Spypoint Live 3G Review

     - Last update:  1/03/14

Quick Facts
Trigger Speed:
Recovery Time:
Detection Range:
Flash Range:
Batteries:
Dimensions:
2.38 s.
21.3 s
50 ft.
40 ft.
8 AA
8.25" x 6.5" x 3.5" - antenna 3"


Trailcampro Star Rating

2.5 Stars


Spypoint Live 3G
$499.95






Pros
  • Good detection zone
  • Ability to change settings remotely
  • GPS tracking
Cons
  • Slow trigger speed
  • Less than 1 month battery life
  • Large, bulky camera
Trailcampro Analysis

     The Spypoint Live 3G is as complex a cellular trail camera as we have ever tested.  We will try to detail all the ins and outs of this camera as best we can.  However, this is as complicated a camera and setup as we have seen so if we miss something please forgive us.

     Unlike most cell trail cameras on the market, the Live 3G sends pictures to mySpypoint.com.  You pay $10 a year to have a mySpypoint account.  This is just for the account, not for picture receiving ability.  Once you have an account, you need to buy memory.  The cost for memory is:
  • 100 mB = $15  (roughly 1000 pictures)
  • 250 mB = $37.5  (roughly 2500 pictures)
  • 500 mB = $75  (roughly 5000 pictures)

     All this is done directly through the mySpypoint account.  Billing is relatively simple and hassle-free.  The camera comes shipped with a sim card (from Spypoint).  It works off of GSM towers, which is only AT&T.  So if you don't have AT&T reception or towers in your area, this camera will not work.

     Now that we have covered the basics of the cellular setup and capabilities of the Live 3G, let's get more into the actual camera itself.  Later on we will provide more in-depth details of the mySpypoint account itself.

Detection Circuit       2.3 Stars
     The detection circuit is hit and miss.  The trigger speed is 2.38 seconds, which is incredibly slow.  This ranks in the bottom 5% of all trail cameras on the market.  The recovery time is 21 seconds which is unique for a cell camera.  Most cellular cameras on the market send the picture to you immediately after it is taken.  The Live 3G sends pictures in "batches," or in other words, multiple pictures at predetermined intervals.  Since it does not send immediately, it does not have the normal 60 second recovery time of most cell cameras.

     The upside to this is the camera recovers faster and takes more pictures of the same animal as it is in the detection zone.  The downside is if the camera is stolen, you will not get an immediate picture of the thief as he is stealing the camera.

     You can set the camera into security mode and it will send the photos immediately and give you a text alert that the photo has been taken.

     The detection zone reaches out to a max of 50 ft.  It is relatively wide and we consider this a solid detection zone.

     The main thing that hampers the detection capabilities of the Live 3G is the long lag time in the trigger speed.  An animal, or a person, can travel a great distance in 2.38 seconds and the chances of missing an animal is high if they are moving quickly.

Picture Quality       2.9 Stars
     Daytime picture quality of the 3G is average.  The camera has a tendency to overexpose and blur somewhat frequently.

     If you use the mySpypoint account to view the pictures, you will have a small 73 x 73 thumbnail at first view.  To the right are a few examples of what that would look like.

     As you can see, the thumbnails are tiny.  You can just barely make out what kind of animal is in each of the pictures, but not much else can be deciphered from that.

     For each thumbnail that is delivered to your mySpypoint account, your memory will decrease incrementally.  These small thumbnails don't use much space, but they also don't provide much detail.







     To view the pictures in a larger format, select the pictures you want to enlarge and the next time the camera does a batch upload it will upload your selected pictures in a larger size.

     Click on any of these three pictures (to the left and below) to view what that image would look like (640 x 480).




      Keep in mind, when you ask for the larger sized picture, you will once again take away from your allotted memory space.  Also, you won't get the larger image until the camera does the next batch upload (you can set this from 1, 2, 6 or 12 times per day).  If the camera is stolen, turned off or the battery dies; you won't get the larger size unless you go straight to the SD card in the camera.

