SpotCam Video Doorbell 2 Review – Can a £ 90 Video Doorbell Compete with Ring, Eufy & Arlo?
I love video doorbells; they’re one of my favorite pieces of smart tech. However, they can be quite expensive; the latest Ring Video Doorbell 4 and the Arlo Essential Wireless Video Doorbell are both £ 179.
The SpotCam Video Doorbell 2 comes at a much lower price for the wallet, with the added benefit of including a chime speaker and free cloud recording for 7 days. Ring will charge you £ 19.99 for a chime and Arlo £ 44.99. So that’s well under half the price of the big names while not incurring any ongoing charges (but there are optional subscription services available).
- Full HD 1080P
- 180 degree panoramic fisheye lens
- IR LEDs for night vision
- Intelligent active motion detection to reduce false alarms (free and paid service)
- Full duplex two-way audio with voice switching function
- Free 7-day cloud storage to back up
- Wireless design and Bluetooth setup make it easy
- Works with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant and IFTTT
The setup was pretty straightforward, similar to most IoT devices these days. This uses Bluetooth to simplify the process by passing you the details of the 2.4 GHz WiFi.
Unfortunately, if you want to use the free 7-day cloud storage, you have to go through a subscription setup process. Fortunately, they don’t require you to provide your card details, and it only takes a few seconds, but I would have thought that would be enabled by default.
In the camera settings, you can change various things as you like. There are options for HD video. Image quality and night vision settings.
One thing I like is the ability to set up email alerts in addition to the normal push and chime alerts.
You can also set up an alert schedule so you won’t be disturbed while you sleep.
The physical installation is better than average. You have four screw holes firmly securing the backplate in position, but they also include 3M tape that allows you to stick it to something.
The video quality is quite good. I would say it’s similar to the performance you get from Ring. However, it costs a lot more money. Eufy and Arlo offer much better quality. Generally, I’m not too concerned with how amazing a video doorbell looks, I just need to know who’s at the door and get timely notifications, and it works fine.
The fisheye lens offers an improved vertical field of view compared to Ring, but not as good as Arlo’s 1: 1 aspect ratio.
Night vision is acceptable, the Ring Video Doorbell 3 offered roughly the same performance, but the latest Video Doorbell 4 improved its game.
Motion detection performance is lower than normal. There is no way to customize things, instead, SpotCam blocks any advanced functionality in an overpriced Video AI subscription service.
The spec says it uses smart, active motion detection to reduce false alarms, but I certainly get more false alarms than Eufy / Ring / Arlo.
My garden is fenced from street level so there is very little that should trigger it. Old IP surveillance cameras would go off when plants and shadows swayed, so that’s probably what’s going on here.
The battery is OK, I haven’t had it long enough to drain from full to flat, but I’m skeptical of the 6 month claim. Based on my current usage, I would expect more as a monthly charge. Changing picture settings and using the video AI service could likely reduce battery drain.
Similar to Eufy, you have to remove the entire doorbell to charge it, which means you are without a doorbell for several hours. I much prefer the removable battery from Ring and Arlo, so you can swap it out with a spare.
It is also quite easy to remove the doorbell, while other brands lock it in place. This makes it easier to get off and charge, but it is possible for an intruder to remove the doorbell (or steal it) easily. I wouldn’t consider this a big issue, but I guess it depends on where you live.
Wi-Fi performance and notification delay
One thing that plagues video doorbells is notification lag, which is often caused by poor Wi-Fi.
So far, there doesn’t seem to be any serious issue with this camera. Loading events or live streams is a bit slow, like connection issues, but they do load and alerts seem to come in pretty quickly.
Video AI – Advanced Object Detection
While SpotCam can be praised for offering free basic cloud recording and the ability to record to microSD, they’re a bit of a scam for Video AI services.
For basic human detection, they will charge you $ 5.95 per month. The outdoor service pack that includes the detection of humans, vehicles and missing objects, as well as a virtual fence, will set you back $ 9.99.
Eufy does all of this for free, and Ring / Arlo does most of it as part of their subscription packs which cost around £ 2.50 per month.
I’m assuming the SpotCam subscription will cover any SpotCam devices you own, but Ring Plus still only costs £ 8 / month for unlimited devices and 30 day video history.
Cloud plan registration
Even though Video AI plans are sky-high, SpotCam offers cloud recording plans that are quite affordable, with a few caveats.
You can get 30 days of recording for $ 2.95 (£ 2.08) per month or $ 29 per year per camera, which is less than what Arlo and Ring charge for a single device (£ 2.50 /month). However, there are no wholesale options, so if you add multiple cameras to your home the costs will go up, while Ring tops out at 8 cfm.
Prices and alternative options
The SpotCam 2 video doorbell costs £ 89.99 and includes a chime.
The best alternative option that I have personally used would be the Eufy Security 2K Wireless Video Doorbell. It’s currently priced at £ 179, the same as Ring and Arlo, but steadily drops to £ 134. The docking base works like a chime, and the overall quality and performance is well worth the extra price (at £ 134).
Alternatively, there is the eufy 1080P Security WiFi Video Doorbell Kit for £ 89.99. This comes with an include a chime. I haven’t used it, but knowing Eufy it will be great. The only downside this has compared to SpotCam is the lack of free cloud recording for 7 days; although it offers human AI detection on the device for free.
Then Ring is also offering their Ring Video Doorbell for £ 89, there is no chime and you’ll have to pay £ 2.50 / month or £ 24.99 / year to get the most out of it. Again, I haven’t used this one, but knowing Ring, it will be great.
Considering the price, the SpotCam Video Doorbell 2 is good. It’s a little cheaper than the cheaper Ring, thanks to the included chime and free cloud recording.
The problem is, the Eufy 1080P doorbell is regularly priced the same, it is reviewed very well and will have superior motion detection than the SpotCam, but it lacks cloud recording.
Ideally, I would say the SpotCam should cost £ 10-20 less to stand out from the more reputable brands. It’s still a pretty decent video doorbell and worth keeping an eye out for the regular Amazon discounts that still happen.
SpotCam 2 Video Doorbell Review
The SpotCam 2 video doorbell performs well for the price, providing all the features I want from a video doorbell. The free cloud recording for 7 days is a nice addition and that is the main advantage it has over the Eufy doorbell at the same price.
- Competitive price with chime included
- No ongoing fees, unless you voluntarily subscribe to additional services
- Advanced motion detection leads to high subscription fees
- Maybe not cheap enough to stand out from the crowd
Last updated on 06/06/2021 / Affiliate Links / Amazon Product Advertising API Images