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Hawk Ghost HD20 Review
The Ghost HD20 is a wireless game camera that programs from your smartphone. This camera takes good pictures, has long battery life, and is incredibly fast. We don't like the micro-SD card, the video quality, and we aren't fans of needing your phone to program the camera. Outside of that, this is an impressive first step for this new game camera company. -TCP Staff
- Smallest camera on the market
- 10+ month battery life (picture mode)
- Outstanding detection circuit
- Micro SD card is really hard to insert and extract
2018 is Hawk's introduction into the trail camera industry and they have caused quite the stir. The Ghost line of cameras are currently the smallest trail cameras on the market.
The Ghost HD20 does not have a setup screen, all settings are controlled from the Hawk Sync app that you download on your phone. Please keep in mind, the app is only for controlling settings, it does not send the photos the camera has triggered to the app - you still download them with the traditional method (from the micro sd card that is inside the camera).
Photo resolution: 20 mpxl (interpolated)
Video resolution: 1280 x 720
Flash Type: Red Glow IR
The HD20 takes a really good day photo. They appear to be clear, have realistic color, and stop motion relatively well. We saw some blur in certain light conditions but nothing to be genuinely concerned about. Night pictures are average with a middle-of-the-road flash range. They could use some improvements overall.
video quality appears to be slightly better than the HD16. The motion is a little more fluid, however, the videos are still below average compared to the rest of the trail camera industry. This is not a camera we would recommend to purchase if you are interested in videos.
Picture & Video Resting Power (on): 0.62 mW
Picture Daytime/Nighttime Power Consumption: 1.1 Ws | 2.4 Ws
Video Daytime/Nighttime Power Consumption: 13.4 Ws | 28.9 Ws
Hawk engineered incredible battery life considering the camera only uses 4 AA batteries. Big thumbs up in this department.
If this camera were to take 35-day and 35-night pictures every 24 hours, the Hawk Ghost HD20 trail camera would last 10.2 months in the field on a set of 4 AA Lithium batteries. We consider this to be outstanding, especially considering the camera only uses 4 batteries.
If this camera were to take 15-day and 15-night videos (10-second videos) every 24 hours, it would last 2.6 months in the field on a set of lithium batteries. This is the best video battery life currently on the market.
Picture Trigger & Recovery Speed: 0.19 s. / 1.4 then 0.4 s. (0.6 average)
Video Trigger & Recovery Speed: 0.44 s. / 0.8 s.
Detection Range & Angle: 110 ft. (max) | 27.5° (34.8° F.O.V.)
Detection speed and distance? This camera has plenty of it. the detection width is about 20° less than a traditional camera (the f.o.v. is about 8° less) so that really limits the overall detection area.
The picture recovery is a bit different and goes like this on sequential triggered events:
- 1.4 s.
- 0.366 s.
- 0.420 s.
Not a big deal, just worth noting.
Dimensions: 3.75" x 3.25" x 2"
Battery Type: 4 AA Batteries
External Battery Jack: 6-Volt
As mentioned previously, this is the smallest game camera on the market. It is impressive Hawk was able to achieve this as it certainly makes concealing the camera much easier.
Even with the small size, The Ghost HD20 has a python bracket (slides through the front of the case) for a 5/16" Python Cable Lock and a 1/4" x 20 threaded insert (on the upper back of the camera) for a Slate River Stealth Mount.
It is worth pointing out the nylon mounting strap that comes with the camera is pretty silly. Instead of the traditional way of sliding the strap through the bracket and buckling two ends together... Hawk decided to make the user tie two knots on each side of the bracket and then buckle the strap together. This is a classic case of an engineer out-thinking themselves. It works, but it is extremely silly and serves no purpose.
The outside of the case feels solid to the touch, however, the battery tray button/switch and the internal micro sd card/on/off button switch feel cheap and flimsy. Also, it's safe to say we aren't fans of micro SD cards. They are tiny and hard to handle. Our fat fingers have a higher likelihood of dropping them than we do inserting them properly into a trailcam on the first try.
Ghost HD20 Setup Process
Getting the camera setup requires downloading the Hawk Sync App to your smartphone. Here are the steps involved upon completion of the app download:
- Open the app and create an account. This requires an email verification to be sent to you so be sure to have access to your email. It took us two tries as the first verification did not go through in the 60 seconds the app allows. The second email code went through much quicker.
