SpotCam Video Doorbell 2 review: Not the best, not the worst

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The SpotCam Video Doorbell 2 is the latest in a line of home surveillance products from Taiwan’s SpotCam. The doorbell is a lot chunkier than some of its competitors, measuring 2.7 x 5.7 x 1.5 inches (WxHxD), but it offers the option to record to a local microSD card, which is unusual.

In our tests, we found the camera produced a good image, but the overall experience was let down by the app, which was sluggish. Also, while the doorbell offers a barebones experience unless you pay for a monthly subscription: You’re expected to pay for additional features such as person detection and facial recognition, and that’s on top of the optional cloud storage fees.

Using the SpotCam Video Doorbell 2

The SpotCam Video Doorbell 2 functions like most of its competitors. It will keep watch on the area in which it is installed and send push notifications when motion is detected. When someone comes to the door and presses the button, the AC-powered wireless chime you’ll plug in inside the house sounds off and a two-way video conversation is possible via the app.

The doorbell can send alerts to the app and/or an email address. A schedule can also be set for the alerts, to avoid them being received at certain times, and the camera itself can be disabled and enabled on a schedule.

This review is part of TechHive’s coverage of the best video doorbells, where you’ll find reviews of the competition’s offerings, plus a buyer’s guide to the features you should consider when shopping for this type of product.

The 1080p video from the sensor is good, and the unit has infrared night vision and a very wide 180-degree field of view. I found the camera’s motion detection to be relatively good, although it did fail a few times to spot me walking towards it.

The camera can record video to the cloud as well as to an internal microSD card, making it one of the few doorbells to have a local storage option. There’s also a standard cloud-storage plan that includes seven days of free cloud storage, and there are three levels of premium service with 30 days, 180 days and 365 days of storage. The latter two are among the longest storage options offered by any video doorbell maker.

spotcam video doorbell 2 back plate Martyn Williams / IDG

The rear of the SpotCam Video Doorbell 2, showing its power connectors and microSD card slot.

Subscription options

More complex sensing options are available with various paid subscriptions: Pay $9.99 per month or $99 per year—on top of whatever cloud storage plan you sign up for—and you’ll get human detection (which will ignore animals and other moving objects), vehicle detection, a virtual fence that will alert you only when motion is detected within the boundaries of that area, and missing object detection that will alert you when an object has been removed from the camera’s field of view. Face recognition costs an additional $9.99 per month/$99 per year. You also have the option to purchase these specialized detection features on an a la carte basis. This link will take you to that page on SpotCam’s website. It’s worth carefully figuring out what features you might want and how much it will all cost before deciding if the SpotCam is a good buy.

The app

My biggest criticism of the SpotCam Video Doorbell 2 involves the time it took to see the video after an alert. It takes around 10 seconds for the app to launch and log in after the alert is pressed. But the video is not presented immediately; instead, you get a list of cameras, even if you just have one. You must click the doorbell cam to get into the next screen, and then click the “events” button to see recorded clips and then, finally, click the clip.

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