HCO Spartan 4G (Verizon)
HCO Spartan Verizon 4G Review
The HCO Spartan 4G Verizon is a 2018 cellular trail camera from HCO Outdoors. This camera scores well in picture quality, battery life, and case design, but struggles with usability and picture trigger speed. - TCP Staff
Model # GC-Z4Gb
Trailcampro Comprehensive Score:
Mpxl Rating | Video ResolutionSee Breakdown ▼
Battery Life:3.5 Months
Resting Power(on) | Daytime Power Consumption | Nighttime Power ConsumptionSee Breakdown ▼
Trigger Speed & Detection:70/100
Picture Trigger & Recovery Speed | Video Trigger & Recovery Speed | Detection RangeSee Breakdown ▼
Quality of Design:74/100
Dimensions | Battery Type | External Battery Jack See Breakdown ▼
- Good picture quality
- Solid case design
- Improved picture battery life
- Only works on 4G towers - will not work on a 3G tower
- Can only send pictures to a single phone number or email address
- Setup process can be difficult
- Below average durability/warranty rate
This is the new HCO Spartan 4G in Verizon. If you are familiar with HCO Spartan cameras, it is important to note the following changes:
- This is a 4G camera and can only work on 4G/LTE towers. It does not work down to 3G towers, unfortunately. Please ensure you have 4G towers in your area before purchasing.
- This camera is capable of taking and sending videos only if you sign up for HCO's Premium service.
- If you do not sign up for HCO's Premium service, this camera can only send photos to a single phone number or email.
Photo resolution: 8 mpxl
Video resolution: 1024x576
Flash Type: No Glow IR
Any picture that is emailed from the camera is a compressed file, so the resolution and size are smaller. The full-size image will be saved on the sd card. The sample photos you will see here are a mix of full resolution and emailed photos.
Cellular pictures are always hard to evaluate because of the pixelation from the compression of the file. However, day pictures are solid and possess decent color. Night pictures have good flash range and clarity.
If you are wanting the camera for security surveillance, face recognition will be the toughest part for any infrared trail camera. Make sure you check out all our photos below. You will notice night pictures will greatly depend on how fast the subject is moving as to whether there will be blur or not. Overall, night pictures are good for a no glow infrared cellular camera, however, don't expect a perfectly clear picture to prosecute someone with. Cellular cameras are best for alerting you immediately when someone is in a place they aren't supposed to be, not for prosecution.
Videos are solid but we do not rate them for the purpose of this review. The only way to get the videos sent to your phone is to sign up for an additional service from HCO (premium service). Since they charge you for this on top of what a data plan cost, we do not include this in our ratings.
Picture & Video Resting Power (on): 0.5 mW (power save on)
Picture Daytime/Nighttime Power Consumption: 50.0 Ws | 48.9 Ws
Video Daytime/Nighttime Power Consumption: 352.3 Ws | 393.0 Ws
A recent update to the battery consumption has led to big improvements in picture battery life. In video mode, power consumption is outrageous and nearly makes the video portion of this camera unusable.
If this camera took 15-day pictures and 15-night pictures every 24 hours, it would last 3.5 months on a set of lithium batteries.
If this camera took 15-day videos and 15-night videos every 24 hours, it would last 0.5 months on a set of lithium batteries.
Picture Trigger & Recovery Speed: 0.98 s. / 43.5 s.
Video Trigger: 3.69 s.
Detection Range & Angle: 70 ft. | 44.6° (42.3° F.O.V)
The picture trigger is quite slow but the recovery has seen a recent update and improvement.
The detection range is 70 feet, which is good. The detection zone is large enough to cover a big area, allowing you to monitor open areas whether you are using the camera for security or wildlife.
Dimensions: 6" x 5" x 3.25" w/o antenna
Battery Type: 12 AA Batteries
External Battery Jack: 6-Volt
We are not a fan of the setup process. It is long, layered, and can be complicated and expensive.
2018 Spartan 4G Verizon Setup Process:
There are several methods for activating the cellular data for the 2018 Spartan 4G.
Method #1: You can activate the camera by logging into your account at www.vzw.com and then go to "adding a new device." This is $5 a month (ad a line).
Method #2: You can activate the camera either by calling the Verizon support number (1-800-775-8098, or by calling 611 from your Verizon cell phone. Listen to the menu options and follow the prompts to activate the service.
