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Spypoint Link S Dark Trail Camera Review
The Spypoint Link-S Dark is the top-end Spypoint cellular camera. This camera boasts a built-in solar panel that gives the camera two battery packs to run off of - the rechargeable internal pack that the solar charges and the 8 AA batteries (lithium) that you will put in the camera. This produces outstanding battery life. The Link-S Dark is also fast and very easy to use. However, the picture quality is just average and the reliability has been suspect from previous iterations of this model. - TCP Staff
Model #Link-S-Dark | Spypoint Link S Dark Owners Manual
Trailcampro Comprehensive Score:
Mpxl Rating | Video Resolution
Battery Life:5+ Months
Resting Power(on) | Daytime Power Consumption | Nighttime Power Consumption
Trigger Speed & Detection:88/100
Picture Trigger & Recovery Speed | Video Trigger & Recovery Speed | Detection Range
Quality of Design:86/100
Dimensions | Battery Type | External Battery Jack
Spypoint Link S Dark Trail Camera Review
- 5 Months of battery life + solar charging capabilities
- Fast trigger speed and long detection range
- Very easy to set up and the smartphone app is user-friendly
- Just average photo quality
Photo resolution: 12 mpxl
Flash Type: No Glow IR
Day picture show an unrealistic color and have relatively poor clarity. They seem to stop motion well, but as you can see from the samples, they can struggle with overexposure with sunlight. If you have used Spypoint cameras before, you can expect similar picture quality. We consider the day pictures to be average.
Night pictures turned out pretty well for a no glow trail camera. They stopped motion really well and illuminated above average. The contrast is just average, but overall, we like the night pictures.
Night IR Blur Test
The equipment for the test consists of a target moving along a track from left to right at a constant speed controlled by a stepper motor and a sensor to trigger the capture of a picture near the center of the field of view of a trail camera.
The target is moving at 1.25 feet per second and is 10 feet from the camera at the center of field of view. The test is conducted in a dark room. Two pictures are taken, one with the target not moving and one with the target in motion. A visual comparison can now be made of the two pictures. All settings that affect the quality of night photos will be tested.
What if you purchase from us and aren't happy with the image quality?
This is a common question and we have a very simple solution. Call, email, or chat with us and we can take a look at the images and offer suggestions or immediately tell if something is wrong with the camera. If so, we will warranty the camera for you (with the free 2-Year warranty you receive from us) or return the camera for a full refund (within 90 days of purchase). You have control of the process, remember, we work for you.
In the past, many people get confused with the megapixel rating trail camera manufacturers advertise. Companies inflate the mpxl rating to attract eyes to their products. They do this through interpolation, which digitally adds megapixels to a photo without actually improving the picture.
The best way to judge picture quality is to look at actual pictures. You will notice this the most when you zoom in on a full-size image that a camera has taken. The details of the photo will appear hazy or even digitized. This is normal, and to be expected.
Resting Power (on): 0.26 mW
Picture Daytime/Nighttime Power Consumption: 46.2 Ws | 48.4 Ws
The camera operates on 8 AA batteries. We only recommend lithium batteries for this camera, as they deliver a high and consistent voltage that alkaline and nimh rechargeable batteries simply can't maintain.
If this camera took 15-day pictures and 15-night pictures every 24 hours, it would last 5 months on a set of lithium batteries.
We have calculated the battery life based on an 8 pack of Lithium AA batteries plus the 4000 mAh internal battery pack (that you charge upon receiving the camera). We would like to incorporate calculations for runtime including the solar panel charging the battery pack but there are too many variables at this time. Even though we don't have data to publish on this, expect runtime to be significantly better than 5+ months with the solar panel collecting light. This rating does not accurately reflect what the solar panel is capable of.
Picture Trigger & Recovery Speed: 0.07 s. | 63.4 s.
Video Trigger Speed: 0.87 s.