     You can program the camera to always upload the larger file size.  This is almost a necessity, but will use your allotted memory quicker.

     All the pictures in the right column of this review are the full sized images that were stored to the SD card.

     Night pictures have a 40 foot maximum range.  They are somewhat dim and not evenly lit throughout the left to right of the image.  Overall, they are average and neither a pro nor con to this camera.

Battery Life       2.9 Stars
     This is a tricky camera to accurately calculate battery consumption.  Instead of sending pictures immediately, it uploads multiple pictures (batching) at different time intervals.  The good news is the Live 3G has a very low resting current draw.  When it sits inactive, it hardly uses any juice.

     When batching occurs, the camera uses an incredible amount of power.  It varies based on how many pictures are being uploaded and the size of those images.  The below data is from two tests we ran.

10 High Resolution Photos Uploaded
10 Thumbnails Uploaded
112322 ma
58960 ma

     Bottom line, we have only been getting 2-3 weeks of battery life while using Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries.

     The Live 3G needs 8 AA batteries to operate.  You would spend a fortune if you used lithiums each time.  We think the only logical battery option is an external solar panel.  Even then, with the consumption rate of the camera you will need quite a bit of sun (and a good panel) to keep up with the demand.

Ease of Use       1.8 Stars
     Ease of use on the Live 3G is definitely a mixed bag.  Let's start with what we liked about the programming options.

     The ability to change settings, check battery status and manage billing all through the mySpypoint website is very handy.  Our favorite part of the Live 3G is the GPS tracking.  Without giving away their company secrets (and alerting potential thieves), you can track the camera, if stolen, for 2-3 days after the thief takes the batteries out of the camera.  This is the only camera (that we are aware of) that currently has this feature.  Simply put, this is awesome.

     Below are screenshots from our mySpypoint account.





     There are several things we want to touch on that we don't like about the camera.  Setting the camera up, for cellular transmission, is a nightmare.  Multiple phone calls, significant time spent and plenty of headaches later - the camera was finally working.  To put it mildly, this isn't something we want to go through very often.

     The camera does come with a TRU phone sim card and complete instructions for setup.  At the beginning of their instructions they say, "Prepare the following requirements;"
  • Spypoint Live 3G camera
  • Sim card (TRUphone sim card or your own sim card on which a "Data" plan is already activated)
  • 8 AA batteries or a Sypoint LIT-09 lithium battery pack
  • Credit card
  • Pencil
  • Computer with internet access
  • Phillips screwdriver
    As you can immediately see, the setup process isn't for the faint of heart.  We don't want to point this out to criticize Spypoint, we simply want you to know what is required for setup before you actually get the camera.

    Case design is another area that is lacking on the 3G.  The camera is huge, especially compared to the competition.  The case material feels flimsy and not what you expect from a camera at this price point.

     The 3.5" viewing screen is a nice touch and helps with camera placement.  The setting functions are fast and don't have lag time from the instant you push a button.

     The cameras durability is an unknown at this time.  We will update the review down the line once we have a better understanding of that.

     Let's try to sum up the Spypoint Live 3G...  We love the GPS tracking, remote programming and the solid detection zone.  Outside of that, everything else on the camera is either average or sub-standard in our opinion.  The camera is slow, large/bulky, consumes a large amount of battery power and was extremely difficult to get up and running.  When the competition is selling cellular cameras at $350, we would expect a $500 cell camera to be a substantial upgrade.  In this case, the Spypoint Live 3G is not.

     Our dealings with Spypoint, as a company, have always been extremely positive.  Their customer service is excellent and they are always quick to respond to possible issues.  They have consistently gone above and beyond when we have had questions or concerns.  Even with that in mind, we can't recommend this camera to the consumer.  When you consider the value of this camera (for $500), compared to the competition, it isn't close.
Live 3G Sample Photos



































Spypoint Live 3G
$499.95