Method #3: You may take the camera to a Verizon store and have an in-store customer service rep activate the service for you. Be sure to record your camera's telephone number.
HCO has a premium service you can subscribe to for $4 per month. You would have to call HCO to activate this. Benefits include:
- You can download and use the mobile phone Spartan app. You can't use the app if you haven't signed up for premium.
- Premium service is the only way you can have the camera send videos to your phone. Without premium, the Spartan can only send pictures.
- Enables two-way communication from user to camera (remotely)
- The option of increasing thumbnail image to 1280 x 960 (which is up from 640x480). This makes objects/people easier to identify
- Add up to 5 email of text recipients of pictures
Since HCO charges for this service, we did not include these benefits in our rating of this camera. If they were to give it away for free (which we think they should do), then our ratings would reflect these added benefits. Please keep in mind, the $4 a month for premium service is separate from your data plan costs.
After activating the cellular data, there are just a couple of steps you will need to complete on the camera itself.
- Place the SD card and sim card in the camera along with 12 AA Lithium Batteries. Make sure the antenna is on the camera.
- Flip the switch from "Off" to "Setup." Allow the camera to connect to the network. You will see (upper right-hand corner) the network towers connect and show how many bars of service they have. After it connects, hit the menu button.
- Go through the settings and customize them to your needs (i.e. set the date/time, sensitivity preference, flash power, etc.).
- Once you get to the wireless tab, set them to the following
- Send Mode: Instant
- Send Via: Auto (Set this to premium if you have activated and paid for the premium service. If you have paid for premium, ignore the rest of the setup, your job is done. All other settings will be on the app of your phone)
- Recipient: Hit enter and add either one email address. The camera is only able to accept email addresses but you can jailbreak this by adding the phone number as an email, like this: enter the phone number as firstname.lastname@example.org for AT&T phones or email@example.com for Verizon phones.
- Name Tag: On
- Power Saving: On
Once your settings are correct, you can test the camera's ability to send a photo. Hit the "Menu" button until you are back to the live preview screen. Hit the "Ok" button to take a photo. The camera will ask if you want to "Send this photo?" Hit Ok to send. If the camera is setup properly and you have at least 3 bars of reception, it should say "Send Successful" after 30-60 seconds. If so, your camera is ready to go. Simply turn it on when you are ready to place it in the field.
The camera's case design is solid and works well. The latch is big and beefy, and manipulates easily even in cold weather. The functionality of the screen, viewer, and settings operate quickly and intuitively. This is one of the stronger aspects of this camera.
Unfortunately, this is a weak aspect of Spartan cameras right now. Our warranty rate is about twice as high as the acceptable standard.
For much of 2018, the Spartan 4G Verizon had taken huge steps in the wrong direction. A recent update has greatly improved the picture recovery time and battery life, raising the overall score significantly.
One important note, modern cell cameras need to be 4G compatible, but not being able to work down to 3G towers is a HUGE oversight. This is currently an average cellular camera.
Enjoy our reviews? Please consider purchasing your next trail camera from us.
FAQ's: HCO Spartan 4G Verizon
Q: How do I view the pictures?
A: There are a number of ways to do this. First, pictures/videos are stored on the SD card you place in the camera. After that, the pictures can be set to be emailed/texted to only one phone number or email. If you pay for HCO's Premium Service, the pictures are sent to an app on your phone.
Q: Will this trail camera trigger on small animals (birds, rodents, etc.)?
A: Trail cameras detect 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: This is somewhat controversial. Humans can't see the flash as the nanometer spectrum is above what the human eye can detect (that is where the 940 comes from in the Dark Ops name). It's also much harder for an animal to see, but that could depend on the species of animal as different species see in different light spectrums.
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 16 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
- No glow IR flash
- 6-Volt External Battery Jack
- Requires 12 AA Lithium Batteries
- Accepts up to a 32 gig SD card
- Only works on Verizon 4G Towers
- Internal 2" picture viewer
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.
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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.
- Use this with the security case, or just the camera itself. The Spartan 4G has brackets on the back specifically for this lock.
Start at $9.95
- SD cards store your pictures and videos for easy removal. We give you a free SD card with the Spartan, but most people use a second card. If you have two cards, you can swap them out when you retrieve the pictures.
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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.