar panel attached, which has made changing batteries a thing of the past. The Solar has a great internal viewer, easy programming, and insane speed. If the blurry night photos and dark night videos don't bother you, we give this camera our highest recommendation.
Enjoy our reviews? Please consider purchasing your next trail camera from us.Back to Top of Page
- Built-in solar panel
- 12 mpxl interpolated photos
- Red glow infrared LEDs (very faint and almost no glow)
- 2" internal viewing screen
- 1280 x 720 video w/ audio
- 1-6 shots in multi-shot mode
- Hybrid mode (picture before video)
- Accepts up to 32 gig SD card
- Requires 6 AA batteries
- External 12-volt battery jack
Buy your next trail camera or accessory from us and we will protect your purchase with our 90-day return policy and our exclusive 2-year warranty.
Most manufacturer warranties are only one year. In our opinion, that isn't good enough. Our customers get a two-year warranty, directly from us.
Trailcampro's 2 Year Warranty
If the trail camera you purchase from us goes defective within two years of your purchase, we will quickly replace it.
We strive to make the warranty process as quick and easy as possible. Simply fill out our warranty form.
Trailcampro's 90 Day Return Policy
We believe you have the right to return any game camera that does not meet your expectations within 90 days.
Our return policy lets you field test products, at no risk to you!
- Buyer's remorse? Return the camera to us for a full refund (minus shipping).
- Purchased the wrong camera? We will ship you the right camera.
- Something wrong with the camera you received? We will replace it at no cost to you.
Want to talk to a trail camera expert? Contact our friendly staff.
Read our Customer Testimonials to find out what our customers have been saying about us!
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Spypoint Solar Accessories
Here are a few of the accessories we like to use in the Solar.
- Use this to protect your new camera from bears and thieves. It provides much-needed peace of mind when leaving your camera out in nature.
- Use this with the security case to lock the camera in the case, and the case to a tree.
- There is no downside to using lithium batteries. Long battery life, extreme durability and better night pictures. You will be happy you did.
Start at $5.95
- SD cards store your pictures and videos for easy removal. We give you a free SD card with the Solar, but most people use a second card. If you have two cards, you can swap them out when you retrieve the pictures.
Verified Customer Reviews
We ensure that every customer review comes from one of our real customers and not someone who works for the competing trail camera manufacturer. These are verified customer trail camera reviews that you can trust.
We would love your feedback if you purchased this trail camera from us. We want your honest feedback, these reviews are a vital part in helping consumers choose the right game camera.