Detection Range & Angle: 90-100 ft. @ 38.6° detection angle (42.4° field of view)
The detection circuit has an extremely fast trigger speed and a great detection range. The recovery time is a bit long, but as with all cell cameras, that can vary a bit with your reception (we test a full signal strength - Verizon). Overall, this is a great detection circuit.
Dimensions: 7.25" x 5" x 3.75"
Battery Type: 8 AA
External Battery Jack: 12- volt
SD Card Size: Up to 32GB
The Link-S Dark case design is identical to the previous Link-S models. similar to previous Spypoint Solar cameras with a few notable improvements. The latch opens and closes easily. The battery compartment on the back has an eject button that pops the cover open.
This camera has a built-in python bracket on the back of the camera and a 1/4" x 20 threaded slot on the bottom for a Slate River Mount. This camera has an internal screen for setup and for reviewing pictures. You can also do both of these functions via the Spypoint app on your phone.
The big advantage of the solar panel is you won't have to search for a compatible solar panel and there are no cables for a squirrel to choose from. In fact, just charge the camera for 48 hours before placing it in the field and the camera will do the rest of the work.
Overall, the case design is very solid. The antenna is a little flimsy and has given us some issues in the past with the Link-S (the discontinued model).
Setup for the Link-S Dark
Camera settings can be done from the camera but you will need to set up the cell options on your phone. Because of that, we would just recommend doing both camera and cell setup on the app. In the past, cell cameras have developed a reputation for being clumsy and finicky during this process. The Link-S Dark couldn't be easier to setup, even for the folks that aren't "techie."
After you have turned the camera on and loaded the app to your phone, simply follow the instructions on the app. You will need to set up an account and connect your new camera to the app. This takes no time at all. From there, you can select the camera settings, check battery status/cell reception, sd card storage, and view the pictures the camera has taken. The sim card comes with the camera and is located in the battery compartment. You can find the sim card number in the battery compartment on a white sticker.
This camera does not have an option to send a photo on command but you can set the frequency it connects to the network checking for other setting changes. The GPS is not a "live tracker." For the most part, we find it useless. For all practical purposes, the app is very easy to navigate and will not leave you confused.
This app is where you will set your data plan, your first month is unlimited photos for free. We LOVE the fact that Spypoint offers a free data plan (100 pictures a month), so you can run the camera for no cost, year-round. If you need more than 100 pictures a month, here are the costs of the other data plan options:
|Photos Per Month||100||250||1,000||Unlimited|
|Month-to-Month||Free||$5 per month||$10 per month||$15 per month|
|Annual subscription||Free||$4 per month||$7 per month||$10 per month|
Viewing pictures is super easy. You can scroll left or right on the images and they react instantly. Overall, setup on the Link-S Dark couldn't be easier even if you don't consider yourself the most technologically advanced person in the world.
"The Spypoint Experience"
This is an additional cost on top of the data plans (if you choose to go with Active Hunter or Avid Hunter). If you have used a Spypoint Link camera in the past, you are familiar with many of these features and you used to get them for free. Unfortunately, Spypoint is now charging for many of these popular features. You can find the prices and information below.
|Casual Hunter||Active Hunter||Avid Hunter|
|Cameras qty allowed/account||Each camera||Up to 5||Up to 10|
|Photo view history for each camera/account||Last 30 days||Last 6 months||Last 12 months|
|BUCK TRACKER species (A.I. Image Recognition)||Buck only||Buck, Deer, Turkey||Buck, Deer, Turkey|
|Permanent cloud storage of favorite photo||-||-||500|
|Moose & Coyote||-||-||Yes|
|Specific notifications by species||No||Yes||Yes|
|Add-on||-||-||Camera add-on (5) $19.99|
Durability on the Link-S Dark will be something we keep a close eye on. In the past few years, Spypoint cameras have been below average in this category and with how similar this camera is to past models, we have no reason to think that will change. Hopefully we will be wrong.
Keep in mind, our 2-year warranty program is your free insurance program in case something goes wrong with a camera you purchase from us. This warranty protects you from any manufacturing defect the camera might experience for two years.