- After the account is created, put lithium batteries and a micro SD card in the camera (be gentle with the micro SD when inserting into the camera). Turn the camera on.
- Hit the + button in the upper left of the app. Add a new camera. It should automatically locate the camera you are synching (be sure to have bluetooth turned on in your phone's settings).
- Change your settings from the app. The settings are completely up to you. That's pretty much it!
From the app, you can take a test photo or test the motion activation to make sure the camera is angled properly. We found the app to be intuitive and quick. In fact, we didn't even open the user's manual.
We do want to point out that you have to have your phone with (and it has to connect to the camera) you to do any setting changes, this adds an additional layer that we did find to be frustrating. We prefer to have the settings in the camera. Also, having the switches and micro-SD card on the bottom of the camera makes it really hard to change things with the camera when it is on a tree out in the field.
Durability is unknown at this time. This is a new brand/model and it will take time to let that sort out. We do have some concerns over the way the battery connectors in the battery tray and how they connect. Whether that is a long-term issue or not is to be determined.
Don't forget, if you buy the Hawk Ghost HD20 from us, we back it with a 90-day Return Policy and a full 2-Year Warranty against defect. Simply call, email, or chat with us if you ever have an issue or question.
Enjoy our reviews? Please consider purchasing your next trail camera from us.
FAQ's: Trail Camera
Q: How do I view the pictures?
A: There are a number of ways to do this. Pictures/videos are stored on the micro SD card you place in the camera.
- View pictures on your computer. Plug the SD card in a desktop computer or laptop via the built-in SD card reader or use a USB reader if your computer doesn't have one. This method works for most tablets as well. With this method, we recommend having two SD cards per camera so you can swap them in the field.
- View pictures on your smartphone. Choose between the iOS Reader for iPhones and the Android Reader. Phone readers require an app to access the photos, you can read more about these via the previous links.
- Trail Camera Viewers. While more expensive, handheld viewers are useful if you don't have a smartphone or run multiple trail cameras.
Q: Will this trail camera trigger on small animals (birds, rodents, etc.)?
A: Trail cameras detect on a combination of heat and movement, so, yes, small mammals will trigger the camera. However, if you are going after smaller warm-blooded mammals, we recommend getting the camera closer to your target. For best performance, place the camera in an area that would enable picture detection from 3 - 20 ft.
Q: Can animals see the infrared flash on this camera?
A: Yes. This is a red glow trail cameras, meaning it has a faint red glow when taking pictures or videos at night. Humans and animals can see this if looking at the camera. This does not "light up" the woods, though.
Q: Where can I purchase this camera?
A: From us! We hope to woo you with our incredible charm, two-year warranty, 90-day returns, free continental U.S. shipping, and technical expertise. If that isn't enough, we give you an 8 Gig SD card with this camera and you can call and talk our ear off anytime.
Seriously, though, we know you have plenty of options of where to spend your hard-earned money. The internet can be the wild, wild, west of too-good-to-be-true deals. If you choose to do business with us, we will go out of our way to make sure you are happy with the camera you select and the service we provide you.
We are passionate about testing and reviewing trail cameras, but most importantly, we are passionate about treating our customers the right way. We do things differently from what you have come to expect from other internet retailers and we hope you give us the opportunity to prove that to you.
Read Reviews From All the Game and Trail Cameras
- 34.8° Field of View
- 6-volt external battery jack
- Accepts Micro SD Cards up to 128 Gig
- Requires 4 AA Batteries (not included - we recommend Lithium Batteries)
- Free UPS Economy Shipping on all orders over $99
- Free shipping applies only to the lower 48 states and will be shipped via the most economical method.
- Orders placed before 3 p.m Central Standard Time are usually shipped the same day
- We are happy to offer expedited shipping options. Prices are shown during checkout.
Dear International Customer:
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3048 S. Clifton Ave
Springfield, MO 65807
Trail Camera Accessories
Here are a few of the accessories we like to use in the Trail Camera.
- There is no downside to using lithium batteries. Long battery life, extreme durability and better night pictures. You will be happy you did. This 8 pack will give you enough batteries for the camera and a backup set.
Start at $14.95
- SD cards store your pictures and videos for easy removal. We give you a free Micro SD card with the Ghost HD20, but most people use two sd cards. 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.