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.
Battery Life: 80/100
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.
Detection Circuit: 88/100
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.
Quality of Design: 86/100
Dimensions:7.25" x 5" x 3.75"
Battery Type: 8 AA
External Battery Jack: 12- volt
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:
| Monthly Plans
|Photos Per Month
||$5 per month
||$10 per month
||$15 per month
||$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.
|Cameras qty allowed/account
||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, Deer, Turkey
||Buck, Deer, Turkey
|Permanent cloud storage of favorite photo
|Moose & Coyote
|Specific notifications by species
||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!
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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. If that isn't enough, we give you a 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.
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