Since 2005, our mission has to been to provide consumers with unbeatable value, advice you can trust, and customer service that exceeds expectations. There are plenty of places you can choose to do business with, if we are lucky enough to earn your support, we promise to give you our undivided attention. Trailcampro has grown each year not only by relying on your happiness but on the assumption that if we blow you away with customer service, you will brag about us to your friends (have you seen our referral/reward program?).
As always, if you have additional questions, feel free to call, email or chat with us. We look forward to helping you find your next trail camera!
Enjoy our reviews? Please consider purchasing your next trail camera from us.
FAQ's: Trail Camera
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: This is somewhat controversial. Humans can't see the flash as the nanometer spectrum is above what the human eye can detect. 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.
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
Trailcampro's 2 Year Warranty | 90 day Return Policy
Trailcampro 90 Day Return | 2 Year Exclusive Warranty Details
If you purchased your trail camera from us (Trailcampro.com), here are the following warranty stipulations. If you purchased from another retailer, we recommend contacting that retailer or the manufacturer of that product for their warranty details.
If You Purchase From Trailcampro.com
We attempted to make our return policy and 2-year exclusive warranty as simple as possible. However, there are a few stipulations.
90 Day Returns
You may return or exchange anything purchased from Trailcampro for a full 90 days from the date of purchase. Please use the items as you normally would and much as you like subject to the rules below.
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.
90 Day Return Policy Rules:
- 90 days from date of purchase.
- In order to receive a full refund, items must be returned with their original packaging (including UPC code) and all contents
- Cameras or products must be returned in their original condition. You cannot write on the cameras, paint them or deface them in any way. This completely voids the warranty with both us and the specific manufacturer.
- If you purchased one of our "Package Deals" and only return part of the package, we will refund the items full price minus the package discount.
- Orders with quantities of 5 or more are not eligible for a refund or exchange. They are still eligible for warranty replacement.
- There are no returns on used cameras or cameras that clearly state "No Returns"
- If you are returning for a refund, you are responsible for return shipping. Your refund amount will be minus the cost of the initial shipping to you.
2 Year Warranty
We strive to make our customer experience superior to anything available. Traditional warranties only last a year and must be processed directly through the manufacturer. This process usually involves frustrating minutes on hold with call centers and oftentimes weeks, if not months of down time waiting for your replacement product. We process our warranties in-house and expedite the replacement process. When you call Trailcampro you'll speak directly with an expert who will immediately identify the problem and offer a solution.
2 Year Exclusive Warranty Details:
- Warranty starts from the time of purchase and continues for a full 2 years.
- Replacement cameras receive the remainder of the 2-year warranty leftover from the original purchase.
- Warranty is only valid for full retail priced orders (quantity discounts void our 2-year warranty). Discounted items still receive the manufacturer warranty. Price matches void the 2-year warranty as well.
- If your defective camera has been discontinued, we will exchange it for a similarly priced item to your liking.
- If you have a 3G cellular trail camera, it is not considered manufacturer defect if you lose 3G reception in your area.
- Used cameras do not apply for our 2-year warranty
- Cameras cannot be marked on, damaged, or defaced in any way. Warranty is for manufacturer defect only. Defect does not include damage, whether intentional or not.
If you have any questions that were not answered here please feel free to contact us.
To warranty a camera please use the form below. Upon receipt of an RMA number, you will need to ship the camera back to us. You will be responsible for the shipping charges of the defective camera back to us. We will ship the replacement back to you for free.
Payment & Security
Your payment information is processed securely. We do not store credit card details nor have access to your credit card information.
WHEN YOU BUY FROM TRAILCAMPRO:
You must love your new trail camera, or game camera or return it for a full refund in the first 90 days-no questions asked.
Double the Warranty
We double the manufacturer’s 1-year warranty to 2-full years and handle all warranties in-house on our trail cameras and game cameras.