Spypoint Link-S Review
The Link-S receives very high marks in speed, battery life, and user-friendliness. This camera is a bit expensive but one of the highest-rated cellular trail cameras on the market -TCP Staff
Model # Link-S-V
Spypoint Link-S Owner's Manual
Spypoint Link S Cellular Trail Camera Review
- Built-in solar panel extends battery life well beyond what we can calculate
- Incredibly fast trigger speed
- Free data plan from Spypoint (up to 100 pictures per month)
- Very easy setup process
- Whiteout on close object when Flash is in IR Boost Mode
- Does not send video
The Spypoint Link-S uses a LTE Quectel EC21-V module that allows this camera to operate on Verizon LTE towers. It is backwards compatible and should work on 4G/3G towers while they are still active.
The pictures can be retrieved by a smartphone using the Spypoint app or by connecting to myspypoint.com. You do NOT need a Verizon cell phone, any carrier's phone would work for retrieval. It is only important that the Link-S Verizon has 3 or more bars of Verizon reception.
If you have less than 3 bars of reception, we have had good luck with the Spypoint Booster Antenna. It currently enables a Spypoint Link camera to send in an area with 1 bar of reception. That does not mean it will work like that everywhere, but it certainly helps.
Photo resolution: 12 mpxl (interpolated)
Flash Type: Red Glow IR
Link-S daytime picture quality possesses bright color, decent clarity and plenty of depth. We have used them in a wide variety of conditions with solid results.
Your night picture quality will vary based on the IR mode you set the camera in. The Link-S game trail camera has three modes in the settings that control night image quality:
IR Boost - Max flash range but a higher frequency of blurry images & whiteout on close animals
Blur Reduction - Less flash range, but better clarity on moving animals
Optimal - This is a compromise between the two modes above.
Overall, the night photos are a welcome improvement. We consider the Link-S night photos to be pretty good. Also, the pictures sent to the app are highly compressed and not full resolution. The full resolution pictures are stored to the SD card. The following images are full resolution.
Picture & Video Resting Power (on): 1.03 mW
Picture Daytime/Nighttime Power Consumption: 34.6 Ws | 39.31 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.
The battery consumption on the Link-S is very efficient.
If this camera took 15-day pictures and 15-night pictures every 24 hours, it would last 5.4 months on a set of lithium batteries. Keep in mind, this camera is accomplishing 5.4 months of battery life on 8 AA batteries rather than the typical 12 AA batteries all other cellular trailcams use.
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.
Rechargeable Battery Option
If you would like to utilize rechargeable batteries, we have had great luck with the Spypoint Rechargeable Lithium Battery Pack and Charger. You will get around 1.5 months with it (with the above formula), but you can continue recharging it. If you have two of them per camera you can always have one charged and ready to go - costing you more up front, but less over several years.
Picture Trigger & Recovery Speed: 0.06 s. | 32.1 s.
Detection Range: 120 ft. (maximum)
Trigger speed is best in class and the Link-S recovers faster than nearly any other cell camera on the market.
Detection range is 120 ft. (max), which puts it at the top of its class. Overall, this is an outstanding detection circuit for a cellular trail camera.
Quality of Design:
Dimensions: 7.25" x 5" x 3.75"
Battery Type: 8 AA Batteries
External Battery Jack: 12-Volt
The Link-S case design is similar to previous Spypoint Solar cameras with a few notable improvements. The latch has been beefed up and is now one-piece construction. It 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 Solar panel is a welcome addition to any cellular camera. The big advantage here 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 in your computer 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 seems a little flimsy, but we will keep an eye on it and if anything arises we will update this review.
Setup for the Link-S
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 set up on the app. In the past, cell cameras have developed a reputation for being clumsy and finicky during this process. The Link-S 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 general settings ("About this Device"). You can manually type it into the app or scan it with your phone.
For setting options, the Link-S is one of the few cellular cameras that can be programmed to be on or off on certain days of the week. For instance, you can have the camera on from 5 pm to 8 am Mon-Fri., but on 24 hours a day during the weekend. This is an underrated feature.
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. 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 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 has been a roller coaster in 2019 with periods of stable warranty rates and then huge spikes in defects. By far, the biggest issue we have seen is the cameras not connecting to the app (and not sending photos). We do know that Spypoint has been migrating to a new platform which could have caused some of these issues.
We have also seen Link-S cameras not power up and the user getting notifications of a new photo but no picture was taken. This spike in warranty rates has been in effect since the first of July through the time of this review update (9/17/19).
We will continue to update this review to reflect the most up-to-date information available.
The Link-S receives very high marks in speed, battery life, picture quality, and user-friendliness. The improvements in night picture quality have made a remarkable difference in this camera.
Overall, we really like this game trail camera. It took us very little time to setup and the solar panel can keep the camera running for months on end. We believe you will love this little cell camera.
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 SD card you place in the camera. This camera has an internal viewer you can see the pictures on and it sends the photos to the Spypoint app. Here are some other ways to view the photos.
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 camera, 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 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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