Covert Code Black 12.0 - AT&T Review

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Covert code black 12.0 review

2016 Covert Code Black 12.0 Review

- The Code Black 12.0 is an AT&T cellular trail camera that sends photos instantly to a website or smartphone app. Programming and setup are stellar, but night pictures are very dark. Make sure you set the "Remote Control" setting to 4 hours so it doesn't kill the battery life prematurely. - TCP Staff

Model # 5144 | Code Black Owner's Manual


  • Very easy to setup and maintain
  • Affordable cellular plans
  • Great case design
  • 2" internal viewer


  • Slow trigger speed
  • Dark night photos

Trailcampro Analysis

The Covert Code Black 12.0 is a certified AT&T cellular trail camera. This camera can take and send pictures to a website or smartphone app. With this, you can access the photos anywhere. The only difference between this model and the Covert Blackhawk is the cellular carrier used. The Code Black 12.0 is AT&T and will need 3 or more bars of AT&T reception. The Blackhawk is Verizon based and will need 3 or more bars of reception for it.

There is a monthly cost associated with the subscription plans. Here are the monthly plans:

100 pictures 1,000 pictures 5,000 pictures 34,000 pictures
$3.99 monthly $9.99 monthly $14.99 monthly $34.99 (every 3 months)

Picture Quality

Photo resolution: 12 mpxl | Flash Type: No Glow Infrared

Pictures transmitted will not be full resolution, they are compressed to 640x480. Along with the smaller size, they will not have maximum picture quality. These images end up being distorted or a bit grainy. If you want the full resolution, higher quality images, get the pictures directly from the SD card.

Day pictures have good color and stop motion well. It would have been nice to have a larger photo option for the transmission because these pictures are particularly distorted. The pictures saved to the SD card are nice, though.

Night pictures lack flash range and make face recognition extremely difficult for security surveillance. Overall, the night pictures are below average.

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Battery Life

Resting Power (on): 2.61 mW | Daytime Power Consumption: 47.89 Ws | Nighttime Power Consumption: 37.54 Ws

The Code Black 12.0 works on 12 AA batteries just like the Covert Code Black Select camera. As you can see, cellular cameras take a large amount of power to send pictures over the cellular network.

Make sure you set the "Remote Control" setting to 4 hours so it doesn't kill the battery life prematurely. Otherwise it is constantly connected to the network and will burn through batteries in a week or two.

If this camera were to take 15-day pictures and 15-night pictures every 24 hour period, this camera would last 3.6 months in the field on a set of lithium batteries. Alkaline batteries are not recommended for any cellular trailcam.

Detection Circuit

Picture Trigger & Recovery Speed: 1.25 s. / 50.2 s. | Detection Range: 60 ft.

Trigger speed is very slow. We were surprised that this wasn't updated for the 2016 model. 1.25-second trigger speed is slow by today's standards.

Detection range was 60 ft. This is average by today's standards.

Overall, the trigger speed could use a boost.

Quality of Design

Dimensions: 5.75" x 4.5" x 3" | Battery Type: 12 AA Batteries | External Battery Jack: 6 Volt

Covert absolutely hit a home run with the programming. Gone are the days of complicated cell camera setup, the Code Black sets up in a few minutes with access to the internet and Covert wireless support.

How to setup a Covert Code Black 12.0 (AT&T)

  1. Go to
  2. Sign up as a new customer (unless you already have an account and are adding a camera
  3. Enter your Covert wireless account info, billing info and select a plan
  4. Enter your IMEI number (on the camera) and the ICCID number from the SIM card. This identifies your specific camera with your account.
  5. Your account will show up with your camera info. You can name the camera, which is especially helpful if you end up with multiple cameras.

That's it for setup. Picture the camera takes will now be sent to your account, which you can access from the website, or you can download the Covert Wireless App to your smartphone (Android or iPhone).

Most common question we get is, "Can I use an old sim card I have for this camera?" Absolutely Not. The camera comes with a specific sim card for this camera (this is the answer to that question regardless of what camera you purchase - they never use old sim cards). The ONLY way to setup this camera is the method described above. Also, if you have 3 of these cameras, you will need to add a line for each of them to your account.

To view pictures the camera has taken, simply go to and log in, or access them through the app on your phone. On the app, you can set the app to audibly notify you when a picture is taken (this is handy for security operations).

From either the app or the website, you can change the settings on the camera with the click of your mouse. This "remote control" can be either instant (real-time) or set to specific intervals that the camera changes settings on. This is the last option on the menu below.

Many of you will find the "Real-Time Photo" useful. Click that button, with real-time selected, and within 30-60 seconds you will have a picture from the camera.

The app works identically to this, just on your phone. Covert Scouting Cameras did an outstanding job building this website and making the programming simple.

The only internal setup needed for this camera is the typical stuff. Set the time, date, delay (use 1 minute or greater), resolution, etc. This camera does have start/stop time if you only want it on during certain time periods.

Case design is also a strength. The large, over-sized latch is easy to manipulate and strong. There is a 1/4" x 20 threaded insert on the bottom for a Slate River Mount, along with a built-in python cable lock bracket on the back.

Durability has always been good with the Code Black cameras. Most problems associated with earlier models of the Code Black were programming or sim card issues. With the easier setup, the Code Black 12.0 has, those issues should be eliminated.

Covert Code Black 12.0 Conclusion

The night pictures and detection speed are the only things holding this camera back. The programming and setup is a dream come true, though. If the first two things aren't important to you, this is a good Covert Code Black 12.0 cellular trail camera.

Enjoy our reviews? Please consider purchasing your next trail camera from us.

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Additional Resources:

Trail Cameras that Send Pictures to Your Phone

Manufacturer Specifications

  • Setup Guide
  • AT&T Cellular Camera
  • 12 Mpxl photo resolution (interpolated)
  • No glow IR flash
  • 1-10 image burst
  • Time, temperature, date, and moon phase stamp on each image
  • 2" internal color viewer
  • 1/4" x 20 threaded insert on the bottom of the camera
  • Built in python cable bracket
  • Requires 12 AA batteries
  • Accepts up to 32 gig SD card

trail camera warranty

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.

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    Code Black 12.0 Accessories

    Here are a few of the accessories we like to use in the 2016 Code Black.

    8 lithium batteries

    Energizer Ultimate Lithiums | 12 Pack


    - There is no downside to using lithium batteries. Long battery life, extreme durability and better night pictures. You will be happy you did.

    python cable lock

    6 Foot Python Cable Lock


    - Use this with the security case, or just the camera itself. The Code Black 12.0 has brackets on the back specifically for this lock.

    Extra SD Cards

    Start at $5.95

    - SD cards store your pictures and videos for easy removal. We give you a free SD card with the Code Black 12.0, 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.